x86 replacement?
#1
Hi folks,

I would like to replace my Lenovo Y580 (Intel Core i7-3630QM, 8GB RAM, SSD) in the near future with an "open source" alternative. What do you think about the performance of the RockPro64 compared to my Lenovo in real live? 50%? I have no need for 3D gaming, rendering videos or something, but I would like to have a "snappy" experience. Will I be happy with the RockPro64?

What do you think?

PS: My first though was about a Sopine cluster, but AFAIK it's NOT just a 28 core, 14GB RAM machine, right?
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#2
(04-06-2021, 07:46 AM)guenther Wrote: ...
Will I be happy with the RockPro64?
...
Really hard to advise. I have been using Arm SBCs as my only desktop for a couple of years and am happy to cope with the limitations. Some things (like unusable YouTube playback) are possible to workaround (with youtube-dl). Some things (like slow GnuCash load times due to decompression algorithms) I get used to. Some things (like debos or signal) are a PITA because there is no aarch64 version.

But general browsing (with Firefox), email (Thunderbird), solitaire-like games, videos and music that are local and even photography (fotoxx), finance (gnucash) and family history (gramps) databases are all fine for me. As well as antything I want in LibreOffice.

One thing that can affect your experience is also a drive in the Arm ecosystem for low power consumption. Which I subscribe to as my RockPro64 is passively cooled. But it does mean e.g. Ondemand schedulling which impacts even stuff like SSD i/o - I can get better benchmark results (or gnucash load limes) if I want by switching to Performance schedulling when I get bothered which is not too often!
  • ROCKPro64 v2.1 2GB, 16Gb eMMC for rootfs, SX8200Pro 512GB NVMe for /home, HDMI video & sound, Bluetooth keyboard & mouse. Started Bionic minimal - now "groovy", Openbox desktop for general purpose daily PC.
  • PinePhone BraveHeart now v1.2b 3/32Gb daily driver, dual boot via p-boot with Mobian on eMMC, Arch/f2fs/Phosh on SDcard
  • PinePhone v1.2a 2G/16Gb that needs USB board replaced
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#3
Thank you @dukla2000 for sharing your experience.

Well, I use a PineTab several months now, so I'm over all aware of the SW limitation on ARM...

My question is just related to the performance and how close the RockPro will come to my x86. It's not that I want to replace my Lenovo necessarily, but I think about what to do when it reaches it's EOL. (What is hopefully not so soon) Cool

I would like to stay away from the "big players"  like Intel, AMD, Apple and so on with all the back doors and blobs, e.g. "Intel Management Engine", to name just one.
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#4
(04-06-2021, 10:10 AM)guenther Wrote: Thank you @dukla2000 for sharing your experience.

Well, I use a PineTab several months now, so I'm over all aware of the SW limitation on ARM...

My question is just related to the performance and how close the RockPro will come to my x86. It's not that I want to replace my Lenovo necessarily, but I think about what to do when it reaches it's EOL. (What is hopefully not so soon) Cool

I would like to stay away from the "big players"  like Intel, AMD, Apple and so on with all the back doors and blobs, e.g. "Intel Management Engine", to name just one.
Hello,
  I develop intensively (and almost exclusively) with my rockpro64 SBC (although I also have a MacBook and an i7 Linux) and it works rather well. My remarks and return on experience
- running the last Armbian distribution with very light desktop interface
- with ssd nvme boot
- using an ATX power unit (very stable voltage) because I have a cluster of rockpro64
- no need of fan
- the system is stable, it rarely freeze
- Google ([Image: cn0r8ZYcohHy6RJveNrwNmyuvqzypEPaS2W4CYvb...qyjP_-FRPS]) suite works well 
- as said dukla2000 when crypto is needed, it is a little slower
- some web sites with extensive widget and adds are sometime long to load
- pages are not as fast and reactive as i7 but it is ok (depending on your character, it may be a showstopper)
- video is ok (my screen is HD)
- simple image processing is ok
- game : extreme tux racer works very well
- sound somewhat weak and could be better
- network with wire is good but I don't know about wifi
- ignorant of how to configure suspend mode
- fulfill 95% of my needs
- I made some benchmark. But I am not sure that it has a meaning (it is like comparing a baby cat with a tiger). Let's compare it with the i7-3630QM @ 2.40GHz

Code:
2018        2012
                        RP64        i7-3630QM  ratio
-------------------------------------------------------------
Integer Math            17494.4     18612      1.0638833
Floating Point Math     3853.82     9436       2.44847969
Find Prime Numbers      5.19        24         4.624277457
Random String Sorting   4.6519      12         2.579591135
Data Encryption         304.22      1434       4.713694037
Data Compression        8.5         79.9       9.4
Physics                 112.39      417        3.71029451
Extended Instructions   561.1       3476       6.194974158
Single Thread           532.27      1687       3.169444079

This is a benchmark test by passmark. I think that integer math ops are more often than floating point
(all numbers are values/s and the ratios have some meaning because the values are additive)

Voila.
Hope it helps.

LMM
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#5
@LMM  Thank you for your extensive answer and that you have done the benchmark. Well, over all it sounds not too bad and I guess it would be worth to give the RockPro a try. But I have to think about it a little more what to do...

Thank you again, it was really helpfull!

Regards, guenther
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#6
(04-06-2021, 03:43 PM)guenther Wrote: @LMM  Thank you for your extensive answer and that you have done the benchmark. Well, over all it sounds not too bad and I guess it would be worth to give the RockPro a try. But I have to think about it a little more what to do...

Thank you again, it was really helpfull!

Regards, guenther
Be careful about depending on benchmarks which mostly sit inside the cache  and rarely reflect real world performance.
One metric that you can use is to compare the size of caches. Intel I7 is an expensive chip (> $300/-) with large caches 
and will easily beat a RK3399 (~$15/-) in real world performance- example running Firefox browser.

So if you are expecting I7 class performance you are likely to be disappointed -Sad.
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#7
(04-07-2021, 01:30 PM)Vasant Wrote:
(04-06-2021, 03:43 PM)guenther Wrote: @LMM  Thank you for your extensive answer and that you have done the benchmark. Well, over all it sounds not too bad and I guess it would be worth to give the RockPro a try. But I have to think about it a little more what to do...

Thank you again, it was really helpfull!

Regards, guenther
Be careful about depending on benchmarks which mostly sit inside the cache  and rarely reflect real world performance.
One metric that you can use is to compare the size of caches. Intel I7 is an expensive chip (> $300/-) with large caches 
and will easily beat a RK3399 (~$15/-) in real world performance- example running Firefox browser.

So if you are expecting I7 class performance you are likely to be disappointed -Sad.
Hi Vasant, thank you for your relevant remark
As I was ignorant on this topic, I made some search and you are probably true.
The modern apps are very demanding in memory and it may be the bottleneck for the performance.
However RP64 is not that bad in term of cache :
L1 : 48K+32K/core (32K+32K/core for intel skylake)
L2 : 1M for big + 512K for little ( 256K/core + L3 = 4-8 MB for intel skylake)

To double the cache :
  - one has to increase the size of the processor by more than 50%
  - increase dramatically the price. This could be also an option for rockchip : a top end product line
I an waiting forward the new rk3588 processed in 8nm !

Concerning independent benchmark tests, I suppose they took into account this factor since they are really testing processors.

And I agree with you, RP64 is not intended to compete with i7 and you would be disappointed if you expect so but for every day usage it is ok, at least for my usage - I sometime have to be a little more patient.

LMM
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#8
Well, maybe some day I get a RockPro just to see how it works but not with "i7 replacement" in my mind, what seems hopeless.

Thank you all for your suggestions!

Regards, guenther
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