Intel Kaby Lake Linux Testing With MSI's Cubi 2 Mini PC

Written by Michael Larabel in Computers on 9 November 2016. Page 2 of 6. 25 Comments

When getting ready to install Ubuntu 16.10 on the MSI Cubi 2, I wasn't too sure what to expect since this was my first Kaby Lake system at Phoronix. However, I was pleasantly surprised once booting Ubuntu 16.10 x86_64.

The system booted fine from USB, the mode-set happened right away to 4K, and I was quickly to the Unity desktop complete with hardware acceleration via the HD Graphics 620. No surprises and the graphics appeared to be working fine, which is much better than the state of Skylake graphics at launch-time when it was still marked as experimental and had various issues. Making things better, audio was working as was even the integrated WiFi and Ethernet. I then moved on with the Ubuntu 16.10 installation and it worked fine too -- no surprises, at least when using a SATA 3.0 SSD. Rebooting and things appeared to "just work" with this Kaby Lake NUC-like system happily booting to the stock Ubuntu 16.10 off the Linux 4.8 kernel.

Due to only having the device this week so far, Ubuntu 16.10 was my lone target so far but I'll be running a Linux distribution comparison on some other Linux OSes shortly. Ubuntu 16.10, for those trying to gain some perspective on requirements for Kaby Lake, has the Linux 4.8 kernel, Mesa 12.0, and GCC 6.2 as some of the common components. Since my initial testing of the Cubi 2 on Ubuntu 16.10, I haven't run into any support pitfalls yet with all key functionality appearing to work fine. Stay tuned for more in the days/weeks ahead if anything else comes up.

For some early Core i5 7200U Kaby Lake benchmarks I compared the results to some other small form factor PCs I had available for testing. These other test candidates include the Core i3 5010U Broadwell Intel NUC, Intel Celeron N2820 Bay Trail NUC, and the CompuLab Intense-PC2 with Core i7 4600U Haswell processor. Unfortunately I don't have any non-desktop SFF Skylake PCs in NUC form or similar to make for a fair comparison there, but should be interesting anyhow with Broadwell and Haswell given most Skylake users won't find much benefit in upgrading to Kaby Lake.

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