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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Suggestions
86Duino ZERO
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Joined: 30 Apr 2007
Posts: 40
Location: near Carcassonne, S. France

PostPosted: Tue 10 Dec 2013, 09:38    Post subject:  86Duino ZERO
Subject description: New x86 Arduino sized all-in-one

I just read about this new, Arduino sized x86 all-in-one board from DM&P, at only 39USD, which seems to me a really good subject for a Pupplet, or even a normal Puppy.
It's a 300Mhz CPU, 128MB RAM, and 8GB flash memory installed, plus a MicroSD slot. USB, Eth, and lots of different I/O connections.
http://shop.dmp.com.tw/INT/products/23 sell it normally, but I just look, tongue hanging out, and they're out of stock Sad
This seems like a really good board, about as powerful as the old, first Pentiums, so Puppy would run no problem. I'm going to get one after January, and see what it does. I think there's also some sort of kit available, for those who play with Arduino and other electronic parts.
It's really quite a revolution, as far as I can see, as a tiny all-in-one that's X86 based makes programming and OS installation really a different kettle of fish. Non Arm based, you could put any reasonable sized Puppy on it, either with the SDcard, or a USB stick, or even in the 8GB of flash.
My Puppy save file is usually about 8GB, so I can use Wine, Virtualbox, devx, kernel, or any other SFS I want.

So, has any one tried out the X86Arduino Zero yet?

PS I don't know if this is the right section of the forum to put this, but if not, I'm sorry, and I'll post it somewhere it belongs Wink
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Joined: 20 Nov 2013
Posts: 233

PostPosted: Tue 10 Dec 2013, 15:36    Post subject:  

Crazy .. I have one of the original Arduinos (well not the first, but the one that's sold in volume). It's NOT x86 compatible, has an extremely slow microprocessor and runs entirely from firmware that you flash .. so I guess that the falling prices even show up in the low end of the market Very Happy

On the other hand, I like my Arduino because it is very simple. Like, very simple. You get to think about what's going into the board, what's being done with that info, and what's coming out as a result. So you can actually understand Smile
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Joined: 30 Apr 2007
Posts: 40
Location: near Carcassonne, S. France

PostPosted: Wed 11 Dec 2013, 13:03    Post subject:  X86Duino Zero
Subject description: Impartial opinion needed on Arduino but X86 compat

To me, at least, this sounds like it does something between a Raspi and Arduino, but in X86. It takes 7-12V input, and has various 3.3V outputs, as well as the normal Eth, USB, etc.

Question What I'd really appreciate is some expert Puppy freak's opinion on it, as, for example a mini web server, or simple PC. Here's it's "Product Description" :-

" Vortex86EX Processor

- 300MHz 32-bit x86
- 128MB DDR3
- USB 2.0
- Micro-SD

Open-Source Hardware
Support DOS, Windows, Linux
Arduino-Compatible IDE
Arduino “Leonardo” form factor

86Duino is an open-source embedded platform based on Vortex86EX SoC, easy-to-use hardware and software integrated. This Arduino-compatible board can support many x86 O/S as well as those running on the original Arduino base system.

The 86Duino is a high performance and fully static 32-bit x86 processor board compatible with Windows OS, Linux and most popular 32-bit RTOS. It integrates PCIE bus, DDR3, ROM controller, xISA, I2C, SPI, IPC (Internal Peripheral Controllers with DMA and interrupt timer/counter included), Fast Ethernet, FIFO UART, USB2.0 and SD/SATA controller within a single package to form a system-on-a-chip (SOC).

86Duino provides an ideal solution for the Arduino and embedded system with desired performance."

So it's a pretty simple thing, but I don't see a controller graphic, and I don't know if an Arduino add-on board is available. Question
I suppose it could use a monitor with USB input, and Displaylink, such as the Lenovo or Samsung portable ones, too, as it doesn't seem to have an output graphic port. But would it need an add-on graphic board or something?

I'd really appreciate an evaluation of sorts, as I'd like to get one of these if it's a realizable item, for Puppy installation, and use as a web server, or as a mini PC for simple work, with a portable screen on USB. I suppose I'd need an Arduino sound board to hear anything too Idea .
I do wish I'd got more into Arduino and it's colleagues before, but I didn't have the time or money, at the time Embarassed Too late for regrets, but not for catching up, now they've brought out this potential genial little board. It really caught my attention, but some impartial advice would be really appreciated from someone Smile
Does anyone have an idea, please?
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Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 5056
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Wed 11 Dec 2013, 18:16    Post subject:  

Video out is DIY and that processor is very special. It appears to be a new special version of the Vortex86 line which has been based on i586 (Pentium One) architecture historically. It appears that the -EX, from a datasheet (here) is actually a big step backwards (!) in that it's a 486DX in hardware and a 486SX "with extensions" in software. Which basically means that *IF* it's got an FPU, it's their own not-an-original-486-FPU design.

If it's got no FPU, game over. You'd have to compile a special kernel with software FPU emulation and that's --to put it bluntly-- a real PITA from absolutely everything I've ever heard.

If it's got an FPU, then you're looking at one phenomenally slow heap of a system. IF you can get video out of it, even (and that's going to be an achievement). Never mind that it's got 1/4 the physical RAM that Puppy traditionally needs to operate well. Never mind that they've underclocked the CPU (probably for thermal reasons along with "who needs a four hundred freaking megahertz arduino, I mean really?!" reasons) from 400MHz (according to the linked datasheet above) to 300MHz.

Also: there's exactly one Puppy that maybe will run on that thing. ClassicPup. Maybe. I know it can run on a 586 class CPU. I'm really not sure about a 486 class. I'm very sure that I don't want to find out because that performance will be extremely painful.

My personal opinion: screw the 86duino. It's not meant for this sort of stuff to begin with, and convincing it to do otherwise is quite frankly well past not worth the trouble. If you really really really really want to stuff a Pup into a tiny, low-cost form factor system, get an MK802 or something similar (ARM/Android stick computer with an Allwinner CPU) off eBay and get FatDogARM from jamesbond. I haven't used it myself (for lack of resources -- I don't have a compatible system!) but it sounds pure awesome -- and those stick computers almost never pull more than 2.5w Wink (I did have one stick computer for a while, a CX-01 type with no SD slot -- I ran it off of a 2.5w adapter with no problems, and it had a bus-powered USB hub, keyboard, mouse, and USB->PS2 active adapter, along with a bus-powered HDMI->VGA adapter, all running off the same 5v 1a wall wart at the time, and the dang wart didn't even heat up. I was considerably impressed.)


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