Just purchased a used PBP (with no eMMC!) - any tips for a new user?
Hello, I purchased a used Pinebook Pro but the seller is removing the eMMC due to their privacy concerns. I don't believe I'll be able to talk them out of removing it. Am I in for a world of hurt? I'm fairly familiar with Linux and comfortable installing hardware. 

I understand it can boot from SD, but there seem to be a lot of threads with problems here. Is booting from an SD card reliable?

The laptop already has the optional NVMe adapter installed (but no drive), but I understand booting from this requires some flashing/modification of the boot chip. 

Would it be more sensible to purchase the 64 GB eMMC (in stock currently) and the USB-A to eMMC module?

The eMMC modules, in my experience, are substantially faster microSD cards.

In addition the the USB-A adaptor, you can boot from uSD, and then provision the eMMC module.
using the eMMC/usb adapter, you can flash an OS directly on to your eMMC

(There are some boot instructions on the factory eMMC, those will not be included in most of todays OSes.)

Running from the sd card is not terrible, and it is a great way to try multiple OSes, before installing to the eMMC.


If you do buy a new eMMC from the Pine64 Store, I would suggest getting the eMMC to usb adapter at the same time,
It is only $5. ($4.99) and it may prove useful in the future.
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Thanks for the replies! The device has no eMMC at all. I'm debating between trying to boot from an SD or NVMe, or just suck it up and buy a replacement eMMC.
In my opinion, unless you're expecting too much out of the PBP already, working without an eMMC is really no big deal. Sure, it's nice to have, but not necessary.

[ SRA accepts you ]

Everyone wants me to quit using NetBSD
It will run a little slower on an sd card than the eMMC, however it will run just fine.
My first Pinebook Pro ISO and the second an ANSI model are both currently running from the sd card.

Which OS you eventually put on your eMMC can make a difference if your laptop will continue to boot first from an sd card.
There is some code on the factory eMMC to cause the sd card to boot first.
I think that is missing on 'most' of the operating systems offered on the wiki.

There is lots of information on this in the past older forum posts. (2019-2020)
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To know, any particular uboot [.img .itb]
strings uboot.img |grep -i _target
Of course, if there is a uboot (really idbloader) on emmc, that is what will be found first and used
I was into my Pinebook Pro quite heavily, > But I have since been very consumed by the Pinephone. !

There are multiple methods available to change or control the booting,

** but most of the useful posts for that are one year to 2 years back in the forum.
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(12-04-2021, 05:26 PM)pinemouth Wrote: Thanks for the replies! The device has no eMMC at all. I'm debating between trying to boot from an SD or NVMe, or just suck it up and buy a replacement eMMC.

NVMe would be the best option.
Although I have seen reports that only NVMe drives that use limited power (wattage) work properly in the PBP.
And I'm not sure what you have to do exactly to boot directly from NVMe.

If not too late, ask the seller to set the switch to disable the eMMC.
Otherwise you might not be able to boot at all.
Unless the seller has already set things up to boot directly from NVMe.
From ameridroid, emmc are not that expensive
Booting from nvme requires uboot on emmc or sd (or SPI, not recommended)
To explain, there are 2 different and separate boots, boot ROM in cpu
searches SPI, emmc, sd for idbloader (and NOT nvme)
idbloader loads uboot which has its own and different search order for OS (which may include nvme)
An example
boot_targets=mmc1 usb0 nvme0 mmc0 pxe dhcp sf0 ....(mmc1=sd)

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