La Frite is our latest product offering starting at just $5 on Kickstarter! This quad-core 64-bit ARM board has great open source software support since it is based on Le Potato. It features 1080P video output and decode of H.265, H.264, and VP9 on a 6.4cm (~2.5 inches) x 5.5cm (~2.2 inches) board. La Frite can run the latest upstream Linux as well as Android 8 Oreo for the 1GB model. Other open source software support include LibreELEC, Kodi, RetroPie, RetroArch, and more. Back now on Kickstarter!
Linux 4.19 is a LTS release so we went ahead and created a spectrum of images for Le Potato based on Linux 4.18. These images come with three months of upstream Linux enablement by our partner @BayLibre. Some of this work will be showcased at @KernelRecipes and @EmbeddedRecipes along with free #LePotato boards for attendees.
These images are based on Linux 4.18.7, X11 up to 4K30, and Amlogic Mali (for non-Headless). When Linux 4.19 is tagged by Linus, we will work on final images with automatic package upgrade for Linux, u-boot, and user-space that is currently done through scripts.
In other news, BayLibre is working with LibreELEC to get mainline hardware decoding working for Le Potato. This work will eventually make it into Kodi and we are very excited about it. The upstream V4L2 hardware video decoder work by Maxime Jourdan of BayLibre will not land in Linux 4.19 but will be backported. This work will coincide with two new products due in the following months: La Frite and Les Puree. These designs share the same underlying architecture as Le Potato to re-use the software technologies we have invested in.
In this video, we are demoing Shadowgun running on the Renegade Elite. The board is powered by a USB power-delivery monitor with video is being transmitted back to the monitor via a single USB Type-C cable. This capability allows Renegade Elite to be the ultimate solution for 4K AV termination. Pre-order yours today from @Indiegogo.
Renegade Elite is the first mass-market SBC built specifically to tackle modern applications in artificial intelligence, stereo computer vision, neural-networks, robotics, and general purpose GPU compute. It also revolutionizes traditional markets like digital signage, high density micro-server, and connected edge devices at its $99 price point. All of this is enabled by a device slightly longer than a 2.5″ drive.
Together with revolutionary standards-compliant technologies like USB Type-C and Power-over-Ethernet, Renegade Elite offers what no other competitor can match.
The ROC-RK3399-PC (Renegade Elite) is the culmination of six months of development effort between the Libre Computer Project and Firefly teams to re-envision computing as we know it. We have analyzed almost all usage scenarios for the edge computing market to derive a design that enables usability of core high-performance features of the Rockchip RK3399 System-on-Chip.
Since we started our endeavor, we have made tremendous progress on the software side of the AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato) platform through our collaboration with BayLibre. We are happy to announce that the platform will be getting a mini-me, the AML-S805X-AC (La Frite). This smaller and more cost-oriented board shares the same underlying technology as its bigger brother and will utilize the upstream work completed so far. It is limited to 1080P instead of 4K60 like Le Potato. The crowdfunding will occur at the end of July after we release the images for ALL-H3-CC series (Tritium). This will coincide with the Indiegogo campaign for ROC-RK3399-PC (Renegade Elite). More details to come about both of these projects.
Meanwhile, we have released a new preview image for the current AML-S905X-CC. This image fixes two outstanding issues:
floating MAC address causing new DHCP IP leases
support for automatically generating timings for DMT resolutions
The images slipstreams the latest Linux 4.14.52. If you already have preview image 2, this is not much of an upgrade.
We have been quietly working on support for Raspbian. The work is relatively simple and we have been testing it internally for release in the next 10 days. It will come in two forms: an image and a script to install on top of existing Raspbian for Raspberry Pi. This will work for both Le Potato and Tritium platforms.
LXDE is much faster than Gnome 3 on these low power ARM hardware. It is the basis for the latest desktop UI for Raspbian. We will start rolling Ubuntu with LXDE on X11 along side the Gnome 3 with Wayland images for usability reasons.
Upstream roadmap items being worked on include the following:
4K30 support in Linux (4K60 requires a lot of work still)
single resolution video output and framebuffer in u-boot
SPI-FC support for AML-S805X-AC in u-boot
DRM overlays in Linux
Device tree overlays (like HAT support in Raspbian for Raspberry Pi boards)
Logistical roadmap items being worked on include the following:
Unified kernel for ALL-H3-CC H5, AML-S905X-CC, ROC-RK3328-CC based on Linux 4.18
Debian repo infrastructure and packaging for kernel and u-boot for all of our boards
Continuous integration and image buildbot
These two lists are not comprehensive. It will be a fun summer with lots to do.
ROC-RK3328-CC (Renegade) is a powerful SBC platform powered by the Rockchip RK3328 SoC and equipped with high bandwidth DDR4. It features high performance IO like Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 operating near native speeds. It is perfect for media center and IO intensive applications.
Since the board has only been out for two months, there is only sparse documentation available on the web so this is a great central resource for getting started with the Renegade. Did we mention that it is backed by GitHub it can be improved upon?
The documentation covers images for Android, Ubuntu, and LibreELEC by the Firefly team based on Rockchip’s SDK (Linux 4.4 LTS). We will also be rolling out Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial and Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic images for Renegade based on the latest upstream Linux LTS as soon as we are able to digest and test patches that are needed. We have no concrete timeline yet but will provide updates when we are close.
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is the newest offering from the Raspberry Pi Foundation sharing much of the same features as the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B with small but significant improvements on many fronts while maintaining the same price. Below is some highlights.
Increased CPU clock speed from 1.2GHz to 1.4GHz
Increased memory throughput
Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS) for SoC
Integrated MxL7704 PMIC for power management and delivery
Modularized WiFi/BT Radio with 5GHz and improved performance
Gigabit Ethernet (albeit still over USB 2.0)
Ethernet headers for PoE addon
We ran a comprehensive set of benchmarks on the new model, old model, and our boards to compare performance and power consumption.
We begin with heavily optimized C applications like C-Ray and SciMark2. Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is still utilizing 32-bit kernel and userland like its predecessor. Raspbian, the official OS of Raspberry Pi, has not moved to 64-bit ARMv8 despite the ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores supporting it. Legacy 32-bit can help performance for this specific benchmark since some data structures and pointers are smaller than in 64-bit ARMv8 mode. Performance increases around 20% from the Model B, which means that the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ matches the performance of similarly clocked ROC-RK3328-CC. It is still slightly behind the AML-S905X-CC since that is about 100MHz faster.
Now we move onto server based workloads. Redis is a good test of overall system performance as it stresses not just the CPU but also the interrupt and memory subsystems. We see the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ improving greatly in performance over the previous Model B but still not enough to catch up with modern 28nm SoCs with faster DDR3/4 running ARMv8 kernel and userland.
Java benefits heavily from having native 64-bit arithmetic and performs signficantly faster on the boards running true 64-bit OSes. Despite nearly a 30% increase in performance, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is left behind.
Sysbench results should be taken with a grain of salt when comparing different binaries but this demonstrates the necessity of true 64-bit ARMv8 kernel and userland. Even with the performance gains, Raspberry Pi products are still held back by 32-bit ARMv7 Raspbian OS. Both the Renegade and Le Potato boards deliver more than 10x the performance.
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ uses a newly revised BCM2837B0. There are four limiting features of this SoC just like the previous BCM2837 in the Model B. First, it is missing ARM ISA’s Crypto Extensions. For encryption and decryption workloads such as VPN, SSL, SSH, and HTTPS, it’s NEON accelerated implementation is roughly 15x slower. This is one of the critical missing features that make the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ a poor choice for server based workloads that depend on these security instructions.