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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Edge Server SynQuacer E-Series 24-Core Arm PC is Now Available for $1,250 with 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Geforce GT 710 Video Card

Right before Linaro Connect San Francisco 2017, GIGABYTE, Socionext and Linaro unveiled a development platform / PC based on Socionext SC2A11 24-core Arm Cortex A53 processor, and whose motherboard complies with 96Boards Enterprise Edition (EE) specifications. I called the platform GIGABYTE Synquacer at the time, because GIGABYTE helped with the design, and the platform was called Synquacer, even during the demo at Linaro Connect. George Grey, Linaro CEO, talked about Synquacer against during Linaro Connect HK 2018 opening keynote, notably to demo the platform combined with Gyrfalcon Light-speeur PCIe card delivering 93TOPS at relatively low power for artificial intelligence applications.   I wanted to find out if there were now updates with regards to software support, availability,  and pricing.  While searching for the product page, I found out it was now called “Edge Server SynQuacer E-Series“, and while GIGABYTE designed the board, they will probably not use their brand for this Arm PC, since it’s mostly a development platform, and …

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FOSDEM 2018 Open Source Developers Meeting Schedule

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) occurs every year on the first week-end of February, where developers meet for two days discussing about open source software projects. FOSDEM 2018 will take place on February 3-4 this year with  652 speakers, 684 events, and 57 tracks, an increase over  last year 608 speakers, 653 events, and 54 tracks. There will be 8 main tracks namely: Community, History, Miscellaneous, Performance, Python, Security and Encryption, Space, and Global Diversity CFP Day. There will also be 33 developer rooms, and since the full schedule is now available, I’ll make a virtual schedule mostly based on sessions from the Embedded, mobile, and automotive, Hardware Enablement, and Internet of Things devrooms. Saturday 3, 2018 09:50 – 10:15 – Turning On the Lights with Home Assistant and MQTT by Leon Anavi In this presentation you will learn the exact steps for using MQTT JSON Light component of the open source home automation platform Home …

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BBen MN10 TV Stick Review – Windows 10, Ubuntu 17.04, Benchmarks, and Kodi

The BBEN MN10 is the second Apollo Lake device to be released in the stick form-factor and on paper looks to have a lot to offer: It features an Apollo Lake N3350 SoC, an unusual 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and is cooled by a ‘mute’ fan. The devices comes in a plain box with a power adapter, and a leaflet style manual. It also included a three-pin UK power adapter, as this was advertised as the ‘BBen MN10 Mini PC  –  UK PLUG  BLACK’. Looking at the detail specifications: We can immediately see discrepancies as the device does not have a ‘RJ45 Port Speed: 1000M LAN’ port, and was not supplied with ‘1 x HDMI Cable’ nor ‘1 x Remote Control’. Powering on the device and the ‘mute’ fan is also a miss-representation as it starts immediately and is noticeably noisy. It also runs at full speed regardless of workload so the noise is a constant reminder that …

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MINIX based Intel Management Engine Firmware & UEFI are Closed Source & Insecure, NERF to the Rescue!

You may have heard a few things about Intel Management Engine in recent months, especially as security issues have been found, the firmware is not easily upgradeable, and the EFF deemed it a security hazard asking Intel for ways to disable it. In recent days, I’ve seen several media reports about the Management Engine being based on an Intel Quark x86-based 32-bit CPU running MINIX open-source operating system. Keep in mind, there’s nothing nefarious about MINIX, it’s just that Intel keeps its own developments on top closed. One of sources for the information is a blog post explaining how to disable Intel ME 11, but ZDNET also points to one of the talks at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2017 entitled “Replace Your Exploit-Ridden Firmware with Linux” by Ronald Minnich, Google which explains the problem, and proposes a solution to (almost) disable Intel’s ME, and replace UEFI by a small open source Linux kernel and ramdisk. To better understand about …

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Embedded Linux Conference & Open Source Summit Europe 2017 Schedule

The Embedded Linux Conference & IoT summit 2017 took place in the US earlier this year in February, but there will soon be a similar event with the Embedded Linux Conference *& Open Source Summit Europe 2017 to take up in Europe on October 23 – 25 in Prague, Czech Republic, and the Linux Foundation has just published the schedule. It’s always useful to find out what is being discussed during such events, even if you are not going to attend, so I went through the different sessions, and compose my own virtual schedule with some of the ones I find the most interesting. Monday, October 23 11:15 – 11:55 – An Introduction to SPI-NOR Subsystem – Vignesh Raghavendra, Texas Instruments India Modern day embedded systems have dedicated SPI controllers to support NOR flashes. They have many hardware level features to increase the ease and efficiency of accessing SPI NOR flashes and also support different SPI bus widths and speeds. …

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