8 GB RAM option?
#1
Hi,

Now that the Raspberry PI has surprised us with a 8 GB RAm version it makes me wonder of there is any work in progress towards a newer board with a 8GB RAm option.

I understand this is not somethin you can simply do on the existing board but perhaps a newer board in the future to replace the on in the Pinebook Pro might be an option.

Regards, Hugo.
#2
I think it would require a new SoC. It's been stated in other threads that the RockChip 3399 only supports 4 gigs of main memory.
#3
This is correct. There are no clever ways around it; it's just not possible to have more than 4 gigabytes of RAM attached to the RK3399.
Honestly, though, I seriously question the utility of adding more RAM to the Pinebook Pro. This would mean

- Worse power efficiency, since DRAM, even low-power DRAM, uses a surprising amount of power. Battery life in suspend is already not great as it stands.
- Higher cost, since RAM, especially the shiny-new LPDDR4, is not inexpensive.
- More internal electromagnetic noise from the refresh clock, probably, though I admit my SDR projects might make me usually discerning about that.

All this, and to what end? The ability to have more browser tabs open, compile more complicated code, or compress bigger archives? 4 gigabytes seems to be plenty for almost everything that a Linux-driven subnotebook is usually aimed at (and it notably blows every Raspberry Pi, save for the most expensive version of the Pi 4, directly out of the water). 4 gigabytes is really quite a lot of RAM.

Others have gone into greater depth about this in other threads, but it evidently bears mentioning again: 8 gigabytes of RAM is not a particularly reasonable goal at the moment. There are so many other aspects of the device that could use improvement before that.
#4
Not completely agreeing with you here: having YouTube open In Chrome, together with a mailbox and 3 other sites is using up most of the RAM available, so 8Gb of RAM would definitely be useful, for much more than compiling more complicated code.
However, a new SoC has to be selected indeed. However, it was already mentioned some time ago that a new SoC is being looked at, using a smaller lithography and a more recent design, so probably, more RAM can be added then as well. However, although I do not know the process of Pine, it will probably appear first in a SBC before it will appear in a Pinebook 2 or something like that. So still very much in the future.
#5
I don't mean to repeat myself, but: youtube-dl and mutt. And tmux, for that matter. tmux is terrific. I just leave mutt open in another tmux tab all the time, and that's my mailbox.

I made do on a linux desktop system with 768 MB of RAM for years, so the PBP is airy. free -m says I'm currently using 983 MB of 3870 MB total. Almost all of that is X and Firefox.

(I remember 10 years ago, Firefox tipping the scales at 90 MB. All in one process, not hundreds of megabytes split across multiple processes. I thought that was too much. After all, Opera 5 used 9-10 MB total, largely to do a lot of in-memory caching of rendered content, so you could quickly flick back & forth in the history. That seemed a bit extravagant. After all, Netscape 4.x used less than half of that. All to do the same work, e.g. display a few pages with inline images, and Javascript turned off. Software bloat is certainly a problem, but that doesn't mean that the best solution is just to let go of the rope.)

Needing 8 GB of RAM for web browsing is insane. I don't think I have 8 GB of data on disk from an entire lifetime, that I would ever really look at again, or that really needs to be saved. I mostly keep notes in text files; consider that the complete works of Shakespeare fit in 5 MB, uncompressed.

If you wear a camera on your head and film every walk you take in 4K HD, you'll have to pay a lot for the infrastructure to store, edit, back up, share, transmit & play back those enormous files; but, who created a culture that made you think you had to do this, rather than just looking out the window and appreciating the live view? The marketing department, in order to sell you the whole stack. And now they want to move you to 8K, so you'll have to rebuy all of it.

Does this mean I am against technological progress? No. But there needs to be a good reason to do something, not "8K vlogging because FOMO LOL WTF", or just not knowing how to do something efficiently. We have real problems to solve, and the time and resources could go to those instead. Plus, I could be outside.


I've never used Youtube's built-in player in my life. I don't trust Google, and I don't want their javascript trying to find exploits in my browser.

The one time I opened Chrome, looked around in it, and saw how Googled it was, it was positively creepy. I can't believe people use it.

You can wait for 8 GB RAM systems and pay tons of money, or you can change software and be free right now.
#6
And for those looking at tmux and thinking "That's too complicated", it's not. You can get started in 5 minutes.

Install:
$ sudo apt-get install tmux

Now just type tmux.

Put something in that window for a landmark, e.g. "man tmux".

Now do a Control-B (that's the command sequence) followed by c

Now you have two windows in one terminal. "C-b n" or "C-b p" to tab back and forth between them.

Now do a "C-b %". This splits the window vertically. C-b left-arrow or C-b right-arrow to go back & forth between them.
C-b Control-left arrow or C-b Alt-left arrow to resize left by 1 column or 5 columns. Same with the right arrow.
You don't have to repeat C-b for a sequence of these, just C-b once and then control or alt + any arrow any number of times.

Type "top", then C-b { and C-b } - These rotate the panes in a window.

C-b c again. Now C-b " (That's not a typo, C-b ")
Now you have it split vertically. C-b % again. You can create any layout you need.
Type "exit" to the shell or C-b x to kill a pane. C-b ! to break it out into another tab. "exec <command>", e.g. top again, will get rid of the shell and just run <command> in that pane, then when you quit <command>, the pane will close.

C-b ? to get into the help, C-b PgUp to get into the scrollback, q to exit that.

There are more commands, but these are all you need to do a lot. No more moving windows around, just put the manual page above what you're doing, or alsamixer next to the directory full of mp3s where you're running mplayer. It's also very useful when you're on a virtual terminal or serial terminal instead of X.
#7
Maybe some time in the future but, as it stands i don't think it is reasonable to look at as an option for improvement first.

I would prefer a larger more extensive battery maybe even a change of the 4x slot from it's current implementation to an actual m.2 slot. But more RAM on the Soc is not worth it at this time.
Considering it would need a probable re-work of the SoC and likely the board you might as well have it off the SoC with a regular SO-DIMM which would eat up more power.
#8
i run into the 4gb limit all the time, and occasionally also max out my 4gb swap. less often now that i use zswap. compile a large project or browse with 30 tabs open and you will get there, too. luckily there are counter measures.

the future of arm laptops is surely more powerful processors, more memory, and faster storage. a future product with rk3588, 8gb ram, and nvme would be excellent.


that is a ways away...
#9
There are basically 3 types of ARM laptops: MS-Windows, Chromebooks and misc. others.

All the Chromebooks I have seen, (and I quit looking a few years back), had serious limitations. Either internal storage was limited to something silly like 16GBs of flash. Or the I/O was limited, (like no SDXC card slot). Not to mention that some were so locked up, you have to jump through hoops to get Linux loaded.

For the misc. others, the Pinebook Pro is the top of the pile, (in my opinion).

And I would definitely like to see more improvements, like the alternate M.2 card slot that seems to be coming out, (which supports both NVMe SSD drives & WiFi / Cell cards).
--
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
#10
We all have our opinions and ways of working, but I think the goal is also that Pine64 starts making products that can be used by the mainstream.
To be honest, I wouldn't give the Pinebook Pro to my mother or sister, even when they don't need much from a laptop.
Will an 8 GB model change that?
No, as the problems with user-friendliness as are on a different level.

But I'm more of a power user.
I would love to use the Pinebook Pro in a multi-monitor setup and run multiple applications at the same time.
Yes, I'm the kind of idiot running around with a 4K 360 cam (and I'm looking at 8K).
My 4K camera would commit suicide, when maxed out at 8GB.
And for instance in a kart race, it can be interesting to see what happens behind you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNNb2hSlVuI

With the option of a 8 GB RPi model, we'll see how popular it's going to be.
Battery life can be extended with an external battery.
You can even use low power mobile batteries on the USB-C port.

And there is one thing that surprises me.
I have a Samsung Chromebook Plus and stand-by time is phenomenal.
As far as I know, that's the same SoC, unless Google did optimisations and the OP1 is really a modified RK3399.
But I can close it, and open it after a couple of days and it responds within seconds and only consumed a couple of percentage of the battery.

I'm excited by the rumoured AMD C7.
2 Cortex X1
2 Cortex A78
4 Cortex A55
Radeon RDNA 2 Mobile
LPDDR5
5nm

When they start putting that chip in a laptop, that will definitely have at least 8 GB.


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