First impressions and feedback on my Pine64 experience
#1
Hey
Just wanted to give some feedback on my pine64 experience if it can help anybody.
I ordered 2 Pine64 board, a 1GB and a 2GB.
I didn't experience any problem regarding delivery and delays (I did receive the notification of shipment a week after actually receiving the parcell).

My configuration is:
  • Rpi B running openelec (Kodi). Runs smooth with HDMI CEC (using my TV remote), but some limitations apply (no HEVC, limited choice of skins, slow interface)
  • Rpi B+ running raspian with mpd, transmission, squid, DHCP server, MySQL server (it's crowded and might not be always very responsive)
My goal would be to have:
  • Rpi B running Volumio or straight mpd
  • Rpi B+ running raspian with squid, DHCP server
  • 1 GB Pine64 running kodi (ontop of whatever might work)
  • 2 GB Pine64 running http server, owncloud, MySQL server, acting as a NAS
  • Odroid C2 with XRDP for a remote workstation
First off, for a media center comparable to the Rpi running openelec, Pine64 is a no go. Kodi on Android is slow and unstable (no CEC). Kodi on linux is unusable. Videos will play but as there is no 3D support for now, UI is extremely slow. And also no CEC.

For the other Pine, I planned to use Ubuntu but after several attempts, I installed Debian that seems to be more stable and all the packages (especially MySQL, PHPmyadmin) install and work fine.

So for me and for now there a few things to know:
  • for a nice media center, Pine64 is useless (no 3D HW accel, no CEC)
  • the arm64 is still young, so some things might not work out of the box (LXDE, Xubuntu-desktop are buggy for now).
  • Better try several different OSs depending of what you want to do with your board. Many different linux are available and there's also Android and RemixOS
  • Some problems are not specific to the Pine64 but are arm64 or distribution specific
For many things we'll have to wait a bit and for others, I wonder if it's going to happen at all (HDMI CEC).

So, here it is.
Any thoughts ?
#2
Well, one thing I've learned is never buy an AllLoser SoC ever again.
As for support of HDMI CEC, I don't see it happening, the latest Android build is more than 1 month old and no fixes and no replies from Pine64 team, they simply don't care. There's issues with Gigabit Ethernet and the build is crap basically...we're all alpha testers for a product that with this pace will never leave alpha status.

Don't hold your breath...

Anyway, for an headless linux server it works rly well, with longsleep's kernel but that's about it.
#3
(06-22-2016, 03:49 AM)fneves Wrote: Well, one thing I've learned is never buy an AllLoser SoC ever again. ... 

Anyway, for an headless linux server it works rly well, with longsleep's kernel but that's about it.

The Allwinner SoC is pretty fabulous, really.

... aside from that, you're right about ONLY one thing ... the PineA64 is a fantastic headless server; external hdd and all !

I am nearing the end of my third full week using the PineA64 as a desktop PC / and I must say that I'm not only impressed with the overall performance, reliability, low interactive latency, and features; but hey !--- my hat is off to the team(s) who have created some of the best software (especially lenny, and longsleep); and there are others too numerous to mention here. 

The PineA64 can truly be used as a desktop PC for all normal tasks, and even development tasks ! I am running into NO road block, show stoppers, nor even irritating glitches/  Everything just works for the most part.  The only thing I had to futz around with was the locale in ubuntu... but hey, that's an ubuntu problem on every platform !

All the ports work, wifi works VERY well, hdmi is fully functional and actually beuatiful ! usb is there solid as a rock, and I have not had any kernel panics, core dumps, or annoying bugs of any kind... stuff is just working (I'm using midori on ubuntu at the moment, and the browser has been fantastic ! )

I did run headless for a few hours yesterday; no problems--- and serial just works, no futzing around period.

I have been a Raspberry PI user for two+ years (currently own about a dozen of those things) and I must honestly say this PineA64 board has the Raspberry PI beat hands down -- across the boards. Its open, its well designed, has 2Gb of memory, better pinctrl, more ports, runs somewhat cooler although it still needs a heat-sink IMHO, and has way better power management. The uboot process is way better, and although the GPIO software is a bit behind Raspbian, that's just a matter of time. 

The irony is that this board was supposed to be tablet guts... an Android appliance !  It may turn out instead to be a Raspberry PI killer; one of the truly classic gnu+linux boards ever made !  At this point, I doubt I will do much with Android on this board except document it... but so far its going to be one of my favorite gnu+linux systems !

Well done team!  (everybody, really!)

marcus
#4
Well the one piece of good news is that Allwinner just released the Mali driver and so hopefully that will address some portion of your issues related to hardware acceleration.  Check it out here:

http://wiki.pine64.org/index.php/Mali_Driver

However, we still need to wait for it to be implemented so that we can see the actual impact with Kodi and other apps.
#5
i have been using my Pine64A 2GB board for 1½week now. my installation is Remix while I'm using it as a MediaServer. i works very well have no problem with the HDMI or other interfaces i have been using.
It's fast running, no lacking or delays.
I have mounted a 2TB USB drive, local network (works fine with 100MB cable or WiFi) and bluetooth is used for Audio output to an external DAC. My only issue at the moment to activate the I2S interface for my preferred I2C DAC / HiFi Audio output.
So i'm also very impressed. Very fine Hardware and the software / OS will be updated when required.
Please give the Pine64 team a hand and chance to do there job and it will fly very soon!
#6
I just took a look at RemixOS. Doesn't fill any of my needs (no CEC), but the OS itself does work beautifully and even Kodi seems to be working pretty well. Kodi's UI seems to behave "normally" without any noticeable bugs.
The only thing I saw is that on 1080 videos, things are not as fluid as they should.
But still, RemixOS did a very good impression on me, even if It doesn't fit any of my needs.

Also, as said before, some problems encountered are not necessarily Pine related but more arm64 or ubuntu related.
So, with the Mali drivers released, we can probably hope for some improvement on Linux video performance.
As for HDMI CEC, any news ?
#7
(06-23-2016, 07:47 AM)MarkHaysHarris777 Wrote:
(06-22-2016, 03:49 AM)fneves Wrote: Well, one thing I've learned is never buy an AllLoser SoC ever again. ... 

Anyway, for an headless linux server it works rly well, with longsleep's kernel but that's about it.

The Allwinner SoC is pretty fabulous, really.

... aside from that, you're right about ONLY one thing ... the PineA64 is a fantastic headless server; external hdd and all !

I am nearing the end of my third full week using the PineA64 as a desktop PC / and I must say that I'm not only impressed with the overall performance, reliability, low interactive latency, and features; but hey !--- my hat is off to the team(s) who have created some of the best software (especially lenny, and longsleep); and there are others too numerous to mention here. 

The PineA64 can truly be used as a desktop PC for all normal tasks, and even development tasks ! I am running into NO road block, show stoppers, nor even irritating glitches/  Everything just works for the most part.  The only thing I had to futz around with was the locale in ubuntu... but hey, that's an ubuntu problem on every platform !

All the ports work, wifi works VERY well, hdmi is fully functional and actually beuatiful ! usb is there solid as a rock, and I have not had any kernel panics, core dumps, or annoying bugs of any kind... stuff is just working (I'm using midori on ubuntu at the moment, and the browser has been fantastic ! )

I did run headless for a few hours yesterday; no problems--- and serial just works, no futzing around period.

I have been a Raspberry PI user for two+ years (currently own about a dozen of those things) and I must honestly say this PineA64 board has the Raspberry PI beat hands down -- across the boards. Its open, its well designed, has 2Gb of memory, better pinctrl, more ports, runs somewhat cooler although it still needs a heat-sink IMHO, and has way better power management. The uboot process is way better, and although the GPIO software is a bit behind Raspbian, that's just a matter of time. 

The irony is that this board was supposed to be tablet guts... an Android appliance !  It may turn out instead to be a Raspberry PI killer; one of the truly classic gnu+linux boards ever made !  At this point, I doubt I will do much with Android on this board except document it... but so far its going to be one of my favorite gnu+linux systems !

Well done team!  (everybody, really!)

marcus

It is good to hear that *somebody* is getting their board to work well.  

I have a Pi2, Pi3, a Droid C2, an UNO with a Yun Shield Dragino. I also work on a team delivering a Debian derivative running on 64-bit arm (for my real income).  This has been the worst bring-up experience I've had.  I have both a 1GB and 2GB board. I was able to successfully get the debian port installed and running. Android: Nope, Remix: Nope. I do think that Pine guys should have recommend the serial cable so one can see what is/isn't happening at boot time. 

Between understanding what video requirements are, and what should/shouldn't be plugged in at first boot, what image and how it is to be created, (I had to borrow a buddy's windows system to try the PhoenixCard stuff) This has been a rabbit hunt.  My intent was to use the Debian system to drive my 3D printer, and an Android system for my wife's older TV. So I am 1 for 2. I would consider myself very knowledgeable in doing this work and don't see how someone not skilled in the art would be successful.

Pine people: Documentation please! Just having random links in the wiki to downloadable bits and "wait for at least an hour" is not good documentation. You are only hurting your reputation by not having it.
#8
(06-26-2016, 02:37 PM)CoBillbr Wrote:
(06-23-2016, 07:47 AM)MarkHaysHarris777 Wrote:
(06-22-2016, 03:49 AM)fneves Wrote: Well, one thing I've learned is never buy an AllLoser SoC ever again. ... 

Anyway, for an headless linux server it works rly well, with longsleep's kernel but that's about it.

The Allwinner SoC is pretty fabulous, really.
Well done team!  (everybody, really!)

marcus

[#1 >]It is good to hear that *somebody* is getting their board to work well.  ...  I would consider myself very knowledgeable in doing this work and don't see how someone not skilled in the art would be successful.

[#2 >]Pine people: Documentation please! Just having random links in the wiki to downloadable bits and "wait for at least an hour" is not good documentation. You are only hurting your reputation by not having it.

(#1)  I not only got my board running, I got my board running with (at last count) ten (10) images;  no hits, no runs, no errors...  if people are expecting the PineA64 to be a point-and-grunt appliance they are going to be in for a surprise; it does require some skill, it does require some knowledge, and it does require some patient understanding. Its a fine piece of engineering; but, its not a toy, and its not an appliance. 

(#2)  I think the PineA64 wiki page is one of the best wiki pages I have ever seen compiled for this type of thing, ever !!  What more do you want them to do for you ?

... I have referred to that wiki page about 100 times (for various purposes) and I have referred other people to it about twice as many times as that !  Again, this project is not a point-and-grunt experience; you're going to have to read a little, and you're going to have to hit the learning curve with a positive attitude. Dude, its not that hard, but its not tinker-toys either !

marcus
#9
I am somewhat new to the electronics hobby. I have completed a few arduino based projects found on Adafruit. I'm disappointed there is no assembly guide to aid in properly plugging everything in the proper places. This part I'm pretty sure I can figure out on my own. Praying that the Android image that I bought from Pine64 on a 64 gb card works properly on my 2gb Pine with the 7" led also bought from Pine.
How good would my pine be to be used to run Android as a Google Play music MP3 player sending the audio out the 3.5 mm headphone jack? This is the plan for mine once the playbox enclosure arrives.
Would I be able to somehow expand the storage to have a lot more space for the MP3's beyond the space leftover on the 64 GB card like an external USB HD?
#10
(07-04-2016, 05:27 AM)MyWebs Wrote: I am somewhat new to the electronics hobby. I have completed a few arduino based projects found on Adafruit. I'm disappointed there is no assembly guide to aid in properly plugging everything in the proper places. This part I'm pretty sure I can figure out on my own. Praying that the Android image that I bought from Pine64 on a 64 gb card works properly on my 2gb Pine with the 7" led also bought from Pine.
How good would my pine be to be used to run Android as a Google Play music MP3 player sending the audio out the 3.5 mm headphone jack? This is the plan for mine once the playbox enclosure arrives.
Would I be able to somehow expand the storage to have a lot more space for the MP3's beyond the space leftover on the 64 GB card like an external USB HD?

The 64gb sd card Pre-loaded with Android will NOT work for your LCD. It has the HDMI Android image burned onto it. You can always poke around the forums and find a way to use your LCD, but my advice to you would be to not bother with the LCD until your playbox arrives. By all means, burn an LCD Android image to the sd card of your choosing and test it out, but I would not actually use the LCD for anything but testing LCD sd cards until your playbox arrives. The ribbon cables are short, especially the TPI cable and you risk damaging them without some support for the screen.

Best of luck,
Matt
+1 me if I have helped you in any way. Thank you.


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