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mdel

rk3288 alternative boards (cheap tv boxes).

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3 hours ago, jeanrhum said:

You can actually buy Ugoos UT3S 2GB/16GB on gearbest for less than 40$ (or 36.50€) with GBUT3S coupon: http://www.gearbest.com/tv-box/pp_141997.html?wid=21&lkid=10695139

There is already a dualboot between android and ubuntu, so it's maybe easier to port armbian to it.

 

That's awesome, thank you! I've looked at the Ugoos units several times but they're normally well over $100 which puts them into competition with 8 core boxes like the Xu4 and geekbox. I've ordered an UT3S, it will be interesting to compare with the Q8.

 

Where did you find out about the coupon?

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2 hours ago, James Kingdon said:

Where did you find out about the coupon?

I saw it in a comment on a youtube video and I try it to see if it was working before posting it here.

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1 hour ago, TonyMac32 said:

The XU4 is down to $65 these days (that's assuming you add the ~$6 power supply.  If you already have one it's $59

It is, and so far the XU4 is the workhorse in my (little) farm, so I'd rate it as pretty good value. It's weakness is the heat it puts out. I have one of those large 40mm northbridge heatsink and fan units (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1pcs-40mm-x-10mm-Cooling-Fan-Heatsink-DIY-Northbridge-Cooler-South-North-Bridge-Radiator-for-PC/32432181804.html)

on mine, and I still can't quite stop it from throttling at full load. (Admittedly the fan I put on it isn't moving a whole lot of air, so there's room for improvement).

 

The other issue with the XU4 is that the eMMC is extra (and worth it), and shipping to Canada isn't cheap, so the total cost is a bit higher than I'd want to spend for the rest of the compute nodes. If I can hit $50 CDN/node I'll be pretty happy, where as the XU4 came out to about $140 all in (with a  16G emmc (not 32G like I first said - lousy memory)).

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1 hour ago, TonyMac32 said:

I went too far and stuck a copper GPU RAM liquid block on it...  :D

There is no "too far" :D

 

FWIW, I keep looking at a pile of peltier coolers I bought for another project...

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10 hours ago, James Kingdon said:

I have one of those large 40mm northbridge heatsink and fan units on mine, and I still can't quite stop it from throttling at full load.

 

There's ODROID-XU4Q now which might show not the greatest performance with convection only (since heatsink designed wrong) but for cluster purposes it might be sufficient to add one large (and then even silent) fan to a bunch of such ODROIDs. May I ask what you're farming with your SBC farm?

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12 hours ago, James Kingdon said:

It is, and so far the XU4 is the workhorse in my (little) farm, so I'd rate it as pretty good value. It's weakness is the heat it puts out. I have one of those large 40mm northbridge heatsink and fan units (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1pcs-40mm-x-10mm-Cooling-Fan-Heatsink-DIY-Northbridge-Cooler-South-North-Bridge-Radiator-for-PC/32432181804.html)

on mine, and I still can't quite stop it from throttling at full load. (Admittedly the fan I put on it isn't moving a whole lot of air, so there's room for improvement).

 

The other issue with the XU4 is that the eMMC is extra (and worth it), and shipping to Canada isn't cheap, so the total cost is a bit higher than I'd want to spend for the rest of the compute nodes. If I can hit $50 CDN/node I'll be pretty happy, where as the XU4 came out to about $140 all in (with a  16G emmc (not 32G like I first said - lousy memory)).

 

I was happy to get one of the first blue coloured XU4 heatsinks least year. I've replaced the stock thermal pad with a more conductive one and recognized a better performance. I hope hat HK will assemble the XU4Q with an appropriate thermal pad.

 

Btw. there is a smart way to circumvent the shipping costs. If you write an article for the magazine, you will be rewarded with a 65$ voucher and free shipping. You can extend your order and still benefit from free shipping.

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5 hours ago, tkaiser said:

 

May I ask what you're farming with your SBC farm?

I work on a compiler development team and I thought it would be fun to have my own system at home. We have a large suite of regression tests that take quite a while to run on ARM, so the farm will do distributed build and test.

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11 hours ago, tkaiser said:

 

There's ODROID-XU4Q now which might show not the greatest performance with convection only (since heatsink designed wrong)

I saw those, was tempted to grab another unit since the server/experimental one isn't really good for anything package wise with my "modifications"  (it lives in my basement and was attached to a USB 3.0 RAID 5 before I upgraded my main machine and moved the old one to that tasking (Plex Server, 4 tuner TVHeadend tuner, general purpose file server, etc)

 

What improvements could be made to that heatsink design?  Curiosity on my part, I have very little experience with heatsinks but am looking to improve the situation on my Tinker Board (I've put bigger heatsinks on low-power voltage regulators...)

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@Peba, is there any insight you could/would give on developing an image for the rk3288 UGOOS boxes?  It looks straightforward enough, and is a nifty little container (But why oh why is the OTG a full size USB port?)

 

Flashed it to the newest firmware, after making an absolutely idiotic Male-A to Male-A cable out of some old printer cables I had lying around... I want to see what the RK3288 is actually capable of, since nobody's linux is there yet I'm having a hard time gauging whether or not our performance is reasonable. 

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I found this bug report where the poster describes having had a running 4.4.52 kernel on the Q8 (with a board version that matches the silk screen on my recently purchased Q8). He also states that the kernel at https://github.com/Miouyouyou/MyyQi works on the board, so it seems there is still cause for optimism. I hope to give this a try when I get time, but that may not be for a while, so I thought I'd pass the info on rather than just sit on it.

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Thanks to the great tip in this thread,I am writing this from a Ugoos UT3S, I got for 36€. So, now I would like to give something back to the community and write about my experiences.

I already flashed it to the latest available release from Ugoos (Xubuntu Vivid) in a linux only configuration. For this I used a self-made OTG cable, because contrary to what was advertised, that was not included. I flashed from another linux machine using Rockchip upgrade_tool and rkflashkit. Windows AndroidTool on Win7 didn't work at all. upgrade_tool somehow only worked for the bootloader and the parameters. Especially flashing the misc image didn't work so that the device kept rebooting back into loader-mode. Fortunately, rkflashkit solved that problem.

After some toying around with it, I rebooted and was shocked to find that the display remained black. After lots of frustrating experiments (including a complete reflash) and googling I learned that the display is in power save mode and I have to do Ctrl+Alt+F6 Ctrl+Alt+F7 after every reboot. It seems something in the combination of the kernel drivers and my LG display doesn't work too well together. But thats acceptable for now.

I have now installed some more software, including mackodi (http://mac-l1.com/) , which gives me all the entertainment I can are for. My current impression is that this tiny box could well become the desktop machine for my day-to-day use.

Only some things are bothering me:

  • I'm stuck at Xubuntu 15 with no more support and updates. Especially being stuck with FireFox 44 gives me heavy security concerns
  • Bluetooth seems to be broken. It still worked with the factory installation of Xubuntu 14.04. But maybe the installation of mackodi broke it, I not sure when it stopped working.
  • Ugoos settings for the LED doesn't work either anymore
  • I don't yet have an AV cable for proper audio. Kodi doesn't seem to work with HDMI audio and the normal three-sleved 3.5mm-jacks give me only one channel

So, to conclude: getting a more recent, more fully featured linux on this machine would be really worth it. If anybody has any suggestions for things I could try to improve, that are in the range of my capabilities, I would be happy to try them out.

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My UT3S arrived yesterday too, also without the A-A usb cable. I was impressed that Linux worked out of the box, although you only get 4G of the eMMC to work with. Another 9G can be mounted, but it's formatted FAT which isn't ideal.

 

The hardware seems good - there's a generous heatsink and the low-profile fan is both quiet and effective. There's a battery fitted for the RTC and three holes that looks suspiciously like a serial header. From the limited testing so far,  performance of the RK3288 at 1.8GHz is excellent, about 20% faster than the 4 A15 cores of the XU4 running at 2GHz (although the XU4 does tend to throttle slightly, so probably averages about 1.95GHz over the run). At the sale price it takes the current lead in the performance per $ ranking. Sure wish it ran Armbian though :)

 

Follow-up:

There's something odd going on with the performance. Twice now I've come back to the machine and found it to be running at roughly 1/3 the peak throughput. 'top' still shows good cpu utilization across the cores, there are no other obvious processes competing with the test, cpu-freq shows 1.8GHz and I'm using the performance governor during testing, so something is lying to me. I must admit I don't have a great deal of confidence in this kernel.

 

(the missing factor in the above is temperature. I don't have a lot of confidence in the temperature being reported yet - I need to try and correlate it with what I can measure at the heatsink for both a good and a bad run. But on every other processor I've tested you can see when you hit thermal limiting by the reduction in frequency reported by cpufreq-info, and I'm not seeing that here. Also, there's the fan on this processor, so it shouldn't hit thermal limit, and a factor of three would be an unusually aggressive down-clocking! )

 

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One more observation, after a reboot, performance is restored. Reported temperatures are higher and seem consistent with previous measurements at the heatsink (given a reasonable allowance for the likely temperature gradient between the on-die sensor and the external temp).

 

Output from the second of two back to back runs (hence the high starting temp):

 

216 MHz  0.900V 60.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 62.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 61.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 65.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 65.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 65.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 66.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 68.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 67.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 70.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 68.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 69.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 69.0C
1.80 GHz 1.350V 65.0C
216 MHz  0.900V 62.0C
126 MHz  0.900V 60.0C

 

Script for monitoring:

#!/usr/bin/python

# show cpu freq and temperature at specified interval

# cpumon <interval seconds>

# default interval 30s

import subprocess
import sys
import time

delay=30

if (len(sys.argv)>1):
  delay=float(sys.argv[1])

while 1:
  freq=subprocess.check_output(['cpufreq-info', '-mf', '-c0'])
  temp=subprocess.check_output(['cat', '/sys/devices/fff16000.ug_fan/cpu_temp'])
  temp=float(temp)/1
  volts=subprocess.check_output(['cat', '/sys/class/regulator/regulator.13/microvolts'])
  volts=float(volts)/1000000
  
  print "{:8} {:.3f}V {:.1f}C".format(freq.rstrip(), volts, temp)
 
  time.sleep(delay)

 

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(edited)

I made only a few tests on my UT3S received some days ago. I successfully upgrade firmware using win10 and androidtool. I flashed last official firmware being v3.1 (Android 5). It removes the dual boot with xubuntu 15.04. However, the bootloader allow me to boot from an sdcard if one is inserted. So I burnt an official xubuntu 14.10 image on a card and it's booting successfully. This image from Ugoos can be found here: http://ugoos.net/blog/ubuntu1504-sdcard-arm7-rk3288-ugoos-ut3-ut3s-um3

 

Edited by jeanrhum
update link

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It is good to remember that a massive amount of work has gone into linux on the part of rockchip over the last year, so any older linux distro is likely to have *many* bugs of various sorts.  To be honest, with a proper device tree and a look at the format of the SD card, Armbian should pretty readily boot on the device.  Assuming they've done nothing crazy our MiQi/Tinker boot images should valid (it's a Rockchip standard), but the device tree will be problematic.  I stuck a Tinker Board card in my UT3S and got nothing on HDMI, leading me to think we're getting U-boot, as a non-boot SD actually displays an error on-screen  How did you pop yours apart?  Mine is serving the purpose my Tinker Board was supposed to (media center), so I haven't gotten the knife out.  Mind posting images?

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I tested MiQi image without any success. Like you, I have no output on hdmi and my UT3S does not seem to boot since the power led shut down after a few seconds.

I have no time to investigate more, but will try as soon as possible. I tried to look for a dts or dtb without any success.

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3 hours ago, TonyMac32 said:

How did you pop yours apart?  Mine is serving the purpose my Tinker Board was supposed to (media center), so I haven't gotten the knife out.  Mind posting images?

It comes apart very easily, just work your way around the top which is a simple clip-in lid, no screws to worry about. Use a plastic spudger if you're worried about marking the surface. I'll likely ditch the case so I just used a small screw driver.

 

Quote

I have an idea where to look, but I'll need to do a little more serious digging.

 

It would be awesome if we can get a mainline kernel running.

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In the dual-boot archive you can download from Ugoos, there is a folder "Image" with different .img-files. One of them is "resource.img". It's one of the files I had to flash for the linux-only installation. It's binary, but when opening it with a text editor, there are characters "ENTRrk-kernel.dtb" at offset 512.

Don't know if that helps. I wouldn't knwo how to extract the device tree from there.

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1 hour ago, jgeisler said:

In the dual-boot archive you can download from Ugoos, there is a folder "Image" with different .img-files. One of them is "resource.img". It's one of the files I had to flash for the linux-only installation. It's binary, but when opening it with a text editor, there are characters "ENTRrk-kernel.dtb" at offset 512.

Don't know if that helps. I wouldn't knwo how to extract the device tree from there.

Yes, you can extract the dtb from there with imgRePackerRK_106 and then convert it to dts with dtc. I had a quick look at it, it has the expected config for the fan, but the dvfs settings didn't seem to match what I'd expect, topping out at 1GHz and with constant voltage. Maybe I was misreading the format.

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19 hours ago, James Kingdon said:

but the dvfs settings didn't seem to match what I'd expect, topping out at 1GHz and with constant voltage.

Its seems the pvtm-operating-points table has to be read in triples of KHz uV pvtm margin. Reading it like this gives 1800000kHz@1350000uV. I found this in firefly-rk3288.dts. Although the format there is a bit differen with lots of ampersands in the top level names.

 

Assuming the dts file is usable, how could I combine it with e.g. the Armbian Tinker Board image to run on my UT3S?

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