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sgasgar
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:45 pm    Post subject: Best and cheap SOC for gentoo Reply with quote

Hi, guys. I'm looking for cheap and trouble-free SOC to use as a videoplayer and web-browser for my TV. I know about Raspberry Pi, but I think it is overpriced. Could you give me advice what to buy? I also need Wi-Fi module. Of cource, I want to install gentoo on it.
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Leio
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you think Raspberry Pi is overpriced, then I believe there are no options for you; or your RPi retailer is having a huge markup.
That said, I do not claim that a RPi is the best choice for your needs, but as it's pretty much the cheapest thing available, it's hard to provide alternatives if that already costs too much.
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sgasgar
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leio wrote:
If you think Raspberry Pi is overpriced, then I believe there are no options for you; or your RPi retailer is having a huge markup.
That said, I do not claim that a RPi is the best choice for your needs, but as it's pretty much the cheapest thing available, it's hard to provide alternatives if that already costs too much.

Leio, what about Orange Pi, for example? I heard that there is a number of Chineese-designed boards that are simular to RPi an cost much less.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sgasgar,

Its ($39+duty)+VAT in Europe.
It has a Mali (closed source only) graphics engine, which means it depends on a kernel that supports that particular binary blob.
That's a proprietary 3.x last time I heard.
I don't know how easy it is to put Gentoo on an Orange Pi.

The Pi is lower cost (to me) and has an experimental open source driver for its vc4 graphics
There is a binary blob too. Its very close to working with a mainline kernel ... possibly 4.10 or 4.11.
Gentoo on the Pi is a well trodden path.

I would stay away from anything with the Mali graphics engine because I don't want to be stuck on an old kernel to get hardware graphics acceleration.
There is work going on on open source drivers but there is no documentation, so its based on reverse engineering, which is slow.
If you do rule out Mali graphics, there is not a lot left.
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Roman_Gruber
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you look for all those bits and pieces which you need next to the rasperry pie, and it limited capabilites, you will end around 70 Euros.

For that cash you could also get an used notebook with penryn cpu + discrete graphics when you are patient.

Just do not get a notebook without discrete graphics. Intel gpus are very very limited.

You will need a HDMI cable and wireless keyboard and mouse.

When you want it cheaper, get an used desctop mainboard, and all the bits and pieces.

--

The only positive thing for rasperry pi may be its power consumption (I never measured core2duo when it only playbacks video without the screen) and it's small size.
The limited capabilites, all those small pieces, without a proper power supply, case, all that fuss with a seperate toolchain, codecs and such, all the wiring makes it in my eyes just a project for nerds who do not need something relyable and have too much time on their hands.

--

going cheap means checking all the junkyard for old computers or the second hand websites.

--

Maybe you can reuse / abuse an used smartphone for that task too!
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erm67
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theres a free driver for lima graphics and it works reasonably

http://limadriver.org/

IMHO the raspberry pi is useless because of the slow connectivity, there is a a new raspberry pi with a 4G eMMC on board (an SSD), definitely buy something with an eMMC like the odroid if also want gigabit than the only option at the moment is amlogic or orangepi.

rockchip and amlogic are both linx friendly companies, and both SoC can be 'legally' unlocked.
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balbes150
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:17 am    Post subject: Re: Best and cheap SOC for gentoo Reply with quote

sgasgar wrote:
Hi, guys. I'm looking for cheap and trouble-free SOC to use as a videoplayer and web-browser for my TV. I know about Raspberry Pi, but I think it is overpriced. Could you give me advice what to buy? I also need Wi-Fi module. Of cource, I want to install gentoo on it.


IMHO for these tasks optimally to take the TV box S905X with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB eMMC. Everything you need in it already for 30-40$ (case, WiFi, BT , wired network, remote control, etc.). For multimedia playback you can use either the regular Android (personally I don't like him), or Libreelec. For these chips already have images with Gentoo. These systems (LE, Gentoo and other Linux systems) can be used simultaneously with external devices (SD or USB or TFTP).
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shrike
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

If there is a trouble-free SBC I'd like to here about it. :)

I picked up a pair of Pine64 SBCs via Kickstarter a few months back.. sounded very interesting; arm64 quad core, 4k HDMI video, Gbe, 2 GB ram. And that's all true but there are software issues. Most of the linux distros (Ubuntu, Debian, Suse) for Pine64 run a legacy kernel (3.10). Armbian does offer mainline kernel (4.9.0) support for server only, no desktop. There is progress but it is not well supported except by the end users. Android 5 was there from the beginning, 6 is beta, and 7 is testing. I've used Ubuntu and Debian 'desktop' images for 1080p playback. One knowledgeable user found the Gentoo arm64 image and bolted on the legacy Pine64 kernel. That's where I'm at now, but I did go a step further, ~arm64. Distcc is my friend.

One big problem with Pine64 is the GigE, some boards do not run at 1000Mb/s. 100Mb/s is ok. Apparently, during later production runs the phy was sourced to another supplier and that part was not quite an exact replacement.

I think a common theme in this arm sbc market is hype the product and rely on the end users to fill in the cracks. And maybe that's ok on some level cause some folks enjoy that.

Regards,

shrike
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erm67
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check https://www.kernel.org/ linux 3.10 is a long term release and it is still supported, so you miss only the new features, hopefully someone is patching pine64 kernel .....
Did you try this xorg driver?
https://github.com/ssvb/xf86-video-fbturbo
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shrike
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

erm67 wrote:
Check https://www.kernel.org/ linux 3.10 is a long term release and it is still supported, so you miss only the new features, hopefully someone is patching pine64 kernel .....
Did you try this xorg driver?
https://github.com/ssvb/xf86-video-fbturbo


erm67,

fbturbo is provided.. the Pine64 does hw (mali) decoding (but not encoding, last I looked). And the 3.10 kernel is maintained. These are interesting and promising boards, its just not an out of the box 4k desktop @ 2.5watts solution. To be sure that's wishful thinking on my part. This market is young and immature but there is much interest. The Kickstarter campaign for Pine64 raised $1.7 million.

Thanks,

shrike
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erm67
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I almost bought one oine64 but I found that those cheapo amlogic boards on gearbest are better & cheaper than the pine64 :-)

basic mali DRM support should have been submitted for kernel 4.10, still a long road to go but it's promising, there is a lot going on for arm boards. I use it as an headless server so I don't really care.

The pine64 has a allwinner chipset, hw dwcoding should be supported by cedrus http://linux-sunxi.org/Cedrus .....

Allwinner chips allegedly have overheating problems and need to be downclocked to run in stable way, does the pine64 work well? I don't remember well but until some time ago Allwinner's kernel still wasn't ported to device tree (dtb) and linus does not accept patches for arm boards without dtb ... until then no mainlining ...
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I almost bought one oine64 but I found that those cheapo amlogic boards on gearbest are better & cheaper than the pine64


AMLogic S905 looks impressive. I'll take a look atSBCs.

Quote:
Allwinner chips allegedly have overheating problems and need to be downclocked to run in stable way, does the pine64 work well?


I bought a after market heatsink. There is no downclock now.

Cedrus is supported.

https://launchpad.net/~longsleep/+archive/ubuntu/ubuntu-pine64-flavour-makers

Quote:
Allwinner's kernel still wasn't ported to device tree (dtb)


I don't remember myself.. I don't expect Allwinner to port it.

Here is a critique of Pine64 at Armbian:

https://forum.armbian.com/index.php/topic/1917-armbian-running-on-pine64-and-other-a64h5-devices/

Thanks,

shrike
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erm67
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shrike wrote:


Quote:
Allwinner's kernel still wasn't ported to device tree (dtb)


I don't remember myself.. I don't expect Allwinner to port it.


They really did at least for more recent chipsets, it was submitted for kernel 4.9 in the big arm SoC submit together with Amlogic & rockchip :-) Apparently graphics is the only area still problematic for all arm SoC apart the raspberry, the future for arm looks bright in the linux kernel. Probably the various other outoftree drivers like cedrus and fbturbo will be also submitted soon. I guess for the next LTS release (4.9 was a Long Term Support release). An orangei might become attractive at this point.
I tried yesterday unsuccessfully to boot the 4.10 kernel for my board ... I still have to learn a bit about uboot.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
They really did at least for more recent chipsets, it was submitted for kernel 4.9 in the big arm SoC submit together with Amlogic & rockchip


That is good news! Thanks!

shrike
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