H6 boards: Orange Pi 3 Plus and PineH64
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What do we know now? Not much ;) -- most importantly that some details will change and 'board available soon'.

 

We have a H6 Product Brief available and a few selected developers already had a look into user manual (NDA situation right now, so not possible to get any answers from them :) )

 

So all we know is really just:

  • H6 is limited wrt DRAM (2GB DDR4/DDR3/DDR3L max), I know the DRAM manufacturer from the modules in my Beelink X2 but have forgotten the name
  • The Ampak module might be an AP6356S providing dual-band/dual-antenna Wi-Fi + BT 4.1
  • Gigabit Ethernet (H6 is said to have a 2nd Fast Ethernet MAC/PHY but no idea how/whether exposed here -- maybe available on pin headers to be combined with an external MagJack like it's possible on ROCK64 or NanoPi Duo
  • One HDMI is a v2.0a output for sure, the other can be another HDMI output (LCD to HDMI converter) or maybe also a HDMI to TS input (depends on the type of chip behind the left HDMI port)
  • eMMC on board
  • One of the USB receptacles is blue (USB3 SuperSpeed), the other is USB2 and I would believe the remaining USB2 port is available on pins 36/38 of the mPCIe connector allowing to attach 'miniPCIe WWAN modems' (to be combined with the SIM card slot -- AFAIK these modems use USB at a 3.3V logic level)
  • the mPCIe slot also exposes H6's single PCIe 2.x lane
  • there's AV, optical audio out and an IR receiver (positioned IMO somewhat strangely since if rotated 90° on the PCB side next to its actual location OPi 3 Plus combined with a little enclosure would already make up for a complete TV box)
markbirss, MitchD and lanefu like this

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I have been trying to figure for what to use a machine like this ... or the BPI based on the RTD1296.

With these ports ... they could work as a new type of Amiga machine, maybe having similar functions as the old VideoToaster.

The big question here is how powerful it is really the H6 for online video processing.  If could be possible to add heavy real time processing, the security market would be delighted, and new types of applications could be developed.  The alternative is expensive big machines that not always are the best option on some circumstances.

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1 hour ago, malvcr said:

I have been trying to figure for what to use a machine like this ...

 

What about a TV box (or as Allwinner calls it'targeted at the OTT, DVB and IPTV markets')? If the IR receiver in the picture above would move a few mm next to the GPIO header all that's needed for a TV box would be a small enclosure around. This thing can encode/decode video with Allwinner's 'Phoenix' video engine and most probably stuff like picture in picture is possible (most probably using the HDMI input).

 

It's said that a lot of IP blocks have been updated/exchanged (bad news for linux-sunxi community mainlining efforts) but the good news is that @jernej already checked latest Allwinner BSP drop and it's at least blob free if I understood correctly.

 

Besides that a lot of users will happily ignore both HDMI ports and are only keen on USB3 and PCIe performance :)

 

2 hours ago, malvcr said:

the BPI based on the RTD1296

 

This SoC seems to be suited both for media player and NAS purposes (unsurprisingly new 4-bay Synology DS418 is also based on RTD1296 -- curious how 2 SATA ports and 4 disks match) but the most interesting question as usual is the one about software support. If BPi people repeat what they did with their latest 'non Allwinner' adventure (over half a year providing neither any useful information nor the sources/manuals they already had from MediaTek) then we might know maybe in 2018...

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13 minutes ago, tkaiser said:

What about a TV box (or as Allwinner calls it'targeted at the OTT, DVB and IPTV markets')? If the IR receiver in the picture above would move a few mm next to the GPIO header all that's needed for a TV box would be a small enclosure around. This thing can encode/decode video with Allwinner's 'Phoenix' video engine and most probably stuff like picture in picture is possible (most probably using the HDMI input).

 

Yep ... I have a big mix of things on my TV (all sort of small machines).  This seems to be a replacement for all them.  Even my aging SONY bluray player that I use to have Netflix could pass through the machine (disclaimer: I am thinking on application control, not piracy).  Even video conferencing is a good option.

 

I will check the Phoenix engine, it sounds good.

 

While I was carrying my children to school I was thinking on the HDMI input.  There is an interesting application when you are able to input a security CCTV  system screen output on one of these machines.  That way, you have access to complex already existing surveillance infrastructure for extra applications with a very low investment (mix legacy with new things).  Combine this with both ethernet and WIFI; you could even include more IP cameras or even Asterisk cards connected on the PCIe port.  And with the SIM (that I am not sure how works here), could have some type of Mobile remote control.  

 

With some imagination, this is really powerful.

 

26 minutes ago, tkaiser said:

This SoC seems to be suited both for media player and NAS purposes (unsurprisingly new 4-bay Synology DS418 is also based on RTD1296 -- curious how 2 SATA ports and 4 disks match) but the most interesting question as usual is the one about software support. If BPi people repeat what they did with their latest 'non Allwinner' adventure (over half a year providing neither any useful information nor the sources/manuals they already had from MediaTek) then we might know maybe in 2018...

 

Well ... Realtek is an known player.  I hope they incentive their chips usage.

 

And the internal SATA is very welcomed.  I have into production OPI Zero machines with the NAS extension using SATA disks, but recently I have been working with the BPI R2 and it is a very different story (SATA atached to one of the four PCIe lines).  Although the OPIZ+NAS is enough for some applications, the extra bandwidth SATA and even USB3 based store provides, can open many usage doors.  In fact, I seldom use my Raspberry machines these days.

 

Oh, maybe the Synology is doing what BPI did.  They have two SATA ports sharing one Mediatek PCI-e line.  In that sense, it is better to have one SATA and one USB3 disk in the BPI-R2 than two SATA disks.

 

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And today Steven revealed existence of two more H6 boards that might look familiar ;)

 

New_Orange_Pis.jpg

 

Source is linux-sunxi IRC, no more information available yet. Looks like the H6 OPi One gets a Gigabit Ethernet upgrade (if that's a GbE PHY between H6 and Ethernet Jack), looks like an USB3 upgrade on the H6 Lite and also looks like Xunlong switched from RTL8189FTV to RTL8189ETV now. On the bottom this seems to be a PMIC on both boards and LPDDR3 now.

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It's hard to tell from the photo, but it looks like it's using a LPDDR4 RAM module. If that's true, then besides the improved 4k/6k video codec, it might actually run code faster on the A53 cores due to faster memory bandwidth.

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11 minutes ago, Larry Bank said:

it looks like it's using a LPDDR4 RAM module

 

That's all we have (currently): http://linux-sunxi.org/File:H6-Brief_V1.0.pdf (and there Allwinner talks about DDR4 and LPDDR3). But TL Lim also today said in linux-sunxi IRC Allwinner's BU3 considers 'H6 open source support ... a key factor' and 'H6 datasheet and user manual will be release as no confidential watermark.'

 

And there's also a H6 SDK already in the wild...

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These SoCs are designed for set top boxes, not really for our little NAS/Gaming/Projects. The improvements of the H6 over the H5 may not have much effect depending on what OrangePi does with the board designs. The improvements possible for OPi boards are:

 

1) Faster RAM

2) USB3

3) Faster/more capable video encoder/decoder

4) Faster GPU

 

Improvements that would have been nice to have:

1) Bigger L2 cache (still 512KB)

2) Replace A53 cores with A73 or use big/little design

3) Going to a 14nm process (H5=40nm, H6=28nm)

 

The die shrink should reduce the power usage, but we'll have to see if that makes a measurable difference in the heat/power of the boards.

 

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22 minutes ago, Tido said:

is this an improvement ?

Irrelevant (only important for OPi Plus 2E).

 

BTW: Pine H64 board now officially announced: http://wiki.pine64.org/index.php/PINE_H64_Main_Page (the 3GB variant might disappear again since it has to be checked first whether it works -- H6 is said to be able to address up to 3 GB DRAM but there are only 1, 2 and 4 GB LPDDR3 modules available so 1 GB would be wasted anyway)

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On 14.11.2017 at 6:17 PM, tkaiser said:

With PCIe 2.x on it and not GPIO! (just kidding)

 

Well, I thought I was joking but in fact this does exist. An industrial i.MX6 design with 40 pin header does exactly that. Exposing the needed PCIe pins on the header:

 

EMB-2230_PIN.jpg

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On 15.11.2017 at 10:53 PM, manuti said:

your jokes become real things? 

 

Nah, but let's try another 'joke'. Can you imagine how the lower PCB side of the new small Xunlong H6 boards might look like if checking the size of a mPCIe Marvell SATA controller and OPi One/Lite:

88SE9215_sitting_on_OrangePi_One.jpg

 

(disclaimer: I've really no idea what Xunlong is planning, just a thought since H6 has PCIe so why not trying to expose the interface? Maybe just routing/preparing the 52 pins and not soldering the connector by default?)

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