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Trim-Slice: Dual-Core ARM Tegra 2 Desktop

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  • Trim-Slice: Dual-Core ARM Tegra 2 Desktop

    Phoronix: Trim-Slice: Dual-Core ARM Tegra 2 Desktop

    The Trim-Slice from CompuLab is a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 nettop based on the NVIDIA Tegra 2 platform. In this article are our first Ubuntu benchmarks of this low power, fan-less desktop with comparative figures to Intel's older platforms and the OMAP4660-based dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 PandaBoard ES.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=16918

  • #2
    Michael, other sources on the net say it gets hot. Can you measure how hot?

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    • #3
      I hope that in a future article you can talk a little about 3D support and hardware video decoding.
      Many devices such as this one tend to fall short on that department: they could do this, and that, and the other, but in reality the drivers aren't up-to-date/the sdk is unavailable/you're stuck with only an old linux or userland version.

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      • #4
        Michael,

        Thank you for these recent great ARM reviews! Could you please include power consumption for these ARM systems in your tests? It can be as simple as measuring from the wall plug.

        Also, its very interesting that this Tegra 2 box beat out the Pandaboard with a "theoretically" better processor running at 20% higher speed with NEON extensions, and they managed this on an Ubuntu 11.04 distro with an older kernel.

        Trim-Slice must have backported some ARM optimizations from the newer kernels to achieve this. I'd really like to see a comparison of both the Pandaboard (omap) and Trim-Slice (tegra) running on the latest Linux 3.2 kernel. That would make for a very interesting comparison.

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        • #5
          Another interesting project to look at for small/tiny "desktops" is the "Rapsberry Pi"-board. It's more like the Panda-Board since it doesn't feature a case but comes with Linux pre-installed. It comes in two different configurations (RAM and with or w/o Ethernet) and is equipped with an Broadcom BCM2835 (ARM11, 700MHz).
          Not to be ordered yet but will be out in some weeks.

          @Michael: According to their blog, the guys will be/are in Las Vegas, too: http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/495
          Maybe you want to arrange a meeting

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          • #6
            Cool. When do we start seeing netbooks with these processors? What about a sixteen core 4GB device? Shouldn't have too high a power envelope...

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            • #7
              What the hell is the "Line-out; Video-in" connector?

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              • #8
                From teh pdf:
                Originally posted by trim-slice-user-guide.pdf
                Video input

                The Trim-Slice video input is implemented on the additional pin
                of the line-out audio jack. Use the 3.5mm to RCA adapter
                included in this package and a standard RCA cable to connect
                the Trim-Slice to an external analog video source.

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                • #9
                  purpose/market

                  Okay, I keep looking at these ARM boards off and on and keep asking myself what would I do with it.
                  1. File Server, no go not enough SATA ports or an expansion slot.
                  2. HTPC, Not enough grunt to get 1080P or even 720P done. No flash so not Hulu, or youtube. Running full linux, so no netflix.
                  3. Desktop for grandma/kids, no flash as it is arm + linux based, no way to play those cheep games from the bin at bestbuy.

                  Does the arm world have something like PCI-E or even PCI? How about a way to get more than 4 SATA ports and Dual GbE Lan that isn't via USB2.0?

                  Anyways, could someone explain to me what I would do with a Trim-Slice/Pandaboard ES? Looks fun to play with and maybe it would work nice for a kitchen/embeded computer, but I'm just not getting it.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the continued ARM reporting!

                    The more that is see of thee ARM based systems the more I realize Apple was right to go this route for iPad. It is impressive that this hardware is beating Intel fairly consistently on an OS where the support isn't exactly the best.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cynyr View Post
                      1. HTPC, Not enough grunt to get 1080P or even 720P done. No flash so not Hulu, or youtube. Running full linux, so no netflix.
                      Don't know about video accel. and render speed, but YouTube has html video, and Lightspark is coming along (but I don't know how well it or gnash works on ARM)...netflix, silverlight, bleh.

                      Originally posted by cynyr View Post
                      Does the arm world have something like PCI-E or even PCI? How about a way to get more than 4 SATA ports and Dual GbE Lan that isn't via USB2.0?
                      Not as far as I know, but then I don't know much about ARM. I'm sure someone's thought of it...but unless the board has PCI (or USB, or some special expansion connector) ports/slots/headers, there aren't many options at the moment.
                      Last edited by Nobu; 01-09-2012, 10:27 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by [Knuckles] View Post
                        I hope that in a future article you can talk a little about 3D support and hardware video decoding.
                        Many devices such as this one tend to fall short on that department: they could do this, and that, and the other, but in reality the drivers aren't up-to-date/the sdk is unavailable/you're stuck with only an old linux or userland version.
                        Its probably faster than the original Xbox.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jannis View Post
                          Another interesting project to look at for small/tiny "desktops" is the "Rapsberry Pi"-board ....
                          What I forgot: It's only $25 (w/o Ethernet) and $35 (with Ethernet). But since it has USB-Ports, you can get the cheaper version and use USB-WiFi adapters if you wish.

                          @cynyr: The hardware does support decoding videos in hardware in most cases, it's just the question of driver and API support. So 1080p shouldn't be a problem (as long as we get drivers running). Perfect for sticking them to the back of your TV and use them as MythTV-clients or other media-player/HTPC stuff. Uses very few power, perfect to be hidden at the back of TV and has HDMI output.
                          And you're right: for people who just use their PCs for surfing and office stuff using linux these devices are enough.
                          Of course since it has no/few SATA-ports, these kind of devices don't do well as NAS/servers. My NAS can't be a "weak-CPU" device since my data is completely encrypted and en/decrypting using AES at 90MBytes/s (or more) needs some processing power.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jannis View Post
                            What I forgot: It's only $25 (w/o Ethernet) and $35 (with Ethernet). But since it has USB-Ports, you can get the cheaper version and use USB-WiFi adapters if you wish.
                            The problem is that the cheaper version has only one USB port so you have to use external USB hub if you need more ports, e.g. for keyboard, mouse, remote control IR receiver, etc.

                            What worries me more, though, is the desktop experience. In a video from 2 months ago Eben demonstrated LXDE desktop on the Raspbery Pi but it was running unaccelerated X. The experience is sub optimal, to put it mildly. I imagine the built in graphics accelerator doesn't have a 2D graphics engine and relies on the 3D engine for all drawing. So it has to be employed for the 2D acceleration. I don't know whether X can be made to do that. Maybe we'll need Wayland for that. In any case, it's not at all clear what the 3D situation is either. Will the drivers be open source, for instance. The same for the video decoding acceleration.

                            Don't get me wrong - I think the Raspberry Pi is a wonderful machine and I plan to get at least 2 but I'll use them without a display. Yet for its intended purpose the desktop experience is very important. And information on that is suspiciously missing. Or I may be wrong about that in which case please provide links. But given the record so far, I'm afraid that the drivers will not be open source which is very very bad (reference - Intel Poulsbo).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jannis View Post
                              Of course since it has no/few SATA-ports, these kind of devices don't do well as NAS/servers. My NAS can't be a "weak-CPU" device since my data is completely encrypted and en/decrypting using AES at 90MBytes/s (or more) needs some processing power.
                              Or crypto accel. Some ARM cpus come with a block similar to Via's.

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