There was also very little software support. The occasional community build of of Ubuntu or Android. Neither of which received much in the way of bug fixes or development.
I appreciate it was designed as a "tinkering" machine - but it's hard to tinker when the basics don't work.
Devices like this live and die by their community. If you don't have lots of committed people working on supporting a platform it quickly withers and dies.
I like the look of the "pro" model. But if it receives the same lack of attention as their earlier hardware, it won't be worth buying.
Only when people run into things like that, they get appreciation for people making decent low-end hardware.
I say, it is twice as hard to design a decent $300 laptop that a decent $1000 laptop.
Supply chain for low-end parts is a total Wild West (or East if you want.) If you want 100k top-tier panels from Samsung, you sign the contact and go away having a good sleep. If you want 100k of ok quality and moderately priced panels, you are up for a lot of sleepless nights picking them up from random distributors, through all of manufacturing run.
For touchpads that don't go on standalone modules, calibration is also case by case. Some times, it simply doesn't work - you plastic is too thick, it's dielectric value is off. Ideally, you have a specialist company making a custom made module for you, with Synaptics blessing, but for budget stuff, you your only option is to calibrate it yourself using SDKs leaked to Chinese FTPs
And stuff like keyboards - there are no dedicated keyboard module makers these days, your chassis maker is doing that nowadays. You are up for a lot of trial and error on that, and if you want any custom switches, god save you.
Ideally, if you are a budget maker, you want to spin as many models on a single "chassis" as possible to cover RnD expenses. This is the only way big ODMs like Quanta and Clevo or brands like Asus can make cheap and moderately good stuff.
Trying to be small and differentiated differentiated is the hardest thing to do for a budget OEM.
Checkout a brand called Chuwi - it's a miracle how they can make five different chassis a year, and do it profitably, while being an e-commerce-only brand.
Casio is a well-established brand and gets the benefits of scale, but that only makes some parts of the job easier. They still have to carve out market share one product at a time, like everyone else, and they don't do it through the expensive flagship pieces.
This is exactly why I gave up on the PINE ecosystem. Their hardware is amazing. But their software support is dreadful. I don’t understand why they cannot have PINE supported OS builds.
I am with Linus on this "server ARM revolution won't happen". I've had to fix an ARM incompatibility that QEMU didn't emulate (related to hardware timers). Pine64 wasn't in stock. I got RPI, but compilation on that toy machine was soooo slooow that I literally forgot about the whole project before it finished compiling.
About $1000 will get you a Snapdragon 845 devkit with 6GB RAM which is again quite a bit faster. 4 big cores and 4 little cores. ~8500 geekbench.
$6400 will get you a 96 core ARM server.
$300 for a tiny Kirin 970 board with 6GB RAM.
$1200 will get you a Developerbox, 24 A53 cores, also PCIe and FOSS firmware.
£2255 will get you a 32-core Ampere eMAG workstation
You can also order a system from Ampere directly, no public prices but they might be offering 16-core systems for less.
The chip is 16 core 2ghz (maybe 2.2ghz for production), up to 64GB of DDR4
The board will be
ATX PSU / 12v input
1xNVME (x4 lanes)
PCIe gen 4 x8 open slot (gen3 for LX2160A first silicon) PCIe add-in card
1x USB 3 in the back
2x USB 2.0 in the back
2x USB 3 header for front panel
2x USB 2.0 header for front panel
1xQSFP28 100Gbps cage (100Gbps/4x25Gbps/4x10Gbps)
1 1Gbps rj45 ethernet
Multiple FAN connectors; one of them with PWM / Tach
USB to STM32 for remote management (on/off, remote SPI flash etc...)
The barebones board and COM will be sub $500. So adding all the bells and whistles you are going to looking at minimum $750 for a full working system. We have a proper Developer Workstation spec'd out in the $1300 range. Radeon GPU with multi-display support, 32GB of memory, 1TB NVME, nice looking compact mini-itx case, cooling loop etc.
Just for comparison a full ARM64 kernel build takes about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The same build on a ThreadRipper2 16 core / 32 thread takes 50 seconds. However the ThreadRipper is a 200Watt CPU and this is a 30Watt SOC
Just a little heads up that options are coming.
How to compile: http://wiki.macchiatobin.net/tiki-index.php?page=Build+from+...
How to run without flashing: https://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-arm/2018-October... (at the bottom) (tl;dr the 'bubt' command)
I'll have to revisit the TianoCore build as my previous attempts to use it were miserable failures. I assume due to the fact that my OS isn't arranged in such a way as to support EFI booting.
I would love to get it up and running as my gut feeling is that running on a platform that less than 0.0000001% of users are using insulates you from almost all automated attacks I'd encounter on the internet. The only thing I'd feel more secure using would be a Talos PowerPC based system, but those are out of my budget.
I for one would love to see an ARM desktop; I'm already a Linux user and I've largely stopped gaming so there's no reason for me to stick around x86 except that that's basically all I can get. Architecturally I find ARM much cleaner and nice to use, without all of the crufty 8-bit/16-bit/32-bit compatibility shims that we're stuck with because of the evolution of the x86-64 [ed: was IA64] architecture.
I think that is pretty much as good as they get.
Is this really the best ARM can do?
Been really happy to have it around! Nice to see the company continue to deliver new products. I might pick up one of those camera cubes. Bravo Pine64!
RM produce designs for a GPU called 'Mali'. This is incorporated in many SoCs and thus devices. It is used in a number of devices that can run Debian.
There are three major revisions of Mali GPUs: Utgard, Midgard, and Bifrost. See wikipedia page for reference.
Partial free drivers were developed for Utgard but were abandoned (lima). Work on Utgard has continued by a new set of developers (lima). Free drivers for Midgard and Bifrost are under active development but are not yet ready for Debian users (panfrost).
Proprietary drivers are also available from the vendor for each Mali version. Since 2016, the binary drivers put out by ARM have been redistributable and thus can be packaged for non-free. GPLed kernel shim drivers are also released by ARM, which is eligible for Debian contrib. As of March 2017, these have been packaged in Debian for Midgard devices; see MaliMidgard. Upstream proprietary drivers are available from The ARM developer site
> ARM dropped support for X in their releases after r16 (Jan 2017). This is a massive pain as that's what we all still use. Only wayland, fbdev and android are supported after that.
If that's not misleading and there would be no proper X support the laptop is a no-starter for me. On the other hand, panfrost is in mesa now and https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Panfrost... sounds promising. Maybe that free driver will be ready till then.
Speed wise though, it's plenty fast.
May be a little out of date though.
There are blobs, but I didn't manage to get them to work with recent Xorg or Wayland.
But there's hope in the form of Panfrost, which seems to be coming along nicely: https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Panfrost...
Raspberry Pi _could_ have offered 4GB+ of it, and they could also have quadrupled the price.
As much as I'd love a Pi with 4GB+ of RAM, is quite obvious why the $35 computer doesn't have it.
Raspberry Pi's SoC does not support more RAM than the 1 GiB that it now has. This is as far as I am aware considered a serious problem by the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
I don't know by what they thus plan to replace the SoC in the future.
As I understand it the SoC in the Pi was some older IP that was licensed to them (RPF/Eben) for free (or close to) by Broadcom.
The RPF will have to sink so significant cost into a new SoC (and I choose to believe that this is already happening, as we speak).
The reason is because it can't. Almost all SBCs are based on TV boxes (including the Rasberry Pi) which don't need more than 4 GB of RAM and are designed to only support that much.
Edit : "Pricing will remain the same with the 1GB model priced at $24.95, the 2GB model at $34.95, and the 4GB model at $44.95."
I don't see how the Pi Foundation can cater to all of them. Although, I do expect the Pi 4 next year to address at least some of them.
In the mean time, there are great devices, like the RockPro64.
These boards are kind of hamstrung by lack of Mali support from what I can tell. If you want a cheap single use server board they are great but they don’t compare to Raspberry Pi’s community and support ecosystem.
I switched to a Rock 960 and had a much better experience.
The hardware support was abysmal from day one; the only recourse was a message board where suggestions from the makers included using a magnifying glass to look for bad surface mount welds on resistors.
Dietpi later came out with an image for the Rock64 (those folks really walk on water in my eyes), which has saved my Rock from the bin (all the officially supported linux builds were rife with crashes), and I'm currently using it as a massively overpowered nginx server (because I don't trust the hardware for anything else at this point).
tl;dr - I would not buy something from Pine64 again.
>The new version will add Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) support
_Integrated_ PoE? I’ve been waiting a looong time for a reasonably-priced SBC to offer this. Anyone know if that’s the case?
I hope it's successful though.
Especially the $20 "naked" digital camera core ("The Cube") looks like it might trigger loads of cool projects. I guess it runs Linux, since it's pretty high-specced and has rich I/O. Power over Ethernet support suggests fixed installations is a niche (like security cameras, smart homes, automation and so on), but it might also be useful for visual effects. Cool stuff.
I think this:
Over the last year or two we’ve seen the Raspberry Pi form factor starting to become a defacto standard for single-board computers, much like Adafruit’s Feather has for micro-controllers
was a bit surprising, Feather is cool but surely it's an attempt to establish another standard, since Arduino already is the standard for microcontrollers? It was a bit weird that Arduino wasn't mentioned, there.
Looking forward to seeing when these become possible to order.
Phones have been able to do this for years, but I can't find any modern Linux SBCs with real lower power CPU modes to last for days.
* ideally 1+GHz with 4GB RAM and on-board lipo charging circuit
If something major breaks software-wise you can be pretty sure that the rPi community is large enough to produce a fix within hours.
OTOH if you'd like a new kernel for that fancy $65 big.LITTLE 4GB dualchannel ECC Gigabit PCIe SBC then you're at the mercy of your vendor who considers 4.4 LTS ought to be good enough and already reassigned the entire dev team to work on a future hardware release. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
For me, CPU power and RAM are not that important, I don't need MacOS (any unix system will do for me) and I don't play games (or at least none that would require a powerful GPU).
The pinebook offers 4k60 over USB-C (my MPB only does 4k30 over hdmi, and the mDP ports on the early rMBP have a design flaw that makes them unusable for 4k monitors). The 10Ah battery in combination with the low-power hardware should give very good battery life.
What I'm looking for in a laptop is a metal case, decent keyboard and upgradability. The pinebook seems to offer just that. At a low enough pricepoint not to be disappointed if it has some flaws. (Any flaw on a 3000 euro macbook would make me mad, and it has many).
what is the context on this? I have a 2015 MBPr hooked up to two 4k monitors on my desk right now, and I am not having any issues...
I would also worry about the GFX ability to actually output 4k/60 for anything other than a terminal (The ARM Mali-T860MP4 GPU doesn't look like it is going to be able to deal with 4k video for example)
It seems like a signal timing issue on the early motherboards. The macbook negotiates 60Hz with the monitor, but as soon as the monitor switches to 60Hz it loses sync. If you install linux you can work around this issue by forcing the output to 30Hz.
The issue was solved in the following motherboard revision, somewhere in 2013. So that's why your MBP plays nice with your monitors.
(btw, I was not complaining that my almost-7-year-old 2012 device does not work with modern 4k displays. I was just trying to explain why a 200USD pinebook would be an upgrade over my 2012 macbook.)
An example of how people are unhappy: