SBC / Low Power boards general - Raspberry Pi and what not

tehpope

My Face Everyday | Archivist
True & Honest Fan
I've been into the SBCs lately. Been using a RPI4 8gb as my PC for a few weeks. Not too bad. I did order a Udoo Bolt Gear and should be coming in this week.

The RPI4 is pretty great as a low power desktop for basic tasks. Been using Manjaro Arm xfce. Had to switch to testing to get the most out of it. The only main issue is the performance chugs when using two displays.

Also been using a Odroid N2+ as my entertainment box. Runs great with Android. Everything up to Dreamcast, PSP, and DS runs great. Kodi is great too. No bluetooth or Wifi on board but they're not hard to get adapters for.
 

Pee Cola

Very good cola
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I'm waiting on my Raspberry Pi 400 to turn up. I've got a few RPis for specific purposes (such as the original RPi Model B I use as a standard definition media player for an old CRT TV, and the Pi Zero I use as a coprocessor in a BBC Micro), but the 400 will be the first RPi I've bought just for tooling about with. Not sure if I'll be using it as a daily driver, though I can see myself using it for emulation.

I wouldn't mind having a play with some other SBCs at some point, but I've been sticking with the RPi for now as it's really well supported and I believe in what the Raspberry Pi Foundation has set out to achieve i.e. getting zoomers into computing in the same way that computers like the C64 and ZX Spectrum got later Gen X and early millennial kids into computing.
 
Always wanted to mess around with a Pi but never got around to it. I got a Lenovo 715q recently which falls under the small form factor/low power category

lenovo-thinkcentre-m715q-tiny-refresh-gallery-01.jpg
It sits next to my tv and I use it as a multimedia and couch gaming machine. Its got a Ryzen 3 2200ge and performs surprisingly well. Emulates up to PS2/gamecube and does pretty well with older games. Recently played through Metro 2033, Arkham Asylum and Borderlands 2 with no issues (low settings obviously but still playable). Watch Dogs 2 is sadly a bridge too far. It runs but framerate keeps stuttering and dipping into the 20s and its not enjoyable.

There are loads of these floating around used and you can get an older model with an i5 for a decent price. Got lucky with mine and nabbed for GBP200 (they are still selling retail for about 400).
 

The Mass Shooter Ron Soye

🖩🍸🔫 :) :) :) 😷
8GB RPi4 is my Kiwi machine. The $75 MSRP makes me cringe at the 4GB RAM tablets and laptops being sold for over $200 or even $300.

The Rockchip RK3399 is holding its own against the Broadcom BCM2711 in the Raspberry Pi 4. The Rockchip RK3588 will demolish whatever gets put in the Raspberry Pi 5, especially if RPi stays on 28nm and does not seriously improve the GPU.

AMD's upcoming Van Gogh APUs could become a nice replacement for Intel's J4115 in x86 SBCs, if the price is right.
 
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I've been playing around with modern ARM SBCs for years and my experience is that they're always "close, but no cigar". The hardware compatibility is always kinda iffy (especially if it comes to multimedia features) and as soon as mainline kernel dev is "almost there" to support the current flock of SoCs, the next one that render them utterly obsolete come out and refinement of support drops off a cliff and you get stuck with a half-done solution and hunting down kernel patches from obscure github accounts. Then often what's claimed as full support in mainline comes with some huge honking caveats. I always ended up selling them again, they were not for me, although I really liked most of them in theory, which caused me a lot of frustration. In my experience also only odroid and the raspberries were worth anything regarding long-term vendor kernel support. Everyone else seems to drop support for vendor kernel updates as soon as they release their next hot thing everyone should buy.

The only ARM SoC I have in active usage is a Cubietruck with, by ARM standards, ancient Allwinner A20 SoC running mainline. Very low power consumption (Idle ~1W, full load ~3W) only needs a small heatsink and proper PCB design with barrel plug for power supply and an actual, full SATA interface where you can hook up a cheap SSD. (you just can't boot from it. As the onboard NAND is unusuable in mainline you can put the kernel on the microsd card but have root on the SSD) I run a very minimal Gentoo on it and it even compiles it's own packages. (2GB of RAM is plenty for that and it doesn't matter if it takes a while and since it's so minimal, the packages tend to be simple too) It serves as FTP, Telnet/"linux shell" server and WiFi access point to retro computers and music/radio player via hooked up cheap USB speaker. Compared to the computers that connect to it, it's still a supercomputer. The only downside is the 2mm pitch pin headers for the GPIOs, I don't know what they were smoking.

I also got a AMD Renoir APU recently and it could be considered low power too, as it only consumes about 10-13W with normal desktop activities including browsing and watching movies, which is not that far off from top of the line ARM SoCs. It's iGPU is powerful enough to run many games at least at 30 FPS too (often barely rising above 30W in consumption doing so) and I could equip it with 16 GB of ECC RAM. It maxes out at 75W power consumption in synthetic stress tests but I never got even close in normal operation. The nicest thing is that everything just works and it can run everything. I'd like to return to ARM one day but currently I don't really see that happening.
 

tehpope

My Face Everyday | Archivist
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The Rockchip RK3399 is holding its own against the Broadcom BCM2711 in the Raspberry Pi 4. The Rockchip RK3588 will demolish whatever gets put in the Raspberry Pi 5, especially if RPi stays on 28nm and does not seriously improve the GPU.
I've heard the 3399 isn't that good. That might be old info. I still think the s922x is the best bang for your buck in terms of performance and pricing.
 

tehpope

My Face Everyday | Archivist
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I got my Udoo Bolt Gear yesterday. Its just the Udoo Bolt v8 with no EMMC storage. Which is fine.

this thing is amazing. Super fast. Able to handle multiple displays with ease. The price is a hard pill to swallow. Since you can get a decent used PC for the same price as you would for the gear fully tricked out (I payed over ~$500 with ram and storage added). But that pc will still run over 100 watts. This machine only gets up to ~40 watts under full load. I have the money and I wanted a more green machine that didn't use that much power.

I wanted it for gaming and its good. I think the games I wanna play (emulation / pre 2012 games) will run great. Dolphin does 1080p no issues. UT2004 runs 100+ fps in 1080p max settings. Still need to try oblivion out. I've seen vids where it can do modern titles in 720p or low 1080p. So I think it'll be great for my purposes.

I might have some buyers remorse later down the line since AMD did just annouce Zen 2 embeded chips and those will probably kick ass. But those might not come out for a while. who knows. Currently, I'm happy with this pc.
 
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Thistle

Dragon Dick Enthusiast
What's the best/most established distro for ARM currently? Might get a rpi for shitposting.
Raspian is the default option, and the easiest to set up as either a desktop or micro-server.

You can run any other distribution if they provide a distribution. (Ubuntu, Arch Linux ARM, etc.)

Arch Linux ARM for maximum shitposting effect, including shilling your distro (BTW I Use Arch)

... Or i suppose Gentoo if you hate yourself.

Always wanted to mess around with a Pi but never got around to it. I got a Lenovo 715q recently which falls under the small form factor/low power category

Got any figures on it's power draw?
 

tehpope

My Face Everyday | Archivist
True & Honest Fan
What's the best/most established distro for ARM currently? Might get a rpi for shitposting.
Honestly, I don't think there's one universal one. All SBC have their little differences. For RPI4, its probably Raspberry Pi OS. I used Manjaro on my rpi4 and it work fine with a single screen. slowed the fuck down on a dual screen setup. Not sure if RPIOS would solve that.

I guess use whatever distro is tailor made by the manufactorer. Odroid and RPI Foundation do that. Some other boards do too. You might be able to get away with throwing shit at the wall to see where it stick with x86 SBCs. but YMMV.
 
Raspian is the default option, and the easiest to set up as either a desktop or micro-server.

You can run any other distribution if they provide a distribution. (Ubuntu, Arch Linux ARM, etc.)

Arch Linux ARM for maximum shitposting effect, including shilling your distro (BTW I Use Arch)

... Or i suppose Gentoo if you hate yourself.



Got any figures on it's power draw?
Not tested myself so don't have numbers though it comes with a 65W power brick and the CPU is a 35W TDP so probably similar to a laptop. Not Pi territory but way more power efficient than a full on desktop.
 

3119967d0c

"a brain" - @REGENDarySumanai
True & Honest Fan
Honestly, I don't think there's one universal one. All SBC have their little differences. For RPI4, its probably Raspberry Pi OS. I used Manjaro on my rpi4 and it work fine with a single screen. slowed the fuck down on a dual screen setup. Not sure if RPIOS would solve that.

I guess use whatever distro is tailor made by the manufactorer. Odroid and RPI Foundation do that. Some other boards do too. You might be able to get away with throwing shit at the wall to see where it stick with x86 SBCs. but YMMV.
Yeah, you have to bear in mind with these random ARM boards that they all have different weird hardware that can require different special firmware blobs, different weird boot processes, there's no real standardization. My understanding is that the Raspberry Pi's are particularly bad in this space. The advantage is that there are so many of them around that a lot of people are interested in getting them to work, but with, for example, Devuan, there've only been builds to boot RPi 4's in the last month or so.

It's an opportunity to try a different distro, at least.
 

Pissmaster

True & Honest Fan
You know what's bullshit?

raspi 7 inch screen amzn.PNG


but also

amazon fire 7.PNG


Searching for "kindle fire as raspberry pi screen" just brings up articles that say you can, but they're just instructions on how to remote desktop into your Pi, as opposed to using the Fire's screen directly. Lame.
 

Rozzy

A UwU Shiba Inu
8GB RPi4 is my Kiwi machine. The $75 MSRP makes me cringe at the 4GB RAM tablets and laptops being sold for over $200 or even $300.

The Rockchip RK3399 is holding its own against the Broadcom BCM2711 in the Raspberry Pi 4. The Rockchip RK3588 will demolish whatever gets put in the Raspberry Pi 5, especially if RPi stays on 28nm and does not seriously improve the GPU.

AMD's upcoming Van Gogh APUs could become a nice replacement for Intel's J4115 in x86 SBCs, if the price is right.
This is really cringe, 12 year old Core 2 Duo with 4GB RAM for $199, and what's more horrifying is that 2571 people bought them.
britbongpc.jpg
 
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