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Open spec Linux/Android SBCs tap high-end Allwinner and Rockchip SoCs

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Android
Linux

Pine64 has launched a “Pine H64” SBC for $26 to $45 featuring Allwinner’s H6 SoC, mini-PCIe, and USB 3.0. It also unveiled a Rockchip RK3399 based “RockPro64” SBC that will sell for $59 to $79 with PCIe, USB 3.0, and a USB Type-C based DisplayPort.

Pine64 announced two open-spec, Linux and Android-ready boards with the same 127 x 79 x 19mm footprint and 40-pin connector as its popular, Allwinner A64 based Pine A64 . Due to their more advanced processors and interfaces, such as PCIe and USB 3.0, the now available, Allwinner’s H6 based Pine H64 and the Rockchip RK3399 based RockPro64, due to launch Mar. 15, are priced much higher than the Pine A64.

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As outlined yesterday, significant slowdowns with the Linux 4.20 kernel turned out to be due to the addition of the kernel-side bits for STIBP (Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors) for cross-HyperThread Spectre Variant Two mitigation. This has incurred significant performance penalties with the STIBP support in its current state with Linux 4.20 Git and is enabled by default at least for Intel systems with up-to-date microcode. Here are some follow-up benchmarks looking at the performance hit with the Linux 4.20 development kernel as well as the overall Spectre and Meltdown mitigation impact on this latest version of the Linux kernel. Some users have said AMD also needs STIBP, but at least with Linux 4.20 Git and the AMD systems I have tested with their up-to-date BIOS/microcode, that hasn't appeared to be the case. Most of the AMD STIBP references date back to January when Spectre/Meltdown first came to light. We'll see in the week ahead if there is any comment from AMD but at this time seems to be affecting up-to-date Intel systems with the Linux 4.20 kernel. Read more

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