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zikzak

Performance/throttling problems with OPi One

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I finally decided to give armbian a try on my Orange Pi One.

Started without any issue and then I noticed that the 50°c idle. Sounds a bit high.

I compliled mplayer with j3 and saw the temperature reaching 90°c then throttling down the frequency to 600MHz with a temperature of 70°c.

Ultimately this board is nowhere faster than a RPI2 if it is stuck to 600MHz under heavy load.

Or my Orange PI One has a serious problem.

 

Any advice?

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For reasons unknown to me some Ones seem to suffer from heat problems. Solution is easy and the caveat I already mentioned in the review:

 

 

 

You need heatsinks that do not exceed 16x16 mm in size

 

The one that can be seen on the picture costs $0.4 (Aliexpress) and is a bit more effective than the more expensive ones I normally use. Should be able to prevent throttling already unless you put the One in a small enclosure with no airflow possible:

 

OPiOne_Review_Comparison.jpg

 

BTW: Since you talk about 600 MHz something is wrong since Armbian on the One only downclocks to 648 MHz. And being faster doesn't depend on CPU speed only but there are a few more factors that define 'performance' for example network and I/O (compiling stuff on a very slow SD card will result in slow compilation compared to using SD cards that show high random I/O performance)

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I did not remember the exact figures so I believe you are right and that the value was exactly 648MHz.

I'll order a heatsink but even without it I can't believe they released a board that go up to 90°c in a couple of seconds without noticing it.

I was compling mplayer when I saw via rpimonitor the report.

I wanted to upgrade the kernel too but the procedure is failing on the second step (time ou on: apt-key adv --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 0x93D6889F9F0E78D5).

The easy way failed too with some syntax errors around line 73 if I remember well (wget -q -O - http://upgrade.armbian.com| bash).

 

My purpose for this cheap SBC will be video transcoding, I'm patient I do not need a noisy powerhouse but neither do I need something almost able to boil water ^_^

Before that it was a Raspberry 2 performing the task, slowly but surely. The Orange Pi One is supposed to be more powerful.

 

If you have any advice while I wait for the heatsink and some other part to arrive I'm all hears.

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I'll order a heatsink but even without it I can't believe they released a board that go up to 90°c in a couple of seconds without noticing it.

 

Quite normal with all modern SoCs. Look at the ODROID C1+/C2, they wear a huge heatsink for a reason. But you can't expect the same for an Orange Pi One/PC worth $10/$15 so it's up to you to take care if you want to use heavy CPU bound applications there (other stuff like HW accelerated video decoding -- HEVC/1080p! -- doesn't heat up the SoC that much and consumption only increases by 0.3-0.8W). At least Armbian implements sane throttling strategies instead of killing CPU cores in such a situation. With Xunlong's OS images you would already run a single core board ;)

 

Also 'boiling water' can be a valid use case since all modern SoCs are specified to work above 100°C (it's a bad idea anyway but it should work -- see this here to get the idea that not only throttling alone is responsible for worse performance at higher temperatures)

 

There's no need to use upgrade.armbian.com since normal updates are available through apt-get update|upgrade (even kernel updates when available)

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Oh I do not expect stellar performances but on the long run the it suits my needs. Small, silent, and reliable... Well the latter not entirely true with this new MHz race in ARM cpus.

Talking about massive heatsinks I also have an Odroid U2, never worked properly though.

 

Current task of my ARM boards are a webserver, the PI2 to encode my DVDs to SD content (VP8 + Opus, VP9 is too cpu intensive to encode on this hardware). Orange Pi One was supposed to replace it nicely and the PI2 turned into an gaming system via retropie.

 

If you are sure that the Orange Pi One can run at 70°C 648MHz for a week (transcoding video) then I'll let it do that, heatsink will sake its skin.

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If you are sure that the Orange Pi One can run at 70°C 648MHz for a week (transcoding video) then I'll let it do that, heatsink will sake its skin.

 

The 'problem' with the One when used with CPU intensive applications and no heatsink is that it will perform significantly slower compared to the Orange Pi PC due to the following reason: the voltage regulator used. The PC has one where the VCC_CPUX can be adjusted finegraded through I2C and the One a more primitive that only knows two settings: 1.1V (@648 MHz) and 1.3V (for all cpufreq operating points above).

 

So where the PC would nicely jump between 1296 and 480 and adjusts its core voltage between 980mV and 1320mV the One will be at 1100mV at its lowest clockspeed and heat up at 1.3V on every other clockspeed. And the voltage is more or less responsible for higher chip temperatures which in turn lead to throttling happening earlier. I would suspect that in your situation an Orange Pi PC might work twice as fast due to the simple fact that it's able to adjust VDD_CPUX better.

 

I misued a high performance benchmark in the meantime to show thermal throttling influence on performance (the khash/s indicator) and this would demonstrate a really huge difference regarding One vs. PC... when used without heatsinks. But 'unfortunately' all my Oranges wear a safety helmet in the meantime so this is stuff I would demonstrate maybe with the NanoPi M1 (nice Xunlong rip-off) instead.

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I saw the details on a wikipage (sunxi?) but unfortunately that's the kind of important details you do not know before people purchase the board and encounter the first problem of the faulty design.

In the end I get cheap product for cheap, no wonder ^_^

 

If the hardware can sustain the heat (and so selfprotect from damages) I'm ok with that. As I said I plan to replace the RPi2 with the Orange Pi One so if the performances are on a par or better with the latter it's all good.

Heatsinks are ordered, meanwhile I'll keep the board aside and use the Rpi2 again.

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If the hardware can sustain the heat (and so selfprotect from damages) I'm ok with that.

 

It's not the hardware but it's software/settings instead. ;)

 

We (linux-sunxi community and here at Armbian) did quite a lot of research how to choose optimal settings for voltages and thermal throttling. Since the OPi One can only operate on 2 voltages there are IMO only 2 perfect use cases: Idling around or doing HW accelerated stuff (eg. video decoding) while being limited to 648MHz max (then it consumes more power than an OPi PC running at the same speed but hey... it has been a few bucks cheaper) or running under full constant load at 1200MHz (heatsink required).

 

When being busy at 648 MHz the H3 is still faster than most dual core SoCs so this mode makes some sense. But to be able to constantly operate it with full speed when doing CPU intensive stuff a heatsink might be necessary.

 

BTW: I won't/can't guarantee you that your H3 will still operate reliably when running at 90°C for a weeks (please test that on your own) but at least according to the datasheet maximum temperatures are rather high and we chose with our settings to leave some safety headroom (since sensor readouts might be wrong and so on).

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Faster than other SOC at 648MHz but you must mean it is when using the HW decoding part.

My use is an headless device and I do not think that ffmpeg will benefit of the HW decoding to then encode to VP8.

 

I'll not run a device at 90°c, that's borderline insane if you ask me. I'll wait for the heatsink to arrive, taht's a bit unfortunate because for once I have a SBC that is well supported by a community. The armbian image worked flawlessly rightaway. Just some faq entries are not applicable (certainly not up to date).

 

For a sub-$10, this SBC is more of a test for me while I wait for Olimex to release a better design. I had a olinuxino-A10 from them and it worked fine for at least a year until it simply stopped doing so :)

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So eventually I decided to take time to plug back the Orange Pi One with its shiny heatsink. Idle is at 50°C.

Fully loaded went up to 70°C.

 

I'll see to stress it over a long period (transcoding DVD content), without a heatsink I reached 90°C so for sure there is quite an improvement and these boards should not be sold without one IMHO.

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Idle is at 50°C ... these boards should not be sold without one IMHO.

 

You should try to adopt our new dvfs settings manually unless we roll out next Armbian version where this is fixed: https://github.com/igorpecovnik/lib/issues/284#issuecomment-216655399

 

And I still don't get it why people don't get it that they bought Orange Pi One only for one single reason: Since it's dirt cheap! Do you really want lowest price possible combined with as much components as possible?

 

Selling cheap while delivering hardware quality seems to be Xunlong's selling point (at least software/support clearly aren't). So you end up with compromises. You could complain that there aren't mounting holes for some sort of a 'standard heatsink' (which does not even exists) but where's the point demanding a part that increases cost of the board by 5% when the board's only selling point is the price and you can add this stuff yourself pretty easy?

 

BTW: We're still talking about dirt cheap SBCs equipped with dirt cheap SoCs that were made for Android OTT boxes (read as: Not designed to run CPU intensive stuff anyway since HW acceleration helps with video encoding/decoding and 3D acceleration). No one knows what to expect regarding longevity if H3 runs constantly under full load. No one knows whether higher temperatures decrease the SoC's lifespan more or higher VDD_CPUX voltage. It's simply unknown since it would take months/years and at least 100 devices to test through.

 

But it might be possible that your device without heatsink and with the new THS settings applied lives longer at 90°C (and 816MHz or 1008MHz @ 1.1V) then at 70°C (and 1200MHz @ 1.3V). No one knows and it's currently all about feelings (read as: most likely wrong assumptions).

 

If I would care about longevity (which I don't do) and use OPi One for such purposes (which I never would since OPi PC is the better device due to better voltage regulator there) then I would immediately try to explore the highest stable clockspeed at 1.1V VDD_CPUX (might be 1008MHz or even more), adjust the dvfs table and limit maximum cpufreq to this. Since http://asic-soc.blogspot.de/2008/03/process-variations-and-static-timing.html

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What @tkaiser wrote is pure truth. Today i received OpiOne and playing a bit. This board have so many cons compared to OpiPC making it worthless. I was planned to mostly play with it and perhaps use it as Kodi/OpenElec box, but due to a small memory 4k contents are unplayable, although the rest is playing as in OpiPC. But this temperature, wow. >50°C idle with this heatsink as in pictures above (i don't even dare to use it with naked soc), in Kodi >60°C idle, easily reach >80°C. Command line Armbian installs and runs as usual, but have not tested a lot. The only advantage i see is also disadvantage in some cases - the board is smaller than PC, but i have to think about more serious heatsink and this size and placement make my job a lot harder.

So there is no sane reason to choose this instead of OpiPC, only if you want to play with it with no serious purpose. I wouldn't use it at this temperature for anything. Not to mention it's probably require more serious power adapter.

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I was not aware before purchasing it that it was that bad. I have a Rasp2 and it works fine so I believed that the H3 at 1.2GHz would replace it nicely.

 

I applied the changed so now the lowest frequecy is 480MHz and the temperature is at 46°C.

Then I compiled mplayer and 81°C was reached and the frequency dropped from 1.2GHz to 1GHz, eventually the compliation was successful.

 

RPIMONITOR.png

 

I'm glad that armbian provides support where the manufacturer doesn't. Otherwise this hardware would be useless.

 

Is there a topic ranking the board supported by Armbian? With pros and cons for newcomers like me to make a sound choice.

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Then I compiled mplayer and 81°C was reached and the frequency dropped from 1.2GHz to 1GHz ...

 

You could increase the 1st trip point to 90°C so throttling jumps in later (you would've to increase them all but I won't exceed 110°C for the critical shutdown temperature!).

 

We set it that low since we wanted consistent results accross all H3 boards and didn't shipped with our core keeper service prior to 5.10 (so heavy load peaks would've led to disabled CPU cores instead that would never come back until you reboot. Now fixed by a service that activates CPU cores when temperatures are low again).

 

Board ranking? How should that work? Depends on the use case and priorities. And honestly I do not care about most of the stuff especially H3 users are interested in (video/audio/GUI for example) and I would suspect that applies to the other active Armbian devs too (we still miss a volunteer skilled/interested in this area). So who should make such a ranking anyway?

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I'm fine with a throttling when passing 80°c, I do not want to jeopardize the stability of the hardware. 1GHz is still faster than teh Raspberry2 anyway.

 

By board ranking I meant some comparison about features, the quantified ones (number of cores, frequency, power usage, price etc.) and the not-quatified ones (video capabilities, emulation, heatsink required etc.).

Early adopters would return the information I guess. A simple form would help to gather the information. The idea is that new users could aim for the best board for their usage.

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I'm fine with a throttling when passing 80°c, I do not want to jeopardize the stability of the hardware.

 

So sad. When will people understand that they can not compare their own body with a modern SoC? Yeah, 80°C feel hot when you touch it with your fingers and you might have the feeling you have to protect the poor SoC that it doesn't get hurt too. But stability is more related to voltages. The one supplied by the PSU to the board (here Oranges have a huge advantages over Raspberries since the latter are plagued by undervoltage due to the crappy USB connector used there for DC-IN) and the one supplied by one of the voltage regulators on the board to the CPU (called VDD_CPUX). The whole stability thing is only remotely related to temperatures. But I will stop repeating this over and over again since people love good feelings and when they feel their SoC is healthy then everything's fine.

 

Regarding your ranking: Simply impossible especially when being fed by newbies. This would be a full time job for an experienced person keeping things up to date and even stuff like prices that seems easy isn't since many people are dumb and let themselve be fooled all the time.

 

Since we're talking about Orange Pi One: Here's a fresh featured DEAL many people will be dumb enough to choose ($20,42 including shipping) while you get the same board from its manufacturer for $13.50 including shipping (to germany in this case) and most people will moronically insist that OPi One costs $10 (useless number unless shipping is included since there is no local store worldwide where you could pick it up for this price)

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Ok, so if it is perfectly safe to let it run at 80°C and up my current test will succeed, which is a transcoding (VP8 and Opus) of a 2h DVD in total silence, time is not of the essence but stability is.

Obviously this temprature is not taken at the surface of the heatsink so the heat is exchanged properly, human would not support to touch a surface above 40°C without noticing the pain.

 

I agree that the gathering the data from early adpoters and newbies will result in unreliable results at first but ultimately it would prevent users to purchase board and complain afterward. I compalined about this board temperature issues and seeked information from armbian Forum and your expertise because that's the most reliable source of information. Armbian rocks!

I'll continue to visit Armbian when new boards show up in order to see what the experts have to say about them ;-)

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You may take a look to this thread too:

 

http://forum.armbian.com/index.php/topic/1010-orange-pi-one-1200-mhz-with-low-voltage/

 

I tried to run the Opi One at 1.2 Ghz with 1.100 volts.

 

Well, that's basically what I wanted to suggest above:

 

I would immediately try to explore the highest stable clockspeed at 1.1V VDD_CPUX (might be 1008MHz or even more), adjust the dvfs table and limit maximum cpufreq to this

 

It's somewhat surprising to see 1200MHz possible with just 1.1V VDD_CPUX but since we're talking about dirt cheap SoCs that aren't subject to a selection process (like with expensive Intel CPUs for example) it might be possible. But the specific tolerance has to be tested on each H3 individually.

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8 hours to transcode 2hours of video. Worked flawlessly. Way faster than my raspberry2.

 

So again, thanks to armbian for the distribution that allows it.

 

rpimonitor.png

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8 hours to transcode 2hours of video. Worked flawlessly. Way faster than my raspberry2.

 

So again, thanks to armbian for the distribution that allows it.

 

Why don't you consider using Intel machine for such task. Especially with Intel Quick Sync technology. I suppose such 2h video would be encoded in 15 minutes or maybe less depending on CPU/GPU. Even simple Baytrail Atoms support this technology,

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Because I simply considered to go the other way around, I do not high speed and something collecting dust because it will be on for 15 minutes and doing nothing at all the rest of the time and taking quite some room.

 

That what I like in the simplicity of a Single Board Computer, it doesn't eat a crazy amount of energy, it is dead silent and it is very discreet.

I really do not need a powerhouse machine. Actually I always aimed at low power CPUs (I used an Atom 270 until its PSU and fan failed).

The simpler the better.

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