Saturday, 23 December 2017

Bananna Pi M2 Zero

A very interesting board indeed, its a zero in its layout, but this time a quad core.. Sadly only a Mali 400Mp2 but it should out perform the Raspberry Zero.

As always though the software isn't here yet, Armbian does a fair attempt at getting it up and running but terrible graphic glitching makes it useless for any kind of graphic systems, and it GLMark2-es seemed to think it had OpenGLES3.0 GPU on board, the Mali 400's are strictly ES2.0 which probably explains why it wasn't able to complete the tests,though it did get quite far into them, though very slow

I'll do an update/upgrade cycle on it from time to time to see if there's any improvement, but for now this is a non starter for our gaming purposes.

Also interesting to note it gets bloody hot, I put a heat sink on it, wouldn't want to run without.

edit... ok I found a slightly older verison of the Armbian/ubuntu test build which installed at 720p and it is much more stable, after update and upgrade it is quite stable, no glitching and GLMark2-es2 worked better, showed as Mali400 and ran all the tests, but it reported a really crap score of 52, which is feeble compared to a Raspberry, even the Zero.

Not sure what to make of this, its quad cores make it a great unit, its crap graphics make it pretty useless, but functional barely. I guess as with all maker boards it depends what you want to do with it, if you need a small cpu system, its amazing.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Hmmm bit too early for the UpCore

The UpCore has given me a few issues, not least of which was a reluctance to actually boot. But a request for help on the Up forums eventually yielded a solution, turn it on and off again...basically.

Removal of the battery for 30 seconds or so, and reconnect, saw it finally boot up.

But oh boy its slow. It also had no GL or GLES drivers, or GDB on board, though these were easy enough to install, and getting a buildable config was fairly painless.

However, despite that ease it has been incredibly reluctant to build the test map demo. The build refused to build with a -j4 settings despite being a quad core, hyper threading capable machine. It runs out of virtual memory, no idea what causes that.

But annoyingly, but after trying -j2 and getting a hang I went to -j1 and finally we get a build...a very slllllooooow build

But sadly not to completion, it eventually chokes on the modelmanger.cpp file, which as far as I can see isn't anything out of the ordinary. After sitting waiting for it to move on it gives an unspecified error. Cancelling the build on the PC side does not do anything to cancel on the target side, which becomes crippled as its building.

I used the same config but with a different target address for the Up^2 and it built and ran just fine, though with the known issues with shaders. As the Core is built on the same principles as the Up^2 its all a bit suspect.

As this is so new, I suspect the issues is more to do with a very early OS and certain features of the CPU not being fully activated (like multicore).

I'll put it away for a while and come back to it in a few weeks to see if there is an improvement.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Sorry been busy...but got a new board UPcore

No time recently to try out the new Nano Pi's but I am hoping to this weekend.

I also took delivery of my new 4core Atom 1.84Ghz Up core board. This has to be one of the smallest intel base machines you can possibly have, its only about twice the size of a zero, but is markedly more powerful. Actually in theory I think it can out perform the celeron powered Up^2 I got in August. Which despite some issues I had with shaders put every other board I have to shame.  I can't wait to try it out.

I was hoping its eMMC memory would come ready configured with an OS to let me boot it up and try it but it needs a bit of TLC before it will show me something, as one of the 1st owners of these, there's really not a lot of content yet. Powering it up, gives me nothing at the moment, so I assume its blank and the eMMC needs flashing. But not quite sure what that is all about at the moment.

I will get on it after I've tried out the nanoPi's.
Its a nice little board, though the lack of Network port might be an issue, but hopefully my trusty usb extension with network port will work ok.