quick review Banana Pi M3
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Same with the issue kometchtech brought to our and their attention (adding "init=/bin/systemd" to the bootargs which is necessary for every OS image that makes use of systemd -- and these are a lot). This is something they should've to adjust in sunxi-pack/chips/sun8iw6p1/configs/*/env.cfg but they refuse to and provide countless crappy OS images that all do not fully work instead.

I don't monitor other forums, but in case someone will be looking here, adding "init=/bin/systemd" to kernel arguments is needed only if:

  • Original Ubuntu/Debian distribution is using systemd as init system by default (Jessie and later for Debian, for example),
  • For some reason package "systemd-sysv" is not installed and "sysvinit-core" is installed instead (this was used in 1 or 2 prevoius Armbian releases as a workaround for RTC bug),
  • In the end you want to boot with systemd as init system (if you want to use systemd always, you should reinstall "systemd-sysv" package instead of altering kernel arguments).

So it's likely that they ported u-boot script or default package list from old Armbian "lib" version without understanding what tweaks does it have and why.

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So it's likely that they ported u-boot script or default package list from old Armbian "lib" version without understanding what tweaks does it have and why.

 

It's even worse. They use the A83T BSP from Allwinner that's based on kernel 3.4.39 (still missing some fixes they could've applied by looking into the many available other sunxi repositories) and u-boot 2011-something without support for script.bin. The BSP's build script pukes out a couple of BLOBs containing this outdated u-boot with integrated sys_config.fex stuff and an initrd containing the kernel (there's no need to do it so, but as usual 'Team BPi' simply doesn't care or lacks the skills to change this).

 

And this u-boot+kernel mess they combine then with a couple of rootfs they found somewhere on the net. The crappy Armbian rip-off they provide is based on Jessie and therefore suffers from the problems you explained in detail (thx for that). And I doubt they force the users to change the root password on 1st login, to regenerate SSH keys and so on. This 'Armbian' image they provide has nothing in common with Armbian -- it's just a bold rip-off missing everything that Armbian is known or even famous for (and I doubt they even understand why it's necessary to develop closely u-boot+kernel together with the userland stuff for SBCs)

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Unfortunately (for the community) from business perspective for SBC manufacturers investing money in software support won't give as much feedback in money/revenue as investing, for example, in marketing - advertisements, paid and free samples reviews and so on. At least in a short term perspective.

In a long term, when perception of company's name associates more and more with crappy support, they can simply rename their company and new boards to "something-else pi" and start from scratch with "clean" karma.

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money in software support won't give as much feedback in money/revenue as investing, for example, in marketing - advertisements, paid and free samples reviews and so on.

I could not disagree more !!

 

mouth-to-mouth marketing is the best you can get. Need a proof ?   here you go !

 

The guy who startet Raspberry, knew the SoC (BCM2835) quite good I guess. They chose the SoC carefully, may be with prior consultation of Broadcom management - smart move.

Then, they stayed with this product for 2 years = stability, something to build on (people don’t like change as we know).

Raspberry came up with solutions for problems like Video encoding.

Two (2) years later another SoC was released (Broadcom BCM2836) - only after selling more than 2 Million piece of (BCM2835), not before !!

 

In conclusion:

  • They not only make hardware, they also support it soft- and hardware wise.

  • A stable platform over years

  • OSS was not perfect from begin, but in opposite to SinoVoip Foxconn they tried !! and have done big progress

 

wanna read more ?

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For me SBC named "something pi" is clearly targeted for Raspberry Pi audience, especially for people that are buying a new toy to play with for a week and forget about it later.

For these people news like "something-else pi" now supports kernel 4.4 doesn't mean anything,

while "something-else pi" version 2 is released, now with 4 cores instead of 2 (2 GB RAM instead of 1, 64 bit instead of 32 or something similar) would cause a reaction like "shut up and take my money :) ".

 

Raspberry Pi isn't perfect, for example there aren't public datasheets for BCM2835/BCM2836, and most of software support, I believe, is still done by the community. I wouldn't call it "stable for years" either. But compared to some boards discussed here in "Free" forum section, it's still great.

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The guy who startet Raspberry, knew the SoC (BCM2835) quite good I guess. They chose the SoC carefully, may be with prior consultation of Broadcom management - smart move.

 

The board was probably designed in a Broadcomm lab and their PR department fabricated this romantic story with "inventor", "fundation", "sweet fruit" ... to generate more sales.  :rolleyes:  :D

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while "something-else pi" version 2 is released, now with 4 cores instead of 2 (2 GB RAM instead of 1, 64 bit instead of 32 or something similar) would cause a reaction like "shut up and take my money :) ".

 

Raspberry Pi isn't perfect, for example there aren't public datasheets for BCM2835/BCM2836, and most of software support, I believe, is still done by the community. I wouldn't call it "stable for years" either. But compared to some boards discussed here in "Free" forum section, it's still great.

 

I agree with you, pi became a 'magic' word. On the other hand, we are used on X86 that with time, most problem get fixed... not so much for ARM as we know, but not the majority of people knows that :-(

Your link, ... you know  you can always have an issue with HW - if it is an SDcard for $10.- who cares.

I just read, in the newst Kernel-Development they integrate the interface for the RPi GPU. Some progress there as well.

 

 

The board was probably designed in a Broadcomm lab and their PR department fabricated this romantic story with "inventor", "fundation", "sweet fruit" ... to generate more sales.  :rolleyes:  :D

Absolutely possible, or that they funded the foundation. Common, everybody knows Broadcom now, the good guys from Banana-Pi mouth-to-mouth marketing par excellence !!

To give them credit, they expected only a couple thousands, not millions.

 

I also have one :ph34r:

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@Tido

Just to clarify.

Raspberry Pi came into this world as a new concept, a (relatively cheap) single-board computer that has GPIO, SPI, I2C and other interfaces to be used somewhere where Arduino won't be enough, and at the same time it can run Linux distribution with a lightweight desktop environment and hardware video acceleration. They worked hard to get software support for the community and now community is working for them.

Link I provided just shows that community is not all-powerful and issues like this probably would be resolved much quicker with support from Broadcom.

 

Now market is saturated with all kinds of SBCs, Raspberry Pi is still a major player here, and other companies that want to get profit sometimes use "dirty" tricks like not spending money on software support or naming their brand similar to another.

 

TL;DR Raspberry Pi probably wouldn't fly without software support, but companies that are trying to get a piece of this market now may decide to spare some money on this.

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Regarding useable OS images from 'them': well, they suck more or less and you won't see Armbian support anytime soon for any device based on A83T.

Why don't you try to get support from the vendor?

Why don't you push them to provide something more useable? Why do all the M3 users accept that they bought an expensive paperweight and do not complain publicly so others could learn to avoid the so called 'Banana Pi' M2/M3?

 

printed circuit board assembly

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Another update: the famous 'Team BPi' slowly fixes one silly mistake after the other (in the beginning they just took the crappy BSP from Allwinner with settings where barely nothing worked and used that in the countless crappy OS images they provided): https://github.com/BPI-SINOVOIP/BPI-M3-bsp/commits/master

 

Yesterday they even managed to somehow integrate Imagination's PowerVR GPU acceleration drivers and the results they show now doesn't look that shitty as in the past when @noralee from Foxconn only provided fake videos for Banana Pi M2, for example this here where the scores are horribly low especially when considering the Banana Pi M2's GPU is twice as fast as the one used on Banana Pi M3 (SGX544MP2 vs. SGX544MP1).

 

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I saw that too, they also promote now their gitbooks in which, in oposite to the website it says: 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A7 octa-core processor,
The Website cannot display larger 2GHz - gimmy a break :D
Overall, this is cheap. 15 Nov. they promised drivers and now they have to proof with a 6 min Video that they don't lie. Lousy.
 
And for this gitbooks there is no no no Link on the Website, just in the forum. Sometimes you really wonder how chinese find information
compare to western people.
 
 
Btw, poor developer now must also use the lousy MicroUSB power plug  :wacko:    Life can be hard if the manager sucks.
Compare with LeMaker they feature now packages at Lenovator with the very useful DC-Jack, power supply and USB OTG cable that shall work.
 
So the GPU works, does the Video decoding also work - my understanding is, that this is not the same, right?
1080p they promise on the website linked above.

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I'm very disappointed to hear the SATA port is a big bottleneck. I was hoping to use 6 of these to build a database cluster (Cassandra NoSQL) but it sounds like the board is not suitable. Fortunately I read your review (Thanks!) before buying 5 more boards. I'll probably use the board for some other purpose. If you know of a single board with real SATA and good integer and floating-point performance, I would love to hear about it. I also have another application where I need the performance but not SATA. More RAM would also be great. I'm considering whether I should build my own board.

By the way, my board is from Eleduino but it appears to be a clone of the SinoVoip board (or vice versa).

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I'm very disappointed to hear the SATA port is a big bottleneck. I was hoping to use 6 of these to build a database cluster (Cassandra NoSQL) but it sounds like the board is not suitable.

 

No SBC is suitable since they all lack ECC RAM. I won't discuss the basic requirement called ECC RAM for any kind of real server any more (since it's easy to inform yourself) and just point out that at least according to specs the Marvell Armada 38x can be used with ECC RAM. So in case you want to build your own boards you can take care about data integrity.

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So the GPU works, does the Video decoding also work - my understanding is, that this is not the same, right?

1080p they promise on the website linked above.

 

Video encoding/decoding is unrelated to 2D/3D acceleration. What @noralee showed is a desktop with the lowest resolution possible (720p or even lower) running glmark2. The lower the display resolution, the better the glmark score. But again: This was just about 3D acceleration and is unrelated to CedarX (HW accelerated video decoding).

 

Since you're still active in the moronic bananapi forum you could ask Nora for glmark2 benchmark results with 1080p display resolution and also for real benchmark results for the Banana Pi M2 (that should be twice as good since the A31s contains twice as much GPU cores -- and now 'Team BPi' got the necessary code from Imagination to use GPU acceleration with both SoCs).

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Guest ThomasGB

Too much words.

Say it light, say it clear.

- BananaPI M3 has no USB 3.0

- Has Power VR which is not opened, the driver (or what you can get) is chaos (looked into, everything you find written in the internet from independent side is TRUE).

- Is from SINOVOIP, there is no need for a further proof, that their support is equal zero.

- Is not as fast as is should (your words) could perhaps (my words) be.

 

Consequence => Not further support = Kapitel abgeschlossen !

 

 

Cheers

Thomas

 

 

 

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Too funny: 5 months after 'Team BPi' started with Allwinner's A83T BSP for the Banana Pi M3 they finally got it that it's a really good idea to add support for uEnvt.txt and script.bin.

 

Now if they would only get the idea that it's pretty useless to fix stuff in a github repo when you don't provide your users with the ability to upgrade the crappy OS images they've to use today... could be so easy: 'Team BPi' just need to put the compiled BSP stuff as BLOBs on github and create an utility similar to their "bpi-bootsel" script that pulls the BLOBs from github and overwrite the first sectors of the OS image on mmcblk0.

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I read the whole thread about the issues with the banana pi m3. So you would say its not worth it to buy it? Im planning to use it with some kind of debian for a webserver/hotspot and some other things which my current rasperry pi B+ is doing way too slow. Else i will just get a rasperry pi 2 B, but the banana pi specs (ram/cpu) are looking insane compared to the pi...

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Im planning to use it with some kind of debian for a webserver/hotspot and some other things which my current rasperry pi B+ is doing way too slow.

 

Why are you thinking about this Banana Pi M3 in the first place? It name tries to suggest it's being compatible with the original Banana Pi but it isn't. It's incompatible in the following areas:

  • hardware: way less I/O bandwidth compared to A20 based Banana Pi/Pro/M1/M1+, based on totally different SoC
  • software: simply sucks, it will take months until 'Team BPi' might deliver OS images where everything works as it should and that can be upgraded to a newer version
  • support/community: sucks totally, nothing you'll find on the net regarding Raspberry or Banana Pi applies to M2/M3 and if you ask questions in their forum you'll either get no or most of the times wrong answers

I had to learn that people still think the well known Banana brand would mean something regarding the totally incompatible M3 even if you tell them ten times that it's not the case. And also people seem to be impressed by (false) hardware specifications:

  • octa-cora CPU @ 2 GHz (no way to get there without a huge fan and resoldering a sane DC-IN solution since if thermal throttling won't prevent the CPUs clocking at 1.8GHz or above the board will power off due to undercurrent situation since 'Team BPi' chose the crappiest DC-IN connector ever: Micro USB)
  • SATA (not true, they chose the crappiest USB-to-SATA bridge in the crappiest possible mode ever: only one of the 2 SoC's USB host ports used to connect to an internal USB hub and connecting the USB-to-SATA bridge to this hub and not the other available USB host port the A83T features)
  • 2 GB RAM: So what? Time to read/understand http://www.linuxatemyram.com
  • onboard Wi-Fi: I've not heard of anyone using AP6212 on the M3 in AP mode and would suspect it's the same situation as with nearly every other onboard Wi-Fi on SBCs: crap

Considering all that and adding both software/support situation and the price of this device the conclusion should be rather simple.

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So you would say its not worth it to buy it?

 

TK can really be patient if it come to explain why Banana is not Banana.

I would simply send you links like:

  1. Difference between Raspi and SinoVoip (Banana)
  2. Not enough power (read this thread to understand)
  3. Overheating of the SoC (heat-sink attached?)

 

Ah, what TK didn't do this time recommend you better alternatives like: ODROID, Olimex, LeMaker and many more.

 

I had just yesterday installed Ubuntu Mate on Raspberry Pi 2 - quick is different !

If you want to use a GUI I have to say LeMaker Guitar is quicker with Lemuntu (quad core 1,2GHz).

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Ah, what TK didn't do this time recommend you better alternatives like: ODROID, Olimex, LeMaker and many more.

 

Tido, why should I start recommending crap? Have a look at this (incomplete) list to get the idea that there is a little bit more than the few SBC vendors you personally know: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_single-board_computers  (you should really accept that there exist more than 5 vendors and there's no need to choose vendors that got somewhat known/famous for supporting product A -- Banana Pi/Pro -- and now are only dealing with totally incompatible products B, C and D)

 

When I read "some kind of debian for a webserver/hotspot and some other things which my current rasperry pi B+ is doing way too slow" I'm not able to recommend anything since I neither know a single SBC suitable as 'hotspot' nor do I have an idea what specific criteria are needed for 'some other things'.

 

For a webserver I would've a look at boards with high I/O and network bandwidth that are able to run with mainline kernel. But regarding AP mode and 'some other things' I still have not the slightest idea. Since if one of these other things would be HW accelerated video encoding/decoding recommendations might look totally different.

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When I read "some kind of debian for a webserver/hotspot and some other things which my current rasperry pi B+ is doing way too slow" .

ähm TK, if a RPi B+ did the job by now... hmm ahh he is now looking for a Mainframe.

Just for your information, he wants more power and if he comes from RPi you know the caveats, right?

 

If someone asks you for a piece of wood 20 x 20 x 100mm do you show him the forrest to cut a tree  or  the next easy solution - like a hardware store (Baumarkt) ?

I go for the latter.

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If someone asks you for a piece of wood 20 x 20 x 100mm

 

Ah, now I know what 'some other things' means. I just realised I need to improve my visionary skills to answer questions in a way you're pleased with...

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Ah, now I know what 'some other things' means. I just realised I need to improve my visionary skills to answer questions in a way you're pleased with...

Absolutely TK - this is it, but It is not about pleasing me !!

If someone is not a perfectionist like you, but still has some needs. Try to understand his intention - see it with his eyes, merge it with your knowledge - boom done.

 

If someone gives you a Tipp, this person is basically talking about its experience.

Although my knowledge about Computer is far superior to others (and less to others) I try to focus on their needs or break complicating stuff down to a simple metaphor.

This belongs to many technical things as well.

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If someone is not a perfectionist like you, but still has some needs. Try to understand his intention - see it with his eyes

 

It's still the same situation as the day before yesterday: As soon as Dennis starts to elaborate on these 'other things' he's interested I might be able to recommend anything. As long as 'some other things' aren't listed, it's close to impossible (you've visionary skills that I lack).

 

Speaking about performance: There is one area where even the slowest RPi outperforms any board Armbian supports: HW accelerated video encoding. So it's still the question whether this is included in these 'some other things'

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Or I simply filter better than you:  webserver/hotspot and (ram/cpu) 

not one word about video, GPU, cam, display

 

Beside TK, don't you repeat over and over that the video capability of M2 is superior of M3. One more sign.

 

So I kind of have visionary skills that you lack = I see things in text you don't.

On the other hand, you see things in the text they are not there :D

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Guest iFA

Dear tkaiser,

 

You have done a really nice work with testing the BPI-M3!

Saddly i have too late found your forum and i have soon ordered one of them. I brought a SIC heat sink too with a 3x3cm fan.

Now i use M1 with sata HDD for: transmission(torrent client), samba, Geth(Ethereum console application), apache, mysql. Like as a server.

I have ordered the M3 for better CPU performance, because the Geth do a lot of calculations while syncing. What do you think about this?

Its several month elapsed alfter the start of M3. I would really like burn similiar as minimalbian. I dont want gui, i use only headless.

Which OS do you recommend? http://www.banana-pi.org/download.html Raspbian Jessie, or Debian Jessie?

Thanks for your answer!

Best regards:

-iFA

 

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I brought a SIC heat sink too with a 3x3cm fan.

 

Why? This board has three main hardware issues:

  1. crappy DC-IN connector
  2. unable to use the SoC under heavy load since thermal throttling prevents clocking all cores at high speeds
  3. worst USB-to-SATA bridge ever

If you're not willing to fix issue 1) then issue 2) becomes a feature and not a bug any more. Improve heat dissipation only if you fixed DC-IN otherwise the board will shut down under full load. And also think about ignoring the 'SATA port' since it's slow as hell an adds to the powering problems. Please read carefully through http://linux-sunxi.org/Banana_Pi_M3 and then either try to get a refund or throw it away.

 

Regarding OS images... they all suck and AFAIK they still haven't implemented online updates. But who cares? The hardware bugs alone are reason enough to stay away from this device (at least for me -- I still have not the slightest idea why anyone wants to buy this thing)

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