Author Topic: Which dev board?  (Read 4074 times)

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Offline Gryzor

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Which dev board?
« on: 11:18, 31 January 14 »
So, the Cubietruck Cubieboard3 has been released, with the one feature I've been waiting for: SATA support!


Overall the specs are nice, and the price is good too at €76:
  • AllWinnerTech SOC A20, ARM® Cortex™-A7 Dual-Core, ARM® Mali400 MP2 Complies with OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1
  • 1GB/2GB DDR3@480MHz (960MTPS)
  • HDMI&VGA 1080P display output on-board
  • 10M/100M/1G Ethernet
  • Wifi+BT wireless connection with antenna on-board
  • SATA 2.0 interface support 2.5' HDD, (for 3.5' HDD, only need another 12V power input)
  • Storage solution: NAND+MicroSD or TSD+ MicroSD or 2*MicroSD
  • 2 x USB HOST, 1 x OTG, 1 x Toslink (SPDIF Optical), 1 x IR, 4 x LEDs, 1 Headphone, 3 x Keys
  • Power: DC5V @ 2.5A with HDD, support Li-battery & RTC
  • 54 extended pins including I2S, I2C, SPI, CVBS, LRADC x2,UART, PS2, PWMx2, TS/CSI, IRDA, LINEIN&FMIN&MICIN, TVINx4 with 2.0 pitch connectors
  • PCB size: 11cm *8cm*1.4mm, very suite for installing a 2.5' HDD




Wifi, BT, SATA, 2GB, GB ethernet, even VGA, and they also have a great, small case that fits a HDD. The only thing that's a bummer is the dual-core A20 which is not exactly a powerhorse (though it does 1080p and can encode 2160p)On the other hand we have Ordroid U3:

*1.7GHz Quad-Core processor and 2GByte RAM
* 10/100Mbps Ethernet with RJ-45 LAN Jack
* 3 x High speed USB2.0 Host ports
* Audio codec with headphone jack on board
* XUbuntu 13.10 or Android 4.x  Operating System


This has a nice quad-core CPU, but the rest of the specs is nothing to write home about; especially the lack of SATA is frustrating, because you'd have to be running an external HDD through USB2 (booh!). Price is about the same once you've added all necessary add-ons like eMMC to run the OS from.


So I'd like to ask, does anyone know of a nice little board that combines the pluses from those systems? I want to build a media center out of it (XMBC probably), plus maybe play a few games through emulation, nothing serious. But I do need it to be fluid!


Thanks!
T
« Last Edit: 11:21, 31 January 14 by Gryzor »

Online Bryce

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #1 on: 11:33, 31 January 14 »
Why do you call it a "Dev board" ? It's a mini PC.

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #2 on: 11:35, 31 January 14 »
Heh, yeah it is, but that's what they call this category of boards... Indeed I'm not going to develop anything, maybe the wife's frustration as I'm fiddling with it :D

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #3 on: 11:43, 31 January 14 »
For me a Dev board includes a matrix for adding your own hardware or has all i/o connected to buttons / LEDs. Something like this: http://www.micro-examples.com/pics/94-EP2-ETHERNET-ep2.jpg

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #4 on: 11:45, 31 January 14 »
Yes, yes, we know, that's another level of geekiness :) Don't blame me, I didn't assign them the title!


Also, if I said mini-PC people would start recommending Zotac devices at 6-10x the price!

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #5 on: 12:07, 31 January 14 »
I'd still recommend the Raspberry Pi, due to it's size and the amount of support / expansions available. I know it's not nearly as powerful, but what do you intend using it for?

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #6 on: 12:11, 31 January 14 »
Yup, I do have one, but I've found it struggles with more complex stuff, even when overclocked... that's why I want to upgrade. Also, because I can't find a single case that will hold a HDD and the board inside. Also, 10/100 with a USB2 means it takes ages to transfer files (and CPU usage skyrockets when doing that). As I said, it's for a HTPC role with games add-ons.

Offline The Last Bandit

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #7 on: 22:44, 31 January 14 »
AMD Fusion E350 board with OpenElec installed. Just works, no fiddling about required (although I realise sometimes the fiddling is the best bit).

Offline redbox

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #8 on: 23:05, 31 January 14 »
IMHO, for a HTPC you can't beat a Zotac Mini ITX, they can handle anything you throw at it and well worth the cost.

And a M350 case - room for a 2.5" SSD and still a tiny case.
« Last Edit: 23:54, 31 January 14 by redbox »

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #9 on: 00:51, 01 February 14 »
Yeah, but both solutions are well in another price range (and I specifically said  no Zotac :D :D )


Also, while the M350 is nice, it's certainly huge compared to what I have in mind - something really inconspicuous hidden behind the TV. The Cubietruck even has IR built-in, which means no USB sticks sticking out...

Offline Munchausen

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #10 on: 19:01, 01 February 14 »
There's the pandaboard too:


Platform | Pandaboard


has wifi/bluetooth but no SATA. It's a dual core A9 at 1.2GHz/SGX540/1GB RAM. $182 (USD).


Personally for power I'd go for a Toradex Apalis or Colibri with a carrier board. The Apalis has a Tegra 3 (4 core cortex A9 at 1.4GHz), NVidia GeForce graphics, up to 2GB RAM, 1GB ethernet, 8GB flash built in, SATA, mini PCI-e etc etc. They aren't cheap though, the module is 129eur and the carrier is 89. Details: http://www.toradex.com/products/apalis-arm-computer-modules/apalis-t30 and http://developer.toradex.com/product-selector/ixora-carrier-board. It's also up to you to build a case, as they are really for industrial use so they don't provide them.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #11 on: 19:39, 01 February 14 »
Thanks for the suggestions...


Pandaboard: no SATA = deal breaker :( And I think 1GB is quite a small amount for a A9-class device?


The Apalis has certainly good specs, but then again it should have at that monstrous size! :D No case = deal breaker again, unfortunately.


What I'm worrying about regarding the Cubietruck is whether their linux distros have support for the Mali GPU... if not, it's kind of screwed (until they build it in)!

Offline redbox

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #12 on: 20:10, 01 February 14 »
Quote from: Gryzor
What I'm worrying about regarding the Cubietruck is whether their linux distros have support for the Mali GPU... if not, it's kind of screwed (until they build it in)!

limadriver

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #13 on: 20:11, 01 February 14 »
Oooh ah-ha! Thanks for that :)

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #14 on: 20:25, 01 February 14 »
Hm, been reading a bit on the Lima performance, am I right to assume it's not ideal yet?

Offline redbox

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #15 on: 21:22, 01 February 14 »
Hm, been reading a bit on the Lima performance, am I right to assume it's not ideal yet?

Yeah, not ideal but better than the closed source binaries that never work ;)

Although that driver hasn't had any updates in a while...
« Last Edit: 21:23, 01 February 14 by redbox »

Offline Munchausen

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #16 on: 21:49, 01 February 14 »
The Apalis has certainly good specs, but then again it should have at that monstrous size! :D No case = deal breaker again, unfortunately.


The Ixora carrier board isn't very big (90x125mm)... I guess you were looking at the evaluation board? But yeah you need a case!

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #17 on: 13:55, 02 February 14 »
@Redbox: well, looks like the GPU is not a problem. These boards have some CPU cores, a GPU and a VPU (damn). So video decoding is not dependent on GPU support (more here: Most Embedded GPUs Do NOT Support Hardware Video Decoding Acceleration. The VPU ). However I've been reading different opinions about the results of video decoding... the whole thing is a bit messed up :D


@Munchausen: ahhh yeah, must've been so, and it did look ugly to me :D

Offline redbox

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #18 on: 19:52, 02 February 14 »
Zotac Ion is your friend.

Drivers are mature and work great with Windoze and Linux.

Sorry to say it again ;)

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #19 on: 20:59, 02 February 14 »
Yeah, you know what? You're probably right. I was looking at the Zotac Zbox thingies, but they're much more expensive. The lowest-specced one, for instance (ZOTAC ZBOX ID85 [ZBOX-ID85-U]) is $199 (without memory) and I'm not sure it can do a media player with XMBC @1080p, with its Intel Core Dual @1.1GHz (but I may be wrong?). Do you have a specific model in mind? Zotac have a bewildering 76 models on their site, with NO prices!


But, reading quite a bit on the rest of the market, I don't think I'll be getting the Cubieboard (or any other for that matter), too many distros, too fragmented support, too much uncertainty. It's not like I can see me and the missus sitting down to watch the latest True Detective episode and me saying "oh wait, this format requires me to recompile the kernel, give me a minute or thirty".

Offline redbox

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #20 on: 22:39, 02 February 14 »
Yeah, you know what? You're probably right. I was looking at the Zotac Zbox thingies, but they're much more expensive. The lowest-specced one, for instance (ZOTAC ZBOX ID85 [ZBOX-ID85-U]) is $199 (without memory) and I'm not sure it can do a media player with XMBC @1080p, with its Intel Core Dual @1.1GHz (but I may be wrong?). Do you have a specific model in mind? Zotac have a bewildering 76 models on their site, with NO prices!

It does work out more expensive but they are powerful - check out the specs!  I'd build your own rather than get a packaged one.

See here - 1.86GHz Atom Mini-ITX Board with onboard NVidia GT610 graphics.  Boards and components are expensive from this website though, you can get them cheaper elsewhere if you shop around.

You'll need motherboard, case, HDD and RAM but might have some of that lying around already ;)

Offline TFM

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #21 on: 00:22, 03 February 14 »
Sounds like an old PC. So what's the point in these boards if someone already has a PC? What do I miss?

TFM of FutureSoft
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Offline redbox

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #22 on: 09:24, 03 February 14 »
Sounds like an old PC. So what's the point in these boards if someone already has a PC? What do I miss?

Size and noise.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #23 on: 10:04, 03 February 14 »
Hm, that one is nice indeed, and Amazon has the cased kit for only 109 quid (€133):http://www.amazon.com/Zotac-Atom-D2550-Processor-Upgrade/dp/B009YC05O6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1391414296&sr=8-3&keywords=zotac+D2550 . Not bad! I do have a nice 2.5" SATA drive, got to buy the memory too, but it's not bad. Not to big either, 19x19cm. Will keep this in mind when I do buy one :)


@TFM: you can't really place a PC under your TV set :D

Offline TFM

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Re: Which dev board?
« Reply #24 on: 19:04, 03 February 14 »
Oh yes, my laptop fits there... to store it  :laugh:
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