Category page of all posts on the web site that are tagged as related to hardware including PC / embedded and more

StarFive VisionFive 2 Official Debian SSD Boot Guide

StarFive VisionFive 2 SSD Boot Guide

The StarFive VisionFive 2 comes with a M.2 M-key PCIe 2.0 slot that we can use with a 2280 NVMe drive. Unfortunately at release it’s not possible to boot from the NVMe drive but this is expected to be added to the device through some combination of SPI+NVMe booting.

In the meantime we are going to bootstrap the boot process using a SD card and then clone that SD card to our SSD to be used as the root partition. This essentially will let us have our system’s root partition on the SSD (much faster).

Let’s get started!

StarFive VisionFive 2 High Performance RISC-V SBC Review

StarFive VisionFive 2 - Top View

I’ve reviewed several RISC-V boards on the site at this point including the Lichee RV and the Mango Pi MQ Quad. All of those boards only had a single core CPU though and aren’t suitable for high performance applications.

Today I am going to review what SiFive describes as “the world’s first high-performance RISC-V single board computer (SBC) with an integrated GPU”. We’ll explore the capabilities and performance of the board and see if it lives up to these claims. We’ll also compare it to a Raspberry Pi as it has the same number of CPU cores as a Raspberry Pi.

Let’s get started!

Google Pixel Buds Pro Review

Google Pixel Buds Pro Review

I’ve had the original Google Pixel Buds buds (first generation) for a couple of years now. That line (and the second generation of it) was cancelled some time ago in favor of the Pixel Buds A Series.

As of late though my original Pixel Buds have been acting up and the left headphone will often be dead when I open the lid for the case. I would have to leave the lid of the charger open after taking the left headphone out and putting it back in again for it to charge correctly and then I would be able to finally use them for whatever I pulled them out to do. It was time for an upgrade.

Today I’m going to review the Pixel Buds Pro series with active noise cancellation. I’ll specifically be comparing them to my original Pixel Buds and the A Series. Let’s get started!

Mango Pi MQ-Quad SBC Review

MangoPi MQ-Quad Single Board Computer Review

I have reviewed the Mango Pi MQ-Pro (a RISC-V board) in the past and I was impressed enough that I wanted to try one of Mango Pi’s other boards. Unfortunately this one is not a RISC-V board but it is much, much more powerful than the Mango Pi MQ Pro as it has a quad-core processor instead of a single core one.

Today we’ll be taking a look at the Mango Pi MQ-Quad single board computer including the available operating systems, the specifications, build quality as well as do some performance benchmarking to see how well the board performs.

Let’s get started!

Using E-Key M.2 WiFi Adapters with Orange Pi 5

Orange Pi 5 E-Key to M-Key WiFi Adapter Guide

Orange Pi has not released the WiFi module for the Orange Pi 5 yet which has left some people in a difficult position. While working on this problem I discovered an adapter that claimed to be able to let me use normal E-keyed WiFi adapters (commonly found in laptops and tablets) with the Orange Pi 5 using an adapter.

I received and tested the adapter and I am pleased to report it works perfectly! There are some caveats though such as you need a driver for your WiFi card within your OS (and often firmware as well).

In this guide I’ll show you how to get this working with the Orange Pi 5 using Linux. Let’s get started!

Using Corsair Mice / Keyboards on Linux without iCUE

Using Corsair Mice / Keyboards in Linux without iCUE - ckb-next

When I replaced my old keyboard I decided to get a keyboard with Cherry MX Quiet switches as I love mechanical keyboards but wanted to cut down on the noise. It’s still fairly loud but it’s definitely much quieter than my non-quiet models I’ve used before.

I had used Corsair keyboards before in the past on Windows but not since I had switched my main desktop to Linux. Unfortunately when I connected the keyboard the RGB was stuck on a solid red with no way to change it.

Fortunately there is an amazing replacement in Linux called ckb-next that is available in most major Linux distribution’s repositories. In this guide we’ll cover how to get the utility and what it can do.

Let’s begin!

Orange Pi 5 NVMe/SATA SSD Boot Guide

Orange Pi 5 with Heat Sinks

The Orange Pi 5 has a nice M.2 NVMe slot but unfortunately most of the official images will not boot if you try to directly image a NVMe drive. Fortunately there is an easy way to get this working that people who frequent the blog will almost certainly have seen before.

We are going to bootstrap the boot process using a SD card and then clone that SD card to our SSD to be used as the root partition. This essentially will let us have our system’s root partition on the SSD (much faster).

Let’s get started!

Lichee RV 86 Panel Getting Started Guide

Lichee RV 86 Panel Getting Started Guide

The Lichee RV 86 Panel is a RISC-V powered Linux computer complete with screen! It comes as a low cost kit with everything you need including the Lichee RV module.

In this guide I’ll show you how to get going with the Lichee RV 86 panel including getting Linux on there and getting it connected to WiFi. Let’s get started!

Orange Pi 5 Review – Powerful, No WiFi

Orange Pi 5 SBC Review

The Orange Pi 5 has finally arrived! I received my pre-order and the board is great. So should you go out and buy it? Probably, but there are some things you should know first that you may not be expecting.

The biggest thing to know is that there is no WiFi/Bluetooth included. If you were planning on using Ethernet anyway this doesn’t have much of an impact. If you do need wireless capabilities we’ll cover what options are available.

In this review we’ll cover what you need to know about the Orange Pi 5 including it’s onboard capabilities, the available RAM options as well as benchmark the board. Let’s get started!

Grove IoT Sensor Prototyping – K1100 – Getting Started Guide

Seeed Studio K1100 Sensor Prototyping - Getting Started Guide

Recently I’ve been trying to learn more about options to set up my own sensors within the house. What kind of sensors? All of them. I want gas sensors to tell me the indoor/outdoor air quality. I want moisture sensors to tell me the moisture level in my garden. I want to know if all the doors and windows are shut and locked. I’m sure there are dozens of sensors out there I don’t even know about that once I do I will want. I basically want to be able to see a status / reading of everything going on in and around my home easily from a monitoring panel.

I knew I wanted all of these types of sensors but I wasn’t sure how to get started. How will I control them all? How will they connect together? I don’t want apps for every single different sensor. I’ve been doing everything I can around the home to eliminate having so many different systems. I am looking for a system that is cleaner than that to tie everything together. An ecosystem.

That was why when I was going through old Twitter direct messages from Seeed Studio offering to send me a prototyping kit to evaluate sensors from the “Grove” line of sensors I decided to contact them again and see if they were still interested in sending me this. They offered to send me the K1100 sensor prototyping kit and it was exactly what I needed as it contains a full kit including a screen (the Wio terminal). In under 10 minutes you can literally be up and running with either WiFi or LoRa to transmit the sensor data.

Having a sensor prototyping kit was the tool I needed to start seriously breaking into the sensor world and starting to actually build instead of plan. In this guide we’ll cover the Seeed Studios K1100 sensor prototyping kit which gives you everything you need to easily buy and test inexpensive sensors (usually <$10) from the Grove ecosystem. Let's get started!

Sipeed Lichee RV RISC-V SBC Review

Sipeed LicheeRV RISC-V SBC Review

The support for open-source RISC-V hardware continues to improve across the board as more board manufacturers continue to adopt them and ship high quality boards powered by RISC-V. Today we’ll be looking at the Sipeed LicheeRV.

It’s honestly one of the most exciting single board computer products I’ve seen in a while. It’s basically the RISC-V version of a Pi Compute Module! These are small modules that are meant to be used with different docks / IO boards. They can be swapped between the different docks and will gain different capabilities based on what the dock has just like a dock for your laptop / other devices.

Not only that, this board is now officially supported by Ubuntu! Not only do you have an awesome form factor but you now have a very serious mainstream operating system that is supporting the board and architecture. I’ll also benchmark the device and tell you what to expect performance wise.

Let’s get started!

Orange Pi 3 LTS SBC Review

Orange Pi 3 LTS Single Board Computer Review

The Orange Pi 5 is on the horizon with my order scheduled to arrive around the end of the first week of December. I’ll definitely be covering it as soon as I can get my hands on it. So why would I cover anything to do with the Orange Pi 3 with the Orange Pi 5 launch being weeks away?

The Orange Pi 3 LTS is not a new board but it is an interesting board because it is a long term support variant expected to be produced and supported for much longer than the average board. It is already quite cheap at <~$50 or so at time of writing (which is a great price in this market to begin with) but I expect it to drop more into the $35-$40ish range once the Orange Pi 5 has been out for a little bit. Many Pi alternatives often have very short lifespans in terms of both production and support as most of you who have tried them over the years or more recently will know. Having these long term support assurances can give you a lot of confidence if you are considering boards for a product/project/use case that you expect to stay in place for a long time and want to know there will be secure working updated images available for it. Let's see what it can do!

Banana Pi P2 Zero SBC Review

Banana Pi P2 Zero SBC Review

The Banana Pi P2 Zero is a single board computer that has a quad-core processor as well as a 8GB eMMC and 512MB of RAM. It’s equivalent in power to roughly a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 or a Orange Pi Zero 2.

Today I’ll review the Banana Pi P2 Zero and examine the images available for the board, the build quality and included components as well as benchmark the I/O performance of the board. We’ll then compare it to the Orange Pi Zero 2 (one of my favorite SBC choices in this current market) and see what the advantages and disadvantages the Banana Pi setup has.

Let’s get started!

Hardkernel ODROID N2+ SBC Review

Hardkernel ODROID N2+ SBC Review

The ODROID N2+ is a single board computer available in 2GB and 4GB options. It has the Petitboot loader which easily supports booting from flash drives, SSDs, and other types of storage. It’s a very popular choice for emulation due to it’s powerful CPU and GPU. It also has overclocking capabilities!

Today I’m going to review the ODROID N2+ and examine the available image choices, benchmark the performance of the board, take a look at the capabilities and give some general recommendations about who would best benefit from using a board like this. Let’s get started!

Enable Raspbian Images to Boot on Libre Computers Boards

Enable Raspbian Images to Boot on Libre Computers Boards Guide

Libre Computers is a company making single board computers that are much more open-sourced than the Raspberry Pi (especially when it comes to hardware). They are offering a USB 2.0 model (the “Le Potato”) for $40 and a USB 3.0 model (the “Renegade”) for $50. Those are not theoretical MSRP prices that are impossible to find either. Those are the listed prices available today!

When I first covered these boards the Libre reddit account let me know about a utility they had available that could enable most Raspberry Pi images to boot on Libre Computers boards such as the “Le Potato” and “Renegade”. I tried out the tool and it worked great! In this guide I will show you where to get the tool and how to use it.

Let’s begin!