HW initial review

review
#1

Hey

After the initial yay! moment I have some criticism

  1. The screen scratches like… really easy… I have it one day and it’s nasty already (had to open it up at least twice)
  2. The controller is a keyboard?.. why??
  3. The controller buttons are sticky because the tiny holes in the inner box are too close to the button size
  4. The SD card slot placement is terrible
  5. Not really hw… but please give us access to the GPU… some instructions to build the drivers at the very least

I love the modular aspect, but if I was going for a v2 I’d do the following:

  1. Keypad would be a HID device
  2. Keypad would be a fully built controller from the get-go, people like modularity because they may be able to upgrade the SoC or the screen, but the controller is likely to stay untouched. As an alternative, sell fully built controllers that fit in the space
  3. Ship more than one screen tray? ship a screen protector I guess? use corning gorilla glass for the screen tray?
3 Likes
#2

For “screen scratch” I’m quite sure there is a protective screen on the plastic. Are you sure to have removed it?

Sound stupid but I seen lots of people complaining on device that the screen had scratches when in fact the scratches was on the protective film they didn’t remove… :sweat_smile:

For the GPU it is not CPI fault, if you want drivers go and ask Allwinner or ARM…

#3

No the cover is not what got scratched, it’s the plastic case for the display.
Uh, there are drivers out already, you just have to build the kernel and the drivers whichi is no trivial task

https://bootlin.com/blog/mali-opengl-support-on-allwinner-platforms-with-mainline-linux/

#4

Compatibility and/or price, most likely.

Mali400 on sunxi is mainlined, the blobs are publicly available, as is the xorg driver. I plan on implementing it as soon as I get my gameshell.

2 Likes
#5

Bootlin also released an open source VPU driver, but mainly for video decoding. Not sure if it has any use for GS, but the R16 is supported: https://www.cnx-software.com/2018/07/23/open-source-vpu-driver-allwinner-mpeg2-h-264-video-decoding/

1 Like
#6

If you want to play h264 videos on a 320x240 screen… :sweat_smile:

#7

Haha well maybe for the next version if it includes HDMI out :stuck_out_tongue:

#8

Did you ever compile these drivers for this hardware and get it working? Im curious if how much performance improvement we would get over the open source lima driver that is being used now. I may attempt to try it myself, but figured I would ask first.

#9

I managed to use RA with the lima driver but it’s quite unstable

#10

Your points are valid, but … CPI is meant to be hacked, right?

  1. Easy: screen protectors
  2. Keyboards are probably cheaper to implement. And CPI supports Bluetooth.
  3. You are right here. I fixed this with sandpaper around the button’s edges and a Dremel bit. And CPI supports Bluetooth.
  4. Agreed… the SD placement could not be any worse. It’s probably mandated by the fabrication of the board -the thought of swapping SD cards and disassembling / reassembling the whole CPI is a nice practical joke on unsuspecting hackers. And so it is, (sarcasm)
  5. GPU is a complicated one and the CPI crew knows more about this than I do, but I think there are non-open parts of the core that Allwinner / ARM / someone else does not want hackers to grab hold of. Licensing would probably open that magic gate, but then it is not “Open Hardware” anynore.
1 Like
#11

Meant to be hacked shouldn’t be sacrificed for stock funcionality.

  1. Supports bt how? USB OTG?
    Even if it does, it wasn’t the case at launch (over a year)

I understand that the GPU issue is complex, but it’s mentioned in press materials.
A GPU that can’t be used is no gpu.

#12

Hi -

There’s several threads about CPI and Bluetooth [link here]

I am not an specialist in BT modes, but I have used a MOCUTE BT game controller with CPI and it works. BT is a thorny issue and compatibility between varieties is not guaranteed - not even in high end mobile and audio devices.

Whilst I fully understand your point that GPU may have been advertised, I did not buy my CPI with this in mind. I bought it because it can be hacked and modified and runs classic console games in a small portable format.

{disclaimer: I am just a customer and do not have any stake in CPI.}