Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

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NickC
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Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by NickC »

As per subject really - Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card or do I need to purchase one of the HardKernel proprietary ones?

Sorry is this is an idiot question but have only just started looking into Odroid N2+ for use as a TV box. Only thing which puts me off at the moment is the seeming use of proprietary eMMC cards, I would rather write the OS myself so that I can be confident of upgrading to a newer version in the future.

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Re: Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by Curmudgeon »

I think you'll find that BGA eMMC standard pertains to the physical arrangement of the interconnects for soldering to a PCB and does not relate to removable modules such as the HardKernel ones.
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NickC (Fri Dec 11, 2020 12:50 am)

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Re: Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by NickC »

Thanks

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Re: Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by NickC »

The more I look into eMMC the less I like it, beginning to think the best option might be to install OS on a USB SSD if that can be made bootable.

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Re: Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by Curmudgeon »

NickC wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:31 am
The more I look into eMMC the less I like it, beginning to think the best option might be to install OS on a USB SSD if that can be made bootable.
I suspect you may be assuming some eMMC limitations that are not real. From my experience, I find the eMMC module a very useful asset in my Odroid-N2. I also have a $1.50 eMMC Module Reader board that has been useful on a couple of occasions. Using Petitboot, you can access multiple boot images from eMMC and/or uSD although some OSs eg Android and Armbian demand partitioning arrangements that prevent or make difficult their use in a multi-boot context. I like the fact that an eMMC module does not compromise the N2's nice compact form factor. If you do decide to get a USB SSD, it "should" be bootable via Petitboot but not all devices are equal. I have a 120GB Toshiba X10 from which I cannot boot any images, yet it works fine as a data store ... very disappointing.
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NickC (Fri Dec 11, 2020 12:50 am)

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Re: Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by NickC »

Curmudgeon wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:22 am
I suspect you may be assuming some eMMC limitations that are not real. From my experience, I find the eMMC module a very useful asset in my Odroid-N2. I also have a $1.50 eMMC Module Reader board that has been useful on a couple of occasions. Using Petitboot, you can access multiple boot images from eMMC and/or uSD although some OSs eg Android and Armbian demand partitioning arrangements that prevent or make difficult their use in a multi-boot context. I like the fact that an eMMC module does not compromise the N2's nice compact form factor. If you do decide to get a USB SSD, it "should" be bootable via Petitboot but not all devices are equal. I have a 120GB Toshiba X10 from which I cannot boot any images, yet it works fine as a data store ... very disappointing.
The HardKernel eMMC modules just seem very expensive when compared to equivalent mSATA or M.2 SSD and, from what I can establish, are proprietary to HardKernel devices only, cannot be used elsewhere.

Is an eMMC module read-only or writable? If read-only where is user data stored? If writable then why is an eMMC Module Reader necessary to write newer versions of the OS?

To my mind it is rather a shame that the N2 doesn't have an mSATA or M.2 connector instead oof the eMMC. I wonder if HardKernel have thought about making an eMMC to mSATA/M.2 conversion board?

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Re: Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by mad_ady »

emmcs can be read and written. You need the "reader" board to adapt the emmc to usb or microsd, so you can attach it to the PC. For instance, HardKernel's $10 usb-emmc adapter board + an emmc becomes a very fast (depending on the emmc size) usb3 disk usable in any system.
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NickC (Fri Dec 11, 2020 6:48 am)

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Re: Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by NickC »

As I already have a 240Gb USB SSD laying around is there any advantage in buying an eMMC card?

Part of the problem is that over here in the UK we are paying a 50% premium over US $ prices which makes the Hardkernel eMMC cards quite expensive when compared to other forms of memory.

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Re: Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by mad_ady »

I'd say not really. A ssd should be fine for most use cases. You would get better performance from a larger capacity emmc (64/128G).
To increase performance move usb 1.1 devices like keyboards/mice/BT to a hub on the OTG port.
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NickC (Sun Dec 13, 2020 6:11 am)

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Re: Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by Curmudgeon »

mad_ady wrote:
Sun Dec 13, 2020 3:52 am
To increase performance move usb 1.1 devices like keyboards/mice/BT to a hub on the OTG port.
To what extent does the presence of USB 1.1 device(s) degrade the overall operation of the internal USB 3 hub?

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Re: Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by mad_ady »

I can't say, but historically speaking Amlogic SOCs had issues with mixing high/low speed usb devices.
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NickC (Mon Dec 14, 2020 11:56 pm)

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Re: Can I use any standard BGA eMMC card

Post by Curmudgeon »

I can understand how this might be problematic but I've seen no evidence in my use of Odroid-N2 or C4. I always have an old Logitech mouse and generic USB keyboard connected to 2 of the USB 3 ports, occasionally a WiFi dongle and often an old WD My Passport 320GB drive as well and sometimes a Toshiba USB 3 120GB X10 SSD but I've not been aware of any slow down. When connected to the Odroid-N2, the old WD My Passport drive cannot be trusted to accept file writes exceeding 600MB or so. It predictably stalls so I've learned not to use it for backing up large files any more. But as for general USB speed with a mix of USB devices, I've not been aware of any problem.

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