ARM board as desktop replacement

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ARM board as desktop replacement

Postby Kiste » Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:59 pm

I'm new to the forums and I'm looking for a device which I can use like a normal desktop PC. I already own an OpenPandora which has an 1GHz Cortex-A8 and 512MB of RAM. It's fast enough for most tasks I'd like to do, so I think an ARM platform could replace my PC.
Here's what I'd like to do:
- listen to music with mpd
- running privoxy for ad blocking
- running hostapd for WIFI hotspot
- using Xorg with SpaceFM, Claws Mail etc.
- using OpenGL ES apps like RetroArch on Xorg
- connect a hard drive, so SATA or USB3 would be nice

In my view the ODROID-XU, ODROID-U3 and the Wandboard could deliver that. But I don't know which one to chose.
I don't understand what's needed to get acceleration in Xorg. If I got it right then the ODROID-XU has nearly no GPU support on Linux. Hardkernel devs say that they are working on that, but it's nothing released (yet). The Mali GPU of the U3 seems to be supported quite well. Xorg driver seems to be xf86-video-fbturbo, but in how far does it work without a custom Xorg driver? Would it be like running xf86-video-fbdev on nvidia blob (if that's possible)?
Wandboard seems to have best support. GPU blobs are packaged in ALARM, there's a custom Xorg driver (xf86-video-imx) and even video playback is hardware accelerated according to their homepage.

So can anyone explain me that GPU-thing? Does anyone know another board which suits my needs?
Thanks in advance!
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Re: ARM board as desktop replacement

Postby AlexisTM » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:52 pm

Dear,

If you choose the OdroidU3, you could be interrested in this project. It is a Debian version, but you can do the same steps.
https://code.google.com/p/odroid-wheezy-retro/

(NOTE: I got a lot of complications when I tried to install mali drivers on Archlinux on the OdroidU3)
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Re: ARM board as desktop replacement

Postby WarheadsSE » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:30 pm

@AlexisTM
Did you contact the ALARM developers and Hardkernel? We work together to resolve issues like this.
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Re: ARM board as desktop replacement

Postby kmihelich » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:33 pm

In fact, we are actually in the process of bringing in the MALI libraries along with a custom XBMC version that will be accelerated.

It's also very bad form to be advocating distributions not related to the one whose forum you're posting on.
Arch Linux ARM exists and continues to grow through community support, please donate today!
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Re: ARM board as desktop replacement

Postby dhead666 » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:10 am

@Kiste

I'm not an expert but for accelarate video decoding you'll need gstreamer support.

I don't think that there is gstreamer support for Samsung Exynos.
I believe there is gstreamer support for Freescale imx6 ( https://github.com/Freescale/gstreamer-imx ) but there's no package yet for Arch Linux.

For a desktop I would go with a imx6 quad device (2GB RAM) and something that looks like a product and not a development board so Utilite or Cubox-i, the latter cheaper and much munchkier [munchkin + ier :lol: ] .
Pogoplug Series 4 - Network Storage and Music Server: NFS/TVHeadend
Cubox-i2 - Applications Server: Lighttpd/CherryMusic/HTPCManager/Transmission/Couchpotato/SickBeard/OpenVPN
Samsung Chromebook: Chroach in ChromeOS
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Re: ARM board as desktop replacement

Postby Kiste » Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:30 pm

It's nice to see that Mali GPUs are supported that well. But the U3 isn't really what I'm looking for because the lack of anything faster than USB 2.0. ODROID-XU hardware would be very nice, but I don't want to wait for an Exynos5 driver, so I'll take the Wandboard. The Utilite is sold together with an internal SSD and it's more expensive and the CuBox ships from Israel, so it's not much cheaper than the Wandboard.

However, on the Utilite forums I found some threads about non-working GPUs in X11 (e.g. here) and "Linux Action Show" reviewed the CuBox and only got Arch working with xf86-video-fbdev.
But in Arch repos I found the following packages:
firmware-imx
gpu-viv-bin-mxq6
imx-vpu
xf86-video-imx
That should be all which is needed for GPU support, so it should work.
Can someone just write "Yes, it's working!" so I can be sure that it really does, please? :D
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Re: ARM board as desktop replacement

Postby kmihelich » Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:34 pm

We didn't have those packages up when that review was done. Also note Chris's inability to do a simple pacman search to find chromium. Take reviews on ARM hardware/software from people that don't live and breathe it with a planet-sized grain of salt; they're often so far off the mark, ignorant, and uninformed, that what they say is effectively worthless.
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Re: ARM board as desktop replacement

Postby Kiste » Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:39 pm

I just found that review a few hours ago and didn't know that show before. Thank you for pointing that out.
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