Octane 2 on the Raspberry Pi Zero vs Raspberry Pi 3

posted 10 Mar 2016, 04:23 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 10 Mar 2016, 04:29 ]

Earlier I tried running Octane 2 on the new Raspberry Pi 3 in both Firefox and Chromium installed on Ubuntu Mate. Unfortunately during execution Octane became unresponsive several times and whilst it failed on Chromium the result of 2725 achieved on Firefox is probably spurious.

So following up on a suggestion that Raspbian might be more stable than Ubuntu Mate I re-created an SD card using Raspbian Jessie which is the Pi Foundation’s officially supported operating system and is a full desktop image based on Debian Jessie.

The browser in Raspbian is Epiphany so comparing Octane scores between Chrome/Chromium, Firefox and now Epiphany might be questionable. However the Raspbian OS can be run on both the Raspberry Pi Zero and the Raspberry Pi 3 so a direct comparison is both feasible and relevant.

The SD card was first used to boot the Raspberry Pi Zero and running Octane 2 took surprising long at nearly 45 minutes to produce a result of 111:

The SD card was then transferred to the Raspberry Pi 3 and the Octane 2 run was a lot quicker producing a result of 515: 

Although the 'inxi' command was used to provide an overview of each system's hardware after running the Octane test the most noticeable difference besides the number of cores was the time taken for Octane to complete:


With a price comparison of around $5 vs $40 the Octane 2 scores are most likely aligned to what you'd expect.

Sound and wifi on later kernels for the Z3735F

posted 5 Mar 2016, 20:11 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 5 Mar 2016, 20:30 ]

I'm experimenting in porting sound and wifi on later kernels for the Z3735F. Currently I've got them working in Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily) and also in a backported 4.2.0 kernel in Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty) on the Z3735F Intel Compute Stick.

A brief look at running Android 5.1 on a (x5-Z8300) Tronsmart Ara X5

posted 5 Mar 2016, 20:04 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 5 Mar 2016, 20:31 ]

A prototype installation of Android 5.1 on a (x5-Z8300) Tronsmart Ara X5

Looks quite promising ... for example running VNC to remotely access an LXDE desktop which is running on Ubuntu 15.04 which is running in a 'chroot' environment which is running on Android 5.1 which is running on the Tronsmart Ara X5 which is running a x5-Z8300 CPU ... that's a lot of running!

Performance seems quite acceptable with an Antutu (64-bit) score of 41062 (scrolling down also showed the IO results: Storage I/O was 2393 and Database I/O was 675).

Octane 2 on the Raspberry Pi 3

posted 5 Mar 2016, 19:53 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 10 Mar 2016, 04:33 ]

Having run Octane 2 on some of the recent Intel-based mini PCs I thought I'd take a look at it running on the new Raspberry Pi 3 board.

I chose Ubuntu Mate as my OS and created an SD card to run it from including resizing the installed image to utilize all available space.

Having booted, installed, and rebooted, I performed a software update and installed the Chromium browser.

Another reboot later I was ready to run Octane 2. But there was a problem:

I just couldn't get Octane to complete. So I tried Firefox and guess what?

However after a couple of warnings it did complete so we have a result of 2725:

But trying Chromium again I got: 

Which is interesting however the result of 2725 achieved on Firefox is probably spurious. An updated test can be found here.

Latest Windows Benchmarks on Intel MiniPCs including MINIX NGC-1

posted 28 Feb 2016, 04:26 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 28 Feb 2016, 04:35 ]

Windows benchmarks updated to include MINIX NGC-1 
(Intel® Celeron® N3150 Braswell CPU with Pre-Installed Windows® 10)

Performance/Functionality on the Intel Compute Stick (Sterling City) with Ubuntu, Chromium OS & Android-x86 OSes

posted 24 Feb 2016, 06:05 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 27 Apr 2016, 02:38 ]

I've already described in some detail how to install Ubuntu, Chromium OS and various Android-x86 operating systems on the Intel Compute Stick (Sterling City) however I thought it would be useful to see at a glance some key features or limitations for those who are considering what to install but are interested to know what to expect.

Rather than run extensive benchmarks I've chosen to run Octane 2 in a Chrome or Chromium browser (depending on the OS) to give indicative possible performance variations. The results are as follows:

Android-x86 4.4-r5


Android-x86 5.1-rc1


Phoenix OS 1.0.3 Beta


Remix OS Alpha


Chromium OS


Chromium OS Ubuntu chroot




Performance Summary

Tabulating and comparing the Octane 2 scores shows an 'as expected' improvement in performance as you run closer to bare metal. It should also be noted that the performance of Chromium OS is going to be heavily influenced by the speed of the USB used. In this case I used a 32GB SanDisk Cruzer Ultra Fit USB3.0 drive plugged into a USB2.0 extension cradle which was plugged into an un-powered USB3.0 hub connected to the USB2.0 port.  Why? Because that's what is convenient for me and I found it made no difference to the performance of my usage cases by plugging the drive directly into the USB3.0 port. YMMV!
Core Functionality

Aside from the need to additionally install GApps on two of the Android-x86 variants, the most noticeable difference across the OS was the maximum quality achievable for playing YouTube videos. For some this may be the fundamental influencer as to what OS they choose to use as the range in quality basically covers the whole spectrum.

One notable highlight is that wifi works across the board and this is one of the major improvements the new Sterling City version offers over Falls City.

Finally you'll notice that I have audio working at all times. Please see my separate posting on how I've achieved this or otherwise assume no audio for each OS.

Latest Windows Benchmarks on Intel MiniPCs

posted 19 Jan 2016, 00:15 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 19 Jan 2016, 00:16 ]

Windows benchmarks updated to include Intel® Compute Stick STK1AW32SC 
(Intel® Atom™ x5-Z8300 Cherry Trail CPU with Pre-Installed Windows® 10)

Ubuntu and Windows benchmarks on Intel Mini PCs

posted 6 Dec 2015, 20:50 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 6 Dec 2015, 20:52 ]

My latest Ubuntu and Windows benchmarks run on a Tronsmart Ara X5 (x5-Z8300) and a Kangaroo Mobile Desktop (x5-Z8500) compared to my earlier results for the Intel Compute Stick (Z3735F) and an Intel NUC5CPYB (N3050) can be seen at https://plus.google.com/+IanMORRISON/posts/C4rXwrYXvB9

A brief look at running Ubuntu on a Meegopad T02, an Intel Compute Stick (Windows version) and a Meegopad T01

posted 17 Jun 2015, 06:09 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 5 Mar 2016, 20:14 ]

The first Intel CPU based stick on the market was the Meegopad T01. A small stylish device that initially shipped with only Windows but is now available as dual boot with Android. Next came the Intel Compute Stick touted as available in either Windows or Ubuntu. I thought that Intel would release their Ubuntu OS as a downloadable ISO so I bought the Windows version as it has a better hardware specification and began the wait for Ubuntu. Compared with the Meegopad T01 I was surprised by how much physically larger the device was. However when you look inside and see that there is a small fan and a surprisingly large heat sink it seems justified. Unfortunately the Ubuntu version still hasn't been released and apparently no on-line image will be posted either. Finally the Meegopad T02 has just been released. This is noticeably the biggest yet all you get for that extra size is extra air as all the PCBAs are similarly sized.

So what about running Ubuntu? When I first heard that a mini PC with an Intel CPU was to be launched I thought that everything would be straight forward for Linux. Unfortunately new hurdles were presented with a 32-bit BIOS and neither wifi nor sound. It meant a cumbersome installation for Ubuntu and also compiling an additional module for wifi. Even when a solution for audio was found another bug was encountered in the BIOS. In order to get both a working and usable Ubuntu I've had to recompile the Ubuntu kernel source and include the wifi and audio patches and also a fix for the BIOS and then build LiveCDs to simplify the testing and installation on each of the devices.

But it is obvious that the critical issue of these mini PCs is heat and how to dissipate it given basically everything else is essentially identical. As a quick indicator I thought I'd install Ubuntu along side Windows on the internal eMMC on each device and then compare the CPU temperatures before, during and after running a stress test.

With each device identically connected to a 4-way KVM some basic informational commands were run ('uname -a', 'inxi -F', 'df -h' and 'iwconfig') and the current CPU temperatures were noted for the Meegopad T02 as 52C, the ICS as 56C and the Meegopad T01 as 58C. Then a stress test was run as 'stress -c 4 -m 4 -t 60' and a screenshot taken after around 30 to 40 seconds. Each CPU's temperature peaked at around 70/71C. Nearly two hours later the 'inxi -F' command was re-run remotely and the temperature for each device was recorded for the Meegopad T02 at 50C, the ICS at 55C and the Meegopad T01 at 52C. Having observed this and earlier behaviour basically the new Meegopad T02 runs cooler than the old Meegopad T01 and both run lower than the ICS. And once the CPU is put under load it will rapidly heat up regardless of device. The advantage of the ICS is that the fan will start if the temperature remains high to assist with heat dissipation. Further testing though is required to fully evaluate the cooling effectiveness of each device.

If you have one of these devices and are interested in trying Ubuntu then you can download my 'ISO' for each device from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99O3A0dDe67Ym02R2pOY2VKeTA, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99O3A0dDe67Q0dzalFHWWhMNmc or https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99O3A0dDe67NXM5aHl0WXFFbUU. These are development versions and I'll probably update them over time. They are also BIOS dependant. The BIOS for the Meegopad T02 is still subject to change so YMMV. For the ICS the kernel has been created for version 0018 of the BIOS which is the version that was factory installed on my ICS. The Meegopad T01 depends on a BIOS I've modified and full instructions are posted https://docs.google.com/document/d/10tA4ebA1d6-CZju0V92a7fgQGgGgUIqPGK85E32HqCU including a beginner's tutorial for installing Ubuntu along side Windows that is applicable for all devices. ICS specific instructions are posted at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gnjDJKR-OJQPfE4woFeN998WfB5H80OFaL1xdZDNxmk.  

SteamOS on Meegopad T01 ... WIP

posted 27 Feb 2015, 06:09 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 5 Mar 2016, 20:21 ]

Current progress - http://youtu.be/m5LDi3GfMvA

... but still problems with the video driver ... 
Example game "The Plan" - http://youtu.be/2LFgMw3uBSc
Big Picture Display Settings - http://youtu.be/3k_CEyg955k
System Settings Graphics - http://youtu.be/_JRjk9gpEDs

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