Future RK3588 model
#1
With the RK3588 hopefully coming later this year, and maybe arriving in Pine products early in 2022, I have some questions for people who are more familiar with the hardware supply situation right now.

Pine64 tries to keep the number of SKUs as small as possible, which is very respectable. However, I think a version of a possible RK3588 Pinebook with the ability to flip it's display around fully, a touch screen and accordingly low-latency pen input would be really useful, especially since the ARM processor would provide good battery life.

Are parts that would facilitate that kind of (of course slightly more expensive) PineBook Ultra model readily available, and is it realistic to manufacture? Is this something Pine64 would be interested in making?
Distributions running Gnome or Pantheon seem ready to be used with part-time touch input, and a pen would make taking notes really convenient.

Thanks!
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#2
I think a more practical goal would be the existing Pinebook Pro feature set, with the new RK3588 processor. Then maybe have some of these:
  • Option of 4GB or 8GB memory
  • Power / charging issues corrected. Maybe support a 5v 4amp barrel charger.
  • Look at better firmware for both the keyboard controller, and the trackpad, especially the trackpad
And perhaps refresh even more:
  • Have the USB 2 port changed to be USB 3, (but still Type A)
  • Maybe have a newer WiFi chip, or have the new one optional
  • Put the eMMC disable switch in a place where you can switch it without opening the chassis, (side mounted?)
  • Put the Serial Console / Audio Jack switch in place you can switch it without opening the chassis, (again, side mounted?)
None of those are earth shattering, and in my opinion, quite doable.

The 360 hinge, touch screen and low latency pen input would likely add a bit more cost than a majority of Pinebook Pro users might pay.
--
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
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#3
I bought an A64 as well as a Rock64 SBC. I managed to use the Rock64 as a PC to build ARM apps. The A64 went to electronic waste  -Sad.
I am not complaining ; I am willing to spend < $100 for adult toys -Smile . However it is hard to justify $199/- for PineBook Pro or PinePhone.
In the US I can buy a Chrome Book at the same  price with better hardware and in case I want to play with Linux, I believe there are ways to
completely replace Chrome OS.  It is always a challenge to  build reasonably priced hardware for a low volume hobbyist market. The GNU/Linux
fans want o believe that this will be a high volume product but the reality is that the consumer market is already very well served by existing devices.
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#4
'RK3588 is not even out and it's already obsolete. I wouldn't bet on it to hit the market.
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#5
(06-28-2021, 04:24 AM)as400 Wrote: 'RK3588 is not even out and it's already obsolete. I wouldn't bet on it to hit the market.
Depends on the price.
Not everyone needs super high performance.
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#6
(06-27-2021, 02:35 AM)Arwen Wrote: I think a more practical goal would be the existing Pinebook Pro feature set, with the new RK3588 processor. Then maybe have some of these:
  • Option of 4GB or 8GB memory
  • Power / charging issues corrected. Maybe support a 5v 4amp barrel charger.
  • Look at better firmware for both the keyboard controller, and the trackpad, especially the trackpad
And perhaps refresh even more:
  • Have the USB 2 port changed to be USB 3, (but still Type A)
  • Maybe have a newer WiFi chip, or have the new one optional
  • Put the eMMC disable switch in a place where you can switch it without opening the chassis, (side mounted?)
  • Put the Serial Console / Audio Jack switch in place you can switch it without opening the chassis, (again, side mounted?)
None of those are earth shattering, and in my opinion, quite doable.

The 360 hinge, touch screen and low latency pen input would likely add a bit more cost than a majority of Pinebook Pro users might pay.
Thanks for the reply!
Yeah, I was thinking it'd probably be a sub-$400 pen input device for Uni or School note taking, but it's totally understandable that the market of people who would need something like that + know Pine64 would be relatively small.

Looking forward to what you described regardless, should it happen. Smile

(06-28-2021, 11:38 AM)jiyong Wrote:
(06-28-2021, 04:24 AM)as400 Wrote: 'RK3588 is not even out and it's already obsolete. I wouldn't bet on it to hit the market.
Depends on the price.
Not everyone needs super high performance.
That's also one of the advantages of the Pine devices - they get excellent support from some of the distribution authors, and their fully open firm- and software makes that possible.
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#7
(06-27-2021, 02:35 AM)Arwen Wrote: I think a more practical goal would be the existing Pinebook Pro feature set, with the new RK3588 processor. Then maybe have some of these:
  • Option of 4GB or 8GB memory
  • Power / charging issues corrected. Maybe support a 5v 4amp barrel charger.
  • Look at better firmware for both the keyboard controller, and the trackpad, especially the trackpad
And perhaps refresh even more:
  • Have the USB 2 port changed to be USB 3, (but still Type A)
  • Maybe have a newer WiFi chip, or have the new one optional
  • Put the eMMC disable switch in a place where you can switch it without opening the chassis, (side mounted?)
  • Put the Serial Console / Audio Jack switch in place you can switch it without opening the chassis, (again, side mounted?)
None of those are earth shattering, and in my opinion, quite doable.

The 360 hinge, touch screen and low latency pen input would likely add a bit more cost than a majority of Pinebook Pro users might pay.
 
If I may...

1. RK3588 - yay, but only in 4x Cortex-A76 and 4x Cortex-A55 version.
Reasoning: Lets be real - current SoC is underpowered for Manjaro KDE and it is palpable. Software will get only more demanding. Lets get the best we can.

2. 8GB memory only.
Reasoning: We already have 4GB and it was already too little when Pinebook Pro was released couple of years ago. Software is getting more demanding and RAM heavy all the time. I am afraid 8GB will already be too little when they finally come out, but more appropriate than 4GB we currently have.

3. USB C charging only. 4-5 Amp charging OK.
Reasoning: Almost all chargeable electronics are bound to get USBC. That is the current trend - Lenovo slim laptops, most other ultraportables, smartphones... etc. Pinebook Pro is a "travel" laptop. It is very inconvenient for a person to carry tho chargers - one proprietary barrel charger and one universal USB C charger to get best charging times for all one's gadgets. Best way is to use one universal USB charger to use on all devices, PBP included. Forget barrel chargers, they are anachronisms.
 
4. Better firmware - yes, please

5. USB 2 -> USB 3.0, yes please.

6. Stronger WIFI antenna - yes please!!!

7. eMMC disable switch - ok.

8. Audio jack is not needed.
Reasoning: it is strongly affected by EM interference inside the laptop. Almost all ppl I know use Bluetooth headphones anyways.

9. Replace existing power button with a DELETE button!!!
Move On/Off button somewhere else.
Reasoning: Keyboard is very inconvenient without a dedicated delete button, especially when one uses this laptop at work, e.g. entering or editing lots of data.

10. Backlit keyboard - wouldn't it be good... Big Grin

11. Nvme SSD boot out of the box.
Reasoning: more space than eMMC.

That is it for now...
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#8
(07-03-2021, 01:49 PM)heyghoge Wrote: ...
10. Backlit keyboard - wouldn't it be good... Big Grin

11. Nvme SSD boot out of the box.
Reasoning: more space than eMMC.

That is it for now...
The rest is a matter of preference, looks okay, somewhat depends on the person.

However, I'd object to a backlit keyboard as using up valuable power. Not to mention the added cost. Except in low light conditions, backlit keyboards tend to be a glamor thing, not a usability item.

As for the NVMe, Pine64 did not supply ANY boot firmware. The existing RK3399 has built in firmware that selects the boot order, SPI flash, eMMC, SD card, and limited USB support, (using Rockchip's special tools). So, using the new RK3588 in the "next generation" of PineBook laptops would likely have the same limitation. Then, leave it up to the user and community to develop any firmware desired for U-Boot. And where to install it, SPI, eMMC, (or whatever the RK3588 supports).
--
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
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#9
(07-03-2021, 01:49 PM)heyghoge Wrote: 1. RK3588 - yay, but only in 4x Cortex-A76 and 4x Cortex-A55 version.
Wait, what? From what I see 4xA76&4xA55 IS the configuration for RK3588... Did I miss something?
(07-03-2021, 01:49 PM)heyghoge Wrote: 2. 8GB memory only.
Reasoning: We already have 4GB and it was already too little when Pinebook Pro was released couple of years ago. Software is getting more demanding and RAM heavy all the time. I am afraid 8GB will already be too little when they finally come out, but more appropriate than 4GB we currently have.
RK3588 supports up to 32GiB RAM. Frankly, I would prefer an option to upgrade it to any amount up to that limit. 8GiB only implies just 8GiB soldered on the motherboard. I'd rather have 4GiB in a SODIMM module that I can later on replace with 32GiB.
(07-03-2021, 01:49 PM)heyghoge Wrote: 3. USB C charging only. 4-5 Amp charging OK.
Reasoning: Almost all chargeable electronics are bound to get USBC. That is the current trend - Lenovo slim laptops, most other ultraportables, smartphones... etc. Pinebook Pro is a "travel" laptop. It is very inconvenient for a person to carry tho chargers - one proprietary barrel charger and one universal USB C charger to get best charging times for all one's gadgets. Best way is to use one universal USB charger to use on all devices, PBP included. Forget barrel chargers, they are anachronisms.
:eyeroll:
Granted, there is another topic in these forums where the subject has been discussed ad nauseam...
UBS PD supports only up to 100W. This is plenty enough for PBP, and in theory should be still plenty enough for RK3588-based iteration. But that is only one and rather limited set of use cases. Until you consider use cases with devices of much higher power demands you cannot make claims of one USB charger to rule them all being sufficient and barrel chargers being an anachronism with serious face without making yourself look like a spoiled brat.
To be clear - I'm not saying the next iteration of PBP should not have USB PD charging, though I am reluctant to agree that it should be the only way of getting power. Especially if the new laptop doesn't get at least one extra Type C port. What I am saying is your claims of barrel chargers being an anachronism are ignorant of technology and ignorant of people other than yourself and perhaps your closest social circle.
(07-03-2021, 01:49 PM)heyghoge Wrote: 8. Audio jack is not needed.
Reasoning: it is strongly affected by EM interference inside the laptop. Almost all ppl I know use Bluetooth headphones anyways.
Again, you don't know many people then. There are still plenty who much prefer wired headsets for their simplicity and not having to charge yet another device. Besides, in both PB and PBP audio jack has double-duty as a serial console port.
(07-03-2021, 01:49 PM)heyghoge Wrote: 9. Replace existing power button with a DELETE button!!!
Move On/Off button somewhere else.
Reasoning: Keyboard is very inconvenient without a dedicated delete button, especially when one uses this laptop at work, e.g. entering or editing lots of data.
Getting used to Fn+Backspace to get delete is not hard. But accidentally pressing power button gets old pretty fast, especially in VT with default logind settings. So I agree - power button that's separated from the main keyboard would be much appreciated.
(07-03-2021, 01:49 PM)heyghoge Wrote: 10. Backlit keyboard - wouldn't it be good... Big Grin
But if it is included - it would be nice if there is a way to permanently turn it off.
This message was created with 100% recycled electrons
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#10
(07-04-2021, 10:41 AM)moonwalkers Wrote: ...
(07-03-2021, 01:49 PM)heyghoge Wrote: 2. 8GB memory only.
Reasoning: We already have 4GB and it was already too little when Pinebook Pro was released couple of years ago. Software is getting more demanding and RAM heavy all the time. I am afraid 8GB will already be too little when they finally come out, but more appropriate than 4GB we currently have.
RK3588 supports up to 32GiB RAM. Frankly, I would prefer an option to upgrade it to any amount up to that limit. 8GiB only implies just 8GiB soldered on the motherboard. I'd rather have 4GiB in a SODIMM module that I can later on replace with 32GiB.
...
Hmm, I had missed / forgotten that the newer SoC supported more than 8GBs of memory.

However, everyone should understand that DDR3/4 modular memory has some complexities that can make things both difficult in hardware and firmware, (having to read the EEPROM from the DDR3/4 board, and initialize based on what is read). Plus, it can add both main board space and chassis space. Some of the RISC-V boards have run across this exact issue, and choose the cheaper & simpler route of making the board with the memory.

One way we could work around this, is to put 4GB, (or 8GB), on the main board. Then have a specialized, (aka simplified), board connector for additional memory. Wire it up so that a daughter board can handle 16GBs. Thus, it would be possible to go to 20GB, (4GB on the main board, and 16GB on the memory daughter board). I can see that Pine64 might limit what they make to 4GB or 8GB daughter boards, as being more likely to sell in quantities. Leaving it up to others to perhaps make 12GB or 16GB daughter boards.

Of course, all that extra memory does take POWER. So, some people will be happy with 4GBs and the reduced power draw of a new SoC, giving them equal or longer battery life than existing Pinebook Pros.
--
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
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