A few things needed to make the N2/N2+ the perfect desktop SBC


NicoD
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Hi all.
A few improvements have been made lately for the Odroid N2/N2+. HDMI sound for example.
There are just a few little things I'd like to see happen to make it even better/perfect for desktop use, and for gaming when the GPU drivers for it are ready.
 

  1. Make HDMI resolution selectable in Armbian itself instead of in boot.ini. This would fix multiple issues. Like with mainline it always defaults to 4K on my 4K display whatever resolution I set in config.ini. The N2+ can work well at 1440p, but 4K is just too much for it. In legacy 1440p works when setting it in boot.ini. But can't be changed in Armbian itself. For gaming this will be a huge problem(on mainline of course). Since many games need to be able to change display resolution.
  2. Legacy kernel still has an issue with 5Ghz wifi drivers. With mainline this works. Not important anymore if display res is fixed for mainline.
     

For me it seems mainline is almost ready to replace legacy fully. Only thing stopping me from using it on my N2+ is the display resolution. I use legacy since it works well on 1440p. But my 5Ghz dongles don't work. On my N2 I run mainline with a 1080p display and 5Ghz wifi. Except for the auto display resolution I see nothing else stopping it from being the perfect Linux image for the N2/N2+. 

I was using the N2+ for some weeks as main desktop, now only during the day.
In the evening to watch video I'm back on the M4V2 since google accounts works again with the VPU accelerated Chromium browser(youtube). So perfect video playback with 1440p display resolution.
But the N2+ is so much more powerful that I'd rather have this as main desktop SBC. Since it ain't got VPU drivers I'd need to be able to switch to 1080p for watching video. 1440p is so much better for other desktop tasks.

I'm working on other stuff right now, I will look into the wifi driver when finished with this.
I was wondering if someone else knew a fix for either of these things.

I find the boot.ini way to change resolution way too ancient. But that's actually not really an armbian issue. But might be possible to have a fix.

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Armbian is a community driven open source project. Do you like to contribute your code?

So, I'm running Armbian on my N2+

 

uname -a
Linux odroidn2 5.9.14-meson64 #20.11.3 SMP PREEMPT Fri Dec 11 21:02:17 CET 2020 aarch64 GNU/Linux

 

I haven't been able to find a way to have the screen turn off for power saving, am I missing something?

I am not booting to desktop, I am booting to console.

Even if I leave it without logging in, the display stays on indefinitely...

 

Any ideas?

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56 minutes ago, Igor said:


Check https://github.com/armbian/build/blob/master/config/bootscripts/boot-meson64.cmd#L99-L114 and change in /boot/boot.ini consoleblank from 0 to 1

 

 

Thanks - I've made that change, it appears that only takes effect on initial boot, so if the following happens the screen will remain on indefinitely:

1. boot

2. blank

3. hit a key

4. screen on forever

 

Is power management not part of Armbian? Surely DPMS should be handling display off after x minutes (and other things such as HDD spin down..)?

I'm new to Armbian so apologies for simple questions.

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36 minutes ago, rob2021 said:

Is power management not part of Armbian?

 

It's not exactly Armbian problem, but board low level support. It works on some, on others don't and eventually it get fixed. If you want the luxury of modern Linux, you have to compromise with lack of this and that functionality. 

Is our responsibility to do anything about? The same as yours (Hardkernel doesn't) to finance our R&D and asking your questions. Since you don't - also helping you to understand all new things are our direct private cost - we have very limited resources to sponsor your curiosity, Hardkernel and your needs. Elsewhere (other distributions) situation is just worse (common is to repack our work) so we can't Google for fix and cover "just" the integration cost. Costly research is needed. There is a long wishlist, for several millions of $, and we already invest 50-80h of our time into the project every day ... 

 

36 minutes ago, rob2021 said:

I'm new to Armbian so apologies for simple questions.


How things are?

https://github.com/armbian/build#support

What is Armbian?

https://docs.armbian.com/#what-is-armbian

https://github.com/armbian/build#compare-with-industry-standards (board support is a side job of this)

If you want to help yourself?

https://www.armbian.com/get-involved

https://forum.armbian.com/subscriptions/

https://www.armbian.com/donate

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17 hours ago, Igor said:

consoleblank=0 is set twice in that line. Probably that is the reason why it doesn't work.

Nope, my boot.ini looks like this:

 

# Boot Args
setenv bootargs "root=${rootdev} rootwait rootfstype=${rootfstype} ${condev} ${amlogic} no_console_suspend fsck.repair=yes net.ifnames=0 elevator=noop hdmimode=${hdmimode} cvbsmode=576cvbs max_freq_a53=$
{max_freq_a53} max_freq_a73=${max_freq_a73} maxcpus=${maxcpus} voutmode=${voutmode} ${cmode} disablehpd=${disablehpd} ${bootsplash} cvbscable=${cvbscable} overscan=${overscan} consoleblank=1"

 

Please don't take my comments as criticism, I did not intend them as such. Rather, I was attempting to be clear on the support (or lack of) power management within Armbian, if it's there great, if it's not there, fine - just wanted to be clear that's all.

As with any community effort, I fully temper expectations and respect the time of the contributors.

 

Appreciate your help on this.

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6 hours ago, rob2021 said:

Please don't take my comments as criticism, I did not intend them as such. Rather, I was attempting to be clear on the support (or lack of) power management within Armbian

 

Not taken that way. I am just correcting your wrong association since it looks like you don't know what Armbian is and how things are. Not a problem - it's common.

 

Use Armbian with old kernel / hardware interface and this function will work. If you use Armbian with modern kernel, this function might not work. I don't know if it works and researching is my private cost. Should we enable / develop this function because someone find that its not working? No, because neither Hardkernel nor you cover any costs. And this is not Armbian specific problem - but Linux in general. This function probably doesn't work (yet) on this hardware. Or is (temporally) broken. It is also possible that it will stay this forever since not all functions are moved from development kernels (private 4.9.y legacy maintained by Amlogic / Hardkernel) and since hardware needs active maintainers to keep functions operational ...

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18 hours ago, NicoD said:

For power management install :
 


sudo apt install xfce4-power-manager

 

 

Thanks Nico - that worked! Much appreciated.

For the record, I installed as per your instruction, re-set consoleblank back to 0 (as this was making the console blank even when trying to actually use it!), rebooted, configured the timers via the GUI and all is well.

 

thanks again!

 

 

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