Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

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Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by ewmayer » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:50 am


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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by ASword » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:11 am

Yeah, I’ve been watching them closely but stock available for sale is still limited and software support looks a bit weak. The community is nowhere near what odroid has, currently. There are several rockchip R3399 boards now, all of which IMO validates HK’s choice to skip competing with them head to head. They need some differentiator in the hardware.

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by Vasant » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:51 am

There are a lot of RK3399 boards available. The only problem with all of them is that there is no support, no wiki pages, no links to kernel git etc.
In other words a lot of useless boards. So I am still waiting for HK's N2.

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by crashoverride » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:06 am

My ARM SBC Graveyard constantly reminds me that it takes more than hardware to have a product that is actually usable. The N1 is still the only RK3399 board where everything works (in linux). N1 is the board they should be cloning. ;)

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by memeka » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:53 am

Actually rock pi model b is pretty great, hardware wise. I like it better than the n1 layout...
But doesn’t matter now anyway :)

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by crashoverride » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:17 am

memeka wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:53 am
I like it better than the n1 layout...
If only they put the CPU on the correct (top) side of the board!
:lol:

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by memeka » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:20 pm

I like the factor, rpi size fits stuff
I like they have all USB hosts, they didn’t put USB-c connector like all the others or usb3 hub - also like n1 they have 2xusb3 not 1
I like the poe!
Wifi ac, bt5
It’s got colourful GPIOs :)
Wide range input voltage

Not bad I say

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by ewmayer » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:17 pm

Re. software, the friend who sent me the link to the LinuxGizmos article says he's using this Linux image:

rk3399-sd-friendlycore-bionic-4.4-arm64-20181219.img (headless Ubuntu 18.04)

so for barebones-Linuxers like me there's enough to build code and such. Like most here I hope the N2 comes out soon, but the longer the delay, the more folks are going to consider the choice:

A. Cheap and available hardware, software & 'ecosystem' could be better;

B. Great user base and software, no hardware to run it on;

...and choose 'A'. You can't beat something with nothing.

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by FbS » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:52 pm

Yep. I think I'll choose A.

Any advice about the RockPro64 board ?

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by rooted » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:33 pm

meh, the price is right I guess.

NicoD did a review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eV-uPOyVlg

And the comment thread on cnxsoft is quite informational.

https://www.cnx-software.com/2018/11/08 ... 399-board/

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by ASword » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:05 am

I’ve been hoping to see a kernel of at least v4.14, but the R3399 crowd doesn’t seem to be close to that yet. Not sure why the hold up.

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by tkaiser » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:10 am

ASword wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:05 am
I’ve been hoping to see a kernel of at least v4.14, but the R3399 crowd doesn’t seem to be close to that yet. Not sure why the hold up.
Mainline works pretty well with RK3399 as long as you don't need the 'media stuff'. And all those RK3399 thingies are the same from a software point of view anyway...

For the 'media stuff' still RK's 4.4 kernel is the best choice for RK3399. But some adjustments to the software stack are needed: https://forum.armbian.com/topic/9272-de ... ia-script/

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by tkaiser » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:27 am

Vasant wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:51 am
There are a lot of RK3399 boards available. The only problem with all of them is that there is no support, no wiki pages, no links to kernel git etc.
Not true. 'Links to kernel git'... for what? It's either RK's 4.4. kernel with just minor modifications or mainline Linux. There's no differentiation criteria (Hardkernel would need).

No support? No wiki? Depends. Both Hardkernel and FriendlyELEC provide sufficient documentation and also OS images but FE sucks at user support -- at least via their forum. Radxa/RockPi tries to follow. Situation with Pine64 is different (TL Lim provides hardware and insights and sensational feedback loops Hardkernel could learn a lot from... but all the software efforts are a community thing. Though this works pretty well mostly thanks to ayufan's great work).

Hardkernel most probably simply started too early with their RK3399 board (basing on an older Rockchip reference design) while at the same time not able to compete with the pricing structure of their RK3399 'competitors' (mostly due to customers not able to compare prices correctly and forgetting about shipping costs, customs and VAT)

https://www.cnx-software.com/2019/01/15 ... ent-559949

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by ASword » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:43 am

Media stuff like the GPU with OpenCL?

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by crashoverride » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:46 pm

tkaiser wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:27 am
TL Lim provides hardware and insights and sensational feedback
I stated elsewhere that he really does a very remarkable job at that. However, its the software support that prevents my use of their products. My N1 is still in active use, but my RockPro64 is in the ARM SBC Graveyard (along with other RK3399 boards all of which never got stable Linux images).

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by tkaiser » Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:20 pm

ASword wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:43 am
Media stuff like the GPU with OpenCL?
Just check the link to the 'RK3399 media script' thread above and read the fine print. And you might read other JMCC posts in Armbian forum too with OpenCL benchmarks on various ARM SoCs and so on (I usually skip reading this since not interested in anything display/GPU related).
crashoverride wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:46 pm
tkaiser wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:27 am
TL Lim provides hardware and insights and sensational feedback
I stated elsewhere that
Sorry, I was talking about 'feedback loop' and the last word is more important than anything else. I meant Pine64 products are developed more openly. Their first board (Pine64) is something I still call a support nightmare due to a few small hardware flaws (Micro USB for DC-IN, only a power led, choosing an Allwinner SoC with horrible software support by SoC vendor, resulting in no display output on an awful lot of HDMI displays).

But they learned quickly and every other board/device they made since has always been designed in close collaboration with community and countless design changes have been incorporated caused by community feedback. Hardkernel on the other hand presents hardware designs only when finished. I would believe both attempts have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Wrt OS images: All the magic happens inside the SoC, and kernel sources are also a SoC and not a board thing. If you have a 'stable image' that runs on one RK3399 device it will run on any other RK3399 board too since all that's needed is exchanging DT and a bootloader BLOB that handles DRAM initialization. It's rather impossible to differentiate RK3399 hardware by software support situation. Well, true for any other ARM SoC as well.

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by tkaiser » Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:37 pm

[RockPi]
memeka wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:20 pm
also like n1 they have 2xusb3 not 1
BTW: Tom (the person behind Radxa) told me that this design decision was solely based on a still outstanding software fix by Rockchip. On N1 (and any other RK3399 thingy out there so far) both USB3 host ports share a 5 Gbps bandwidth limitation. Attach 2 fast peripherals that could saturate 5 Gbps each and they end up being bottlenecked to this value for both. According to Tom Rockchip has fixed this but he wasn't able back then when I got my RockPi sample to reference a commit or provide an image with this fix applied.

So my comical early dev sample (see the 'CE logo') is still waiting to be reviewed: https://github.com/ThomasKaiser/Knowled ... k_Pi_4B.md

Just mentioned it here for the few N1 owners since of course they might benefit from this fix too by updating the kernel.
memeka wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:20 pm
Wide range input voltage
Not really. It's QC (Qualcomm QuickCharge) and USB PD (USB power delivery specs) compatible so you can not use any power source providing 5V to 20V but need a QC or USB PD compatible charger. In it's current form USB-C powering is still much worse compared to powering via barrel plug with wide range or 12V voltage input as on the N1, RockPro64, NanoPC-T4 or 'Rock960 Enterprise Edition' (to name those RK3399 boards that can be powered reliably and inexpensive at the same time).

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by crashoverride » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:08 pm

As someone that does development in both kernel and user space, I disagree with the previous assertions. However, in the interest of forum civility, I will simply leave it at that and "agree to disagree". There is nothing to be gained by "yet another flamewar" considering RK3399 is "someone else's problem" with the cancellation of N1.

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by tkaiser » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:30 pm

ewmayer wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:17 pm
Re. software, the friend who sent me the link to the LinuxGizmos article says he's using this Linux image:

rk3399-sd-friendlycore-bionic-4.4-arm64-20181219.img (headless Ubuntu 18.04)
In other words: Your friend is currently using (and you're planning to use?) a Linux image built for FriendlyELEC's RK3399 boards: https://github.com/friendlyarm/sd-fuse_rk3399

The three FriendlyELEC RK3399 thingies (NanoPi M4, NEO4 and NanoPC-T4) are almost identical from a software point of view. The basics are all contained in rk3399-nanopi4-common.dtsi and just a few minor differences (eMMC, I2S and Wi-Fi) are defined in the rk3399-nanopi4-rev0*.dts files: https://github.com/friendlyarm/kernel-r ... s/rockchip

So if RockPi 4 runs with those FriendlyELEC OS images that's just due to all those boards being based on current Rockchip reference design and... almost identical. But IMO there's no need to use FriendlyELEC images. At least you should exchange the DT bits with the respective .dts file for the RockPi 4 (not for mainline kernel but the 4.4 variant: https://github.com/radxa/kernel -- same location as above --> arch/arm64/boot/dts/rockchip) but I personally would choose an Armbian image due to containing a few more optimizations and using a cleaner partition layout.

Edit/addendum: With mainline images (both u-boot and kernel) 'compatibility' is even greater since RK3399 thingies based on old RK reference design work flawlessly with (Armbian) images created for other RK3399 thingies derived from RK's more recent reference design: https://forum.armbian.com/topic/8069-or ... ment=68401 (the culprit is DRAM initialization)

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by crashoverride » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:58 am

Ironically, the above post illustrates the situation quite well. For other vendor boards, advertising, software support, and discussion happens on the HardKernel forum in a section for a canceled product!
:lol:

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by elatllat » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:31 pm

tkaiser wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:27 am
... just minor modifications or mainline Linux...
Please show how here.

Yes colored gpio is a good idea, reminds me of the colored headphone / microphone io.

radxa documentation is actually the best I've seen.
Last edited by elatllat on Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by tkaiser » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:42 pm

elatllat wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:31 pm
tkaiser wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:27 am
... just minor modifications or mainline Linux...
Please show how here.
I already thought twice about joining this thread. But since @crashoveride shows again that he owns this forum and I would need his permission for posting here or he will otherwise do what he always does (calling me stupid, an idiot, a d-bag and so on, forcing Justin to close yet another thread)... no thanks :)

Just one hint: there's a bunch of people dealing collectively with those RK3399 board bring up issues over at Armbian and everything they do happens in the open mostly in the armbian/build Github repo and the forum.

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Re: Meanwhile, the competition has not been sleeping...

Unread post by ASword » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:50 am

Well, my RockPi Model A is on its way. I guess I'll find out how slick their ecosystem is (for server type applications).

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