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Archive for September, 2017

Mecool VS-RK3399 Board Linux Benchmarks

September 29th, 2017 No comments

We already have plenty of benchmarks for Rockchip RK3399 in Android, so instead I started by installing the latest Phoronix Test Suite in Debian:

… and ran the tests I did on NanoPi NEO 2 earlier:

For whatever reasons OpenSSL and Mafft failed to download, but we still have the other benchmarks to compare with. Note that the Debian image is likely not optimized, and while the system runs an Aarch64 kernel, the rootfs is only 32-bit, which may have affected some of the benchmarks.

But let’s see what’s we’ve got, starting with John the Ripper password cracker, a multi-threaded benchmark.

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We’d normally expect hardware platforms based on Rockchip RK3399 SoC to outperform all other Cortex A53 or A17 based boards in the list, but MiQi board with a quad core Cortex A17 processor @ 1.8 GHz, and BPI-M3 board with an octa-core Cortex A7 processor @ 2.0 GHz, both beat the VS-RK3399 with an hexa-core processor with two Cortex A72 cores @ 1.8 GHz, and four Cortex A53 cores @ 1.4 GHz. BPI-M3 is even twice as fast in this test.

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C-Ray is also a multi-threaded benchmark, but here Rockchip RK3399 SoC shines, making VS-RK3399 the fastest platform of the lot, also beating MeLE PCG02U TV stick (MeUbuntu 14.04.3) powered by an Intel Bay Trail Z3735F processor.

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Smallpt is another multi-threaded benchmark, and VS-RK3399 board does well, but it’s still beaten by the Intel TV stick (OpenMP might help here?), and Banana Pi M3.

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The Rockchip RK3399 board is the fastest ARM platform for Himeno linear solver of pressure Poisson, but due to specific x86 instructions and/or optimization, the Bay Trail TV stick is well ahead.

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Finally, for FLAC audio encoding, VS-RK3399 is the best ARM platform (in the tested lot) by a wide margin, but Intel is ahead with their more advanced SIMD instructions.

So Rockchip RK3399 processor will outperform all ARM boards with single threaded tasks thanks to it Cortex A72 cores, but in some multi-threaded tests, octa-core Cortex A7, and quad core Cortex A17 platforms may deliver better results.

VS-RD-RK3399 board comes with a 32GB Samsung eMMC 5.0 flash that supposed to deliver 246/46 MB/s R/W speed, and 6K/5K R/W IOPS.

I tested it with iozone using a 100MB file:

Results for the read speed are around the theoretical limit, but write speeds are well above, maybe because of some caching.

I switched to Gigabit Ethernet performance testing starting with a full duplex iperf test:

Not quite optimal, so let’s look at upload only:

and download only:

Both of which are quite good. I had been told that IRQ may all be handled by CPU0 (Cortex A53 core in the board), and the following changes may improve performance:

So I repeated the tests, and something impossible happened:

We’re not supposed to get 1.35 Gbps on Gigabit Ethernet… So I tried again for a longer period of time (10 minutes):

Same results.. But looking at the output from the server side, it looks more realistic:

and it does improve a little compared to the first test without the tweaks.

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Rock960 Board is a 96Boards Compliant Board Powered by Rockchip RK3399 SoC

September 29th, 2017 No comments

So it looks like Rockchip is soon going to join 96Boards family with Rock960 board. Developed by a Guangzhou based startup called Varms, the board will be powered by Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core SoC, and comply with 96Boards CE specifications.

Rock960 board preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Rochchip RK3399 hexa-core big.LITTLE processor with two ARM Cortex A72 cores up to 1.8/2.0 GHz, four Cortex A53 cores @ 1.4 GHz, and  ARM Mali-T860 MP4 GPU with OpenGL ES 1.1 to 3.2 support, OpenVG1.1, OpenCL 1.2 and DX 11 support
  • System Memory – 2 or 4GB RAM
  • Storage – 16 or 32GB eMMC flash + micro SD card
  • Video Output – 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4K@60 Hz with CEC and HDCP
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO up to 867 Mbps, and Bluetooth 4.1 LE (AP6356S module) with two on-board antennas, two u.FL antenna connectors
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 type C port with DP 1.2 support
  • Expansion
    • 1x 40 pin low speed expansion connector – UART, SPI, I2C, GPIO, I2S
    • 1x 60 pin high speed expansion connector – MIPI DSI, USB, MIPI CSI, HSIC, SDIO
    • 1x M.2 key M PCIe connector with support for up to 4-lane PCIe 2.1 (max bandwidth: 2.0 GB)
  • Misc – Power & u-boot buttons. 6 LEDS (4x user, 1x Wifi, 1x Bluetooth)
  • Power Supply – 8 to 18V DC input (12V typical) as per 96Boards CE specs; Battery header
  • Dimensions – 85 x 54 mm (96Boards CE form factor)

The board will support Android (AOSP), Ubuntu, the Yocto Project, and Armbian. The website shows the word “official” for the first three, and lists Canonical as partner. The company will also offer various at least one expansion board, and starter kit based on Seeed Studio Grove system with a mezzanine board with plenty of Grove headers, an LCD display, and various Grove modules like buzzers, relays, buttons, LEDs, temperature sensors, and so on.

Rock960 is both simpler and smaller than other RK3399 boards such as Firefly-RK3399 and VS-RK3399, so I’d expect it to be cheaper, hopefully below $100, once it becomes available. The website is still very much under construction, but you may find few more details there.

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Google Cloud IoT Core Enters Public Beta, Various Devkits Available

September 29th, 2017 No comments

Allwinner R18 based Banana Pi BPI-M64 Board with Google Cloud IoT Coresupport, as Google unveils the new cloud service during Google I/O. However, at the time it was only available to selected partners, and Google has recently launched the public beta making their IoT device management platform available to all.

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I first learned about this through an ARM community blog post announcing availability of the ARM-based IoT Kit for Cloud IoT Core on Adafruit using Raspberry Pi 3 board,  a breadboard, and various modules that can be managed through Google services.

But that are plenty of other IoT kits or boards for Google Cloud IoT Core including:

You’ll find purchase links and documentation for each board on Google Cloud IoT Core’s IoT Kit page. Sample code specific to the RPI3 kit can also be found on Github.

Google Cloud IoT Core Architecture / Features Overview

Google IoT Core is free to use for up to 250 MB/month with no limit on the number of devices, and if you exceed this limit pricing per MB depends on data usage:

  • 250MB to 250 GB – $0.0045 per MB
  • 250GB to 5 TB – $0.0020 per MB
  • Over 5 TB – $0.00045 per MB
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Nokia 3310 3G Dumb Phone Works with 2G & 3G Networks

September 29th, 2017 No comments

Many people use smartphones now, but “dumb” feature phones are still being sold, as they are cheaper, some may find smartphones too complicated to use, while others wary about privacy issues. However, most feature phones comes with 2G connectivity, and with 2G sunset in many countries, I’ve recently realized it’s not so easy to find a simple phone with 3G cellular connectivity. The good news is that Nokia 3310 3G has just been announced by HMD global.

Nokia 3310 3G specifications:

  • SoC – TBD
  • System Memory – TBD
  • Storage – 64 MB storage; MicroSD card slot supporting up 32GB
  • Display – 2.4” QVGA (320×240) color display
  • Keyboard – “beautiful push buttons and iconic, shaped design”
  • Camera – 2MP camera with LED flash
  • Audio – Headphone jack
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • 2G/ 3G connectivity:
      • dual band 900/1800 MHz +3G Band 1 and 8
      • (Single SIM) quad band GSM 850/900/1800/1900 + 3G Band 1, 2, 5, 8
    • Single or dual SIM variants
  • Wireless Connectivity – Bluetooth 2.1, FM radio
  • USB – micro USB Port
  • Battery – 1,200 mAh removable BL-5C battery good for up to 6.5h talk time, 24 to 27 days standby, 40 hours MP3 playback, 35 hours FM radio playback
  • Dimensions – 17 x 52.4 x 13.35mm
  • Weight – 84.9g (single SIM); 88.2g (dual SIM)

Nokia 3310 3G is said to run “Feature OS” powered by Java, and ships with a quick start guide, thje battery, a micro USB charger, and a WH-108 headset.


The phone is not exactly cheap for this class of device, as it will sell for “a global average price” of €69 (~$81 US) starting this mid-October. Visit the product page for more details.

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