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Posted (edited)

Hello Opi Community,

 

I have an Orange Pi PC with the below HW Specs:

 

Snippet of lshw output:

 

description: ARMv7 Processor rev 5 (v7l)
product: Xunlong Orange Pi PC
width: 32 bits
capabilities: smp
4 CPU

 

Issue: Chromium locks up frequently while browsing the internet. 

Yes I'm running the ARMBIAN OS (Armbian Buster)

Chromium Version 76.0.3809.100 (Developer Build) built on Debian 10.0, running on Debian 10.1 (32-bit)

 

Not sure if it is an H2 or H3 board. How do I find it?

It is an AllWinner Sun8i family H3 Board

armbian-firmware  20.02.4  

ArmbianMonitor dump is here: http://ix.io/2kMo

 

I would like to know if I can upgrade the RAM from 1 GB to 2GB ? If yes which RAM chip do I purchase?

I have a soldering kit with me to replace the RAM chip.

 

Bonus Question: Not sure if the issue is with chromium itself, if anyone has experienced this, is there an alternate browser?

 

Regards,

OPi user

Edited by orangepie14
Firmware version and Armbianmonitor dump
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Armbian is a community driven open source project. Do you like to contribute your code?

Providing armbianmonitor -u is a very good start go get a chance receiving support. It is always handy to know what you are dealing with, right?

 

SBCs usually are not meant to be "upgraded" like your intel architecture desktop pc or laptop. And I guess you'd have a tough time replacing it. No idea which ram to use though.

 

Quote

Not sure if the issue is with chromium itself, if anyone has experienced this, is there an alternate browser?

Sure there are. Most commonly used probably Firefox. Opera is also available for Linux but no idea if they have armhf packages.

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Posted (edited)
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Providing armbianmonitor -u is a very good start go get a chance receiving support. It is always handy to know what ou are dealing with, right?

Thank you for the reply. My main query is hardware related as I have noticed that the ARM CPU performance is not great while running multiple applications or content. For example if I open multiple tabs (2-3) on chromium which has different web content such as video and images - the browser just locks up.

 

When I open Chromium with a blank tab, the CPU usage sometimes goes to 100% which prompted me to ask a question about the bulky browser. 

 

I'm well aware that this is an Armbian discussion forum, hence I browsed to find the right thread to post my hardware query. Not sure why the other poster, Igor, was nitpicking my post. The reason I mentioned OPi community is because there are many Orange Pi users who post on these forums, hence I was trying to gain their attention as Orange Pi doesn't offer much support.

 

I have installed Armbian Buster, but I'm not aware of any Armbian specific commands, as I mostly use Debian commands. I have used the armbian-config utility, but I was unable to find any other Armbian specific commands in the documentation.  I found your commands here: https://docs.armbian.com/Hardware_Allwinner-H3/

 

Quote

SBCs usually are not meant to be "upgraded" like your intel architecture desktop pc or laptop. And I guess you'd have a tough time replacing it. No idea which ram to use though.

 

Yes, maybe time for me to buy a new one. The ARM technology is advancing very rapidly and maybe will replace the intel architecture in a few years. Gone will be the days of desktop and laptops running on intel processors. Unfortunately, I bought an ARM with just 1 GB RAM, but I bought this as a replacement for my old laptop which I sold during a crisis. 

 

I did browse the forums before posting and found that one of the users had successfully replaced the RAM chip:

 

 

Edited by orangepie14
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My main query is hardware related

Still outdated firmware/software can be an issue and with the provided information this can be sorted out quickly. That is why support requests without these informations are usually discarded.

 

Quote

Not sure why the other poster, Igor, was nitpicking my post.

Igor has quite a bunch of reasons to do so but this would go way too much into off-topic ;)

 

 

Quote

but I'm not aware of any Armbian specific commands,

Besides armbian-config and armbianmonitor (and maybe nand-sata-install) there aren't more. Armbian basically combines a custom kernel for various SBCs with a Debian-based distro which is only minimally tweaked to provide a mostly original behaviour. You don't have to use the config tool. I do not use it much myself. It is just a collection of some stuff that is handy from time to time.

 

Considering the price point of these boards I am not sure if it is worth the effort even thinking about doing any surgeries on such boards.

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18 minutes ago, martinayotte said:

The PCB routing doesn't provide the extra address line to allow upgrading RAM ...

Thank you for your reply. I did read your reply on the other thread, but was unable to understand the logic of extra address lines. My ARM board uses 32 bit addressing, and not sure what is the RAM limit. My logic of upgrading the RAM is to avoid the over utilization, which leads to overheating and locking up. If I use 2 GB RAM instead of 1 GB, would this not allow me to run more applications?

 

I mean the Orange Pi PC 2 has H3 Board with 2 GB RAM, so I suspect there is not much of a difference between Orange Pi PC and Orange Pi PC 2. If I can purchase the RAM chip of an Orange Pi PC 2 and solder it on to an Orange Pi PC - it should work right?

 

From an OS standpoint, I have tried increasing the swap, but that has not helped improve the performance. 

 

root@orangepipc:/home/orangepi# swapon -s
Filename                Type        Size    Used    Priority
/swapfile                 file        2097148    312088    -2
/dev/zram1             partition    495296    281412    5
 

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From an OS standpoint, I have tried increasing the swap, but that has not helped improve the performance.

This probably made the performance even worse because an SD card is WAY slower than any harddrive or SSD and read/write will take forever.

Armbian already includes improvements in this direction by providing zram.

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18 minutes ago, Werner said:

Still outdated firmware/software can be an issue and with the provided information this can be sorted out quickly. That is why support requests without these informations are usually discarded.

I have updated the firmware version in my original post:

It is an AllWinner Sun8i family H3 Board

armbian-firmware  20.02.4  

ArmbianMonitor dump is here: http://ix.io/2kMo

 

Quote

Considering the price point of these boards I am not sure if it is worth the effort even thinking about doing any surgeries on such boards.

 I have the tools and time, besides I don't feel like buying a new board now. I can find the spare part online, the only confirmation I need is that it will work.

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20 minutes ago, orangepie14 said:

I mean the Orange Pi PC 2 has H3 Board with 2 GB RAM, so I suspect there is not much of a difference between Orange Pi PC and Orange Pi PC 2. If I can purchase the RAM chip of an Orange Pi PC 2 and solder it on to an Orange Pi PC - it should work right?

The RAM chip needs an additional address line from the H3 SoC to decide if it is addressing the upper or lower bank of the memory.

If the OPiPC PCB was designed in function to use 1GB, and didn't provided this additional address line to be compatible with 2GB chips, then this line will be left floating on the chip and can even not be limited to the first 1GB bank, but can even give random memory data depending of if the floating line will be treat as LOW or HIGH depending of the EFI, it will return the wrong data.

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6 hours ago, orangepie14 said:

I mean the Orange Pi PC 2 has H3 Board with 2 GB RAM, so I suspect there is not much of a difference between Orange Pi PC and Orange Pi PC 2.

The Orange Pi PC2 has a H5 CPU (64bit) . also with 1GB of Ram  (not 2GB )http://www.orangepi.org/orangepipc2/
The Orange Pi PC has a H3 CPU (32bit) with 1GB of Ram : http://www.orangepi.org/orangepipc/

 

The OPi PC with H3 can run also H3Droid ( https://h3droid.com/ )  - which I do use here as Voice/TTS Server :)

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, martinayotte said:

The RAM chip needs an additional address line from the H3 SoC to decide if it is addressing the upper or lower bank of the memory.

If the OPiPC PCB was designed in function to use 1GB, and didn't provided this additional address line to be compatible with 2GB chips, then this line will be left floating on the chip and can even not be limited to the first 1GB bank, but can even give random memory data depending of if the floating line will be treat as LOW or HIGH depending of the EFI, it will return the wrong data.

Now I get it! Thank you for explaining. I reviewed the AllWinner H3 datasheet to find some information about the memory architecture and addressing, but was unable to find any accurate information. I found some generic information here: (Page 28-29)

https://s2.smu.edu/~dhoungninou/CSE-EE-5-7385/slides/week14/memsys.pdf

 

Is there any website out there where we can check the spare part compatibility for micro-controllers? 

Edited by orangepie14
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41 minutes ago, guidol said:

The Orange Pi PC2 has a H5 CPU (64bit) . also with 1GB of Ram  (not 2GB )http://www.orangepi.org/orangepipc2/
The Orange Pi PC has a H3 CPU (32bit) with 1GB of Ram : http://www.orangepi.org/orangepipc/

 

The OPi PC with H3 can run also H3Droid - which I do use here as Voice/TTS Server :)
 

You are correct. My mistake, I meant Orange Pi Plus 2 

http://www.orangepi.org/orangepiplus2/

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Since people already explained you that memory upgrade is no go ... I can suggest you Orangepi 3 with 2Gb memory or better, some RK3399 with 4Gb. Or some Amlogic with 4Gb. You don't need to tweak the system in any way to squeeze out more. Armbian is not Debian in this sense, we did that for you. It was pushed to the limits of the hardware long time ago.

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33 minutes ago, Igor said:

Since people already explained you that memory upgrade is no go ... I can suggest you Orangepi 3 with 2Gb memory or better, some RK3399 with 4Gb. Or some Amlogic with 4Gb. You don't need to tweak the system in any way to squeeze out more. Armbian is not Debian in this sense, we did that for you. It was pushed to the limits of the hardware long time ago.

The positive takeaway from the discussion is that, performance is not only about the RAM, but also the CPU. I still suspect that Chromium browser could be the culprit, but that is another topic. 

 

After some research I found that the newer version(v8) of ARM processors support SMT (Simultaneous multi-thread) processing per core. The version 7 has only single thread processing per core, which could be a cause of freezing Chromium. 

 

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/12/18/arm_cortex_a65ae/

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