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CompuLab Utilite: A Tiny, Low-Power, Low-Cost, ARM Linux Desktop

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  • CompuLab Utilite: A Tiny, Low-Power, Low-Cost, ARM Linux Desktop

    Phoronix: CompuLab Utilite: A Tiny, Low-Power, Low-Cost, ARM Linux Desktop

    When it comes to Linux-friendly hardware vendors one of my favorite companies to deal with at Phoronix is CompuLab. The Israeli PC vendor isn't just rebadging some OEM systems and slapping on a Tux sticker nor are they assembling some x86 systems that individuals could easily build at a lower cost. We have reviewed several interesting low-power Linux PCs from them in the past and today may be one of their most interesting products yet, the Freescale i.MX6-based Utilite. In this review is a look at the Utilite Pro, which is my new favorite pre-assembled ARM Linux desktop.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=19801

  • #2
    It's cool and all, but a bit before its time. I will wait until a more standardised system based on 64-bit ARMv8 (probably based on the new server standard) before buying in. I'd like to see something with very good hardware video encoders, that would eliminate most of my need for powerful Intel CPUs.

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    • #3
      The form factor is great, and the performance is okay.

      Might be good for people who want a home server that's always on (the low power aspect) with more RAM than a Raspberry Pi, with a reasonable amount of storage for local stuff (how fast is the 32GB SSD?), especially if it can also work as a media device (make use of those video outputs!). USB HD required there though, I hope the USB ports can provide enough power for a decent external USB HD.

      It's also cheaper in the long term than many cheap web-hosting services, and probably has more RAM, storage and CPU power than those cheap services provide in their virtualised environments.

      I'm not looking this year for such a device, but maybe next year... I'd like a ~2GHz quad-core Cortex A53 next time please :-) I presume some variants of the i.MX7 will use these...?

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      • #4
        would be nice to start seeing some tests of open src graphics on some of these devices. GC2000 support for etnaviv is making some progress and hopefully usable pretty soon.. or some device with earlier vivante core which is already working with etnaviv. And a review of the inforce ifc6410 with freedreno (or bstem board, or apq8074 dragonaboard), especially in a day or two when I am ready to push the new compiler work for freedreno, would be interesting.

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        • #5
          Intel is coming out with a Bay Trail NUC Kit these days. Would be very interesting to see how this thing stacks up against Atom.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nils_ View Post
            Intel is coming out with a Bay Trail NUC Kit these days. Would be very interesting to see how this thing stacks up against Atom.
            The top of the range tegra / snapdragon / intel stuff all look close enough, at least on the gpu front, that any one of them can be shown besting the others. Just a matter of the power and thermal budget for the devices being compared, and how hard you cheat. (In case you are wondering how each vendor manages benchmarks that show it beating the others. Remember, "lies, damn lies, and mobile device benchmarks"..) So interesting times :-)

            Ofc the intel open src driver is considerably more mature than the other mobile open src drivers. So I expect if you are just looking at the open drivers, intel hw will get closer to it's theoretical limits. But once the new compiler work lands in freedreno, we should also be getting reasonably close to what the hw is capable of.. at least other than the hand full of edge cases that will still fall back to the old compiler for now.

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            • #7
              hmmm.... I'm really interested but I can't order since our customs would apply at least 150 euros in taxes... probably more if they see 'made in Israel'.


              Anyone from the european union going to israel in the coming months?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by robclark View Post
                And a review of the inforce ifc6410 with freedreno (or bstem board, or apq8074 dragonaboard), especially in a day or two when I am ready to push the new compiler work for freedreno, would be interesting.
                Michael does accept guest articles. He probably won't have the knowledge to set up freedreno, perhaps you could write the review?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pallidus View Post
                  hmmm.... I'm really interested but I can't order since our customs would apply at least 150 euros in taxes... probably more if they see 'made in Israel'.


                  Anyone from the european union going to israel in the coming months?
                  Dude, check. The EU has good sites for this purpose.

                  Importing computers from Israel? No customs duty, you only pay VAT, ~35 euros depending on where you are.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by curaga View Post
                    Michael does accept guest articles. He probably won't have the knowledge to set up freedreno, perhaps you could write the review?
                    True, although I suppose I might be biased, and I probably don't have such a complete benchmark setup as Michael ;-)

                    That said, if Michael or someone did want to do a mobile/embedded open src graphics round up, myself and folks on #freedreno can certainly help with freedreno setup. (Which for freedreno currently amounts to custom kernel + generic armhf fedora f20 userspace + latest git master mesa.) And likewise I think wumpus and the good folks on #etnaviv could help for utilite. A comparison of utilite vs inforce vs intel NUC would certainly be interesting. I'm pretty sure on the driver front, intel will win on functionality and performance, as it is already a very mature driver. But we are getting to the point on etnaviv and freedreno where it could be interesting to start charting progress.

                    Plus on utilite there is at least the option to also compare against blob driver. Something I *wish* I could do w/ freedreno, but sadly only android blob driver for adreno..

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pallidus View Post
                      hmmm.... I'm really interested but I can't order since our customs would apply at least 150 euros in taxes... probably more if they see 'made in Israel'.


                      Anyone from the european union going to israel in the coming months?
                      There is also http://cubox-i.com/ (and the related carrier-1 board).. same iMX6 SoC(s), might be easier to get in EU.. not really sure, but worth a check..

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pallidus View Post
                        hmmm.... I'm really interested but I can't order since our customs would apply at least 150 euros in taxes... probably more if they see 'made in Israel'.
                        These guys ship from the UK:
                        http://www.tinygreenpc.com/

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                        • #13
                          an idea if xbmc would run fine on this including hardware accel on video decoding?

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                          • #14
                            Does Phoronix do network tests (both WiFi and Ethernet)? I read that the GigE port using the embedded controller is very slow compared to the other Intel one.

                            Thanks!

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                            • #15
                              "No customs duty, you only pay VAT, ~35 euros depending on where you are. "

                              unfortunately the thing about the EU is that you can't compare the rule of law in countries like denmark or germany to the likes of portugal or romania....

                              I can tell you from the last time I made the mistake of ordering something from the states, the customs guy charged me 30 euros just to open the package because he needed to 'inspect' he then applied 100% of the price in taxes... if they see something shipped from israel and they are anti semitic they can pretty much just apply 300% of tax or whatever they want, it's not like there's a system where you can demand your rights.


                              I'm getting a certificate error in tinygreenpc.com

                              and they are kinda greedy ... 264 euros plus 40 euros shipping??? are they fucking crazy 304 euros for a arm mini pc?

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