More Impressions - RockPro64

More Impressions - RockPro64

This is a follow up to the earlier blog post at https://ameridroid.com/blogs/ameriblogs/rockpro64-first-impressions.

 

Browser Tests

I tested the two installed browsers – Chromium and Firefox. They both seemed to work well except when playing back YouTube videos. Both browsers played YouTube smoothly, but at a much faster playback rate than normal. YouTube Browser for SMPlayer was also included preinstalled, and it had the same fast playback issue. To make sure it wasn’t just a YouTube issue, I also tested Vimeo.com. Same fast playback issue. (See "New OS Image Release" below for resolution to the issue)

 

I also ran speed-battle.com on the RockPro64 running Ubuntu 18.04 on a 4.4 kernel on Chromium, and compared that to the same test on an ODROID-XU4 running Ubuntu 16.04 on a 4.14 kernel on Chromium, and my new Lenovo Core i7-7700@3.6GHz w/16GB RAM running Windows 10 Pro on Chrome. I ran each test multiple times until I encountered 5 tests without an improvement in score.

            Calculate  Store   Render  Overall
RockPro64     31.51    282.48   12.49   326.48
ODROID-XU4    42.67    234.06    8.46   285.19
Core i7-7770 186.18   1092.27   73.14  1351.59

As you can tell, neither of the ARM boards compare (as expected) to the Core i7, but the RockPro64 performed better overall than the ODROID-XU4 by about 14%. It’s actually surprising that the Core i7 is only about 4x faster than these very low-power ARM boards.

 

Sound Tests

Next test was sound. At first, I was not successful in getting sound to work. Right-clicking on the Volume control on the desktop panel and selecting “Launch Mixer” would pop up a window that would immediately close. As LXDE appears to use alsa, I checked /etc/asound.conf, which didn’t exist. So, to find the installed cards, I performed the following:

$ cat /proc/asound/cards
0 [rockchipes8316c]: rockchip_es8316 - rockchip,es8316-codec
                     rockchip,es8316-codec
1 [ROCKCHIPSPDIF  ]: ROCKCHIP_SPDIF - ROCKCHIP,SPDIF
                     ROCKCHIP,SPDIF
2 [rkhdmidpsound  ]: rk-hdmi-dp-soun - rk-hdmi-dp-sound
                     rk-hdmi-dp-sound

Next, I created a new /etc/asound.conf containing the following:

pcm.!default {
    type hw
    card 2
}

ctl.!default {
    type hw
    card 2
}

I used “card 2” because I wanted the sound to come out of the HDMI connector. The HDMI to VGA adapter I used has a 3.5mm stereo output for headphones, so I plugged directly into that.

 

At this point, sound was working, and when I right-clicked on the volume control, I could open alsamixer and it showed the correct sound card.

 

(This may have also been corrected in an OS image update, but as I already had it working, I don’t know for a fact that it is.)

 

Default Storage Partitions

Stephen, one of our staff here at ameriDroid, mentioned that he had heard that the RockPro64 Linux distro creates a bunch of extra partitions. I decided to look into that:

$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
udev            1.9G     0  1.9G   0% /dev
tmpfs           388M  480K  388M   1% /run
/dev/mmcblk0p7   15G  2.4G   12G  17% /
tmpfs           1.9G     0  1.9G   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
tmpfs           1.9G     0  1.9G   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/mmcblk0p6  112M   10K  112M   1% /boot/efi
tmpfs           388M  8.0K  388M   1% /run/user/1000

So /dev/mmcblk0 is the volume with the OS on it. The p6 and p7 at the end of the Filesystem name denotes the partition numbers. So it looks suspicious, like there could be more partitions than usual. We’ll use fdisk to list the actual partitions on the device.

$ sudo fdisk -l /dev/mmcblk0
Disk /dev/mmcblk0: 14.9 GiB, 15931539456 bytes, 31116288 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: gpt
Disk identifier: B2791BBA-7718-4413-BA41-9137CCF92DD2

Device          Start      End  Sectors  Size Type
/dev/mmcblk0p1     64     8063     8000  3.9M Linux filesystem
/dev/mmcblk0p2   8064     8191      128   64K Linux filesystem
/dev/mmcblk0p3   8192    16383     8192    4M Linux filesystem
/dev/mmcblk0p4  16384    24575     8192    4M Linux filesystem
/dev/mmcblk0p5  24576    32767     8192    4M Linux filesystem
/dev/mmcblk0p6  32768   262143   229376  112M Microsoft basic data
/dev/mmcblk0p7 262144 31116254 30854111 14.7G Linux filesystem

OK, so there are in fact 7 partitions on this device. The first 5 are all 4MB or smaller. I’m not sure what the purpose of those partitions are, so I won’t be deleting them – it is a trivial amount of space anyway.

 

New OS Image Release

While writing this article, I was informed of a new release of the OS image from ayufan, the OS image maintainer.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt-get install linux-image-4.4.132-1083-rockchip-ayufan-gfd3f12ca5fae

This updated the OS from image 1075 to image 1083.

 

Further Browser Testing

After rebooting, I again tested YouTube. The fast-playing video problem was resolved with this update. Sound was also flawless. YouTube played back in 720p60 resolution within the browser (Firefox and Chromium) and also in full-screen mode with minimal dropped frames and about 40-50% CPU utilization! This is one of the best-performing boards for 720p60 YouTube videos that I’ve tested.

 

YouTube Browser for SMPlayer” also worked great at 720p30 at 25-30% CPU utilization.

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Comments

Bohdan Lechnowsky - August 21, 2018

Alton, we are hoping to make some RockPro64 videos for visual learners and “watch learn” people like you. Keep your eye out for new articles.

Also, if you have any questions, feel free to use our “Contact” link under “Navigate” in the footer of this page.

ALTON DAVJS JR - August 21, 2018

ROCKPro64 Power Cable for dual SATA Drives

Does that connect into sata card? or is there place on sata drive other than where drive attaches to card?
Sorry I am a watch learn person. Thx. alton

ALTON DAVIS JR - August 21, 2018

ROCKPro64 PCI-E to Dual SATA-II Interface Card

did you try that card out on rockpro64 with 2 drives?
I want one with the card for a beefed up workstation. write to drive one and copy to drive two. I am new to LINUX and SBCs. Is there a video showing all connected/running?

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