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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:35 pm

There is NO way you will get 60MB/sec from a USB2 hard drive, not even if it is on its own USB2 channel to the SOC

*IF* you are lucky, and use extfs3 or 4, you might exceed 35MB/sec for some large files, as long as you don't have to share that usb2 channel with any other device.

Same for USB2 based Ethernet or WiFi... on a separate channel you might exceed 35MB/sec, with a good tail wind.

If you have your USB2 nic and hd on the same channel, with no other devices, you will be lucky to get 15-17MB/sec from each.

Having said all of the above, if you are running only one or two clients at home, you will likely find it usable.
minos wrote: well only one NIC though - so for a proper firewall not as useful as it could be
and the HD access is limited to USB 2
but - a very capable device - I may have to get a couple for some specific uses
1. one NIC : you know, there are several USB ethernet, wifi...
2. HDD on USB2 : 60Mo/s... enough for home, I think...

3. quad core : better than 1 core to handle WAN-LAN/WLAN traffic ;)[/quote]
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:37 pm

Humm... I see ARM hardware routers with only 1 core on stores, I think it's ok to handle traffic.
And about USB2 speed, it can not exceed 35Mo/s ? For me, I see this speed as a RPi x10 when you copy something by the LAN :p

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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:45 pm

minos wrote:
RaTTuS wrote:
minos wrote:Interesting!
Thinking about NAS... Firewall/router/proxy...
Quad core CPU + more ram + gigabyte eth... nice :) Everything a RPi needs when you're playing with those kinds of services. :ugeek:
well only one NIC though - so for a proper firewall not as useful as it could be
and the HD access is limited to USB 2
but - a very capable device - I may have to get a couple for some specific uses
1. one NIC : you know, there are several USB ethernet, wifi...
2. HDD on USB2 : 60Mo/s... enough for home, I think...

3. quad core : better than 1 core to handle WAN-LAN/WLAN traffic ;)
This is more agreement with fruitoftheloom than anything else.

SATA-I: 1.5Gb/s
SATA-II: 3Gb/s
SATA-III: 6Gb/s
USB 2: 480Mb/s

See the problem? Granted, an HDD isn't going to saturate even a SATA-I channel, but an SSD can do so easily, given that current ones can exceed 500MB/s read/write rates. Whether full speed is needed or not depends on a great many factors and can't be just dismissed as "not needed for home applications".

Likewise, much the same can be said about Ethernet speeds. While I do not have GbE, others do and may have a need for full channel speed.

It is doubtful that more than 2 cores would materially affect the performance of a router or a NAS box.

On the whole, to a degree, more RAM can offset some HDD/SSD access bottlenecks. So far I have yet to see an inexpensive SBC with more than 1GB of RAM, even though at least a couple of chips in play can handle 4-8GB.

I was looking at the Allwinner A80 specs a couple of days ago. They explicitly state that it can address 8GB. I don't recall the other "8 core" chip that is showing up, nor have I checked the specs in any detail. I put "8 core" in quotes because both chips in question appear to be using the ARM big.LITTLE design with 4 A15 and 4 A7 cores. A better description would, I think, be a "4+4 core design" since I'm not sure that one will actually get work out of all 8 cores at once, or what it would mean even if one could, nor am I at all sure just how you would load such a system to get all 8 cores active....especially with a 1GB RAM design.

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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:55 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote: I was looking at the Allwinner A80 specs a couple of days ago. They explicitly state that it can address 8GB. I don't recall the other "8 core" chip that is showing up, nor have I checked the specs in any detail. I put "8 core" in quotes because both chips in question appear to be using the ARM big.LITTLE design with 4 A15 and 4 A7 cores. A better description would, I think, be a "4+4 core design" since I'm not sure that one will actually get work out of all 8 cores at once, or what it would mean even if one could, nor am I at all sure just how you would load such a system to get all 8 cores active....especially with a 1GB RAM design.
http://m.geekbuying.com/item/Allwinner- ... 32199.html

Posted at http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewt ... 62&t=93904

.....but it is 5x the price ;)
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:58 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
W. H. Heydt wrote: I was looking at the Allwinner A80 specs a couple of days ago. They explicitly state that it can address 8GB. I don't recall the other "8 core" chip that is showing up, nor have I checked the specs in any detail. I put "8 core" in quotes because both chips in question appear to be using the ARM big.LITTLE design with 4 A15 and 4 A7 cores. A better description would, I think, be a "4+4 core design" since I'm not sure that one will actually get work out of all 8 cores at once, or what it would mean even if one could, nor am I at all sure just how you would load such a system to get all 8 cores active....especially with a 1GB RAM design.
http://m.geekbuying.com/item/Allwinner- ... 32199.html

Posted at http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewt ... 62&t=93904

.....but it is 5x the price ;)
........or maybe an H64 ? http://www.cnx-software.com/2014/10/13/ ... winner-h64
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:07 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
W. H. Heydt wrote: I was looking at the Allwinner A80 specs a couple of days ago. They explicitly state that it can address 8GB. I don't recall the other "8 core" chip that is showing up, nor have I checked the specs in any detail. I put "8 core" in quotes because both chips in question appear to be using the ARM big.LITTLE design with 4 A15 and 4 A7 cores. A better description would, I think, be a "4+4 core design" since I'm not sure that one will actually get work out of all 8 cores at once, or what it would mean even if one could, nor am I at all sure just how you would load such a system to get all 8 cores active....especially with a 1GB RAM design.
http://m.geekbuying.com/item/Allwinner- ... 32199.html

Posted at http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewt ... 62&t=93904

.....but it is 5x the price ;)
The price is, of course, part of why it will never be a "Pi killer". The other major part being...support.

The price part is why the Odroid-C1 (the subject of this thread) is interesting. Even with the same price, the lack of community and support will, I think, relegate it to an "also ran". Still...it does show--if only in theory--what can be done at the RPFs price point, even though it's not exactly the feature set that I would pick if I were in charge of developing it. They have finessed one point, though. The chip has the RTC circuitry built in. To make that work, you have to buy and install a battery (there is a connection point on the board).

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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:21 pm

One has to ask: WHy? Why is the support on the Pi so good? Why can't the other guys do it?

As I've posted elsewhere, I know of what I speak, and I can say that while the Pi board (i.e., this board) goes out of its way to handhold the rankest of beginners, all the other boards (in my experience) go out of their way to tell you to go pound sand.

It seems odd that none of the other boards seem willing or able to follow the Pi/Foundation's lead.
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:05 pm

Joe Schmoe wrote:One has to ask: WHy? Why is the support on the Pi so good? Why can't the other guys do it?

As I've posted elsewhere, I know of what I speak, and I can say that while the Pi board (i.e., this board) goes out of its way to handhold the rankest of beginners, all the other boards (in my experience) go out of their way to tell you to go pound sand.

It seems odd that none of the other boards seem willing or able to follow the Pi/Foundation's lead.
The RPF is a Charity with a teaching / learning aim

Others are full fat profits only...........customer support is not cost effective
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:20 pm

As I understand it, the bigLITTLE chips can only run either Big or little at the same time. It's an architecture designed for power optimisation - run the big cores when you need the power, and the little ones when you need power saving. It's actually quite difficult to write the scheduler to take advantage of that as well.

Also, they overheat if you run all 8 (or whatever) cores at the same time, that's a lot of power to dissipate. These will definiltey need a heatsink.
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:24 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
Joe Schmoe wrote:One has to ask: WHy? Why is the support on the Pi so good? Why can't the other guys do it?

As I've posted elsewhere, I know of what I speak, and I can say that while the Pi board (i.e., this board) goes out of its way to handhold the rankest of beginners, all the other boards (in my experience) go out of their way to tell you to go pound sand.

It seems odd that none of the other boards seem willing or able to follow the Pi/Foundation's lead.
The RPF is a Charity with a teaching / learning aim

Others are full fat profits only...........customer support is not cost effective
Most fo the customer support for Raspi is done here - for free. And that's because the volunteers who have been around since the year dot beleive in the aim - that of teaching. I don't beleive you will get that sort of dedication for a for-profit.

Of course the Foundation does a lot of back room work - new designs, optimised software etc. So the platform as a whole does improve over time. It's less 'better new shiny' and more 'better current shiny' of course. How many SBC's have ODROID produced over the last couple of years? Are the ones from 1 year ago still supported?
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:15 am

Joe Schmoe wrote:One has to ask: WHy? Why is the support on the Pi so good? Why can't the other guys do it?

As I've posted elsewhere, I know of what I speak, and I can say that while the Pi board (i.e., this board) goes out of its way to handhold the rankest of beginners, all the other boards (in my experience) go out of their way to tell you to go pound sand.

It seems odd that none of the other boards seem willing or able to follow the Pi/Foundation's lead.
The difference between a charity and a for-profit business has been mentioned, but I think it's more than that. A for-profit business can have an effective mutual support base among its customers that is just as effective as one under a non-profit. One sees this in the user communities for on-line games, for instance.

It may be that the way that the *idea* of the Pi is sold--as an educational device for which spin-off uses have been discovered--generates more customer support for other customers than just another product. This was rather neatly summed up in the BBC article about the announcement of the MIPS C120, "The C120 is a product. The Raspberry Pi is a movement."

It is also possible that another aspect is that the Pi has never been sold (where "sold" may be taken as the marketing approach or the physical sale of the boards) as a development board. Rather, it has been sold as a *tool* for education, even if that education devolves down to answering the question "what can I do with this thing?" The Pi has been sold as a computer in and of itself, not as an means to develop something else.

The RPFs technique of having only a minimal set of products, fundamentally two related computers and a few ancillary products (when, oh when, do we get the display...?) and letting the enterprising devotees develop or source the rest of the stuff--good power supplies, cases, add-on devices, etc.--also plays into the hands of the customers banding together to support each other.

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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:33 am

jamesh wrote:As I understand it, the bigLITTLE chips can only run either Big or little at the same time. It's an architecture designed for power optimisation - run the big cores when you need the power, and the little ones when you need power saving. It's actually quite difficult to write the scheduler to take advantage of that as well.

Also, they overheat if you run all 8 (or whatever) cores at the same time, that's a lot of power to dissipate. These will definiltey need a heatsink.
Thanks for that data. It rather matches what I suspected, though I wasn't aware that it was all A15s or all A7s at any one time, rather than being able to run on any 4 cores on a "mix and match" basis.

That really makes this sort of "8 core" SoC really a "4 core" SoC with a built in choice between compute power or reduction in electrical power. It would prompt me to put someone trying to sell me one on the spot and ask if one could use all 8 cores at once, and if not (as is apparently the case), assert that calling it "8 core" is a form of false advertising. While I will grant that for battery powered situations, the power savings in running on the A7 cores is important (though if extreme low power is the goal, dropping down to a single core would probably be the most effective), so long as one is running connected to the grid, the A7s are probably so much wasted space. Of course, these SoCs are intended for tablets, so the assumption is that most of their time will be spent on battery power and the A15s will only come into play sporadically.

It also means that the design of the C1 as a quad-core, even though they are all A7s, is about as good as it gets right now. (Makes one go "Hmmm....". Does anyone even make a 4-core chip with 4 A15s?)

FYI...IIRC, the data available indicates that the C1 will run okay without heat sinks, but the vendors have them as something you can get. I'll probably order a couple of more things next week, like a case and an RTC battery...and (I think) heat sinks. We shall see how it goes...

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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:39 am

The difference is that those routers will generally have specialized network hardware, that the Pi and C1 do not have.

To wit, most of them will have a 100Mbps WAN port, and four 10/100 (and sometimes 1Gig) LAN ports usually implemented as a switch. All the single core router needs to do is keep the up to 100Mbps WAN port, and 100Mbps port to the internal switch, busy, which it can.

I agree, 35MB/sec USB HD speed is acceptable for many uses, however once you have to go over a USB2 link shared with an Ethernet, your performance goes into the toilet. On a Raspberry Pi, if you tune everything perfectly, you *might* be able to see 10MB/sec read for large files from a Samba share, as long as it is on an ext4 partition.

Right tool for the right job... if you want a well performing NAS, get a board designed to be one. If a Pi, C1 etc meeds modest NAS needs, you can save a few bucks. Just don't expect to use it as a department server :)
minos wrote:Humm... I see ARM hardware routers with only 1 core on stores, I think it's ok to handle traffic.
And about USB2 speed, it can not exceed 35Mo/s ? For me, I see this speed as a RPi x10 when you copy something by the LAN :p
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:06 am

jamesh wrote:As I understand it, the bigLITTLE chips can only run either Big or little at the same time. It's an architecture designed for power optimisation - run the big cores when you need the power, and the little ones when you need power saving. It's actually quite difficult to write the scheduler to take advantage of that as well.

Also, they overheat if you run all 8 (or whatever) cores at the same time, that's a lot of power to dissipate. These will definiltey need a heatsink.
There are three big.LITTLE modes, in ascending order of flexibility/performance/power:
  1. Clustered switching - a cluster of big cores will be active or a cluster of LITTLE cores will be active, but not both clusters active together (so you're "Octa core" functions as a Quad core)
  2. In-kernel switcher (IKS) - big/LITTLE cores are paired together with processes switching from big to LITTLE and back again as load dictates (so again, your Octa core functions as a Quad core)
  3. Heterogeneous multi-processing (MP) - all cores are independent, big or LITTLE, so your Octa core functions as a true 8-core processor
The Linux kernel supports all of the above modes. Clustered switching is unlikely to be used any more, unless it's a really old kernel or the SoC has a design flaw. IKS is best suited for mobile use, while MP is best suited for mains powered devices (some sort of thermal management may be required) although one could question if big.LITTLE makes any sense at all on mains powered equipment, perhaps cooler running is about the only advantage.

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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:32 am

Just had a chat with someone who know a LOT about this stuff. Quite interesting.

Generally each cluster (the big or LITTLE cluster of, for example, quad cores) have their own L2 cache, so making the clusters SMP capable requires extra stuff outside the clusters to deal with memory. Early on, this stuff was ARM was a bit flakey, so early Exynons octo's were rather pants when it came to decent SMP.

ARM have sorted out this interconnect now, so modern Octo bL's are nicely SMP capable. BUT will require thermal management as they will get pretty damn hot. Apple devices connect the CPU to the case to cool them down.

Another point made, all chips cost the same or similar to make according to the area of the die. So an Allwinner chip of a certain area will be about the same to make as a chip of the same area from a different manufacturer. Wherever in the world they may be (there are a limited number of fabs). The consequence of this, is that Allwinner cannot make a chip with a certain set of features any cheaper than anyone else (excluding design costs - and all Allwinner do is licence ARM designs and plumb them together). The consequence of this is that if you have a board with an octocore chip on it, the SoC WILL cost more more than a board with less cores - whoever makes the chip. So consider that when looking at the price of high core count SBC's compared with lower core count board. How have they made the board cheaper when the SoC MUST be more expensive.
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:34 pm

jamesh wrote:As I understand it, the bigLITTLE chips can only run either Big or little at the same time. It's an architecture designed for power optimisation - run the big cores when you need the power, and the little ones when you need power saving. It's actually quite difficult to write the scheduler to take advantage of that as well.

Also, they overheat if you run all 8 (or whatever) cores at the same time, that's a lot of power to dissipate. These will definiltey need a heatsink.
You can run big and little at the same time even with mono-mode socs if the 8 cores are sharing the same clock. (but that's not easy as A7 and A15 have not the same IPC)

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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:16 pm

mimi123 wrote:
jamesh wrote:As I understand it, the bigLITTLE chips can only run either Big or little at the same time. It's an architecture designed for power optimisation - run the big cores when you need the power, and the little ones when you need power saving. It's actually quite difficult to write the scheduler to take advantage of that as well.

Also, they overheat if you run all 8 (or whatever) cores at the same time, that's a lot of power to dissipate. These will definiltey need a heatsink.
You can run big and little at the same time even with mono-mode socs if the 8 cores are sharing the same clock. (but that's not easy as A7 and A15 have not the same IPC)
Please see my subsequent post for clarifications.
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:00 am

Review Part 1.
(A part 2 will follow when I resolve an issue I'm having.)

The C1 board looks fairly similar to a B+. The main differences are that the power connector is a small barrel type, the microUSB connector on the side is an OTG USB port, the HDMI is a miniHDMI port, there is no composite video out (can't say that I miss it, but some would), and--this is the big one--the microSD connector is a simple friction hold in the middle of the back (the card is nowhere near the edge of the board).

While I've no objection to a friction hold instead a spring loaded holder (it's kind of reminiscent of SD card holder on the B), that it holds the card about an 1/8" away from the PCB, unsupported except at the end (maybe a bit more than 1/8") on the *back* of the board. I'm worried about physical damage to both card and holder. Since I plan to get a case, I will see how the card is protected when the C1 is in a case as well as how easy (or difficult) it is to swap cards.

One thing we're all familiar with from all versions of the Pi is an audio output jack. The C1 doesn't have one, though the distributor sells a small, inexpensive USB audio I/O device. Advantage: audio in. Disadvantages: takes one of the 4 USB ports, yet another short cable dangling from the board.

First major problem:
I ordered a 16GB microSD card with Ubuntu (the alternative being Android). First thing I did was to back it up (SDFormatter) and make a copy. At $15 per card (until I find a reliable download page and/or a Debian distro), I don't want to risk the original card. So...everything hooked up, card goes in, power plug in... Red light shows I've got power, blue light steady indicates u-boot bootloader running. Blue light goes out and nothing on the monitor. Hmmm. Try it again with the original card (maybe I made a bad copy?). Same results. Okay. C1 does NOT run "out of the box". Look at the card. Oh, look... a FAT partition with a 1K file named "boot.ini". Betcha that's a boot parameter file like config.txt. Open it in Notepad. Looks like one giant line. I can read it, but it would be painful to work on. Open it in OpenOffice. Breaks it neatly into lines. Oh, look... Commented lines for setting screen resolution. Change that to match the monitor I'm using, save in original format. Reboot C1. Still no display and no "heartbeat" light (per documentation).

Turns out, it *is* running and ssh access works. Found the config utility and changed the HDMI setting there...and got an error message, so still nothing on display.

I'm willing to chalk this up to initial teething problems....for now. If a system update in a week or so doesn't fix it, then I will conclude that Odroid needs to do some work.

Overall conclusion so far: This is a system for someone with no fear of Linux and enough experience to poke around at things. It is *not* a device/system for those new to this level of device. And price be damned, this will never be a "Pi killer".

More to come (I hope)...
Last edited by W. H. Heydt on Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:30 am

This is not a system for someone with no fear of Linux and enough experience to poke around at things. It is *not* a device/system for those new to this level of device
...well it is sold as a Development board so one would ecpect the purchaser to be au-fait with Linux based Distro,s, so yes different market to the RPi, so maybe you need to rethink your opinion :roll:

Odroid offer other products aimed at the more "general" user ;)
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:49 am

fruitoftheloom wrote:
This is not a system for someone with no fear of Linux and enough experience to poke around at things. It is *not* a device/system for those new to this level of device
...well it is sold as a Development board so one would ecpect the purchaser to be au-fait with Linux based Distro,s, so yes different market to the RPi, so maybe you need to rethink your opinion :roll:

Odroid offer other products aimed at the more "general" user ;)
(I had one "not" too many in there...a little editing is in order to get rid of some confusion.)

There is a certain amount of expectation that the C1 will be a "Pi killer". On price/performance, that might appear to be the case. There are other factors, notably being able to hand one to a beginner and expecting them to get it hooked up and working...not so much. To be fair, the C1 is a new product and the Pi was tough on beginners 2.5 years ago, too, but if you're trying to move into an established market, you need to have your product really ready to go at launch.

Ask me again in 6 months or so. I may change my opinion...or I may not. Alternatively, get one yourself and see what the end-user experience looks like and if you think it's a suitable device for the sorts of things that Pis are being used for.

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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:02 am

...the only expectation is from HardKernel after the Odroid-W debacle :lol:
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:19 pm

Hi,

Been using a Pi Model B to run an XBMC install at my folks house (which is brave considering they're computer illiterate) and have bought an Odroid C1 from here:-

http://www.lilliputdirect.com/lilliput- ... e-computer

Arrived this morning - which surprised me - anyone think I can get a better performance out of it with XBMC?

Cheers!

fruitoftheloom
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:41 pm

Corwin Barimen wrote:Hi,

Been using a Pi Model B to run an XBMC install at my folks house (which is brave considering they're computer illiterate) and have bought an Odroid C1 from here:-

http://www.lilliputdirect.com/lilliput- ... e-computer

Arrived this morning - which surprised me - anyone think I can get a better performance out of it with XBMC?

Cheers!
Best to ask on the Hardkernel Odroid Forums :?:
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gkreidl
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:43 pm

Corwin Barimen wrote:Hi,

Been using a Pi Model B to run an XBMC install at my folks house (which is brave considering they're computer illiterate) and have bought an Odroid C1 from here:-

http://www.lilliputdirect.com/lilliput- ... e-computer

Arrived this morning - which surprised me - anyone think I can get a better performance out of it with XBMC?

Cheers!
Presumably you will .... if you get it to work at all (see posting of W. H. Heydt above), At least it will keep you busy during Christmas getting it to run ,,,
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jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
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Re: Hardkernel ODROID-C1 is a $35 Development Board

Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:06 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
This is not a system for someone with no fear of Linux and enough experience to poke around at things. It is *not* a device/system for those new to this level of device
...well it is sold as a Development board so one would ecpect the purchaser to be au-fait with Linux based Distro,s, so yes different market to the RPi, so maybe you need to rethink your opinion :roll:

Odroid offer other products aimed at the more "general" user ;)
I work with dev boards from different people for my day job and have done for years.

And what p****s me off the most is that they almost never have a quick way to get them running - it's all tweak this and build that.

I want to get straight in and develop, not spend days or weeks dicking around just trying to get the board in a state where I can start the actual product development. They don't need to be full feature consumer ready, just developer ready. Easy to flash, easy to access. They almost never are.

There are of course people who love fixing this sort of thing. I'm not one of them. I want product to work out of the box, and that includes dev boards.
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