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Linux - Embedded & Single-board computer This forum is for the discussion of Linux on both embedded devices and single-board computers (such as the Raspberry Pi, BeagleBoard and PandaBoard). Discussions involving Arduino, plug computers and other micro-controller like devices are also welcome.

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Old 06-30-2021, 09:10 AM   #1
NicoD SBC
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Video : Review of the PineBook Pro with Armbian Linux


Hi all.
I've gotten the PineBook Pro from my friends at Armbian.
After 2 weeks of constant use I made my review video about it.
Here's my video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDGKDuRHyf0

Here all my gathered information.
Code:
Version                   Frequency        NicoD Belnder CLI    7-zip a/c      7-zip s/c     7-zip b/c     CPUMiner     SBC-Bench
-------                   ---------        -----------------    ---------      ---------     ---------     --------     ---------
Armbian Focal Mate 5.10   2Ghz/1.5Ghz      13m29s               8422           1347          2062          10.8         http://ix.io/3qsC
Armbian Focal Mate 5.10   1.8Ghz/1.4Ghz    14m20s               7906           1267          1855          10.3         http://ix.io/3qt9  
TwOS Armbian Focal 5.10   1.8Ghz/1.4Ghz    14m40s               
Armbian Buster xfce4 5.10 1.8Ghz/1.4Ghz    15m00s               8074           1303          1843          10.2         http://ix.io/3rdx
Armbian Hirsute cinamon 5.12 1.8/1.4Ghz    14m39s               7907           1264          1854          10.1         http://ix.io/3rjc   
Armbian Focal xfce4 5.10  1.8Ghz/1.4Ghz    14m52s               7764           1242          1843          10.1         http://ix.io/3rjx

Odroid N2+ Bionic 4.9     2Ghz/2.4Ghz       9m01s              11702           1756          2504          14

Transfer rates                                    access time
--------------                                    -----------
SD-card 128GB Sandisk Extreme read 68.8 MB/s      0.42 msec
                             write 58.2 MB/s
eMMC 64GB read                     187 MB/s       0.23 msec
eMMC 64GB write                    145 MB/s
NVMe 256GB read                    802 MB/s       0.03 msec
NVMe 256GB write                   423 MB/s                       #starts at 850 MB/s then goes down to 260 MB/s
SSD over USB3 read                 406 MB/s       0.21 msec
SSD over USB3 write                244 MB/s                       #starts at 220
SSD over USB2 read                 35.3 MB/s      0.51 msec
SSD over USB2 write                32.3 MB/s      

Temperatures 
------------
1.8Ghz/1.4Ghz
Idle          45C
Maxed out     75C on desk
              80C with back raised 
   
2Ghz/1.5Ghz
Idle          47C
Maxed out     86C (light throttling at 85C)

Power consumption
-----------------
Charging while on   2.6A  (max with 60 000mAh power bank, most PSU's don't go over 2A)
Charging while off  2.5A

Browsing and video playback
---------------------------
Vivaldi runs gpu accelerated browsing and perfect video playback up to 1080p30fps or 720p60fps
         download Vivaldi snapshot arm64
                 sudo apt install fonts-liberation
                 sudo dpkg -i vivaldi-snapshot..._arm64.deb
Firefox runs a bit smoother for browsing, but video playback isn't fully accelerated 
                
For video files kodi runs well
         sudo apt install kodi

+++
You can disable Microphone, wifi and camera with key combinations. Pine64 Logo + F10, F11 and F12
Can be powered with either barrel jack or USB type-C 5V !!!Not with both at the same time!!!
USB-C can be used for external display with USB-C to HDMI adapter
---
It can deplete the battery while being charged in heavy use and full brightness, cetainly when using an NVMe
USB-c hub not working
Delete key is backspace with function key
Very low volume in TwisterOS
Too many screws to open


Conclusion
----------
Awesome hardware. I love to have an ARM SoC in a laptop. The RK3399 is the best supported SoC software wise.
Tho a laptop with Amlogic S922x would have been great too. It is more powerful while consuming less.
I would not easily recommend it to people who are not used using ARM. But for me it is near perfect.
It looks great, and the keyboard feels good. 

TwisterOS upgrade problem fix from PtitSeb
sudo mv /usr/share/doc/linux-libc-dev/changelog.Debian.gz /usr/share/doc/linux-libc-dev/changelog.Debian.gz.old 
    to "solve" the conflict, and than the --fix-broken worked
    
Armbian Focal Mate 5.10 has some issue's with battery monitor applet. And power management isn't working as it should.
Armbian Focal xfce4 5.10 Doesn't always boot, black display.
TwisterOS Armbian Focal 5.10 power led only goes on after a while when default os. Speakers are very quiet.
Armbian Buster xfce4 5.10 Doesn't always boot. Black display.
It is awesome hardware for ARM Linux users.
Gretings, NicoD.
 
Old 07-01-2021, 04:37 AM   #2
ondoho
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Thank you so much for this review!

Sad to hear about the lesser battery life - that was one of the main advantages of the original pinebook.

I remember the pinebook (which I since sold on) had a quirk where something happened when charging.
IIRC, the GPU was crashing/freezing during video playback, this was like 90% reproducible, only when the charger was plugged in (and the battery was getting hot, as it does during charging).
Have you experienced anything similar?

I'd also like to hear more about the keyboard(touchpad, how are they holding up, is it really high quality stuff? Mind, nowadays even thinkpads and macbooks have shitty keyboards.

All in all it's amazing how far we have come with this, both soft- and hardware wise.
 
Old 07-02-2021, 11:20 AM   #3
NicoD SBC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
Thank you so much for this review!

Sad to hear about the lesser battery life - that was one of the main advantages of the original pinebook.

I remember the pinebook (which I since sold on) had a quirk where something happened when charging.
IIRC, the GPU was crashing/freezing during video playback, this was like 90% reproducible, only when the charger was plugged in (and the battery was getting hot, as it does during charging).
Have you experienced anything similar?

I'd also like to hear more about the keyboard(touchpad, how are they holding up, is it really high quality stuff? Mind, nowadays even thinkpads and macbooks have shitty keyboards.

All in all it's amazing how far we have come with this, both soft- and hardware wise.
I don't have experience with modern laptops. So for me it is the best quality keyboard and touchpad I know. The keyboard has a good reach, I like typing on it.
The touchpad also feels ok. But I do prefer using a mouse.

I haven't had stabillity issue's. It hasn't crashed one time when it booted. It sometimes doesn't want to boot, but the 2nd time it always boots. I think it can't find the eMMC on time.

The battery charging rate is moderate. A maximum of 2.5A. But as said in the video, at +90% or -15% it doesn't do more than 1.5A. +95% not more than 1A.
For endurance of the battery that is good. Only when you use the PBP it consumes more than that 1A, so battery will always go down to about 90%.

I do watch a lot of video, and play a lot of games on it. So for light use the battery would last a bit longer.
And if VPU acceleration would be used then it would consume a lot less when playing video.
 
Old 07-02-2021, 03:00 PM   #4
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicoD SBC View Post
And if VPU acceleration would be used then it would consume a lot less when playing video.
So you're saying there's no hardware (on-GPU) video decoding at all? It all happens in the CPU???
 
Old 07-05-2021, 06:27 PM   #5
NicoD SBC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
So you're saying there's no hardware (on-GPU) video decoding at all? It all happens in the CPU???
For now with Armbian Linux yes. That is with mainline Linux. The VPU driver is being worked on and soon it will also work in mainline.
The legacy kernel does have VPU acceleration, but legacy armbian doesn't seem to work on the PBP.

So for now it consumes a lot when watching video. Once the VPU acceleration is working it will be a lot less.

Today I've been coding most of the day. With that it lasted at least 6 hours. So big difference with watching video.
There are other means to watch video with it. You could use LibreElec, Android or ChromiumOS. Linux always comes a bit behind in driver support on ARM.
But at least it's moving forward. Greetings.
 
Old 07-07-2021, 02:34 AM   #6
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicoD SBC View Post
The VPU driver is being worked on and soon it will also work in mainline.
That's pretty much the same as it was with the "normal" Pinebook 3-4 years ago. Disappointing.
But...
Quote:
Originally Posted by NicoD SBC View Post
The legacy kernel does have VPU acceleration, but legacy armbian doesn't seem to work on the PBP.
That sounds strange.
Well, I guess I'd have to look into it myself from here onwards, maybe check out some of the other distros available.

Thanks again for your continuous efforts, esp. for sharing your videos here!
 
  


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