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      Current state of vpsBoard   02/04/2017

      Dear vpsBoard members and guests:

      Over the last year or two vpsBoard activity and traffic has dwindled. I have had a change of career and interests, and as such am no longer an active member of the web hosting industry.

      Due to time constraints and new interests I no longer wish to continue to maintain vpsBoard. The web site will remain only as an archive to preserve and showcase some of the great material, guides, and industry news that has been generated by members, some of which I remain in contact to this very day and now regard as personal friends.

      I want to thank all of our members who helped make vpsBoard the fastest growing industry forum. In it's prime it was an active and ripe source of activity, news, guides and just general off-topic banter and fun.

      I wish all members and guests the very best, whether it be with your business or your personal projects.

      -MannDude
drmike

ARM has legs. Real world use.

82 posts in this topic

3 hours ago, wlanboy said:

Posted on April the 1st... 

If it isn't real that would be super depressing :(  But re-reading your probably right. <insert Rick Astley youtube video here>

(facepalm) One can dream... LOL

 

Cheers!

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Ok, so I didn't want to start my own topic and I didn't want to put this in the RPi3 thread, so here it is.... the C.H.I.P. has arrived!!

PHOTO_20160708_162802.jpg

PHOTO_20160708_163007_fx.jpg

PHOTO_20160708_163102_fx.jpg

So, this thing is super tiny!  To start out it was rough, they do provide a really ultra sexy hot pink composite video cable (not shown), but I had some issues initially getting my monitor to show in color and not monochrome (I later found it it was user error, DOH!). Once I accomplished getting full color and investigating things, I felt it would be fun to do an apt-get update (they come with Debian installed on them). This was fun, it would get half way through update and overheat/turn off.  So again I was stumped... after testing several things, came to find my USB power adapter now fails to put out 5v2A correctly and this is why the board was failing (thank god for extras).  Got a new power supply and away we went.  

For what it is, my experience so far (after the issues listed above), has been pretty good.  Of course composite video is restricted to 640x440, but the desktop works pretty nicely out of the box!  Wifi was a breeze and seems much more performant than the wireless on RPi3 ever was.  Was immediately able to reach 45mbit without an issue.

I haven't yet tested video on it, I will, but in the end that is probably not going to be my use for it.  The super small form factor (as you can see from the pictures) makes the an awesome candidate for a little hide away storage box, just add a 128GB USB stick and power. :)

If anything super exciting happens I will post another update, for now though, the C.H.I.P. has arrived!

 

Cheers!

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13 hours ago, TheLinuxBug said:

Ok, so I didn't want to start my own topic and I didn't want to put this in the RPi3 thread, so here it is.... the C.H.I.P. has arrived!!


C.H.I.P. is on my list :)   That Pocket CHIP for some reason is talking to me and I am 190k% anti gaming.... Seems like useful kit for other intents.

I am monkeying around with a Pine64 2GB model right now. http://pine64.com/

Pine64 is pretty bad.  Debian with MATE crashes all the time.  Requires power re-cycle.  Ubuntu whatever, similar unusable fails.  Big honking board compared to others like the Pi's and Odroids.  Probably only acceptable as a CLI server.  Live and learn.

Rocking out right now to my new Odroid C1 with Hifi sub board/ DAC.  Odroid hifi board is pretty damn rocking. 

Still looking for an Odroid XU4 and something bigger that will actually run a desktop OS and play videos in HD under Linuxland (screw Android).

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On 7/9/2016 at 1:12 PM, drmike said:


C.H.I.P. is on my list :)   That Pocket CHIP for some reason is talking to me and I am 190k% anti gaming.... Seems like useful kit for other intents.

I am monkeying around with a Pine64 2GB model right now. http://pine64.com/

Pine64 is pretty bad.  Debian with MATE crashes all the time.  Requires power re-cycle.  Ubuntu whatever, similar unusable fails.  Big honking board compared to others like the Pi's and Odroids.  Probably only acceptable as a CLI server.  Live and learn.

Rocking out right now to my new Odroid C1 with Hifi sub board/ DAC.  Odroid hifi board is pretty damn rocking. 

Still looking for an Odroid XU4 and something bigger that will actually run a desktop OS and play videos in HD under Linuxland (screw Android).

C.H.I.P.

Well, let me say this.  C.H.I.P. is useful for what it is, but you may want to consider your application before getting one.  C.H.I.P. really isn't meant to be a media center for example... I guess if you purchase the HDMI add-on for the additional cost (which I am sure they are hoping you will do) it can play back 720p maybe if you push it.  It is still only a 1Ghz R8 and at this time GPU acceleration doesn't exist for it, and likely won't for a while, so 1080p may not be realistic for a while.  As they strive to be open source with their project, similar to RPi foundation they also do not have Android for the device (yet?), so full acceleration can't be realized by the use of Android at the moment either. 

They do have a Debian variant for their distribution which works pretty well, though the original kernel they provide is lacking in a lot of desirable modules (tun, cifs, etc.) so you either need to use an 'experimental kernel' compiled by someone else or compile your own from the get go, that is if you need these extra modules. Another issue I ran into was trying to use the USB to serial console they provide (you can just plug your microusb into it and into your computer and the computer will both power it and come up as a serial port which you can connect to as a serial console). However, trying to do this on my Windows 7 test machine yielded some issues until I found this post on Reddit and found a link to the needed driver on their forum.

Now, back to my original point.  It would do well as a little server for robotics because it has the full host of gpio all available at your finger tips in a small design, I imagine a lot of use cases for this board will be small integrated systems or small low power servers. Again, your limited to the 512Mb memory and USB 2.0 storage with WiFi (no ethernet).  While the 4GB eMMc provided isn't bad speed wise, you are also quite limited for space from the start.  Whatever you are wanting to do needs to fit that finger print that this is intended for or you may be disappointed by it.

So far I have toyed around with it, getting over the initial bumps as mentioned above and in my previous post, but at the same time I have almost reach the point to where I am satisfied in my $9 purchase and may see this thing sit in a corner for a few more months till I come up with the perfect job for it.  At the moment I have too many other boards which outmoded this one easily still waiting to be put into action, so this may be a bit of a chore.

Odroid

I must admit, I have recently become a bigger and bigger fan of Hardkernel and the Odroid boards they have put out.  In the end if you are looking for something both practical and easy to use out of the box, with working Android and Linux images at your finger tips ready to use, then the Odroid products quickly meet this standard.  On the other hand, if you just want a moderate board with a lot of potential and the most resources for the buck, I must also admit the Orange Pi products can also (almost) fill the gap.  I mention this just to give some perspective.  If you want a kick ass little media machine with a lot of very well planned and well made peripherals, then getting an Odroid C2 or even XU4 seems an easy choice now (the prices are a bit higher, but in this case you get what your paying for).

Pine64

I must admit that even when I initially saw the kick starter I was a bit weary of these boards.  To be honest up until now even from watching the guys on irc discuss them, they sound like they have a lot of issues to overcome still.  That said, there does seem to be a lot of people with them and a moderate amount of work being done by the linux-sunxi team to try and further the devices usefulness.  It will come in time, I am just not quite convinced its there yet.  Since I couldn't convince my self to buy in at the start, I feel like I will probably wait a bit longer for it to mature before giving it a go.

as always, just my 2 cents.

Cheers!

 

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Gather around kids, its time for another ARM adventure... This time we look at the Orange Pi Plus 2E!

So, while it isn't new, I figure I would also post some pictures and a quick review of my Orange Pi Plus 2E that I got only a few weeks back....

pic1.jpg

pic2.jpg

Orange Pi Plus 2E

Specs:

  • H3 SoC Processor (Quad Core 1.6Ghz)
  • 2GB Ram
  • 16GB EMMC Flash (built on)
  • Gigabit Network
  • Realtek RTL8189ETV, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • Three USB 2.0 HOST, one USB 2.0 OTG
  • Full specs can see here

The Good:

The Bad:

  • Initially set DRAM settings in the Xunlong provided images (Linux and Android) are set to 672 which has proven not to be stable in on all boards.  For Android you are pretty screwed currently as there are no other Android options besides the image generated from the SDK that Xunlong originally released and their image has '672' set which means it overheats when running 1080p video in Android. I documented my frustration on their forum. 
  • The images provided by Xunlong are pretty awful, if you want a performant board you will want to look to Armbian or other community provided alternatives.  Hopefully sometime down the line someone has time to make a better Android version.
  • Gets a little hot - I found the need to add a heatsink to get good performance with less overheating (since I added the heatsink other than the DRAM issue haven't seen a reboot from overheat for a while).
  • At current it is not possible to use Google Play Store in Android (locked down kernel which makes it so Android can not be rooted)

Thoughts:

If Xunlong would have actually taken the time to perfect a good Android image for this board, it could be awesome!  To be honest until I ran into issues with the Android kernel they are using as well as the fact that this kernel makes it IMPOSSIBLE to root Android I was pretty happy with things.  Rooting Android is NOT possible due to the locked down kernel which prevents you from being able to remount /system as read-write, there is literally code in the kernel which prevents this folder from ever being mounted anything but read only.  For a development board this is just awful and limits your possibilities for apps as you have to use 'Aptoide' (Google Play Store require root to install) which is really just a collection of either free or illegally ripped registered apps which doesn't sit very well with me and prevents you from getting new version of a lot of apps.   I was able to get Kodi to work, but its locked to 720p (which does help to prevent overheating caused by DRAM settings), however you can run 1080p in Mx Player (if the board doesn't overheat from DRAM settings).  For someone just wanting a cheap media center and they don't care about the restrictions it is fine, if you want to do anything else you will either need to compile your own Android kernel or wait for someone else to release a better image.

As far as being used for Linux, with Armbian this little board is a perl.  Eventually I hope they will get a version of Chromium compiled with GPU acceleration and I think this will put the icing on the cake (currently you can only watch Youtube at 380p because there is no GPU acceleration available and it uses strictly CPU).  Once Chromium is available with acceleration I think it will finally be a fully usable workstation, for most things.  Armbian is smooth though and most things you would want to use work out of the box, including WiFi.

I could probably write a few more paragraphs but for now I will leave things here :)  If you have any questions please feel free to ask and I would be happy to try and answer them (about any of the boards I have shown in any thread here on VPSBoard).

Hope you all have a great week!

Cheers!

 

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My current list of things to wait for:

  • ODROID C2 - still waiting for mainline support - http://www.armbian.com/odroid-c2/ <-- only legacy support
    • * Amlogic ARM® Cortex®-A53(ARMv8) 2Ghz quad core CPUs 
      * Mali™-450 GPU
      * 2Gbyte DDR3 SDRAM
      * Gigabit Ethernet
  • A64-OLinuXino - still waiting for the price tag
    • ARM Cortex A64 quad core Cortex-A53
      AXP803 PMU + Audio support
      2GB DDR RAM
      Gigabit Ethernet, RTL8723BS WiFi + BT4.0

 

Thats it. If anyone has some additional hints - feel free to add them :-)

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I'm waiting for my PINE64 and once I get it I'll get back to you all on it. 

Looks great though! 

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On 11 July 2016 at 11:20 PM, TheLinuxBug said:

Gather around kids, its time for another ARM adventure... This time we look at the Orange Pi Plus 2E!

So, while it isn't new, I figure I would also post some pictures and a quick review of my Orange Pi Plus 2E that I got only a few weeks back....

pic1.jpg

pic2.jpg

Orange Pi Plus 2E

Specs:

  • H3 SoC Processor (Quad Core 1.6Ghz)
  • 2GB Ram
  • 16GB EMMC Flash (built on)
  • Gigabit Network
  • Realtek RTL8189ETV, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • Three USB 2.0 HOST, one USB 2.0 OTG
  • Full specs can see here

The Good:

The Bad:

  • Initially set DRAM settings in the Xunlong provided images (Linux and Android) are set to 672 which has proven not to be stable in on all boards.  For Android you are pretty screwed currently as there are no other Android options besides the image generated from the SDK that Xunlong originally released and their image has '672' set which means it overheats when running 1080p video in Android. I documented my frustration on their forum. 
  • The images provided by Xunlong are pretty awful, if you want a performant board you will want to look to Armbian or other community provided alternatives.  Hopefully sometime down the line someone has time to make a better Android version.
  • Gets a little hot - I found the need to add a heatsink to get good performance with less overheating (since I added the heatsink other than the DRAM issue haven't seen a reboot from overheat for a while).
  • At current it is not possible to use Google Play Store in Android (locked down kernel which makes it so Android can not be rooted)

Thoughts:

If Xunlong would have actually taken the time to perfect a good Android image for this board, it could be awesome!  To be honest until I ran into issues with the Android kernel they are using as well as the fact that this kernel makes it IMPOSSIBLE to root Android I was pretty happy with things.  Rooting Android is NOT possible due to the locked down kernel which prevents you from being able to remount /system as read-write, there is literally code in the kernel which prevents this folder from ever being mounted anything but read only.  For a development board this is just awful and limits your possibilities for apps as you have to use 'Aptoide' (Google Play Store require root to install) which is really just a collection of either free or illegally ripped registered apps which doesn't sit very well with me and prevents you from getting new version of a lot of apps.   I was able to get Kodi to work, but its locked to 720p (which does help to prevent overheating caused by DRAM settings), however you can run 1080p in Mx Player (if the board doesn't overheat from DRAM settings).  For someone just wanting a cheap media center and they don't care about the restrictions it is fine, if you want to do anything else you will either need to compile your own Android kernel or wait for someone else to release a better image.

As far as being used for Linux, with Armbian this little board is a perl.  Eventually I hope they will get a version of Chromium compiled with GPU acceleration and I think this will put the icing on the cake (currently you can only watch Youtube at 380p because there is no GPU acceleration available and it uses strictly CPU).  Once Chromium is available with acceleration I think it will finally be a fully usable workstation, for most things.  Armbian is smooth though and most things you would want to use work out of the box, including WiFi.

I could probably write a few more paragraphs but for now I will leave things here :)  If you have any questions please feel free to ask and I would be happy to try and answer them (about any of the boards I have shown in any thread here on VPSBoard).

Hope you all have a great week!

Cheers!

 

Thanks for the awesome review! 

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Interested in this EOMA68 device, but I just got a Raspberry Pi 3 and still looking to get one of the ODROIDs, so this will probably have to wait.

Libre Tea Computer Card

Micro Desktop Housing

  • Tiny size: 4.5” x 4.5” x 0.5”
  • EOMA68 Computer Card slot (user-upgradeable)
  • 2x USB2 ports plus one USB-OTG on Computer Card
  • VGA port
  • Micro-SD Card slot
  • Standard 5.5 mm DC Jack, powered by anything from 7 V up to 21 V
  • Beautiful laser-cut wooden case

ppFJH92jWT29.jpg

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Okay guys, don't say I never gave you anything... :D

Saw this deal come along on IRC today and figured some of you may have an interest: Orange Pi PC for only $8.54 ($8.73 with tracking)

You have to order from their China warehouse though so it will take 8-25 days (a month)  to arrive possibly.  However, for the price I think its more than acceptable.  Of course I had to pick one up just to test out, I mean at that price, why not (Only a little more than a VPS on LET)! 

1453967868265791.jpg

Description:

Orange Pi PC is an open-source single-board computer. It can run Android 4.4, Ubuntu, Debian, Rasberry Pi Image, as well as the Banana Pi Image. It uses the AllWinner H3 SoC, and has 1GB DDR3 SDRAM. Orange Pi PC is for anyone who wants to start creating with technology – not just consuming it. It's a simple, fun, useful tool that you can use to start taking control of the world around you.

Main Features:
● Memory (SDRAM): 1GB DDR3 (shared with GPU).
● Onboard storage: TF card (Max. 64GB) / MMC card slot.
● Onboard network: 10 / 100M Ethernet LAN.
● Video input: A CSI input connector camera: Support 8-bit YUV422 CMOS sensor interface. Support CCIR656 protocol for NTSC and PAL. Support SM pixel camera sensor. 
● Audio input: Mic.
● Video output: Support HDMI output with HDCP. Support HDMI CEC. Support HDMI 30 function. Integrated CVBS. Support simultaneous output of HDMI and CVBS.
● Low-level peripheral: 40 Pins header, which is compatible with Raspberry Pi B+.
● GPIO (1x3) pin: UART, ground.
● Compatible with Android Ubuntu, Debian and Raspberry Pi Image OS.

 

NOTE: I wanted to mention, as this may be important for some, this does not come with a power adapter or a case of any kind.  This is just the board.  You can use a common micro-usb phone charger to power (if rated at least 5v1A).  Finding something to house it in, well that is part of the fun!   For me, I collect enough of these boards that this wasn't a second thought (I have several just sitting here anyways).  Also, there is no built on storage, so be sure to get a reliable Class 10 SDcard (Sandisk, Silicon Power Elite series).  While you can use smaller, I would suggest at least 8GB if not 16GB for the best experience.

Happy shopping!

Cheers!

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9 hours ago, TheLinuxBug said:

Okay guys, don't say I never gave you anything... :D

Saw this deal come along on IRC today and figured some of you may have an interest: Orange Pi PC for only $8.54 ($8.73 with tracking)

Thank you for the hint - the sale is over. Currently the price is back at $19.99.

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51 minutes ago, wlanboy said:

Thank you for the hint - the sale is over. Currently the price is back at $19.99.

Wow, that went quicker than I thought.  Well, tried to post it as soon as I knew about it... though I am sure at that price it got around quick..

Cheers!

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So...  My Pine64 came in today. 

And by that it was in since last week, I simply just got back home after my vacation. 

First thought: I'm actually kinda disappointed in how big this thing is.  I mean I did expect it to be bigger than a Raspberry Pi, just not that much bigger.  If I was an estimating man, I'd say it's about twice the size (area wise) than a Raspberry Pi.  Granted it comes with full Gbit plus I got it with all the bells and whistles (WiFi+Bluetooth module, etc.)  

I also got a button in the package.  Anyone else get a button?  Like an unsoldered button.  I plugged it into the power area but man, I never soldered anything nor do I even have the equipment for that.  That's already really annoying for me. 

Another really thing that bothered me was the SD Card port.  Sliding in my new SD card into it does not feel "right", as in it doesn't even lock the SD card down and the card itself easily pops out.  It's not in there securely. Also the board seems to be bent during manufacturing.  Like the box itself was fine, everything else was fine, but just in the middle there seems to be a slight bend in the board which you can see through the I/O connector on the bottom side.  

Overall, at first glance, I'm not happy with it.  It took them forever to get it shipped to me and now that it's here, I don't know man it just doesn't look like something I really shouldn't have waited so long for.  But, of course, maybe it'll really shine when I try to use it.  However I've heard it's not as great performance wise or software side (like needing some chinese software to flash the OS onto the SD card and also only distributing the OS via  Torrents and not actual direct downloads).

I haven't turned it on yet since it's already late, but we'll see how it goes. 

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8 hours ago, HalfEatenPie said:

I also got a button in the package.  Anyone else get a button?  Like an unsoldered button.  I plugged it into the power area but man, I never soldered anything nor do I even have the equipment for that.  That's already really annoying for me. 

Another really thing that bothered me was the SD Card port.  Sliding in my new SD card into it does not feel "right", as in it doesn't even lock the SD card down and the card itself easily pops out.  It's not in there securely. Also the board seems to be bent during manufacturing.  Like the box itself was fine, everything else was fine, but just in the middle there seems to be a slight bend in the board which you can see through the I/O connector on the bottom side.

I am not sure any components should be separate, it sounds like maybe damage during transport?  I did read however on another brief review of the board that they received it 'bent' as well or with a 'bend in it', here.  I also remember the guys in linux-sunxi talking about it and was blamed on poor packaging.  Was the box damaged in any ways when you received it?

Also, this is common for things shipped from China, my Orange Pi Plus 2E, you don't want to see the box it came in.  It looked like some post guys had played soccer with the box and punted it around a few times.  Luckily enough it was in another box inside the original shipping box so it wasn't ruined, but when I got it I thought originally it would be a total loss.

If it works, count your self lucky and move on.  If that part you found in the box is supposed to be attached to the board I would be sure to report this to them and request if they would send another (not sure if they would require you to ship yours back or not).

On a side note, I noticed that Gearbest sent out an e-mail flier today again listing the board for 9$ or something but by the time I clicked it to check it was showing $19.99, so I am guessing maybe we got a jump on their sale before they could advertise it yesterday and they had no stock for their actual sale. :)

my 2 cents.

Cheers!

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Same on Hackaday: http://hackaday.com/2016/04/21/pine64-the-un-review/

Their words:

Quote

Concerning the specific Pine shipped to me, I would have to rate the assembly as somewhat lackluster.
The board itself is bent in the middle, with a visible gap between the board and spacer of the pin headers.

If I were grading Pine’s QA, this would be a solid D – the board works, but I’m surprised that it does.

This would never pass QA from any manufacturer.

 

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9 hours ago, souen said:

If it's this one, it might not need soldering. https://shop.pine64.com/products/push-button-on-off-switch

Yeah it is that.

I stuck it into the power on holes (Insert "Bow Chica Bow Wow" here) but it's not really secure.  It falls out easily. 

Edit: In other news.  Anyone have a specific board they recommend?  I already have a Raspberry Pi 2 and a POS Pine64+.  I'm looking for something that can actually use SATA as well (which would be cool in all honesty).  

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15 hours ago, HalfEatenPie said:

Edit: In other news.  Anyone have a specific board they recommend?  I already have a Raspberry Pi 2 and a POS Pine64+.  I'm looking for something that can actually use SATA as well (which would be cool in all honesty).  

Olimex A20 line: https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/A20/open-source-hardware

 

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      Source: https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&calledFromFrame=N&application_id=Ti%2FYleaJNSl%2BTR5mL5C0WQ%3D%3D&fcc_id=2ABCB-RPI32 && https://fccid.io/2ABCB-RPI32
      First looks at the RPI3:


       
      Unsure of the exact operating specs, I'd hope there is some other improvements elsewhere as well but built in wifi and bluetooth will certainly be a nice feature to have. The photos above were pulled from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/26/raspberry_pi_3/