Pinebook Pro 'xtreme'
#51
Probably going to order mine soon.
+1 on the better SoC and another +10 on the unbranded case.
It's a huge reason why I'm considering getting the PBP is the lack of ostentatious and probably expensive visual additions.
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#52
(11-27-2019, 11:39 AM)Arwen Wrote: Let us be clear about the RK3588. It's not released yet, expected to be released first quarter next year. Any PBP main board replacement is likely to be a minimum of 6 months beyond that. And only if there is enough interest to make it happen. So don't look for this for about 1 year.

All that said, I've worked in computer hardware and software development long enough, that setting rough future goals allows for some ideas to start floating around. Like if the RK3588 supports 6GB or 8GB of memory, a memory increase might be on the update wish list. We can't say, YET. But, if people make a reasonable wish list, we can see what IS doable.

For the volume that PBP targets, a 19" monster, or laptop with 360 degree hinge, just is outside of the target for PBPs. So not on a reasonable wish list.

My desired hardware changes, (as of today):
- RK3588
- 6GB or 8GB of memory
- Depending on what is possible, another eMMC slot or internal MicroSD card slot, (still researching this one). Makes mirroring, bakups or boot recovery easier.
- Easier access to the hardware switches. Either through hole in chassis. Or tiny removably panel.

The last is desired since "bricking" by messing up the eMMC is possible and the only way around is the full opening of the back. Just to access a switch.
Gee, makes me wish we had a eMMC software kill switch :-) F9 anyone?.
@Arwen 

Would it be possible to make smoke small “compartment” in laptop chases so we can always carry few SD cards around with different images? Sliding door of some kind? I really would like to have few spare sdcard’s or with foddering images?
is this reasonable request in future?

8G ram would be awesome. Also much improved track pad
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#53
(08-16-2020, 10:11 AM)oxoocoffee Wrote:
(11-27-2019, 11:39 AM)Arwen Wrote: Let us be clear about the RK3588. It's not released yet, expected to be released first quarter next year. Any PBP main board replacement is likely to be a minimum of 6 months beyond that. And only if there is enough interest to make it happen. So don't look for this for about 1 year.

All that said, I've worked in computer hardware and software development long enough, that setting rough future goals allows for some ideas to start floating around. Like if the RK3588 supports 6GB or 8GB of memory, a memory increase might be on the update wish list. We can't say, YET. But, if people make a reasonable wish list, we can see what IS doable.

For the volume that PBP targets, a 19" monster, or laptop with 360 degree hinge, just is outside of the target for PBPs. So not on a reasonable wish list.

My desired hardware changes, (as of today):
- RK3588
- 6GB or 8GB of memory
- Depending on what is possible, another eMMC slot or internal MicroSD card slot, (still researching this one). Makes mirroring, bakups or boot recovery easier.
- Easier access to the hardware switches. Either through hole in chassis. Or tiny removably panel.

The last is desired since "bricking" by messing up the eMMC is possible and the only way around is the full opening of the back. Just to access a switch.
Gee, makes me wish we had a eMMC software kill switch :-) F9 anyone?.
@Arwen 

Would it be possible to make smoke small “compartment” in laptop chases so we can always carry few SD cards around with different images? Sliding door of some kind? I really would like to have few spare sdcard’s or with foddering images?
is this reasonable request in future?

8G ram would be awesome. Also much improved track pad
The 8GB RAM could only happen IF a new CPU was selected that supported 8GB of memory, and replacement CPU board were made. The current CPU, RockChip RK3399 is limited to 4GBs of memory. This will likely take a while, (my estimate, which is really just a guess, is >1 year, if ever).

The trackpad has been improved some in software. There is potential to improve further, if / when the firmware is dis-assembled & updated.

I don't see adding non-active Micro SD card storage on the PBP as something that would be widely desired.


The real solution to having spare OS images is using a boot time menu. A recent U-Boot improvement includes using the Pinebook Pro's LCD and builtin keyboard to both select boot device, (from the widest selection). And to allowing booting to different partitions on the same device. Or different kernels on the same partition. This new U-Boot is not ready for prime time, as their are too many gotchas, but it does work. Here is the forum thread discussing it;

[split] U-Boot with NVMe support, keyboard & display working

There are even pictures of a boot menu. Both boot menus, (device selection and OS selection), change per user. My Pinebook Pros don't yet have NVMe adapters, so that does not show up on the device selection menu. And the OS selection menu is user editable in "/boot/ext...", (I don't remember the exact path).

Whence you have the ability to select a boot target, you can leave the SD card in all the time. Further, their are now 400GB and 512GB Micro SD cards, (from reliable manufacturers, not fake flash device scammers). So, you could have 10 x 50GB OS images on a single 512GB Micro SD card. And boot to any one of them. And always making sure one of them is bootable, (for recovery).

Gee, this ended up being a bit long...
--
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
  Reply
#54
(08-16-2020, 02:52 PM)Arwen Wrote:
(08-16-2020, 10:11 AM)oxoocoffee Wrote:
(11-27-2019, 11:39 AM)Arwen Wrote: Let us be clear about the RK3588. It's not released yet, expected to be released first quarter next year. Any PBP main board replacement is likely to be a minimum of 6 months beyond that. And only if there is enough interest to make it happen. So don't look for this for about 1 year.

All that said, I've worked in computer hardware and software development long enough, that setting rough future goals allows for some ideas to start floating around. Like if the RK3588 supports 6GB or 8GB of memory, a memory increase might be on the update wish list. We can't say, YET. But, if people make a reasonable wish list, we can see what IS doable.

For the volume that PBP targets, a 19" monster, or laptop with 360 degree hinge, just is outside of the target for PBPs. So not on a reasonable wish list.

My desired hardware changes, (as of today):
- RK3588
- 6GB or 8GB of memory
- Depending on what is possible, another eMMC slot or internal MicroSD card slot, (still researching this one). Makes mirroring, bakups or boot recovery easier.
- Easier access to the hardware switches. Either through hole in chassis. Or tiny removably panel.

The last is desired since "bricking" by messing up the eMMC is possible and the only way around is the full opening of the back. Just to access a switch.
Gee, makes me wish we had a eMMC software kill switch :-) F9 anyone?.
@Arwen 

Would it be possible to make smoke small “compartment” in laptop chases so we can always carry few SD cards around with different images? Sliding door of some kind? I really would like to have few spare sdcard’s or with foddering images?
is this reasonable request in future?

8G ram would be awesome. Also much improved track pad
The 8GB RAM could only happen IF a new CPU was selected that supported 8GB of memory, and replacement CPU board were made. The current CPU, RockChip RK3399 is limited to 4GBs of memory. This will likely take a while, (my estimate, which is really just a guess, is >1 year, if ever).

The trackpad has been improved some in software. There is potential to improve further, if / when the firmware is dis-assembled & updated.

I don't see adding non-active Micro SD card storage on the PBP as something that would be widely desired.


The real solution to having spare OS images is using a boot time menu. A recent U-Boot improvement includes using the Pinebook Pro's LCD and builtin keyboard to both select boot device, (from the widest selection). And to allowing booting to different partitions on the same device. Or different kernels on the same partition. This new U-Boot is not ready for prime time, as their are too many gotchas, but it does work. Here is the forum thread discussing it;

[split] U-Boot with NVMe support, keyboard & display working

There are even pictures of a boot menu. Both boot menus, (device selection and OS selection), change per user. My Pinebook Pros don't yet have NVMe adapters, so that does not show up on the device selection menu. And the OS selection menu is user editable in "/boot/ext...", (I don't remember the exact path).

Whence you have the ability to select a boot target, you can leave the SD card in all the time. Further, their are now 400GB and 512GB Micro SD cards, (from reliable manufacturers, not fake flash device scammers). So, you could have 10 x 50GB OS images on a single 512GB Micro SD card. And boot to any one of them. And always making sure one of them is bootable, (for recovery).

Gee, this ended up being a bit long...

I don't see adding non-active Micro SD card storage on the PBP as something that would be widely desired.”
Just because no one added this option does not mean it would not be desired by some. But again. Most laptops do not have direct SDCard slot for booting. Is anything you have clary SDCard USB stick. 

As far as dual boot option. Sure I know what is an option. But internal storage is in my opinion limited unless you add internal SSD, but that drains power. I find myself carrying few SDCards with me and boot from different. Sometimes I want to try new os. Looking inside the PBP there is planty of open space. All I was saying that inside case ther is some small slide door so I could pit 2-5 sd cards and always have them with my PBP Smile

cheers


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#55
@oxoocoffee - Perhaps someone with a 3D printer could "print" up a plastic hatch for your multiple SD card storage. It would likely have to be partly on the top side of the keyboard, (though flat). But, probably not too much. Just enough that you could get a finger, (or finger nail), on it to slide it right, (of left depending on which side makes most sense internally).

By the way, I never meant to imply that your multiple SD card storage slot was not desired. I simply meant that unless a significant number of people, (say 30% of the Pinebook Pro owners), wanted such, then it would not make sense cost wise to add that feature.


I've been looking at adding 2 "features" to my Pinebook Pro. One applies to your comment about power & internal SSD, (aka NVMe drive). It appears that the eMMC is a pretty low power device, about 1 watt. Instead of adding a 4 watt, (or higher), NVMe SSD, what about adding another 1 or 2 eMMC slots? Make a new PCIe adapter board with a single or dual eMMC controller chip and 1, (or 2), eMMC slots, and then you can add 128GB, (or 2 x 128GB), eMMCs.

Sure, eMMCs are not as fast as a PCIe NVMe drive. But, in reality it's not the speed that most people need / want. (If speed is desired, the PBP is not the best choice in the first place.) This gives extra room, plus alternate boot devices, (assuming U-Boot support can be added). Or mirroring of critical partitions, (the OS or your home partition).


The other feature is a replacement daughter card for the right side. It would include a built in 3.3v serial to USB adapter chip, and MicroUSB port for the serial console. That way we don't have to flip a switch, nor use a special serial cable. Plus, their is a potential to add a side mounted power switch, (push in type). That would be easy enough to add to all the "new" daughter boards. Simply leave off the plastic switch part if you don't want to drill a hole. (The side mounted power switch is good when you want to use the PBP docked without using the builtin LCD. So, you leave the lid closed, but on.)
--
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
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#56
(11-25-2020, 02:03 PM)Arwen Wrote: I've been looking at adding 2 "features" to my Pinebook Pro. One applies to your comment about power & internal SSD, (aka NVMe drive). It appears that the eMMC is a pretty low power device, about 1 watt. Instead of adding a 4 watt, (or higher), NVMe SSD, what about adding another 1 or 2 eMMC slots? Make a new PCIe adapter board with a single or dual eMMC controller chip and 1, (or 2), eMMC slots, and then you can add 128GB, (or 2 x 128GB), eMMCs.
That wouldn't really work.  You'd need a specific ASIC that did PCI-e NVMe to eMMC translation in order to interface the eMMC to something that had a driver.  Or maybe use one of the Synopsis IP cores for an sdio controller and adapt it to PCI-e.  But I don't know of such a chip on the market.  If you used an FPGA then your power usage is shot all to hell right there before you even start with the flash.

But suppose such a thing existed.  So you have something that connects to PCI-e and looks like a NVMe or other storage device, then translates that control into block requests that it sends out through a non-trivial HS200 bus to an eMMC chip, which in turn does the FTL and translates block requests into actual actions on NAND flash banks.  We go from NVMe PCI-e TLPs on one end to NAND flash page and block ops on the other end.  With a bunch of stuff in the middle.

Now consider a normal NVMe SSD.  It goes from NVMe PCI-e TLPs on one end to NAND flash page and block ops on the other end.  Exactly the same.  But it uses a single NVMe flash controller, e.g. a Phison chip, to do this.  It avoids the middle step of converting to/from a HS200 bus.  Avoids putting the PCI-e interface and the FTL in two different chips.  And the flash controller is a high volume part that has had a lot of work put into it and uses a good fab process, to make it fast and cheap.

So really all this will have done is make an expensive and inefficient SSD.  If it seems like a NVMe SSD draws more power, maybe this is because one is comparing a 1 GB SSD that can do 3500 MB/sec to a 128 MB eMMC chip that does 60 MB/sec.

The solution is to use a small SSD and configure it to run at the lowest operational power state.
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#57
Meanwhile you'll add 1W x emmc so 2W for 256Gb... some low power nvme drives could offer you 512Gb with only 2,5W on power state 1
Dual emmc could be interesting if pine64 will find a method to provide recovery partition with automatic boot via key combo but since it relies on uboot you can always brick it
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#58
@xyzzy 
First off, I would not want a NVMe -> eMMC adapter. That's not what I suggested. A simpler PCIe -> eMMC interface, (or dual eMMC), would be much more appropriate. Then deal with the difference in software. If it had to be bootable, then an additional driver for U-Boot would be needed.

Yes, it would add a translator chip. Ideally it would also break out 2 of the PCIe lanes, make support I/O and give you a M.2 slot that was A, B or E key, which ever is used by LTE or WiFi cards. Thus, a multi-function card. LTE WAN or new WiFi LAN, plus an additional eMMC or 2.

@nightranger73, it's 1 watt active, waiting for action is quite a bit less. Unless you mirror, that's basically 1 watt maximum for 3 x eMMCs.


To be clear, I am not suggesting that this is the best solution. Or even that it's appropriate for most people. It's just something that we can think about with open hardware. In standard laptops, getting a driver into it's BIOS to allow booting off a PCIe -> eMMC would be impossible. And in a standard laptop, you would not make a different adapter board, you would have to make a M.2 M-key card that was PCIe -> eMMC, (or 2). So perhaps that is the way to go, M.2 M-key card.
--
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
  Reply
#59
(11-26-2020, 05:37 PM)Arwen Wrote: First off, I would not want a NVMe -> eMMC adapter. That's not what I suggested. A simpler PCIe -> eMMC interface, (or dual eMMC), would be much more appropriate. Then deal with the difference in software. If it had to be bootable, then an additional driver for U-Boot would be needed.
What simpler interface would that be?  You can't use "eMMC over PCI-e".  It just doesn't work that way.

It's like a USB reader for SD cards.  They don't appear as "sd cards".  They look like a USB Mass Storage device to the computer, because that's a protocol that can work over USB.

So if you want a PCI-e interface to eMMC, you need an protocol that can work over PCIe.  Like NVMe.  Or you could look like a SATA controller I suppose, but NVMe makes more sense in every way.  You could invent your own protocol and then you get to write drivers for it.  But there's nothing wrong with NVMe.  It's designed for this.

But either way, this adds a translation to and from a HS200 (or other MMC) bus in the middle and splits the PCI-e interface and FTL into different pieces of silicon.  It's everything that's in a normal PCI-e SSD plus an additional interface plus it's less efficiently designed in two chips.

So it's not going to use less power.

If you really want to add storage and are dead set against a normal PCI-e SSD, then try this, Ableconn M2SD139PM M.2 B-M Key Module with Micro SD Socket.  It looks like the chip has a Linux driver.

Or just want for SD cards with the new SD7.0 standard to appear.  They will have two new pins that support a PCI-e interface.  Yes, SD cards will become PCI-e cards.  And what protocol do they use over this PCI-e interface?  NVMe.  Like I said at the start, it makes the most sense.
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#60
(08-16-2020, 02:52 PM)Arwen Wrote: ...
The 8GB RAM could only happen IF a new CPU was selected that supported 8GB of memory, and replacement CPU board were made. The current CPU, RockChip RK3399 is limited to 4GBs of memory. This will likely take a while, (my estimate, which is really just a guess, is >1 year, if ever).
...

The mentioned RK3588 is expected to launch within 12 months.
But I don't think people should expect a $200 laptop with that chip.

https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/11/26/...-32gb-ram/
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