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Found 46 results

  1. tkaiser

    quick review Banana Pi M3

    Overview (Disclaimer: The following is for techies only that like to dig a bit deeper. And if you're not interested in energy-efficient servers then probably this is just a waste of time ) EDIT: Half a year after this poorly designed SBC has been released just one of the many design flaws has been fixed: Micro USB for DC-IN has been replaced by the barrel jack that was present on the pre-production batches. If you were unfortunate to get a Micro USB equipped M3 please have a look here how to fix this. Apart from that check the Banana forums what to expect regarding software/support first since this is your only source) SinoVoip sent me a review sample of the recently shipped so called "Banana Pi M3" yesterday. It's a SBC sharing name and form factor of older "Banana Pi" models but is of course completely incompatible to them due to a different SoC, an A83T (octa-core Cortex-A7 combined with a PowerVR SGX544 GPU). For detailed and up-to-date informations please always refer to the linux-sunxi wiki. This new model distinguishes itself from the Banana Pi M2 with twice as much CPU cores and DRAM (LPDDR3), 8 GB eMMC onboard and BT4.0. And compared to the "M1" (the original Banana Pi) it features also 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. Unlike the M2 the M3 is advertised as being SATA capable. But that's not true, it's just an onboard GL830 USB-to-SATA bridge responsible for horribly slow disk access. Unfortunately the GL830 and both externally available USB ports are behind an internal USB hub therefore all ports have to share bandwidth this way and use just one single USB connection to the SoC. Since my use cases for ARM boards are rather limited you won't find a single word about GPIO stuff (should work if pin mappings are defined correctly), GPU performance, BT, Wi-Fi or Android. Simply because I don't care Getting Started: The board arrived without additional peripherals (no PSU) therefore you need an USB cable using a Micro-USB connector to power the board. Both DC-IN and USB-OTG feature an Micro-USB connector which is bad news since pre-production samples had a real DC-In connector (4.0mm/1.7mm barrel plug, centre positive like the M2). I suffered from several sudden shutdowns under slight load until I realized that I used a crappy cable. Many (most?) USB cables lead to voltage drops and when the board demands more power it gets in an undervoltage situation and the PMU shuts off. Same will happen to you unless you can verify that you've a good cable. I did not succeed querying the M3's powermanagement unit (PMU) regarding available voltage (/sys/devices/platform/axp81x_board/axp81x-supplyer.47/power_supply/ac/voltage_now shows always 0). This was a lot easier with the older Banana Pi M1: Here you can watch my cable being responsible for voltage drops under high load (I accidentally used this again with the M3). To avoid the crappy Micro-USB connector (limited to 1.8A maximum by specs and tiny contacts) you can desolder it and solder a cable or a barrel plug -- the PCB is already prepared for the latter. Or ask SinoVoip if they can fix this mistake with the next batch of PCBs. On the bottom side of the PCB there are also solder pads for a Li-Ion battery. It has to be confirmed whether the AXP813 PMU can also be fed with 5V through the Li-Ion connector since this is the preferred way to fix the faulty power design other SinoVoip products show. One final word regarding power: It seems currently something's wrong with power initialisation in the early boot stages (u-boot). With a connected bus-powered USB disk the board won't start or immediately shut down when the disk is connected within the first 10 seconds. I didn't verify when exactly because if you've a look at SinoVoip's commit log it seems they began to fix many obvious bugs just right now after they already started shipping the board (we've seen that with the M2 also). First Showstoppers: Since the board came with an unpopulated eMMC (why the heck?) I had to try out the available OS images from the download site. Unlike everyone else on this planet they don't provide MD5/SHA1 checksums to be able to check integrity of downloads and even if you tell them that they've uploaded corrupted images they don't care. From 4 OS images 3 are corrupted (according to unzip) and all failed soon after boot with kernel panics. I tried the Android image to verify FEL mode works. But since Android is of zero use for me, I decided to build an own OS image from an Ubuntu distro running on the Orange Pi where I had the SD-card inserted. Since details are boring just as a reference. From then on I used this Ubuntu image and exchanged only the freshly built stuff from SinoVoip's BSP Github repo (3.4.39 kernel, modules, bootloader and also simple things like hardware initialisation since kernel/u-boot they prefer does NOT support script.bin) First Impressions: Heat (dissipation): The A83T needs a heatsink otherwise you won't be able to benefit from its performance. Allwinner's 3.4.39 kernel provides 'budget cooling' using 2 techniques: thermal throttling and shutting down CPU cores. You can define this 'thermal configuration' in sysconfig.fex and have to take care that you understand what you're doing since if throttling doesn't help your CPU cores will be deactivated and you have to can't bring them back online manually the usual way since Allwinner's kernel doesn't allow so: echo 1 >/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpuX/online Therefore it's better to stay with the thermal defaults to allow throttling and improve heat dissipation instead. I used a $0.5 heatsink that performs ok. Without heatsink when running CPU intensive jobs throttling limited clockspeed to 1.2 GHz but with the heatsink I was able to run most of the times at ~1.6Ghz under full load. With heatsink and an annoying fan I managed to let the SoC run constantly at 1.8GHz and achieved a 7-zip score close to 6000 and finished "sysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=20000 run --num-threads=8" in less than 53 seconds. This is an example for wrong throttling values (too high) so that the kernel driver does not limit clockspeeds but starts to drop CPU cores instead: CPU performance: Since the H3 (used on the more recent Orange Pis) and the A83T seem to use much of the same kernel sources (especially the 'thermal stuff') I did a few short tests. When running with identical clockspeed and the same amount of cores they perform identical (that means they're slower than older Cortex-A7 SoCs like eg. the A20 when running at identical clockspeed -- a bit strange). Obviously the difference between H3 and A83T is the process. Both already made in 28nm but the A83T as 'tablet SoC' in the more energy efficient HPC process allowing less voltage and higher clockspeeds. According to sysconfig.fex the SoC should be able to clock above 2.1 GHz but since exceeding 1.6 Ghz already needs a fan this is pretty useless on a SBC (might be different inside a tablet where the back cover could be used as a large heatsink). Network throughput: I used my usual set of iperf testings and tried GBit Ethernet performance (with and without network tunables it remains the same -- reason below): BPi-M3 --> Client: [ 4] 0.0-10.0 sec 671 MBytes 563 Mbits/sec [ 4] 0.0-10.0 sec 673 MBytes 564 Mbits/sec [ 4] 0.0-10.0 sec 870 MBytes 729 Mbits/sec [ 4] 0.0-10.0 sec 672 MBytes 564 Mbits/sec [ 4] 0.0-10.0 sec 675 MBytes 566 Mbits/sec Client --> BPi-M3: [ 4] 0.0-10.0 sec 714 MBytes 599 Mbits/sec [ 5] 0.0-10.0 sec 876 MBytes 734 Mbits/sec [ 4] 0.0-10.0 sec 598 MBytes 501 Mbits/sec [ 5] 0.0-10.0 sec 690 MBytes 578 Mbits/sec [ 4] 0.0-10.0 sec 604 MBytes 506 Mbits/sec When I used longer test periods (-t 120) then the "Client --> BPi-M3" performance increased up to the theoretical limit: 940 Mbits/s. Then a second iperf thread jumped in, both utilising a single CPU core fully. And that's the problem: Networking is CPU bound, a single client-server connection will not exceed 500-600 Mbits/sec as it was the case when I started with A20 based boards 2 years ago. Since all we have now with the A83T is an outdated 3.4.39 kernel and since I/O bandwidth on the M3 is so low, I stopped here since it's way too boring to try to improve network throughput and also useless (disk access is so slow that it simply doesn't matter when Ethernet is limited to half of the theoretical GBit Ethernet speed... at least for me ) Accessing disks: Since there's a SATA connector on the board I gave it a try. Important: the SATA-power connector uses the same polarity as older Banana Pis and Orange Pis (keep that in mind since combined SATA data/power cables from LinkSprite and Cubietech that share exactly the same connector use inverted polarity!). I started with the Samsung EVO I always use for tests (but due to the old 3.4 kernel using ext4 instead of btrfs) and was shocked: 13.5/23 MB/s is the worst result I ever measured. I then realised that I limited maximum cpufreq to 480 MHz and tried with 1800 MHz again. A bit better but far away from acceptable: GL830 USB-to-SATA performance: 480 MHz: kB reclen write rewrite read reread 4096000 4 13529 13466 22393 22516 4096000 1024 13588 13411 22717 26115 1.8 GHz: 4096000 4 15090 15082 30968 30316 4096000 1024 15174 15131 30858 29441 I disconnected the SSD from the 'SATA port' and put it in an enclosure with a JMicron JMS567 USB-to-SATA bridge and measured again: Now sequential transfer speeds @ 1800 MHz exceeded 35/34 MB/s. The GL830 is responsible for low throughput -- especially writes are slow as hell. I made then a RAID-1 through mdadm consisting of an external 3TB HDD (good news: the GL830 can deal with partitions larger than 2 TB) and the SSD. First test with the HDD connected to the M3's GL830 bridge (GL) and the SSD connected to the JMS567 (JM). Then I disconnected the HDD from the GL830 and put it in another external enclosure with an ASMedia 1053 (ASM). Obviously SinoVoip's decision to use an internal USB hub and only one host port of the SoC leads in both situations to limited (shared) bandwidth. But in case the internal USB-to-SATA bridge is involved performance is even worse: GL/JM: kB reclen write rewrite read reread 4096000 4 17800 17140 14382 16807 4096000 1024 17741 17258 14493 14368 JM/ASM: 4096000 4 19307 18458 22855 26241 4096000 1024 19231 18518 21995 22362 If SinoVoip would've saved the GL830 USB-to-SATA bridge and wired both SoC's host ports to the 2 type-A USB ports directly without the internal hub in between overall performance would be twice as good. And obviously the M3's 'SATA port' is the worst choice to connect a disk to. Any dirt-cheap external USB enclosure will perform better. SD-card and eMMC: Just a quick check with the usual iozone settings running @ 1.8 GHz: kB reclen write rewrite read reread eMMC: 4096000 4 26572 27014 59187 59239 4096000 1024 25875 26614 56587 56667 SD-card: 4096000 4 20483 20855 22473 22892 4096000 1024 20526 19948 22285 22660 LOL, eMMC twice as fast as 'SATA'. The performance numbers of the SD-card (SanDisk "Extreme Pro") are irrelevant since I can not provide performance numbers from a known fast reference implementation. But since I might be able to provide this the next few days, I decided to give it a try. On older Allwinner SoCs there's a hard limitation regarding SDIO/SD-card speed. Maybe this applies here too. EDIT: Yes, it's a board/SoC limitation. When reading/writing the SD-card on a MacBook Pro I achieve ~80 MB/s. It seems SDIO on A83T is limited to ~20MB/s Other issues: If you want to try out the M3 you'll have to stay on the bleeding edge. Don't expect that any of the available OS images are close to useable. They just recently started to fix a lot of essential bugs in code and hardware initialisation. If you want to test the M3 be prepared to compile the BSP daily and exchange the bootloader/kernel/initialisation stuff on your SD-card/eMMC Currently average load is always 1 or above. When we started over 2 years ago with Cubieboards (and an outdated kernel 3.4.x) there was a similar issue. Maybe it's related. I just opened a Github issue Mainline kernel support in very early stage. Don't count on this that soon (situation with Banana Pi M2 was a bit different. All the OS images from SinoVoip based on kernel 3.3 weren't useable but the community provided working distros backed by the work of the linux-sunxi community and existing mainline kernel support for the M2's A31s) Always keep in mind that hardware without appropriate software is somewhat useless. SinoVoip has a long history of providing essential parts of software way too late or not at all (still applies to the M2 -- before you buy any SinoVoip product better have a look into their forums to get the idea which level of support you can expect: zero). Even worse: For the M2 and its A31s SoC there exists mainline kernel support (everything developed by the community while the vendor held back necessary informations). This does not apply to the A83T used on the M3. At the moment you're somewhat lost since you've to rely on the manufacturer's OS images (all of them currently being broken) Conclusion: Still no idea what to do with such a device. Integer performance is great when you use a heatsink and even greater with an annoying fan. But where's the use case? If I would use the M3 with Android then everything that's relevant for performance does not depend on CPU (but instead CedarX for HW accelerated video decoding and GPU for 2D/3D acceleration -- BTW: the A83T is said to contain only a single core SGX544MP1 but the fex file's contents let me believe it's a faster MP2 instead). Due to limited I/O and network bandwidth the integer performance is also irrelevant for nearly all kinds of server tasks. If it's just about 'SBC stuff' why wasting so much money? Triggering GPIO pins works also with cheap H3 based boards like Orange Pi PC or Orange Pi One that also have 4 times more I/O bandwidth compared to the M3 (due to 4 available USB ports instead of one). And if I would really need a performant ARM SoC then I would buy such a thing and not an outdated Cortex-A7 design. I still have no idea what the M3 is made for. Except of selling something under the "Banana" brand to clueless people. Don't know. For my use cases the Banana Pi M1 outperforms the M3 easily -- both regarding price and performance (sufficient CPU power, 3 x USB and real SATA not 'worst USB-to-SATA implementation ever'). As usual: YMMV Maybe the worst design decision (next to choosing the crappy Micro-USB connector for DC-IN) on the M3 is the 'SATA port'. If they would've saved both internal USB hub and GL830 and instead use the two available USB host ports then achievable I/O bandwidth would be way higher. Now both USB ports and the 'SATA port' have to share the bandwidth of a single USB 2.0 connection. Almost as bad as with the Raspberry Pis. But most importantly: Check software und support situation first and don't rely on 'hardware features'. Remember: SinoVoip shipped the M2 with OS images where not a single GPIO pin was defined and Ethernet worked only with 100Mb/s since they 'forgot' to define GMAC pins. They fixed that months later but still not for every OS image (the Android image they provide is corrupted since months but they don't care even if users complain several times). Visit their forums first to get an idea what to expect. It's important! Armbian support: Not to be expected soon. It's worthless when having to rely on Allwinner's old 3.4.39 kernel. I combined loboris' H3 Debian image with kernel/bootloader stuff for the A83T and it worked as expected (even my RPi-Monitor setup matched almost perfectly). Unless the linux-sunxi community improves mainline support for the A83T this situation won't change. But maybe someone interested in M3 (definitely not me) teaches SinoVoip how to escape from u-boot/kernel without support for script.bin in the meantime. Would be a first step.
  2. Hi, I've been using armbian in combination with openmediavault for the last years to access my files on an 1TB HDD. Today I wanted to upgrade the drive to a 3 TB one, but it just shows a capacity 746GB. Is there a size limit on the GL830 for harddrives or why isn't the real capacity showing up? fdisk-l: Disk /dev/sda: 746.5 GiB, 801569724416 bytes, 1565565868 sectors Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Thanks in advance Regards, Joshua
  3. It works but a chip quality and speed is bad. Put GL830 into a search box above. It is noted hardware (quality) issue which has nothing to do with out work. All images and kernels share this problem. Perhaps we would need to use different wording to make this more clear.
  4. Suptronics/Geekworm sells RPi add-ons for a long time. They started with an add-on using the crappy/slow GL830 USB-to-SATA bridge but switched to a good JMS578 after some public complaints (see there also for the issues with GL830) Now they offer a metal box with fan kit and for their X830 USB-to-SATA board for less than 30 bucks. Power input: 14 to 40V DC via 5.5/2.5mm power barrel jack, the SBC can then be powered through GPIO header pins. Boards that should fit inside the enclosure: Any RPi Libre Computer Tritium H2+/H3/H5 Libre Computer Le Potato MiQi NanoPi K1 Plus NanoPi K2 ODROID C1/C1+ ODROID C2 Tinkerboard Rock64 Libre Computer Renegade PineH64 B NanoPi M4 (sufficient cooling will require mounting the fan not on top but next to the board) Caveats: With the 4 last boards you can either limit connection between board and the SATA-bridge to USB2 (the small adapter only transports the Hi-Speed data lines) or you need a standards violating USB3-A to USB3-A cable (which is said to be included with X830 -- no idea if it's also part of the kit). I'm not sure how a 3.5" HDD is mounted inside the enclosure and expressed my concerns about this and potential firmware issues (as well as how to solve them) with the X830 only here: (there you also find some more information and link to a wiki). Disclaimer: never used any of their products and not able to 'review' anything. I just thought this would be a nice combination if a 3.5" HDD should be used together with one of the supported SBC since usually 3.5" HDDs needing 5V and 12V at the same time is somewhat challenging. Edit: Just realized that it's only the enclosure + fan and you need to buy the X830 board separately. Then we're talking about a pretty expensive gadget which will be kinda ugly too with USB3 equipped boards since it needs an 80cm USB cable to externally connect SBC and disk inside the enclosure. Too bad.
  5. tkaiser

    quick review Banana Pi M3

    Sure, 'the Allwinner syndrome'. Once the SoC is EOL and can not be purchased any more the brave souls over at linux-sunxi finished mainline kernel support. Situation 3-4 years ago was different but today I really have no clue why to waste a single second on anything Allwinner that is not also cheap as hell (talking about the small OPi and NanoPi boards) or makes good use of Allwinner's battery support (PineBook, Olimex' Teres, Olimex Lime/Lime2 boards that use the battery to provide full 'UPS functionality' since also powering USB and SATA devices via step up converters) Banana Pi M3 with its outdated 32-bit Cortex-A7 little cores and the totally unsupported PowerVR GPU is even more expensive than faster little.LITTLE designs like NanoPi Fire3 or even true big.LITTLE designs like ODROID XU4/HC1/HC2 (the latter also with an USB-to-SATA bridge but USB3 based and more than 25 times faster than the crappy GL830 on the M3).
  6. Just FYI: Orange Pi Plus 2E is now available for $35 and shipping costs remain the same (pretty low compared to some competitors): Please remember that this board was designed based on community requests (dropping the slow GL830 USB-to-SATA bridge and the internal USB hub and exposing all 4 USB ports physically to the outside) and should make up for a really nice server with 2 GB DRAM, Gbit Ethernet and 4 USB ports (3 real hosts ports and one Micro OTG). So now we have the following H3 boards with Gigabit Ethernet: Banana Pi M2+ for $33 (1 GB RAM, 8 GB eMMC, no USB hub / no shared bandwidth, only 2 USB host ports useable) OPi Plus 2E for $35 (2 GB RAM, 16 GB eMMC, no USB hub / no shared bandwidth, 3 USB host ports useable) OPi Plus for $39 (1 GB RAM, 8 GB eMMC, GL830 slow USB-to-SATA, internal USB hub / shared bandwidth) OPi Plus 2 for $49 (2 GB RAM, 16 GB eMMC, GL830 slow USB-to-SATA, internal USB hub / shared bandwidth) SinoVoip said to release also a cost down version of M2+ without eMMC and WiFi that might be then the cheapest GbE equipped board. But since there you only get 1 GB DRAM (which might be totally ok for most use cases -- please compare with if in doubt) and they don't use a programmable voltage regulator and always feed the SoC with 1.3V VDD_CPUX core voltage IMO spending a few bucks more to get OPi Plus 2E with twice the RAM/eMMC size, 1 more USB port, more performance and also lesser temperature/consumption is the better idea. BTW: WiFi capabilities not mentioned intentionally since in my opinion those cheap SDIO 2.4 GHz implementations are all not worth a look (or time/efforts to get the crappy drivers running)
  7. TL;DR: All available H3 boards do not differ that much. But the few differences sometimes really matter! The following is an attempt to compare the different available H3 SBC that are supported by Armbian. The majority of boards is made by Xunlong but in the meantime two more vendors started cloning the Xunlong boards (and also Olimex is preparing H3 boards as OSHW). Both Foxconn/SinoVoip with their Banana Pi M2+ and FriendlyARM with their NanoPi M1 tried really hard to copy everything as exact as possible (the so called pin mappings -- how the many contacts the used H3 SoC is providing are routed to the outside). All the boards share the same 40 pin GPIO header (trying to be compatible to the newer RPi boards) and since all the other pin mappings are also 99 percent identical you can for example boot a NanoPi M1 with an Armbian image for Orange Pi PC without loosing any functionality (except of camera module) and the same applies to BPi M2+ that will boot happily an Armbian image for Orange Pi Plus 2E (except of camera module and WiFi/BT) In fact all the various H3 boards just differ in a few details: Amount of DRAM No, Fast or GBit Ethernet Voltage regulator and 'thermal design' (responsible for performance in full load situations) Storage capabilities (pseudo SATA and eMMC or not) Count of available USB ports (with or w/o internal USB hub) Some additional features like camera modules, WiFi/BT and additional/optional connectors (here it's important to check for driver functionality/availability. If there's no driver providing the necessary functionality then these 'additional features' are pretty much useless -- camera connector for example) Why focussing on the H3 SoC for this comparison? Since some of these boards are priced pretty competitive Mainlining support for H3 SoC and these boards is progressing really nicely so we'll be able to run these boards with mainline kernel pretty soon (thanks to the great linux-sunxi community) 2D/3D/video HW acceleration is available with legacy kernels (again thanks to the great linux-sunxi community) The feature set is nice for many use cases (quad core SoC, GBit Ethernet and 4 useable USB ports on some boards make a really nice low cost/power server) It got somewhat confusing regarding the many available Oranges and now also the cloned Banana and NanoPi This is also in preparation of a broader overview of the capabilities of all the boards Armbian currently supports now focussing on the H3 family. So let's get into details: Amount of DRAM That's an easy one. The H3 SoC supports up to 2 GB DRAM. The available and announced boards use either 512MB, 1 GB or 2 GB DRAM (low-power DDR3L on the bigger Oranges and DDR3 on OPi One/Lite, BPi M2+ and NanoPi M1). In case you're using Armbian it simply depends on the use case. And also it's necessary to understand that Linux tries to use all your RAM for a reason: Since unused RAM is bad RAM. So don't be surprised that Armbian will eat up all your RAM to cache stuff which improves performance of some tasks but the kernel will immediately release it when other tasks have a demand for it. If still in doubt please enjoy If you want to use your boards with the unofficial H3 OpenELEC fork too please be aware that OpenELEC benefits from at least 1 GB RAM since then the whole filesystem remains in memory and no accesses to a probably slow SD card happen. Prior to jernej/OpenELEC and Armbian resolving the kswapd bug a few weeks ago the 512 MB equipped boards performed rather poor. But now it seems that the unofficial OpenELEC fork runs pretty well also on the boards with less available RAM. Whether 1 vs. 2 GB RAM make a difference absolutely depends on the use case and no general recommendations can be made. Since OpenELEC has been mentioned it should be noted that the current implementation of the unofficial OpenELEC port for H3 boards makes use of the cedarx-license-issues-library (no clear license preventing the use if you care about legal issues -- please have a look at for further details) Networking: The H3 SoC contains an Ethernet implementation that is capable of 10/100 MBits/sec Ethernet and also GBit Ethernet. A PHY (that handles the physical interconnection stuff) for Fast Ethernet is already integrated into the H3 SoC but to be able to use GBit Ethernet an external GbE capable PHY is needed (the RTL8211E used on all boards adds approx 1.2$ to the costs of the board in question). Most H3 boards use the internal Fast Ethernet PHY so wired networking maxes out at ~95 Mbits/sec. Orange Pi Plus, Plus 2, Plus 2E and BPi M2+ provide GBit Ethernet (+600 Mbits/sec with legacy and exactly 462 Mbits/sec with mainline kernel) while Orange Pi Lite saves an Ethernet jack at all. The good news: Even with the Lite you can use wired network adding a cheap RealTek USB3-Ethernet dongle like this which is confirmed to exceed 300 Mbits/sec in a single direction. The currently available boards have either no WiFi (NanoPi M1, OPi 2 Mini, One and PC), rely on RealTek 8189ETV (OPi 2, Plus, Plus 2), the newer RealTek 8189FTV (OPi Plus 2E, Lite, PC Plus) or a WiFi/BT combination: AP6181 is used on the BPi M2+ but the vendor didn't manage to get BT working at the time of this writing. Currently only jernej's OpenELEC fork and Armbian have a working driver included for the new 8189FTV chip on the fresh Orange boards that seems to perform quite ok and provides client/AP/monitor mode. Can't say that much about that since in my very personal opinion all these 2.4GHz onboard WiFi solutions are simply crap Voltage regulator and 'thermal design': This is a very important differentation: All Orange Pi boards use a programmable voltage regulator to adjust the voltage the SoC is fed with. The SY8106A used on every Orange except of One and Lite can be controlled though I2C and adjusts the so called VDD_CPUX voltage in 20mV steps. This is important since 'dynamic voltage frequency scaling' relies on the principle of providing less voltage to the SoC/CPU when it clocks lower. So when the board is idle also the supplied voltage will be reduced resulting in less consumption and also less temperature. Since H3 is somewhat prone to overheating being able to adjust VDD_CPUX is also important when we're talking about the opposite of being idle. The SY8106A equipped Oranges reduce very fine grained the core voltage when they start to throttle down in case overheating occurs under constant heavy load. As a direct result they will automagically perform better since reducing VDD_CPUX voltage also reduces temperature/consumption so both CPU and GPU cores in H3 due not have to throttle down that much. Quite the opposite with BPi M2+. For whatever reasons SinoVoip saved put a the same programmable voltage regulator on their board as OPi One, Lite and NanoPi have but does not implement voltage switching so H3 there will always be fed with 1.3V. In addition it seems 'Team BPi' didn't take care of heat dissipation through PCB design (it seems Xunlong added a copper layer to the PCB that helps dramatically spreading the SoC's heat) and so with BPi M2+ (and NanoPi M1 too) you have to be prepared that you need both a heatsink and a fan to let this board perform under full load since otherwise heavy throttling occurs or when you use a kernel that does not implement throttling (4.6/4.7 right now for example) be prepared that H3 gets either destroyed or will crash through overheating if you run something heavy on BPi M2+ or NanoPi M1. We're still investigating whether this crappy thermal behaviour might be related to DRAM also (DDR3 vs. low power DDR3L on the Oranges) It seems this thermal behaviour is not that much related to the DRAM type used but more to PCB design (maybe using large internal ground/vcc planes optimizing heat dissipation on Oranges. NanoPi M1 and Orange Pi One/Lite use a rather primitive GPIO driven voltage regulator that is able to just switch between 1.1V and 1.3V VDD_CPUX which already helps somewhat with throttling. A rather demanding benchmark using cpuminer (a bitcoin miner making heavy use of NEON optimizations and assembler instructions) that knows a benchmark mode where it outputs the khash/s rate. On the left OPI+ 2E with the superiour SY8106A voltage regulator switching CPU frequency between 1200 and 1296 MHz. On the right little OPi Lite with the SY8113B voltage generator able to switch between 1.1V and 1.3V and with slightly lower performance since throttling prevents clocking that high. And in the middle as only board with applied heatsink on H3 poor Banana Pi M2+ using the same SY8113B voltage regulator but always feeding the H3 SoC with 1.3V (for whatever reasons!). Storage capabilities: The H3 SoC doesn't feature native SATA capabilities so the 2 boards that have a SATA connector (Orange Pi Plus and Plus 2) implement that using an onboard USB-to-SATA bridge. Unfortunately the chip used there -- a Genesys Logic GL830 -- is horribly slow limiting sequential transfer speeds to 15 MB/s write and 30 MB/s read. It also does not support the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) so when using mainline kernel attached disks an especially SSDs couldn't show their full random I/O performance. Given that common USB-to-SATA bridges used in external USB enclosures show way better sequential performance (35 MB/s in both directions and close to 40 MB/s when using an UASP capable bridge together with mainline kernel) the SATA port on these 2 SBC can not be considered a feature worth a buy. Every H3 board has a TF card slot (Micro SD card) and some of the boards feature onboard eMMC storage. The H3 can cope with TF cards that are compliant to the SD, SDHC and SDXC standards so rather large cards with more than 64 GB capacity can also be used (be aware that there do not exist that much cards with a capacity larger than 128 GB. Chances are pretty high to get a counterfeit card especially when the price looks too good to be true ). You should also be aware that all H3 boards show the same sequential speed limitations (maxing out at ~23 MB/s) so choosing cards that are rated way faster aren't worth a buy. Better have a look at random I/O performance that is more important in most use cases. The eMMC used on various boards is pretty fast (sequential speeds maxing out at ~75 MB/s and especially random IO way faster than the fastest tested SD cards which is important for desktop useage and databases for example) so you don't make a mistake choosing any of the eMMC equipped H3 boards (BPi M2+, Orange Pi Plus, Plus 2, Plus 2E or PC Plus). You find detailed test results of current SD/TF cards as well as all the eMMC variants used in these two threads: Count of available USB ports: The H3 SoC features 3 USB2.0 host ports and one USB OTG port. With Armbian we configure the OTG port as a host port that shows pretty similar performance so on some H3 boards (Orange Pi PC, PC Plus and Plus 2E) you can benefit from 4 USB2 ports that do not have to share bandwidth. Some other boards use an internal USB hub (Orange Pi 2, Plus, Plus 2) so the available USB ports have to share bandwidth in reality. Please keep that in mind when you compare the 4 USB Type A jacks OPi 2, Plus or Plus 2 feature (all being connected to a USB hub so having to share the bandwidth of a single USB 2.0 host port) with the 3 you can count on OPi PC, Plus 2E or NanoPi M1. On the latter boards you get full USB 2.0 bandwidth on each USB receptacle without the need to share bandwidth. BPi M2+ does also not use an internal USB hub but only exposes 2 USB host ports on type A receptacles and the 3rd host port only without ESC protection via soldering (but since this board shows such a terrible thermal design and is relatively overpriced compared to other H3 boards that doesn't matter that much) Additional features: The only board featuring a Bluetooth capable chip from BroadCom is the BPi M2+. Currently the vendor admits that BT is not working so better don't count on this feature to be ever available. Update: Jernej got BT already working in his OpenELEC fork so it's just a matter of time until it works with Armbian too. The H3 SoC is able to output/intercept additional signals, eg. analog audio, Composite video (TV out), IrDA that are present on most of the boards. On the Orange Pi One many of those interfaces are only present as solder points (a bit too tiny to be used by the average maker) and on some other boards they are not present at all (BPi M2+ for example has neither composite video nor analog audio) so always check first what you need or want to use. We have a nice sortable table in linux-sunxi wiki showing most of the important details: Camera modules: Xunlong provides a pretty cheap 2MP camera module that should work with every H3 Orange Pi out there (they all have the necessary connector but for OPi One, Lite, PC and PC Plus you have to tell Xunlong that you also need a so called 'expansion board' that they ship free of charge if you add to your order that you need it. Starting with Armbian release 5.15 we also include an improved driver for this camera. Regarding current state of available camera modules for Oranges, BPi M2+ and NanoPi M1 please look through this thread:
  8. tkaiser

    Web page(s) redesign

    If we would ever start to develop this kind of stuff from the right starting point (the user perspective) we would immediately get that there are two different use cases for the download page: pre purchase: user wants to buy a new board based on certain criteria (both hardware and software related, the latter eg. kernel support). Here user expectations and selection criteria are important. From a user perspective it's again not about 'SATA' but 'fast storage' and we do really no good job advertising GL830 boards as 'fast storage' boards (which we DO when looking at the download page from a user and not biased techie perspective) post purchase: user holds board in his hands, wants to download the appropriate OS image for his device. In this case filtering for board names -- ODROID, Banana, Orange, Nano -- would be nice (but by switching to 'name based' sort which no one ever does since it's hidden on the page instead of being directly above the individual board links this could already be achieved). And it would also be great if the names on the download page would be the real ones so differentiation is more easy. It's replacing the + sign with the five characters ' Plus' (expect for ODROID C1+ where it's not necessary). There's a huge difference between 'Orange Pi Zero+' and 'Orange Pi Zero Plus' especially with default sort order (date of added support) As soon as we would switch perspective and ask what's needed from a user perspective and not doing what's ALWAYS WRONG and NEVER WORKS (puzzling together some technical details and make some of them available for whatever reasons in a weird fashion) all these questions would already be obsolete. Seriously the buttons on top are overloaded with confusing stuff and itself ordered in a way that make them totally useless. Eg. there's a button 'm2' (should be 'M.2' instead!) that appears between 'legacy' and 'mainline' due to alphabetical order for no reason. Useless.
  9. tkaiser

    Web page(s) redesign

    Nope, they sort it by popularity or whatever (Pine64 at the top and ROCK64 at the bottom for example) and try to group by board names (eg. putting LeMaker's Banana Pro and SinoVoip's BPi M2+ in one section while both are totally incompatible -- same problem also with NanoPis). Doing so is HIGHLY MISLEADING since not brands are important but the technical base. A NanoPi NEO 2 and a NanoPi M3 are from two different worlds while a NEO 2 and an Orange Pi Zero Plus are almost the same (especially when Armbian is running on them it will be very hard to spot any difference in usage and performance!) If people search on the download page they search for features. If they're absolutely clueless we can't help them anyway. If we want to guide people a little bit we have to stop what we're doing now (focused on technical details) and start to get into the heads of our users (what are they interested in? And are these the correct reasons? Again 'SATA': Not the existence of a small port with 7 pins to connect a SATA cable to is relevant but what users associate with this. And on boards we list as what they consider the label for 'fast storage' they get just insanely slow and broken GL830 USB-SATA crap). Seriously: people looking for the NAS use case click on GbE, click on SATA, check the boards, think 'the more DRAM the better', think 'the more CPU cores the better', weigh some features and end up buying an Orange Pi Plus 2 instead of an ODROID-XU4 (which is magnitudes faster as NAS but is not even considered since users think 'SATA is better than USB3'). What we do here is highly misleading and must stop.
  10. tkaiser

    Web page(s) redesign

    And both are WRONG! That's the problem. Better no information than misleading/wrong information. Unless this categorization can be edited/reviewed by us (eg. part of board config files) I would really prefer to stop 'advertising' wrong features. mSATA: the Hummingboard has no mSATA but mPCIe only, same with the Clearfogs by default: you need to rebuild u-boot and have to freeze the packages to get reliable mSATA/SATA on the mPCIe slot(s) SATA: This category is totally worthless if boards with crap SATA like the Orange Pi Plus and Plus 2 are listed here too. People look after SATA since they associate 'fast storage' with this. This is already wrong with those A20 boards but it gets bizarre when we're talking about the crappy GL830. And the only boards with real fast SATA -- not on mSATA slots but M.2 slot with key type B -- are missing here Again: user perspective. The features listed there should match user expectations (and that's fast storage and not 'technically a SATA port is on the board even if it's crap'). Just another part of the same problem...
  11. tkaiser

    Web page(s) redesign

    Doesn't work. If I today click on SATA I get a list of boards ranging from crappy USB-SATA (GL830 on Orange Pi Plus 2) over crappy native SATA (Allwinner A20) over mediocre native SATA (i.MX6) to nice USB-SATA (ODROID HC1) while the only devices that feature great native SATA (Clearfogs) are missing.
  12. tkaiser

    OrangePI 2 Plus - Storage Performance query

    Crap, mmc info is missing there (please search for mmc2:0001 here to get the idea how it should look like), seems I've to adjust armhwinfo for latest mainline kernel. At least it's confirmed that you're testing on ext4 (no compression) and it's as expected: the eMMC now used shows dog slow write performance (12.5MB/s max). Xunlong switched to another eMMC variant in the meantime The only good news: random IO is somewhat ok-ish so as soon as you use the eMMC for the OS and attach an USB2 disk (avoiding the crappy GL830 'SATA port') to store data you should be able to get ~37 MB/s now and maybe ~40MB/s in a few weeks (when Armbian provides THS/DVFS for H3 boards running mainline kernel)
  13. tkaiser

    OrangePI 2 Plus - Storage Performance query

    There is no SATA port on this board, just the most crappy USB-to-SATA bridge currently known (called GL830 and even being broken since eating your last two sectors of any disk). When you forget about this 'SATA port' the best you could get are ~40MB/s with an external USB disk enclosure that makes use of UAS (see link). Onboard eMMC should be fast (40/80MB/s sequential write/read). Please see and use iozone and iperf3 to test storage/network locally. No idea which OS image you use but at least 12MB/s write should be possible writing to a 'SATA attached' disk, +30MB/s with an USB2 attached disk and maybe +50MB/s when writing to the eMMC (SD card has it's own limits, explained here)
  14. tkaiser

    Rock64 Mini NAS and media center, works?

    The problem with this M3 is that situation there is even worse due to the used USB-to-SATA bridge: GL830 is slow as hell and also buggy: In my opinion boards with this GL830 should neither be bought nor supported by open source projects (like Armbian) but for whatever (historical) reasons Armbian supports Xunlong's Orange Pi Plus and 'Plus 2' which use the same crappy USB-to-SATA bridge (though there the USB situation is not as worse as with BPi M3 where the engineers forgot that they could've used the SoC's other USB port to connect the SATA bridge --> on BPi M3 all USB peripherals and a connected 'SATA' disk fight for bandwidth since all being behind the same internal USB2 hub while the SoC's second USB port is unused). IMO a really bad idea. Those proprietary RAID boxes are just a huge single point of failure and I would never rely on such things (but I do storage for a living and only deal with RAID any more when it failed so I'm a bit biased here). Wrt performance: ROCK64 is limited by Gigabit Ethernet, real world throughput with Windows Explorer or macOS Finder will be around or even above 100 MB/s (megabyte) given the USB3 attached storage is fast enough.
  15. tkaiser

    Summary of boards for a NAS

    Oops, overread it totally. The BPi M3 is most probably the worst choice for a Gigabit Ethernet equipped board with NAS use case in mind since featuring the broken/slow GL830 USB-to-SATA bridge which has to share bandwidth with all the USB2 receptacles since the 'famous' board maker ignored that the A83T SoC has 2 USB ports but they use only one to connect both GL830 and the internal USB hub where the other USB ports are connected to.
  16. tkaiser

    OMV image for Orange Pi Plus 2 EMMC

    Nope, this is not SATA here but the most crappy USB to SATA bridge found on any device. Please do a web search for 'crappy GL830' for details. Of course not, boards with GL830 aren't suitable for NAS purposes and should be avoided.
  17. One final update regarding Roseapple Pi (using Actions Semi S500 just like LeMaker Guitar or the announced Cubieboard 6). Since I booted the board one last time anyway I thought let's give USB3 there also one last try. I connected a Samsung PM851 in an JMS567 enclosure (with own power supply!) to the USB3 port and had a look with most recent 3.10.105 kernel: root@roseapple:~# lsusb Bus 002 Device 002: ID 152d:3562 JMicron Technology Corp. / JMicron USA Technology Corp. Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub root@roseapple:~# lsusb -t /: Bus 02.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci-hcd/1p, 5000M |__ Port 1: Dev 2, If 0, Class=Mass Storage, Driver=uas, 5000M /: Bus 01.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci-hcd/1p, 480M That looks nice since UAS seems to be useable. Let's give it a try with the 2 iozone calls from Clearfog measurements above: iozone -e -I -a -s 100M -r 4k -r 16k -r 512k -r 1024k -r 16384k -i 0 -i 1 -i 2 random random kB reclen write rewrite read reread read write 102400 4 13525 16451 19141 24275 14287 16492 102400 16 39343 48649 56409 63777 40203 45654 102400 512 68873 75835 89871 102977 98620 94677 102400 1024 115288 111747 170742 176837 172585 104936 102400 16384 117025 105977 195316 196457 196582 117819 iozone -a -g 4000m -s 4000m -i 0 -i 1 -r 4K -r 1024K kB reclen write rewrite read reread 4096000 4 124421 132386 134795 134760 4096000 1024 127135 134943 127559 128026 If you compare with PM851 numbers made with Clearfog above it's obvious that S500 numbers are not that great. And since S500 features only Fast Ethernet at least for NAS use cases sequential transfer speeds are irrelevant anyway. I tried then to use an external VIA812 USB3 hub with integrated RTL8153 Gigabit Ethernet but this only led to error messages, /dev/sda1 disappearing and the board failing to boot afterwards. Fortunately this Roseapple Pi (formerly called Lemon Pi more correctly) has never been sold. There exist just a few dev/review samples that were sent out around the globe. Maybe the above numbers help some future Cubieboard 6 owners who got tricked into believing CB6 would have 'real SATA' Funnily USB-SATA on Cubieboard 6 will be much faster than on older Cubieboards (using A20's 'real SATA' or the horrible GL830 USB-to-SATA bridge on Cubieboard 5) but for most use cases this won't help much since there's only Fast Ethernet on the board. So even when adding a RTL8153 Gigabit Ethernet dongle to one of the 2 USB2 ports 'NAS performance' won't exceed that of Cubieboard 3 (the so called Cubietruck)
  18. Most probably not. Orange Pi Plus 2 has no SATA, just a crappy/broken/ultra-slow USB-to-SATA catastrophe called GL830:
  19. tkaiser

    CubieTruck Plus 5 H8 Allwinner

    For me the internal forum search is close to unusable unfortunately. In case you want to waste any time on this board you better check wens' work (linux-sunxi community, AFAIK he's the only one in this world still working on H8/A83T boards, at least I've not seen that much from Vishnu the last 4 months). With Armbian your best starting point is the bananapim3.wip file since both boards share most design flaws and H8 and A83T are the same anyway. Edit: I hope you don't like this board due to its 'SATA port'? Since it's not SATA, it's slow as hell and also broken. GL830 swallows your data if it's at the end of a disk:
  20. Thanks! That's the USB2.0 part of a Genesys Logic GL3520. I wrote above of ' VL812 (Rev B2 or newer recommended)' BTW: Genesys Logic is also the creator of the most crappy USB-to-SATA bridge known: (GL830 is not only slow as hell but also broken! But still used on new gadgets and also present on some SBC that should be avoided for that reason alone) Edit: Maybe I should elaborate on that? All that really matters in some electronic gadgets is the chipset(s) used. As it's exactly the case with Hub+Ethernet combos. IMO a great way to get the right gadget is to do a google search for '8153 via812' in this case since you find only products listed that mention the chipsets (sometimes in comments/reviews only then you should be careful since then the manufacturer might replace the chip(s) in a new product revision without notice!) reviews/ratings you can read through (the only real advantage using Amazon IMO) even a manufacturer/seller you might start to trust in. I for example discovered by accident that I shopped a lot of stuff from the same german 'manufacturer'within the last 2 or 3 years. It seems they focus on choosing quality ingredients, import the stuff from China and sell them with useful product descriptions and documentation through Amazon oder eBay -- example (but no recommendation, I don't have this device)
  21. tkaiser

    research H3 board buyer's guide

    H2+/H3/H5 boards overview (2017/03 update) Since it has been a while since this topic has been updated and a lot of new boards have been released in the meantime it's time for a new overview. I'll add also H2+ and H5 based boards since in the meantime we learned that those SoCs are pin-to-pin compatible and recently vendors started to simply exchange H3 with H5 on some PCB (and vice versa in at least one occurence). From a software point of view H5 is quite different (using 64-bit Cortex-A53 CPU cores and ARMv8 instruction set, some early boot stages are also totally different compared to Cortex-A7/ARMv7 used in H3 and H2+) and it should also be noted that Armbian currently only provides OS images based on mainline kernel for H5 boards (so please forget about HW accelerated video decoding or 3D for now or maybe ever since none of the developers is in the mood to deal with Allwinner's BSP/legacy kernel for H5 (regarding 'BSP' just look above in post #2). While software support for H5 is currently somewhat different hardware features are pretty much the same as with H3 (still 3 to 4 real USB2 host ports and one USB2 OTG port: a simple register setting can switch the Micro USB port's PHY between the so called 'musb' controller used for OTG and a real EHCI/OHCI controller pair: with mainline kernel it will soon be possible to switch OTG to a real 4th USB2 host port with full feature set that still has not to share bandwidth with any of the other USB ports). CPU performance with H5 compared to H3 is slightly higher at the same clockspeed but some workloads that benefit from either 64-bit or ARMv8 instruction set are significantly faster (eg. software making use of NEON instructions might perform almost twice as fast and the best example is the stupid 'sysbench' CPU pseudo benchmark which shows over 10 times better scores on the same hardware when compiled with ARMv8 settings). In the following list I will also introduce some subjective 'categories' to deal better with the huge amount of boards we can use in the meantime: NAS category: these are the H3/H5 boards with Gigabit Ethernet IoT category: these are the small and cheap boards best suited for low consumption 'General purpose' category: all the other H3 devices, these are also those you should look for if you want a cheap device to run with X11, OpenELEC, RetrOrangePi or Lakka since they all feature HDMI and full legacy kernel support As already said the differentiation is subjective and partially misleading since new boards like NanoPi NEO 2 featuring Gigabit Ethernet are also that inexpensive, small and energy efficient that they could serve both as NAS and IoT nodes (actually you can somewhat control behaviour since GbE vs. Fast Ethernet makes a pretty huge difference in consumption so it's up to you). Boards that might fit in multiple categories are listed more than once to make comparisons more simple if you're only interested in a specific device category: NAS category (only due to Gigabit Ethernet available): Banana Pi M2+: H3, 1GB DRAM, 8GB slow eMMC, 1+2 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi/BT Banana Pi M2+ EDU: H3, 512MB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+2 USB ports useable NanoPi M1 Plus: H3, 1GB DRAM, 8GB slow eMMC, 1+3 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi/BT NanoPi M1 Plus 2: H5, 1GB DRAM, 8GB slow eMMC, 1+3 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi/BT NanoPi NEO 2: H5, 512MB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+1+2 USB ports useable NanoPi NEO Plus 2: H5, 512MB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+2+2 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi OrangePi PC 2: H5, 1GB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+3 USB ports useable OrangePi PC Prime: H5, 2GB DRAM, 1+3 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi/BT OrangePi Plus: H3, 1GB DRAM, 8GB eMMC, 1+4 USB ports useable (hub), Wi-Fi OrangePi Plus 2: H3, 2GB DRAM, 16GB fast eMMC, 1+4 USB ports useable (hub), Wi-Fi OrangePi Plus 2E: H3, 2GB DRAM, 16GB fast eMMC, 1+3 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi IoT category (cheap, small, energy efficient, most of them headless): NanoPi Air: H3, 512MB DRAM, 8GB slow eMMC, 1+1+2 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi/BT, no Ethernet NanoPi NEO: H3, 256/512MB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+1+2 USB ports useable, Fast Ethernet NanoPi NEO 2: H5, 512MB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+1+2 USB ports useable, Gigabit Ethernet NanoPi NEO Plus 2: H5, 512MB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+1+2 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet OrangePi Zero: H2+, 256/512MB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+1+2 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi, Fast Ethernet OrangePi Zero Plus 2: H3, 512MB DRAM, 8GB fast eMMC, 1+0+2 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi/BT, no Ethernet but HDMI OrangePi Zero Plus 2: H5, 512MB DRAM, 8GB fast eMMC, 1+0+2 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi/BT, no Ethernet but HDMI General purpose (HDMI and full legacy kernel support: video/3D HW accelerated): Beelink X2: H3, 1GB DRAM, 8GB slow eMMC, 1+1 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi, Fast Ethernet NanoPi M1: H3, 1GB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+3 USB ports useable, Fast Ethernet OrangePi Lite: H3, 512MB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+2 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi, no Ethernet OrangePi One: H3, 512MB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+1 USB ports useable, Fast Ethernet OrangePi PC: H3, 1GB DRAM, no eMMC, 1+3 USB ports useable, Fast Ethernet OrangePi PC Plus: H3, 1GB DRAM, 8GB fast eMMC, 1+3 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi, Fast Ethernet OrangePi Zero Plus 2: H3, 512MB DRAM, 8GB fast eMMC, 1+1+2 USB ports useable, Wi-Fi/BT, no Ethernet pcDuino Nano 4: See above, it's just an OEM version of NanoPi M1 done for Linksprite Some important notes: The following boards are listed in more than 1 category due to advanced feature mix: NanoPi NEO 2, NanoPi NEO Plus 2 and OrangePi Zero Plus 2 H3/H5 CE/FCC certifications: Please check individually and don't trust in logos silkscreened on the PCB, even if it looks like 'CE' it might mean 'China Export' instead IO bandwidth: H2+/H3/H5 SoC features 3+1 USB2 ports but on a few boards an internal USB hub is used so while these expose more USB receptacles some ports have to share bandwidth. Also on these boards a buggy/slow GL830 USB-to-SATA bridge is used. Search for 'hub' above to identify them. eMMC: shows most of the times higher random IO performance compared to 'the average SD card', but some vendors use pretty slow eMMC on their boards (Xunlong being the exception with OPi PC Plus, Plus, Plus 2, Plus 2E and Zero Plus 2). Please do not overestimate eMMC -- there's no need to choose crappy/slow SD cards and if you follow the usual recommendations difference in performance varies not that much (for example eMMC on most boards shows pretty low sequential write speeds that will be easily outperformed by any good SD card and differences in random IO don't have to be that huge, simply watch out for SD cards showing A1 or even A2 logo) USB ports: Some of the IoT devices have two of the SoC's USB host ports available on a pin header to be used with soldering or combined with various Docks, HATs or 'Expansion boards' (search for '1+1+2' above). On OPi One/Lite the unexposed USB host ports are available at pretty tiny solder pads so only usable with a lot of soldering experience Wi-Fi/BT: all boards providing both Wi-Fi and BT rely on Ampak's AP6212 so performance is identical, the Wi-Fi only boards either rely on RTL8189ETV/8189FTV (slightly better Wi-Fi performance than AP6212) or Allwinner's XR819 (so expect low Wi-Fi performance with OPi Zero or NEO Plus 2 since implementation is low-end and currently driver sucks) Yeah, each vendor's naming scheme totally sucks. Partially there are rules involved (the 'Plus' then means eMMC with Xunlong or GBit Ethernet with FriendlyELEC... mostly) but please don't trust in and check always individually! And now another few words on a different technical detail affecting both performance and thermal behaviour of the various boards: Voltage regulation / DVFS. TL;DR: the SoC can be fed with a variable voltage (VDD_CPUX), the lower the voltage the lower the temperature (less problems with heat/overheating), the higher the voltage the higher the maximum CPU clockspeed. So the best idea is to adjust this dynamically (low voltage/clockspeed when idle and only increasing both when needed). There are 3 variants to implement this: not at all, primitive or advanced (using a voltage regulator that's able to adjust VDD_CPUX in 20mV steps) Only 3 devices implement no voltage regulation at all: Banana Pi M2+/EDU (frying the SoC constantly at 1.3V therefore prone to overheating), Beelink X2 (no idea) and NEO 2 (only 1.1V therefore limited to 1008MHz cpufreq max since above instabilities might occur). Some boards use SY8106A I2C accessible voltage regulator where we can use fine grained voltage settings (Armbian fine-tuned these for every board so far to achieve max performance). This applies only to the following Xunlong boards: OPi PC, PC Plus, PC 2, PC 3, Plus, Plus 2 and Plus 2E. All other boards implement a simple two voltage scheme and are able to switch between 1.1V (up to 912MHz possible with H2+/H3 or 1008MHz with H5) or 1.3V (1.2GHz max with H2+/H3 and 1.25GHz with H5) And finally to add some stupid rankings: the cheapest board is from Xunlong (Orange Pi Zero: $7), the fastest is from Xunlong (Orange Pi PC 2 for $20) and the one with best feature set and onboard peripherals is also from Xunlong (Orange Pi Plus 2E: $35). And that's only due to OrangePi PC 3 Prime still not being released at the time of this writing (since otherwise regarding both performance and features this specific Xunlong board... ) Hope that helps Edit: OPi 3 is now known as OPi Prime and (almost) nothing has changed compared to the leaked pictures back from last August.
  22. According to this should work, if you provide sufficient power of good quality. There seems to be no 2TB limit mentioned in the gl830 sata bridge datasheet here: best, gnasch
  23. tkaiser

    Quick review of Orange Pi PC

    Another look at another SBC: The Orange Pi PC from Shenzen based Xunlong. The company claims to have done the original ODM work for Banana Pi as Foxconn contractor and started with 2 'Orange Pi' models based on the same A20 SoC shortly thereafter: 'Orange Pi' and 'Orange Pi Mini' -- both supported by Armbian from the beginning. Then they released the 'Orange Pi Plus' based on a newer Allwinner SoC: the H3 (quad-core Cortex-A7 running at 1.2GHz). This SoC is intended for dirt-cheap OTT boxes, is equipped with 4 independent USB 2.0 PHYs and also an integrated 100 Mbits/sec Ethernet PHY (but can still provide GBit Ethernet using an external PHY like RTL8211 as Xunlong implemented it on the 'Plus'). The 'Orange Pi 2 [Plus]' followed, then the $15 'Orange Pi PC' was released and a new 'Orange Pi One' has been recently announced to be available for less than $10. CNX provided a nice comparison table here (but keep in mind that "SATA" means not SATA but an ultra-slow GL830 USB-to-SATA bridge and that "4 USB ports" means "slow due to shared bandwidth and internal USB hub") In my opinion the only H3 based Orange Pis worth a look are the 'PC' and the upcoming 'One' since the H3's feature set is quite unimpressive but its design makes it possible to produce really cheap boxes/boards without that much additional components on the PCB (no PMU needed and already containing an internal Ethernet PHY and 4 USB PHYs). The H3 SoC has been blamed for overheating way too much but fortunately this is just the result of Xunlong trying to advertise their H3 based SBCs as being able to run at "up to 1.6 GHz" and community members providing OS images with overclocking in mind. They did a really bad job modifying both dvfs and thermal settings and therefore their forums are full of complaints that CPU cores are shut down due to overheating or that you would need large heatsinks and also a fan to be able to use the H3 reliably. Fortunately these issues have been resolved in the meantime, the linux-sunxi community moves forward really fast with u-boot/kernel mainlining efforts for the H3 and real OSHW designs will also follow soon (Olimex plans to release two SBC based on H3). So I believe we will be ready with Armbian support for Olimex' and Xunlong's boards as soon as mainline kernel will be ready for H3. Igor started already to support the H3 based Orange Pis in Armbian-- see below. Let's have a look at existing hardware: The $15 Orange Pi PC. For latest informations always rely on the linux-sunxi wiki. Getting started To power the board you've to provide 5V through the power barrel connector or GPIO pins 2/4/6 (2/4 are connected to the DC-IN test point and 6 to GND). You can not power the board through micro USB since unlike other sunxi devices the H3 comes without PMIC/PMU (therefore also no support for a battery) In case no SD card is inserted the SoC tries FEL boot mode through the micro USB port. OS images for the H3 can be found on the web site. As usual the manufacturer supplied images are broken more or less so better start with the ones from community member loboris (if you use them don't forget to donate!) Unfortunately these intensified Xunlong's overvolting/overclocking attempts and increased a few values even more. But fixing is easy: I created a simple script (for Debian based distros only) that temporarely converts script.bin and replaces the wrong values with the linux-sunxi ones (should work with other H3 based Orange Pis as well) On the left loboris' overvolted dvfs table while idling through all available cpufreqs and on the right after repair: If you repaired dvfs/thermal settings you'll be surprised that you neither need a fan nor heatsink -- the H3 idles at 1.5W and exceeds ambient temperatures only by 20°C without a heatsink. But be prepared that thermal throttling might occur under high load if you safe the heatsink. You'll find a few comparisons with and without heatsink here: Since we want to use the OPi PC as cheap home automation controllers we evaluated the possible input voltage range. Good news: DC-IN voltage can vary between 4.5V - 5.5V when you neither need USB nor HDMI (DC-IN will be directly routed to the power pins of USB/HDMI). Also the cheap camera module Xunlong sells for the different H3 models works flawlessly with just 4.5V. This makes it possible to power the board through 'el cheapo' passive PoE using the 2 unused cable pairs in Cat 5/6/7 cables. Real PoE works with 48V to avoid voltage drops over longer distances and it's a bit crazy to try PoE with just 5V. But when you use similar distances between PoE injector and devices and inject for example ~6V then the voltage range of 4.5V-5.5V will be fine. I suggested to Xunlong's Steven Zhao already to adopt passive PoE on the next Orange Pi One directly -- but he didn't get back to me. I also developed a heavily undervolted dvfs table for headless useage (won't work with a connected HDMI display since the Vcore voltage seems too low for the display engine) that works here with 2 OPi PC without problems (tested under full load up to 1.2 GHz): ( don't think about adopting these settings unless you're willing to verify they work!) Consumption/temperatures in headless mode: The OPi PC idles at 240-600MHz: 1.5W, 20°C above ambient temperature. All thermal values being read-out internally using RPi-Monitor -- see below. I used also the H3 without heatsink so be prepared that temperatures are way lower if you attach a heatsink to the SoC. Full load (cpuburn-a7 and sysbench running in parallel) on all 4 CPU cores: 240 MHz: not exceeding 2.0W, 25°C above ambient temperature 600 MHz: not exceeding 2.5W, 32°C above ambient temperature 1200 MHz: not exceeding 3.3W, 50°C above ambient temperature 2 CPU cores deactivated and testing again: 240 MHz: not exceeding 1.9W, 23°C above ambient temperature 600 MHz: not exceeding 2.1W, 29°C above ambient temperature 1200 MHz: not exceeding 2.8W, 40°C above ambient temperature The multithreaded performance of 4 x 600 MHz and 2 x 1200 MHz is identical but when running at 600 MHz on all 4 cores the H3 already outperforms older dual-core Allwinner SoCs like the A20 easily. And since the lower the clockspeeds the less the Vcore voltage the SoC stays cooler and consumes less. Using a quad-core SoC for IoT stuff seems like overkill but if you clock the SoC down the 4 cores make perfectly sense. Therefore we go with the following settings for 'IoT controllers' to ensure they don't exceed 2.5W consumption even under full load: echo interactive > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor echo 240000 > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_min_freq echo 600000 > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_max_freq With 8 OPi PC and a passive PoE injector like this one with these settings you're able to power the whole setup with a regulated 6V/4A PSU easily. And you still have the ability to double the performance of any device temporarely through echoing 1200000 to scaling_max_freq when needed. Who would've thought that you can use H3 based Orange Pis as energy efficient IoT devices consuming between 1.5W and 2.5W without a heatsink since common knowledge was 'you need a fan!' just a few weeks ago. Camera module Xunlong sells also a cheap $6 camera module for the H3 based Orange Pi models based on GalaxyCore's GC2035 2MP sensor. When you want to use it with the OPi PC you'll also need an expansion board. When you order you've to tell Xunlong that you're using the OPi PC and they send the board together with the module: The image quality is really horrible but at least you're able to use it with fswebcam or motion. I prefer the lowest resolution possible (640x480 pixels after applying these patches) because it makes no sense to store images with higher resolutions. At least motion works with the 2 fps settings currently possible and you might use OPi PC + camera module for surveillance purposes to detect motion. Regarding consumption/temperatures: when running motion together with the camera continuously consumption increases by 500-600 mW and SoC temperatures by 2-3°C (clocked at 240-600 MHz) For our use cases the H3 matches perfectly. If you fix the overvoltage/overclocking problems Xunlong introduced then you get a device that consumes between 1.5W and 2.5W and being already more performant when running at 600 MHz than older dual-core Allwinner SoCs. Using a quad-core SoC for IoT things makes sense since the SoC can run at very low core voltages which really helps with saving energy. Other use cases Regarding I/O bandwidth the H3 provides 4 independant USB ports that might be able to benefit from UASP with mainline kernel soon. So any H3 device with GBit Ethernet would make a nice NAS device. But since the older A20 features native SATA a better solution for building a NAS would be to get a pcDuino 3 Nano Lite for the same price. Some background infos as usual in the wiki: At the moment some people are trying hard to get OpenELEC running on the H3 and also progress is made to use HW accelerated video decoding. Since this stuff is WiP you should monitor these threads closely: OpenELEC HW accelerated video decoding RPi-Monitor I adjusted RPi-Monitor templates for the H3 and also wrote a small daemon to be able to monitor temperature/consumption related to Vcore settings (using the dvfs table settings in script.bin). Please refer to the thread in the Orange Pi forums. All you've to do is to install RPi-Monitor in the usual way, stop it and then do the following (depending on your distro being wheezy/jessie based) followed by a reboot: cd / && wget -O - | tar xzf - update-rc.d rpimonitor-helper defaults 90 10 systemctl enable rpimonitor-helper systemctl start rpimonitor-helper Update: In the meantime this has become a simple one-liner confirmed to work an all Debian based OS images for H3 boards. And in case you're running Armbian then it's just a a simple 'sudo armbianmonitor -r' call that installs/adjusts everything needed on any H3 board.
  24. tkaiser

    Orange pi plus 2 + 8TB hdd problem

    The board has no SATA, just the slowest USB-to-SATA bridge in the world: GL830. This chip is also broken:; Broken and slow as hell: simply avoid the SATA connector on boards that use this crappy IC (applies to Orange Pi Plus, Banana Pi M3 and H8 based "Cubietruck Plus" too) or simply avoid those boards using such a crappy "storage solution".
  25. tkaiser

    Orange Pi+ panic reboot

    When you did the upgrade, simply reboot and provide the output of 'sudo armbianmonitor -u' afterwards here (I'm especially curious whether the version will be shown since when I ran into update troubles /etc/armbian-release was missing). If I understood correctly you won't loose that much in case update fails since you would then start over with a fresh 5.20 image? Regarding web server use case please take some time and read through posts #1 and #6 here. IMO the best option would be to use mainline/vanilla kernel and btrfs with activated file compression. But yet no OS images available (I've made one but without thermal throttling so I won't share) since we have to wait a bit until Ethernet and dvfs/throttling patches are accepted upstream. But on Orange Pis with eMMC the best place to put the OS on is always there. And in case amount of data allows it I would better choose a 64 GB Samsung EVO than any HDD at the moment (but this is also somewhat tricky to boot from eMMC while SD card is inserted -- in case you think about this get back to us here) Regarding the use of GL830... Xunlong (Orange Pi maker) is pretty good in making hardware but not that great when it's about software. I believe they simply didn't know how bad GL830 performs in reality. And the reason why they developed the 'Plus' with an USB-to-SATA bridge is rather simple. The first 'Orange Pi' was based on Allwinner's A20 which features a real SATA port. Then Xunlong developed a quad-core successor based on Allwinner's A31 (no SATA any more) and after discovering that Allwinner discontinued A31/A31s they chose H3 instead (still no SATA). Providing a 'Plus' model that lacks features is a bit problematic and so they added GL830 (this bridge is also used on the A31 equipped MeLE TV boxes so maybe it just looked as 'best' choice when developing the board?). It took also some time until the first people realized that performance is not that great (applies still to some 'communities' around other SBC, especially Banana Pi M3 which uses the same GL830 in an even more weird and less performant way). At least now we know how performance looks like... and choosing the cheaper Plus 2E and combining with a good USB disk enclosure seems to be the better idea in the meantime.