mtx512
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Another potential development board

Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:27 pm

Following in the footsteps on the Gooseberry heres another potential fruity board :lol: . This time with 1GB and 4GB flash onboard. http://jas-hacks.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07 ... board.html

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reiuyi
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Re: Another potential development board

Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:04 pm

The Allwinner A10 is a pretty cool SoC. I have a device at home with that specific SoC inside of it, and the GPU (a mali-400 mp) is absolutely ridiculously fast (it's like a Videocore4 on steroids, it decodes 4k video at 30fps or 1080p at 120fps (!) while simultaneously decoding sound).

Anyway, this board is on a different price-range as the Raspberry Pi, so I don't believe they're direct competitors. Also it doesn't have "the community" as always.

I'm a bit surprised this A10 development board doesn't use all the features of the A10, though. The Allwinner has lots of features that aren't in this specific development board; like SATA, GPIO, I2C, PWM, keyboard matrix input, etc. The Allwinner A10 is capable of handling upto 8 NAND flash chips and 4 separate SD-card interfaces. It's a bit too bad they're not using the chip to the absolute max. The wifi is a nice addition, though.

beefsack
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Re: Another potential development board

Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:59 pm

Looks like the Hackberry A10 is now for sale: https://www.miniand.com/products/Hackbe ... er%20Board

Max

Re: Another potential development board

Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:52 pm

Anyway, this board is on a different price-range as the Raspberry Pi, so I don't believe they're direct competitors.
Think the price category is not that far off the Pi given that it already includes power supply and flash storage.


Bought one to toy with.
Will let you know how it performs once it arrives.

antineutrinos
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Re: Another potential development board

Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:47 pm

Max did you get it? Any feedback you could share?

Cheers.

Joe Schmoe
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Re: Another potential development board

Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:54 pm

antineutrinos wrote:Max did you get it? Any feedback you could share?

Cheers.
I've been reading up (and exchanged an email with them) on the Hackberry and, yes, I think it is an all around better do than the Raspberry. Not that much more expensive and a lot better stuff - including, the most important thing that the Pi is lacking, a supplied, known good power supply.

It looks like it is not available at the moment, but that should change in a couple of weeks. Right now, the web site shows both models "out of stock", but the guy (Mick) seems pretty confident that the 1G model will be available for purchase (and 3 day delivery to the US!) by late August (this up from the previous estimate of "September").
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

bobc
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Re: Another potential development board

Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:28 pm

Olimex have an Allwinner A13 nearing production, and I think they are also looking at an A10 board.

Raspberry Pi seems to have opened up the market for low cost Linux boards. I'm not sure that all these boards will get as good software support though, that is really the key, unless you are at home building Linux kernels, writing device drivers etc.

Max

Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:35 pm

antineutrinos wrote:Max did you get it?
Not yet.
Was shipped after the weekend, and just departed from Hong Kong according to the tracking number.

Max

Re: Another potential development board

Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:03 pm

Went through customs without charge, and arrived today.
Quick first impression.

Image
Slightly bigger than a Pi.


Pros:
  • comes with 1A 5V power adapter, built-in flash, mounting holes, better SD card holder.
  • Android, web browsing and youtube work ok.
Cons:

Image
Image
  • currently doesn't get along that well with my DVI monitor, colors are off, and Android only supports HDMI resolutions. Works perfect on my HDMI TV though.
  • doesn't seem to support HDMI CEC (controlling the device with your normal tv remote), but does have an IR receiver that could make up for it.
Will have a go at installing Linux and measure performance once I have more time.

jamesh
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Re: Another potential development board

Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:43 pm

There are some benchmarking comparisons in the pipeline, not sure when they will be completed though. Initial results are QI.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
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JoBu
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Re: Another potential development board

Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:08 am

That's great Max, what are you planning to use it for? Please keep posting your findings here, there is not a lot of user impressions of this board out there.

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reiuyi
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Re: Another potential development board

Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:39 am

A direct comparison between Raspberry Pi and the Allwinner A10 is unfair, though.

You got lucky with customs, otherwise this development board would have been easily twice the retail price of raspi.

As far as I can tell the onboard wifi is an amazing advantage. The size is a lot bigger than raspi. I must ask if it's some sort of ITX-compatible size? It seems to have all connectors on the backside, with just an IR-receiver on the front side (typical set-top box, to be positioned on or below your tv). What's the unpopulated position next to the sd card reader (maybe another usb)? Are those really mounting holes? They look more like holes meant for injection-molded plastic sticks to hold the thing in place in a cheap casing. Could you perhaps provide all the names of the chips on the board? (like the exact ram modules, flash, lan controller, wifi module, etc). The lack of IO is just silly, though. A10 has all sorts of fancy IO pins that could easily have been brought out. I'm confused why they didn't bring out VGA, while they did bring out Y/Pb/Pr video signals.. Can anyone confirm these two are (not) compatible?

Max

Re: Another potential development board

Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:14 pm

reiuyi wrote:A direct comparison between Raspberry Pi and the Allwinner A10 is unfair, though.
I disagree.

There are quite of few people here reporting power supply and SD card compatibility issues (although the last seems to be solved with the latest firmware).
It would therefore make sense for an average person wishing to avoid that, to play safe, and order a known good PSU and SD with their Pi.
If you do so at Farnell or RS you will end up paying a total amount that is in the same price category as an A10.
I do not think it is unfair to compare similarly priced toys.
(Shipping might currently make it slightly more expensive, but if they were to offer a cheaper method, or if you had a need for more than one, that becomes a non-issue as well)

You got lucky with customs, otherwise this development board would have been easily twice the retail price of raspi.
Might differ by country.
But customs seldom bothers to inspect small electronics from China here.
If it was a 10" tablet coming in a fancy box, instead of a bare PCB, it would have been different.
As far as I can tell the onboard wifi is an amazing advantage.
Actually, I do not really like wifi, and bought the board for the LAN instead :-)
Already had a A10 based tablet with wifi.

The size is a lot bigger than raspi. I must ask if it's some sort of ITX-compatible size?
Not sure about ITX compatibility.
Size is about the same as my external laptop USB hard disk.
What's the unpopulated position next to the sd card reader (maybe another usb)?
Don't know.
Are those really mounting holes? They look more like holes meant for injection-molded plastic sticks to hold the thing in place in a cheap casing.
I am more a software guy, and do not work in electronics.
If it is a hole in a pcb and there are no nearby components in the way, I call it a mounting hole, not sure about the proper term.
Could you perhaps provide all the names of the chips on the board? (like the exact ram modules, flash, lan controller, wifi module, etc).
Memory (of my early 512 MB model): Hynix H5TQ1G83DFR
Flash: Micron 29F32G08CBACA
PMIC: AXP209
USB HUB: GL850
NIC: RTL8201CP
Wifi: think RTL8188CUS (hard to read)

Joe Schmoe
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Re: Another potential development board

Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:07 pm

The Wifi is as you said, except it is 8192. I got this from the forum at the miniand site.

P.S. They are now saying September for the general availability (was "Late August" until today).

P.P.S. (Since you have one) When you boot it up, what exactly do you get? Do you get a login prompt of some sort? (I know nothing about Android - other than that we have a Kindle or two laying around here...)
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

rpsychedelic
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Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:17 am

Hey guys.

At the risk of sounding too n00bish.

Leaving aside the advantages of the Hackberry in terms of processing power, RAM and WiFi (and onboard flash, and PSU...)...
Does it really look like it lacks GPIO?
If so, would it make it non-desirable for modders/hackers in general?

I mean, as far as I understand it can run Linux as well, so it has more or less the same advantages as the RPI.

Why would one consider the RPi over this Hackberry? (And having in mind the RPi cost is increased with UK taxes and such).

Max

Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:22 am

When you boot it up, what exactly do you get? Do you get a login prompt of some sort?
Boots to the Android TV launcher screen shown in the photo.
Unless you put an external SD card in it, then it boots what is on the card (at least that is the idea)

rpsychedelic wrote: Leaving aside the advantages of the Hackberry in terms of processing power, RAM and WiFi (and onboard flash, and PSU...)...
Does it really look like it lacks GPIO?
If so, would it make it non-desirable for modders/hackers in general?
Yes, for connecting non-USB hardware stuff directly it is not suitable.
Perhaps it can be done indirectly, e.g. through a $ 4.30 microcontroller board: http://ti.com/launchpad
But haven't tried that.

Why would one consider the RPi over this Hackberry?
If you have a normal DVI monitor (instead of HDMI) you will want the RPi, unless you like purple (screenshot earlier in thread).
It also currently has some glitch that it doesn't always boot Linux directly from SD card when you attach power. It does work if you boot Android first, then insert the SD card and then press the reset button. Not really a problem if you are sitting in front of the device, but might be if you intend to use it in some sort of embedded setting.

I also managed to screw up the file system of the on-flash Android installation, but not sure if that's the board fault. I am good at breaking things.

Joe Schmoe
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Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:53 am

Boots to the Android TV launcher screen shown in the photo.
OK - got it. And from there, can you get to a shell prompt?
Unless you put an external SD card in it, then it boots what is on the card (at least that is the idea)
Seems logical. Analogous to "boot from floppy if present, else boot hard disk" on a normal computer. Hopefully, they will get the glitches out of this for the September release.
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

Max

Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:04 am

Joe Schmoe wrote:
Boots to the Android TV launcher screen shown in the photo.
OK - got it. And from there, can you get to a shell prompt?
Yes, after you install a terminal .apk.

Joe Schmoe
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Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:36 pm

Max wrote:
Joe Schmoe wrote:
Boots to the Android TV launcher screen shown in the photo.
OK - got it. And from there, can you get to a shell prompt?
Yes, after you install a terminal .apk.
Which you get from where?
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

Max

Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:37 pm

Joe Schmoe wrote: Which you get from where?
Installed Aptoide first: http://m.aptoide.com/
And searched for terminal with that.

Saw that Google Play was also installed, but prefer not to use that, as I do not want to sign-in with a Google account.

rpsychedelic
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Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:00 pm

Max wrote:If you have a normal DVI monitor (instead of HDMI) you will want the RPi, unless you like purple (screenshot earlier in thread).
It also currently has some glitch that it doesn't always boot Linux directly from SD card when you attach power. It does work if you boot Android first, then insert the SD card and then press the reset button. Not really a problem if you are sitting in front of the device, but might be if you intend to use it in some sort of embedded setting.

I also managed to screw up the file system of the on-flash Android installation, but not sure if that's the board fault. I am good at breaking things.
So basically that's it? If you have a HDMI monitor, then go for this alternative board.

All and all what I guess I'm trying to ask is, given this board and others with the 50-70 price range, with WiFi, better CPU, more RAM, onboard Flash etc etc... what is the Pi good for (except for buying in batch to give in schools that is)???

I'm just trying to see why would anyone consider the Pi over these other boards, at all!! :)

rasbeer
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Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:36 pm

I think the main 'selling point' of the Pi is... how many units are out there. The combined expertise of the RasPi community is a lot bigger than for the A10 boards, which makes it better suited to messing about with & learning stuff on.

As a 'slightly-hackable consumer device' or 'netbook power equivalent desktop replacement' the current A10 boards probably have an edge. This will be even more the case when dual or quad core boards come onto the market for <$100, which could be pretty soon.

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reiuyi
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Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:48 pm

rpsychedelic wrote: I'm just trying to see why would anyone consider the Pi over these other boards, at all!! :)
Pi is cheaper, GPIO access with fancy PWM, better support through professional companies like Element14 and a vast community, has a camera connector, has screen connector (DSI, composite), multiple supported linux distros besides android

To each their own decision! Choosing between UK-designed and Chinese-designed, I think I know what I'll pick!!

HansH
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Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:33 pm

ok, another board, very small, the cubieboard

- 1G ARM cortex-A8 processor, NEON, VFPv3, 512KB L2 cache
- Mali400, OpenGL ES GPU
- 1GB DDR3 @400MHz
- HDMI 1080p Output
- 100M Ethernet
- 2 USB Host, 2 MMC slot, 1 ir
- 96 extend pin including i2c, spi, lcd, sata, sensors, ..
- Running Android, Ubuntu and other Linux distributions

webpage with prototype board : http://linux-sunxi.org/Cubieboard
looks very promising, certain with the 2 connectors on either side
costs $ 49

Seems a lot of people are discovering a market for a low cost, small ARM board...

Max

Re: Another potential development board

Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:21 pm

reiuyi wrote:multiple supported linux distros besides android
That could change quickly.
Do keep in mind that one of the reasons people created modified Linux distributions for the Pi, is because the stock versions of those distributions do not run properly.

The A10 with support for ARMv7 instructions and sufficient memory has the potential of running the normal editions of Fedora, Ubuntu, and Debian hardfloat with no modifications other than a kernel package.
That is if there is demand and the bugs get worked out.


Be aware that I am not in favor or against either board.
Both have their own strong points, and their own crowd.
As a developer I like my crowds large, and would be interested what could be done to make software run optimized on both.
E.g. wonder if some form of abstraction to the OpenGL ES libraries is easy to achieve.

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