Project-X A1-Series Production-Ready Pico-ITX SBCs are Powered by Allwinner Processors (Crowdfunding)

X-Project A1-Series PIco-ITX SBCs

We already have plenty of Allwinner single board computers thanks to companies such as Shenzhen Xunlong Software with their Orange Pi boards, FriendlyELEC NanoPi boards, and Libre Computer Tritium SBCs.  Those boards are fine for hobbyist’s project but may fall short when integrated into  consumer products, although some products have already been launched with those board such as RetroEngine Sigma retro game console (Orange Pi), or Firewalla firewall appliance (NanoPi neo) ActPower Taiwan Ltd’s Project-X is a little different as it relies on Pico-ITX form factor targetting mass production of low volume manufacturing. Their first Project-X A1-series focus exclusively on Allwinner H-Series (H2+, H3, and H5) processor, but if the concept takes off they may launch boards equipped with processors from other silicon vendors. There are currently three Project-X A1 boards with the following key features and specifications: SoC (one or the other) Allwinner H2+ quad-core Cortex-A7 processor Allwinner H3 quad-core Cortex-A7 processor Allwinner H5 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor System Memory …

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Intel Introduces 10th Generation Comet Lake Y and U-Series Processors

10th Generation Ice Lake processors for 2-in-1 laptops and tablets, and other low-power devices have just started shipping, but Intel has now launched another 10th generation family, namely Comet Lake, that is also designed for the same type of products. But instead of being manufactured using a 10nm process, Comet Lake processors will rely on Intel’s “highly optimized” 14nm process technology leveraging “improvements in intra-node optimizations”. There will be Y-Series and U-Series like in other low-power high-performance Intel processors with respectively 7W and 15W TDP, and those processors will come as Core i3/i5/i7 parts Intel Comet Lake family is the first to offer a 6-core processor in the U-series family and will provide faster CPU frequencies, faster memory interfaces, support for Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3.  The new processors are said to deliver up to 16% overall performance gains, and over 41% better productivity and multitasking on Microsoft Office 365 compared with the previous generation (Whiskey Lake). Comet …

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Getting Started with Sipeed M1 based Maixduino Board & Grove AI HAT for Raspberry Pi

Grove AI HAT Face Detection

Last year we discovered Kendryte K210 processor with a RISC-V core and featuring AI accelerators for machine vision and machine hearing. Soon after,  Sipeed M1 module was launched with the processor for aroud $10. Then this year we started to get more convenient development board featuring Sipeed M1 module such as Maixduino or Grove AI Hat. Seeed Studio sent me the last two boards for review. So I’ll start by showing the items I received, before showing how to get started with MicroPython and Arduino code. Note that I’ll be using Ubuntu 18.04, but development in Windows is also possible. Unboxing I received two packages with a Maixduino kit, and the other “Grove AI HAT for Edge Computing”. Grove AI HAT for Edge Computing Let’s start with the second. The board is a Raspberry Pi HAT with Sipeed M1 module, a 40-pin Raspberry Pi header, 6 grove connectors, as well as connectors for camera and display. The USB-C port is …

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Khadas VIM3L Amlogic S905D3 SBC Targets HTPC Enthusiasts

Amlogic S905D3 SBC

Khadas recently launched VIM3 single board computer powered by Amlogic A311D that delivers the best performance among Arm-based SBC’s I have tested myself, and for instance, Amlogic A311D is significantly faster than Rockchip RK3399, and the platform is quite suitable for Android gaming. All that power comes at a price however, as Khadas VIM3 starts at $99.99 with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. That’s fine if you’re going to leverage the features and power of the board, but for some applications, it’s quite expensive. One of those applications is HTPC, as in a world of sub-$50 TV boxes, $100 is a bit too much for watching video content. So the Khadas team is currently developing Khadas VIM3L based on Amlogic S905D3 processor that should provide an excellent platform for HTPC. Khadas VIM3L specifications known so far: SoC – Amlogic S905D3-N0N quad-core Cortex-A55 processor @ 1.9GHz with Arm Mali-G31MP2 GPU up to 800MHz supporting OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan 1.0 and OpenCL …

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Orange Pi Zero2 is a Tiny Allwinner H6 SBC with HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0, Ethernet & WiFi

Orange Pi Zero2 USB 3.0

Shenzhen Xunlong Software launched a refresh of their Orange Pi Zero board, namely Orange Pi Zero LTS, a couple of weeks ago. The company is now about to launch another SBC of the “Zero” family. Slightly larger than its predecessor, Orange Pi Zero2 is also quite more powerful with an Allwinner H6 quad core Cortex-A53 processor, and more versatile thanks to the addition of a USB 3.0 port, HDMI 2.0 video output, and a built-in microphone. Orange Pi Zero2 specifications: SoC – Allwinner H6 quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor with Arm Mali T720 GPU with support for OpenGL ES3.1/3.0/2.0/1.1, Microsoft DirectX 11 FL9_3 Memory – 512MB LPDDR3 (Allwinner AW52A8G32) Storage – 4GB eMMC Flash and microSD card up to 32GB Video Output – HDMI 2.0a port Video Decoding – 10-bit H265/HEVC up tp 4K60 or 6K30; H264/AVC up to 4K30; VP9 up to 4K30; AVS+/AVS up to 1080p60 Network Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n WiFi 4 + Bluetooth 4.2 via AP6212A module 10/100M …

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Reading ID Card Data in Ubuntu with EZ100PU Smart Card Reader (Thai ID Edition)

Smart Card Reader Thai ID Card

I was asked help with configuring a smart card reader on a government computer running Windows 7, but this made me wonder what would happen if I connected the card reader to my Ubuntu laptop and whether I’d be able to read content from a Thai ID card. EZ100PU Smart Card Reader Let’s have a look at the card reader itself first. It’s a FAST ID EZ100PU smart card reader compliant with ISO7816 standard. That’s the product page of the specific model, but a search for EZ100PU only reveals the manufacturer may be InfoThink Technology based on Taiwan. The USB smart card reader comes with a CD that includes drivers for Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and Android, as well as an SDK with a demo program and sample code in C++, Visual Basic .NET, and C#. As we’ll see further below, the Linux driver is not needed as it works out of the box. The design of the board (RX-N99B-2) …

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How Do You Handle Backups in Linux? Hardware, Software, Configuration, etc…

Duplicity/Deja Vue backup restoration

Linux EXT-4 File System Corruption & Attempted Recovery There’s a file system corruption bug related to EXT-4 in Linux, and it happened to me a few times in Ubuntu 18.04. You are using your computer normally, then suddenly you can’t write anything to the drive, as the root partition has switched to read-only. Why? Here are some error messages: What then happens is that you restart your PC, and get to the command where you are asked to run: Change /dev/sda2 to whatever your drive is, and manually review errors. You can take note of the file modified, as you’ll likely have to fix your Ubuntu installation later on. Usually the fix consists of various package re-installations: It happened to me two or three times in the past, and it’s a pain, but I eventually recovered. But this time, I was not so lucky. The system would not boot, but I could still SSH to it. I fixed a few …

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Orange Pi Zero LTS SBC Launched for $8.49 and Up

Buy Orange Pi Zero LTS Allwinner H2 SBC

Orange Pi Zero LTS is an update to Orange Pi Zero Allwinner H2+ board with the same specifications, but tweaks to the hardware that Shenzhen Xunlong Software claims lower power consumption and reduce heat. The SBC supports Armbian’s Debian and Ubuntu images, and best suited for headless applications that require network connectivity via Ethernet and/or WiFi such as smart speakers. The board also features one USB port, and two I/O headers for expansion. The good news is that you can now buy Orange Pi Zero LTS for the same price as the original model, namely $8.49 for the 256MB RAM version, and $10.49 for the 512MB model$10.49 for the 512MB model, excluding shipping costs ($4.73 to my location). Here’s a reminder of Orange Pi Zero LTS (v1.5) specifications: SoC – Allwinner H2+ quad-core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU @ 600 MHz System Memory – 256 to 512 MB DDR3-1866 SDRAM Storage – MicroSD card slot, SPI …

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