Hardware shortcomings
#1
I've had a Pinebook Pro for some months now, and in general I am extremely satisfied with its performance.  But this week, I was closing the clamshell when I felt something odd. 

I opened the cover to check whether I might have attempted to close it with, perhaps, a pencil in the hinge, but there was nothing. I turned the unit over to find the bottom cover had sprung open at the screw nearest the "ESC" key.  Worse yet, it appeared that the head of the flathead screw had pulled THROUGH the magnesium cover.  Closer inspection revealed that the hole in the cover was approximately the same diameter as the screw's head.

I have not yet disassembled the laptop, and in fact, I'm typing this on it at the moment, so I don't know whether this was a simple manufacturing error or, far worse, all the other holes are similarly finished.  Bluntly, after a lifetime of engineering and design work, I can say that no responsible engineer would seat a flathead screw flush with a surface without drilling a hole which passed the screw thread only, then countersinking the hole to support the head properly.

I've tried to order a new bottom plate, but needless to say, they're out of stock, as well as the other items I'd also wanted to order.  So I am leaving the laptop open, so as not to stress the hinges, board or anything else.  A sincere suggestion...  Considering the ever worsening stability situation in Southeast Asia, when combined with component supply issues there, perhaps it's time to consider manufacturing elsewhere?
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#2
Similar sentiment here, but we all should keep in mind that this "manufacture elsewhere" will almost certainly cost _much_ more. Just look around for some products that already have variants proudly manufactured in US of A vs ordinarily manufactured like everything else in PRC - that pride has a hefty price tag even people with much above median income like yours truly will think twice before paying on essentially mere hobbyist devices. That is, if my primary use case required ARM hardware or PBP could otherwise completely replace my primary laptop (a ThinkPad) in terms of features (primarily TrackPoint, ports, and general expandability/upgradability) and performance (meaning competing in mobile workstation segment with the most powerful CPUs and GPUs and crazy amounts of RAM), I probably would be willing to pay that extra price in a heartbeat. But as things stand right now, the only reason I bought original Pinebook and PBP - their low price.
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#3
i noticed the same with one bottom screw on the side which seem the get the most stress ,after installing an nvme
I ended up opening up the bottom panel and with a flat head screw driver forced the warp on the enlarged hole from inside back ,so the screw can catch it again
it worked but now am very conscious of how tide I'll torque those bottom screws on that metal fatigued magnesium cover
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#4
(01-22-2022, 12:38 PM)moonwalkers Wrote: Similar sentiments here, but we all should keep in mind that this "manufacture elsewhere" will almost certainly cost _much_ more. Just look around for some products that already have variants proudly manufactured in US of A vs ordinarily manufactured like everything else in PRC - that pride has a hefty price tag even people with much above median income like yours truly will think twice before paying on essentially mere hobbyist devices. That is, if my primary use case required ARM hardware or PBP could otherwise completely replace my primary laptop (a ThinkPad) in terms of features (primarily TrackPoint, ports, and general expandability/upgradability) and performance (meaning competing in mobile workstation segment with the most powerful CPUs and GPUs and crazy amounts of RAM), I probably would be willing to pay that extra price in a heartbeat. But as things stand right now, the only reason I bought original Pinebook and PBP - their low price.

By "elsewhere" I  was thinking of perhaps India or Singapore, as examples.  As for the western hemisphere, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay come to mind as possible candidates, and if only mechanical fabrication and final assembly are considered, the Freeport free trade zone in The Bahamas could be VERY attractive cost-wise.  But I have real fears about both the stability and the viability of both China and Taiwan, and stability is essential to a start-up company, even one with really lovely products and progressive engineering like Pine64.  I'm a satisfied customer who's inn the process of replacing his top-grade six year old Pro-grade HP laptop with this Pinebook Pro and seeing no real difference in performance even  though the Pinebook is 1/10 the price.
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#5
(01-22-2022, 01:51 PM)commiecam Wrote: By "elsewhere" I  was thinking of perhaps India or Singapore, as examples.  As for the western hemisphere, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay come to mind as possible candidates, and if only mechanical fabrication and final assembly are considered, the Freeport free trade zone in The Bahamas could be VERY attractive cost-wise.  But I have real fears about both the stability and the viability of both China and Taiwan, and stability is essential to a start-up company, even one with really lovely products and progressive engineering like Pine64.  I'm a satisfied customer who's inn the process of replacing his top-grade six year old Pro-grade HP laptop with this Pinebook Pro and seeing no real difference in performance even  though the Pinebook is 1/10 the price.

Generally, everything you said seems to make sense, except for this part:
(01-22-2022, 01:51 PM)commiecam Wrote: replacing his top-grade six year old Pro-grade HP laptop with this Pinebook Pro and seeing no real difference in performance
Considering PBP's performance (both from benchmarks and my personal experience) is somewhere on the similar level to 2007 ThinkPad T60p/T61p (with 4GiB of RAM), 2008 W500 at best, I'd say either your Pro-grade 2015 HP was put together with the lowest specs available, or this comparison speaks poorly for the HP engineering (of which, I admit, I'm not very fond of going on my experience with their Elitebook line), or you never really pushed your HP to its limits to begin with. PBP is cheap, yes, it has that going for it. But if you need a lot of raw performance and you don't care about $ that performance costs - sorry, PBP is just nowhere near the big boys league. My old (2010) W510 runs circles around PBP, so as much as I like Pine64 and their products - they have a loooong way to go before they can really compete with pro-grade hardware.
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#6
I measure performance these days by the only yardstick that matters to me, i.e., how long I have to wait for something to happen when I strike a key,, open a window, etc. From that standpoint, this little notebook boots faster and opens major software packages like Firefox, Libreoffice, Gimp, etc. faster than the HP. It may not be a Cray, but it's certainly running efficiently. I could care less about gaming or pushing a CPU to near-meltdown. In every day use this is a very good USER. And I am not without experience, having actually punched paper tape on a 1970 HP 21MX mainframe and programmed a similar vintage Teas Instruments evaluation board to run an astronomical telescope. My only complaint, really, is the primitive and arcane methods needed to load and boot another OS. I am no fan of KDE windowing but I am running it out of fear oif bricking the system. Job 1 should be the establishment of one, or a series, of Bioses which present the same hooks to a uniform bootloaders which relieve me of the need to read tea leaves or hire the local Santeria priest to sacrifice a goat so I can load what I want to run. I remember well, from my days as a sysop/lan/IS security manager that DEC, for the Alpha, and HP for PA RISC accomplished this 30+ years ago. I'd do it myself, but bluntly, I haven't the talent to attempt it.
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#7
I’d go to my local hardware store, get a lock washer & washer with a bit longer screw, tighten it down and if it didn’t sit level, change the rest of them; problem solved.

You mentioned twice that a flat-head screw pulled out from the back case, but aren’t the original screws phillips?

https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/File:Pinebo...screws.jpg

The Wiki states that you need a PH0 phillips bit to open the back cover.

Seems like you bought a used PBP that someone worked on. I haven’t used a flat-head screw for anything in 4 decades.
Thank you PineTeam for your work!
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#8
(01-28-2022, 03:40 AM)commiecam Wrote: I measure performance these days by the only yardstick that matters to me, i.e., how long I have to wait for something to happen when I strike a key,, open a window, etc.  From that standpoint, this little notebook boots faster and opens major software packages like Firefox, Libreoffice, Gimp, etc. faster than  the HP.  It may not be a Cray, but it's certainly running efficiently.  I could care less about gaming or pushing a CPU to near-meltdown.  In every day use this is a very good USER.  And I am not without experience, having actually punched paper tape on a 1970 HP 21MX mainframe and programmed a similar vintage Teas Instruments evaluation board to run an astronomical telescope.  My only complaint, really, is the primitive and arcane methods needed to load and boot another OS.  I am no fan of KDE windowing but I am running it out of fear oif bricking the system.  Job 1 should be the establishment of one, or a series, of Bioses which present the same hooks to a uniform bootloaders which relieve me of the need to read tea leaves or hire the local Santeria priest to sacrifice a goat so I can load what I want to run. I remember well, from my days as a sysop/lan/IS security manager that DEC, for the Alpha, and HP for PA RISC accomplished this 30+ years ago.  I'd do it myself, but bluntly, I haven't the talent to attempt it.

I'm glad for you that by your measure of performance PBP outperforms your HP. If only it was applicable everywhere to everyone, then we'd have a computing revolution with Pine64 taking over HP, Dell, Lenovo and others and the whole world. In reality, there are enough people like myself who still need lots and lots of (local) raw CPU (and GPGPU) power for the work we do, something PBP still lacks for all its achievements.

As to the rest - the lack of unified firmware is not a failing that's unique to PBP. Hopefully we'll start seeing manufacturers universally adopt Arm SystemReady specs soon to make situation easier, but when it comes specifically to PBP until then - by now the u-boot firmware that works with PBP (and is a de-facto standard in ARM space) is available in most major distros out there, installation methods are well documented, and you can switch window managers without affecting any of the hardware abstraction layers - it's just a matter of installing the appropriate packages and selecting the appropriate session in your display manager (if you use one, otherwise - adjust your ~/.xinitrc). As to "primitive and arcane" - apologies, but that sure gave me a good laugh, comparing it to BIOS that starts and keeps all CPUs (even 64-bit ones) in 16-bit segmented real mode and is a left-over from MS-DOS predecessor CP/M, and as a boot method simply loads and executes whatever code is available in the first sector (512 bytes) of the boot block device, making it a great fun exercise trying to recover an OS that's no longer booting for whatever reason just because the code in those 512 bytes (minus partition table) is somehow incorrect but cannot be easily examined directly. Frankly, I'd rather take u-boot with it booting kernel directly from the FS using a plain-text configuration file on the very same FS volume, and the ability to install it on removable media like microSD card instead of having to dance around with switching ROM chips on live motherboards to recover from bad BIOS update.
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#9
Err, modern motherboards make it a LOT harder to brick by writing wrong bios/firmware
(with a backup bios)
One can legitimately complain about somewhat defective uboots that are only tested
with one distro and can somewhat brick the device when booting something else
(because the pbp has a battery, it can 'remember' a bad setup, requiring a hard reset & a uboot change)
(and it is a bit of a pain when the emmc must be disabled/removed or defective switches
to short the SPI clock if you are so brave as to write to SPI)
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#10
This no longer seems to be a discussion about aftermarket case screws.
Thank you PineTeam for your work!
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