Phytium-based ARM PC


ptitSeb

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A box86/box64 donator as sent me an mini-PC. What makes this PC special is that it's CPU is a Phytium D2000. So it's an ARMv8 CPU, with 8 Cores. Beeing a PC, it's also include a Radeon Rx550 (2GB), 16GB of memory, and a 512GB SSD.
The power supply is an external 60W power block.

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Here a picture of the mini-pc beside a 2"5 postable HDD and an Odroid-N2, for size comparison.

Beeing a Full PC with 16GB, you can run many things, and with the dedicated Radeon Graphic Cards, you have graphics that run fast!

1633868720796.png

Here, Chromium with WebGL running nicely...

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And here, Factorio, running with box64 at a very pleasant speed (my screen is a 1440p, factorio here is running windowed at 1080p, all details on high)

The Mini-PC is a prototype. The donator will try to sell a few of those soon (but for now, the distribution circuit is not define, if you are interested @EvilDragon , I can put you in contact with him).

The machine is running fine and fast, and having 16GB (running Ubuntu Kylin 64bits) I can have multiple instance of VSCode and Chromium open and still be abble to launch and debug a game.
 

elw3

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What price tag does the guy have in mind? Definitely interested to have an usable arm system that is not as crappy as a pi.

ps: please dont post photos as pngs...
 

ptitSeb

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He mentionned 750 US dollards, but because the full circuit is not really defined yet, this number has to be taken as very approximative.

(sorry for the imags, I just copy/paste the pictures content, not the original jpg files... the system decided to use png, not me, wich makes sense, but still)
 

elw3

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Quite a price tag, one can get decent computers for less than the half.
Are there any other benefits to this machine than just "its ARM"?
 

KidPaddle

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Interestingly, we are starting to get performant end-user systems with SATA, graphics card and reasonable size of main memory for desktop and not AAA games. 2 or 3 Year, than an Intel/AMD system coud be replaced.

Thomas
 

Phlyra

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please dont post photos as pngs
Slightly off topic from this cool build but how come? (Genuinely curious as I’d have thought PNG would have been preferred for its lower file size?)
 

elw3

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Oh, i assumed that is the targeted price for a mass production.
Nvmd, for a prototype that is a good price.

@Phlyra PNGs dont work very well for photos. Also my browser has problems opening them at all, they seem to be handled different than jpgs.
Sorry for the fuss, i am probably the only one in this forum with a pay per MB network connection.
 

fusion_power

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Always good when you can play Factorio! :cool: Since I have no real compare in the ARM world, how does Factorio run on an Raspberry Pi (4) for instance? Also stable playable?
 

ptitSeb

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Always good when you can play Factorio! :cool: Since I have no real compare in the ARM world, how does Factorio run on an Raspberry Pi (4) for instance? Also stable playable?
It doesn't really works. The Graphics are too demanding and hits various bug in the driver. Same for other SBC I tried (like RK3399-based or Odroid N2)
 

levi

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Slightly off topic from this cool build but how come? (Genuinely curious as I’d have thought PNG would have been preferred for its lower file size?)
PNGs are smaller than BMPs for any image larger than a few pixels, but bigger than JPEGs. They're really trying to do different things, PNGs try to make image files that are lossless i.e. they're exactly the same as what came out of the camera, but JPEGs only really care about what things look like and save space by making things that aren't important cost less. IIRC JPEGs mainly work by reducing the colour bandwidth compared to the luma bandwidth and splitting the image into little squares that can be similar across the image just tinted differently.
 

Pickle

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maybe it would be useful as a compile server, but it does seems strange to spend more for arm to then simulate x86 apps. You could probably buy (or get for free) even an older x86 machine at a much lower price.

@ptitSeb are you using the multi core in box86 or is it single thread?
 

ptitSeb

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You need to emulate because ARM is not the dominant architecture (yet?), like you need Wine on Linux because Windows is everywhere...

Yes, box86 and Box64 can use threads. It let emulated app use as many real thread as they want (box itself doesn't really use thread. For now, the Dynarec works in the same thread that is executing)
 
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Pickle

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I understand the technical reasons why you would need box86 and if for some reason arm was only hardware option you had to run x86 stuff on. Id be ore inclined to spend a lost less on a higher performing x86 pc.

has this been the highest performing arm device youve played on?
 

levi

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has this been the highest performing arm device youve played on?
I don't see ptitseb even claiming this is any better than your hypothetical x86 device, so I don't see the need for him to answer your slightly demanding question. He was simply answering technical questions where they arose.
 

ptitSeb

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The D2000 is a CPU targeting Desktop machine, not High-end gaming ring. The CPU is not designed to take over Core-i9 and the likes. Maybe apple M2 or M1X will try that? But still, it's an actual Arm desktop PC, that is perfectly usable, and way faster that any SBC I have tried (including the Pyra).
 
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Bosbeetle

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It is strange to see the popularity of the apple M1 macbook, we already had quite a few students that had one, we were worried "FIJI" wouldnt run on it (https://fiji.sc) an imaging analysis software package we use, but apparently most of the students have rosetta installed even if they dont know what it is. So we get a nice generation of people who have no clue what architecture they run on and run loads of emulated software without knowing it. As they are mac users they dont care about how stuff runs or where files are located or basically anything about their computer. Apple but also Google/Android nicely educates people to have no clue about what they are doing.

But it might be a good thing for ARM desktop computing, or a bad thing where we go back to having many architectures on the market and we cannot use some software for half of the students, or we have to enforce a pc or mac. In any way pc and mac are moving further away from eachother because of the popularity of the M1.

The market is getting bigger for box86 box64 like software :)
 

Pickle

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levi, I was just trying to give a opinion to contribute to the discussion (elw3 was made the same point sbout price per performance). Then i though pitiseb misunderstood what i wrote thinking i was asking what was the point of box86 on arm. Im not trying to put down anything he is working on or trying to suggest it's a waste of time. In fact I think it is pretty neat since usually with any arm or mips cpu its paired with an equally low powered gpu. So I cant see the technical interest in developing on such a device. I would too if I had a prototype.

ptitseb have you run anything 3d intenstive, say something like doom 3? Does the cpu end up being the bottleneck?
 

ptitSeb

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I run SOMA on it, and the GPU seems to be the bottleneck, depending on the graphics option you choose. But I'm still unsure, I'm still not really used to this PC in term of performances, so I don't have all the metrics clear in my mind. I need to play with different resolution and settings to see what is really the bottleneck...

On factorio, it seems the GPU is the bottleneck at least.
 
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