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NanoPC T4


tkaiser
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NanoPC-T4-A01.jpg

 

This is something hopefully suitable to become a 'Board Bring up' thread.

 

The NanoPC T4 was the smallest RK3399 board around featuring full set of interfaces (Rock960 was smaller but there you can't use GbE without a proprietary expander) but in the meantime he got two smaller siblings: NanoPi M4 and the cute NEO4.

 

Pros:

  • Another RK3399 board so software support is already pretty mature
  • Rich set of interfaces (2 x USB2 without shared bandwidth, 2 x USB3, triple display output and so on)
  • No powering hassles due to 12V (2A) PSU requirement
  • 16GB superfast eMMC 5.1 
  • Usable and performant Wi-Fi (dual band and dual antenna so MIMO can be used, for numbers see here)
  • All 4 PCIe lanes exposed (M.2 M key connector on the bottom, suitable for NVMe SSDs, or to attach a 4 port SATA controller or a PCIe riser card)

 

Cons:

  • A bit pricey (but if you compare with RockPro64 for example and order all Add-Ons you end up with a similar price)
  • High idle consumption (4W PSU included in idle), maybe this is just bad settings we can improve over time
  • heatsink too small for continous loads

 

I started relying on @hjc's work since he's currently using different kernels than we use on RockPro64 or ODROID-N1 (though all the 4.4 kernels are more or less just RK's 4.4 LTS branch with some modifications, with mainline I didn't had a look what's different in Heiko's tree and 'true' mainline).

 

Tinymembench numbers with RK 4.4 vs. mainline kernel (the latter both showing lower latency and higher bandwidth).

 

Internal 16 GB eMMC performance:

eMMC / ext4 / iozone                                          random    random
              kB  reclen    write  rewrite    read    reread    read     write
          102400       4    23400    28554    26356    26143    27061    29546
          102400      16    48364    48810    85421    85847    84017    47607
          102400     512    48789    49075   273380   275699   258495    47858
          102400    1024    48939    49053   290198   291462   270699    48099
          102400   16384    48673    49050   295690   295705   294706    48966
         1024000   16384    49243    49238   298010   298443   299018    49255

That's what's to be expected with 16 GB and exactly same numbers as I generated on ODROID-N1 with 16 GB size. When checking SD card performance it maxed out at 23.5 MB/s which is an indication that no higher speed modes are enabled (and according to schematics not possible since not able to switch to 1.8V here -- I didn't try to adjust DT like with ODROID-N1 where SDR104 mode is possible which led to some nice speed improvements when using a fast card -- see here and there)

 

Quick USB3 performance test via the USB-3A port:

Rockchip 4.4.132                                              random    random
              kB  reclen    write  rewrite    read    reread    read     write
          102400       4    24818    29815    33896    34016    24308    28656
          102400      16    79104    90640   107607   108892    80643    89896
          102400     512   286583   288045   285021   293431   285016   298604
          102400    1024   315033   322207   320545   330923   320888   327650
          102400   16384   358314   353818   371869   384292   383404   354743
         1024000   16384   378748   381709   383865   384704   384113   381574
         
mmind 4.17.0-rc6-firefly                                     random    random
              kB  reclen    write  rewrite    read    reread    read     write
          102400       4    37532    42871    22224    21533    21483    39841
          102400      16    86016   104508    87895    87253    84424   102194
          102400     512   274257   294262   287394   296589   287757   304003
          102400    1024   294051   312527   317703   323938   323353   325371
          102400   16384   296354   340272   336480   352221   339591   340985
         1024000   16384   367949   189404   328094   330342   328136   139675

This was with an ASM1153 enclosure which shows slightly lower numbers than my usual JMS567 (all currently busy with other stuff). Performance with RK 4.4 kernel as expected, with mainline lower for whatever reasons. I also tried to test with my VIA VL716 enclosure directly attached to the USB-C port but ran into similar issues as with RockPro64 but since my enclosure and the cable also show problems when using at a MacBook Pro I suspect I should blame the hardware here and not USB-C PHY problems with RK3399.

 

This is NanoPC T4 with vendor's heatsink, lying flat on a surface that allows for some airflow below, running cpuburn-a53 on all 6 cores after half an hour:

13:57:31: 1008/1416MHz  8.44 100%   0%  99%   0%   0%   0% 91.1°C  0/5
13:57:40: 1008/1416MHz  8.52 100%   0%  99%   0%   0%   0% 91.1°C  0/5
13:57:48: 1008/1416MHz  8.51 100%   0%  99%   0%   0%   0% 91.1°C  0/5
13:57:57: 1200/1416MHz  8.47 100%   0%  99%   0%   0%   0% 90.6°C  0/5
13:58:05: 1200/1416MHz  8.47 100%   0%  99%   0%   0%   0% 91.1°C  0/5

So with heavy workloads you most probably need a fan to prevent throttling. 

 

Development related questions: IMO we should try to rely on single sources for all the various RK3399 boards that are now available or will be soon. And I would prefer ayufan's since he's somewhat in contact with RK guys and there's a lot of great information/feeback provided by TL Lim. What do others think?

 

Also an issue is IRQ affinity since on boards where PCIe is in use those interrupts should clearly end up on one of the big cores while on other boards USB3 and network IRQs are better candidates. I already talked about this with @Xalius ages ago and most probably the best idea is to switch from static IRQ affinity set at boot by armbian-hardware-optimization to a daemon that analyzes IRQ situation every minute and adopts then dynamically the best strategy.

 

Wrt information for endusers. All RK3399 boards basically behave the same since the relevant stuff is inside the SoC. There's only different DRAM (matters with regard to consumption and performance), different interfaces exposed and different power circuitry (and obviously different settings like e.g. cpufreq behaviour but I think we should consolidate those for all RK3399 boards). So you already find a lot of information in my ODROID-N1 'review', my SBC storage performance overview and most probably also a lot around RockPro64. No idea where to inform about RK3399 GPU/VPU stuff since not interested in these areas at all (hope others add references or direct information).

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

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Hey!

 

Just installed a fresh copy of the current Armbian for the NanoPC T4 and run into a few troubles. 

 

1) There are quite a few options missing from the armbian-config, for instance WiFi setup. However, eth0 works.

 

2) I also cannot get the eDP display working. WOuld it be possiibler to add the missing dts contend by overlay or has it to be included into the u-boot?

 

3) For HDMI I only have a small 800x480 screen that is also not detected correctly. However connecting it to my linux PC does work fine. SO how to modify startup to correctly set the HDMI to that specific resolution?

 

4) I could modify the system to pull the rootfs from the PCIe SSD and every file is moved there. but any time I pull the SD card, the old Frinedlyarm u-boot starts. I cannot get the Armbian u-boot to run instead and the installer option is missing from armbian-config.

 

What can I do to support? Is there any premature code I could test?

 

Regards!

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