Updating the BIOS (System Firmware) from the Device Manager in Windows 10

Device Manager: Firmware->Acer Inc System Firmware

I recently started having problems playing YouTube videos in Firefox and Chrome in Ubuntu 18.04. The video would load, and I could see frames at any time, but it would just not play. I soon discovered that killing PulseAudio, and the video would play without audio. I also noticed I had Dummy Output in Sound settings. I tried all usual tricks to fix this, but still no luck. Then I discovered I had audio just after booting my computer, but after a while, there would be no audio at all. This seems to match the time by which the AMD GPU drives crashes (just warning), something that had happened ever since I installed Ubuntu on my Acer laptop. After more failed attempts, I decided to try to update the BIOS using Windows 10. A 10-minute task, right? I would just have to replace the hard drive with one pre-loaded with Windows 10 (I got one from warranty service a few …

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DFI GHF51 Ryzen Embedded R1000 SBC is about the Size of a Raspberry Pi

DFI GHF51 1.8-inch Ryzen Embedded SBC

We’ve seen a fair amount of AMD Ryzen Embedded boards over the last few months including 3.5″ Ryzen Embedded SBC‘s such as Kontron SBC-VR1000 and IBASE Technology IB918, as well as larger boards such as SAPPHIRE FS-FP5R 5×5 motherboard. The most compact Ryzen Embedded board we covered so far must have been the upcoming Sapphire NP-FP5 based on Ryzen R1305G processor with a 4″x4″ (10.16 x 10.16 cm) form factor. But DFI GHF51 1.8″ SBC takes the crown of the smallest Ryzen Embedded SBC, with the business card / Raspberry Pi sized board measuring just 84 x 55 mm, and featuring an AMD Ryzen Embedded R1000-series processor combined with up to 8GB RAM. DFI GHF51 specifications: SoC – AMD Ryzen Embedded R1000 Series with Radeon Vega 3 GPU; 12W CPU System Memory – 2GB/4GB/8GB single-channel DDR4 3200MHz Storage 1x 16GB/32GB/64GB eMMC flash 64Mbit SPI Flash for BIOS (supports UEFI boot only) Video Output – 2x micro HDMI 1.4 ports up …

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NetBSD 9.0 Released with Aarch64 Support, Arm ServerReady Compatibility

NetBSD 9.0

Yesterday, we wrote about Raspberry Pi 4 getting UEFI+ACPI firmware for Arm SSBR compliance allowing the board to run operating systems designed for “Arm ServerReady” servers out of the box. NetBSD 9.0 was just released on February 14, 2020, with support for Aarch64 (64-bit Arm) which had been in the works for a few years, and includes support for “Arm ServerReady” compliant machines (SBBR+SBSA). NetBSD 9.0 main changes related to hardware support: Support for AArch64 (64-bit Armv8-A) machines Compatibility with “Arm ServerReady” compliant machines (SBBR+SBSA) using ACPI. Tested on Amazon Graviton and Graviton2 (including bare metal instances), AMD Opteron A1100, Ampere eMAG 8180, Cavium ThunderX, Marvell ARMADA 8040, QEMU w/ Tianocore EDK2 Symmetric and asymmetrical multiprocessing support (big.LITTLE) Support for running 32-bit binaries via COMPAT_NETBSD32 on CPUs that support it Single GENERIC64 kernel supports ACPI and device tree based booting Supported SoCs Allwinner A64, H5, H6 Amlogic S905, S805X, S905D, S905W, S905X Broadcom BCM2837 (Raspberry Pi 3B) NVIDIA Tegra X1 …

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Raspberry Pi 4 UEFI+ACPI Firmware Aims to Make the Board SBBR-Compliant

As Arm wanted to enter the server market, they realized they had to provide systems that could boot standard operating system images without modifications or hacks – just as they do on x86 server -, so in 2014 the company introduced the Server Base System Architecture Specification (SBSA) so that all a single OS image can run on all ARMv8-A servers. Later on, Arm published the Server Base Boot Requirement (SBBR) specifications describing standard firmware interfaces for the servers, covering UEFI, ACPI and SMBIOS industry standards, and in 2018 introduced the Arm ServerReady compliance program for Arm servers. While those are specific to Arm server, some people are pushing to implement SBBR compliant for Arm PCs, and there’s one project aiming to build an SBBR-compliant (UEFI+ACPI) AArch64 firmware for the Raspberry Pi 4. The UEFI firmware is a build of a port of 64-bit Tiano Core UEFI firmware, and version 1.1 of the firmware was just released on February 14, …

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Debian 10 “Buster” Released

If you’re a recent owner of a Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, you should have had an early taste of Debian 10 “Buster”, but the Raspberry Pi Foundation decided to release their Raspbian “Buster” image before the actual release to lower software development costs, as Debian developers only just announced the release of Debian 10 “Buster”. The new version of Debian supports various desktop environment including Cinnamon 3.8, GNOME 3.30, KDE Plasma 5.14, LXDE .99.2, LXQt 0.14, MATE 1.20, and Xfce 4.12. Beside the official announcement Debian also posted tidbits on their twitter feed, where we learn for example that “Debian 10 buster has 28,939 source packages with 11,610,055 source files”. Officially supported architectures for Debian 10 include i386 and amd64 for x86 targets, arm64, armel and armhf Arm architectures, as well as various other architectures includings MIPS (mips64el, mipsel…), PowerPC (ppc64el), and IBM System z (s390x). One notable change is that GNOME defaults to using the Wayland display server instead …

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Beelink X55 Review – Part 2, Take 2: New Drivers and BIOS

Beelink-X55-UEFI

When I reviewed the Beelink X55 earlier, I encountered poor graphics performance when testing the device with its ‘Out-Of-The-Box’ configuration. As a quick reminder the Beelink X55 is a NUC-style mini PC powered with an Intel Pentium Silver J5005 processor and comes with a 128GB mSATA SSD with pre-installed Windows 10 Home together with 8GB DDR4 RAM (soldered and is non-expandable) and space plus a connector for an SSD. In an attempt to address the poor graphics performance I reinstalled Windows using Microsoft’s ISO however I then found I had missing drivers: Having contacted Beelink through the support email enclosed with the device they replied with a link to a full driver pack. So having downloaded and unzipped the file I updated the first driver: followed by the second: resulting in additional entries to the Intel Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework (DPTF). Having fixed the driver issue I then reran the 3DMark benchmark for testing the GPU: I then compared …

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Embedded Base Boot Requirements (EBBR) Project Aims to Standardize Booting on Embedded Systems

EBBR UEFI

Desktop and server systems relies on standardized interfaces between the bootloader and the OS like UEFI and ACPI, but for embedded systems the way the bootloader, often U-boot, handles the boot flow may vary greatly between targets. Arm and its partners already worked on this in the server space with the Server Base Architecture Specification (SBSA) , and more specifically the Server Base Boot Requirements (SBBR) within the specification that requires the use of both UEFI and ACPI on servers.  Arm has now done something similar with the Embedded Base Boot Requirements (EBBR) project that targets specifically embedded systems, is based on a subset of UEFI, and works with either ACPI or device tree. EBBR specification once implemented in bootloaders like  U-boot or Tianocore/EDK2 should allow a single version of an OS image to boot on multiple platforms without the per-platform customization required today.. In practical terms it means the U-Boot would have a standardize interface with the OS based …

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Intel NUC Kit NUC7PJYH Review – An Intel Gemini Lake Pentium Silver J5005 Barebone Mini PC

When Intel released their latest NUC Gemini Lake mini PCs they prioritized cost over performance. As a result the processor they chose for the ‘Intel NUC 7 Essential’ mini PC is somewhat underwhelming. Fortunately they released another model in the series, the rather misleadingly named ‘Intel NUC Kit NUC7PJYH’ which is is actually a ‘barebones’ mini PC just needing a stick or two of RAM and an SSD for storage. It contains an Intel Pentium Silver Processor J5005 SOC which is a quad core processor bursting up to 2.80 GHz together with a slightly more powerful Intel UHD Graphics 605 processor that is capable of 4K support at 60Hz. Visually it is no different to the Celeron NUC reviewed earlier in that it is physically small consisting of an approximately 4.5″ square case about 2″ tall with a distinctive front panel that includes the power button and a couple of USB ports with the rest of the ports including two …

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