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Raspberry Pi 4 clone with x86 basis

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First post, by Jo22

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Hi, just found an interesting x86 single board computer that looks like a Pi 4.

https://wiki.radxa.com/RockpiX

😀

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 1 of 31, by keenmaster486

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We need this with an ISA bus, and SB16 clone for the sound, and good HDMI scaling of low resolutions, so we could run DOS on it.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

Reply 2 of 31, by digger

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Also, does it have legacy BIOS compatibility (also called CSM)? If it supports booting via UEFI only, you won't be able to run DOS or older Windows versions on it, at least not on bare metal.

Reply 3 of 31, by jmarsh

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x86 SBCs are nothing new, there are literally dozens of them around (mostly based on the same crappy z8350). Just don't expect them to be around the same price as a pi (and you're going to need 4gb for win10...).

Reply 4 of 31, by Jo22

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jmarsh wrote on 2020-10-07, 23:40:

x86 SBCs are nothing new, there are literally dozens of them around (mostly based on the same crappy z8350). Just don't expect them to be around the same price as a pi (and you're going to need 4gb for win10...).

digger wrote on 2020-10-07, 23:16:

Also, does it have legacy BIOS compatibility (also called CSM)? If it supports booting via UEFI only, you won't be able to run DOS or older Windows versions on it, at least not on bare metal.

"The ROCK Pi X BIOS is based on the AMI(American Megatrends, Inc) AptioV BIOS with UEFI and 64bit OS support, providing a user friendly interfaces
to manage the OS booting/installing and it has a built in UEFI shell, which is convenient for developers to debug."
Source: https://wiki.radxa.com/RockpiX/bios/update

"Aptio® V represents the "next generation" of UEFI BIOS Firmware, featuring support for the latest UEFI specifications and the security,
fast boot and touch support that today's platforms require."
[..]
"AMIBIOS8 was AMI's final legacy BIOS, which served all segments of the computing market: desktop, mobile, server and embedded systems."
Source: https://ami.com/en/products/bios-uefi-firmware/aptio-v/

"Aptio™ Compatibility Support Module (CSM)"
[..]

"CSM FOR SEAMLESS BACKWARD COMPATIBILITY WITH LEGACY BIOS
The Compatibility Support Module (CSM) is designed to extend BIOS
compatibility into UEFI solutions, supporting legacy Option ROM binaries
and operating systems requiring a legacy BIOS runtime interface. AMI
CSM is based on AMIBIOS®8, with validation on multiple platforms
and chipsets. AMI CSM meets the goals established in the Framework:
common compatibility, platform neutrality and common components
across all market segments. This simple design allows the CSM to be
easily integrated into AMI Aptio™ projects.

LEVERAGING THE CSM DESIGN IN APTIO
CSM emerged from the Intel Platform Innovation Framework for EFI
(“the Framework”), predating the UEFI specification. The Framework
architecture breaks CSM functionality into two distinct sections: EFI
Compatibility and CSM16. AMI CSM implements CSM16 as a drop-in
binary component. EFI Compatibility is defined by drivers that implement
“legacy BIOS” interface functions in C code, so platform porting related
to the CSM is performed without using assembly code."
Sources:
https://ami.com/en/resources/resource-library … type=datasheets
https://ami.com/ami_downloads/Aptio_Compatibi … _Data_Sheet.pdf

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 5 of 31, by brostenen

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These new Atom based PI boards are not really more suiteable for old software than ARM based PI boards. If you want the moste versatile and well documented PI-Board for vintage software, then you go with the RaspberryPI board.

PI-Boards equals emulation, simple as that. And if you do not want software emulation, then I am afraid that you have only two choices. One is going with original hardware and the other is re-creating the old hardware using FPGA technology. Exactly like the Vampire-V4 or the Spectrum-NEXT.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk

001100 010010 011110 100001 101101 110011

Jah ich will trynen... Die Leute wie macht scheisse in dem Grünen.

Reply 6 of 31, by WolverineDK

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brostenen wrote on 2020-10-08, 13:59:

PI-Boards equals emulation, simple as that. And if you do not want software emulation, then I am afraid that you have only two choices. One is going with original hardware and the other is re-creating the old hardware using FPGA technology. Exactly like the Vampire-V4 or the Spectrum-NEXT.

And the Mister FPGA , which is another great FPGA project. The Spectrum-NEXT is impressive. But at the same time, I am thinking why did the creator not throw in a eZ80 CPU in the mix, cause that would really kick it UP a notch big time. eZ80 is a variant of the Z80 CPU. That can be clocked to 50 megahertz. Which is definitely not shabby at all.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zilog_eZ80#Variants

And I would love to see SymbOS Running on it too, heck if the maker of that OS, wanted to make an update to that OS. I think that would be the best OS running on the Spectrum-NEXT. Or at least it would be the most fancy looking OS for that machine 😀

http://www.symbos.de/

Reply 7 of 31, by kjliew

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Jo22 wrote on 2020-10-08, 12:09:

"The ROCK Pi X BIOS is based on the AMI(American Megatrends, Inc) AptioV BIOS with UEFI and 64bit OS support, providing a user friendly interfaces

I am surprised that it didn't use the free EDK2 barebone UEFI implementation to further reduce cost. Or, Intel hadn't been doing a great job in upstreaming their platform support codes for the free and open world. There is really no need of CSM in this market.

brostenen wrote on 2020-10-08, 13:59:

These new Atom based PI boards are not really more suiteable for old software than ARM based PI boards. If you want the moste versatile and well documented PI-Board for vintage software, then you go with the RaspberryPI board.

They are indeed better, especially if they can price it similar to the Pi-board. These new Atom supports Intel-VT. It can run QEMU KVM on Linux a lot faster than ARM-based Pi-board for vintage software. There is still a huge advantage on x86 virtualizing x86 platform instead of ARM emulating x86 platform.

Reply 8 of 31, by brostenen

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WolverineDK wrote on 2020-10-08, 20:24:
And the Mister FPGA , which is another great FPGA project. The Spectrum-NEXT is impressive. But at the same time, I am thinking […]
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brostenen wrote on 2020-10-08, 13:59:

PI-Boards equals emulation, simple as that. And if you do not want software emulation, then I am afraid that you have only two choices. One is going with original hardware and the other is re-creating the old hardware using FPGA technology. Exactly like the Vampire-V4 or the Spectrum-NEXT.

And the Mister FPGA , which is another great FPGA project. The Spectrum-NEXT is impressive. But at the same time, I am thinking why did the creator not throw in a eZ80 CPU in the mix, cause that would really kick it UP a notch big time. eZ80 is a variant of the Z80 CPU. That can be clocked to 50 megahertz. Which is definitely not shabby at all.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zilog_eZ80#Variants

And I would love to see SymbOS Running on it too, heck if the maker of that OS, wanted to make an update to that OS. I think that would be the best OS running on the Spectrum-NEXT. Or at least it would be the most fancy looking OS for that machine 😀

http://www.symbos.de/

That would be an option for sure. However that would require so much more enginering work.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk

001100 010010 011110 100001 101101 110011

Jah ich will trynen... Die Leute wie macht scheisse in dem Grünen.

Reply 9 of 31, by brostenen

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kjliew wrote on 2020-10-08, 22:09:
brostenen wrote on 2020-10-08, 13:59:

These new Atom based PI boards are not really more suiteable for old software than ARM based PI boards. If you want the moste versatile and well documented PI-Board for vintage software, then you go with the RaspberryPI board.

They are indeed better, especially if they can price it similar to the Pi-board. These new Atom supports Intel-VT. It can run QEMU KVM on Linux a lot faster than ARM-based Pi-board for vintage software. There is still a huge advantage on x86 virtualizing x86 platform instead of ARM emulating x86 platform.

I was talking about running old software. Dos software, Nes software and so on. The talk was about ISA slot and I because you are bound to do emulation (DosBox), then the Atom is no more better than ARM and vice versa. There are no hardware ISA support at all. None on modern Intel stuff and none on modern ARM stuff.

I don't care how much modern computing you can pull off on Atom and ARM PI-Boards. If that is the talking point, then why not just go big, and buy a modern I7 machine or something and be done with it. SD-Cards can not manage all them endless writing in terms of swapping anyway.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk

001100 010010 011110 100001 101101 110011

Jah ich will trynen... Die Leute wie macht scheisse in dem Grünen.

Reply 10 of 31, by jmarsh

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brostenen wrote on 2020-10-09, 10:32:

because you are bound to do emulation (DosBox), then the Atom is no more better than ARM and vice versa.

That's not true. Any x86-based system (even first gen atom) will have better DOSBox performance than anything non-x86, due to the dynamic_x86 core.

Reply 11 of 31, by kjliew

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brostenen wrote on 2020-10-09, 10:32:

.....why not just go big, and buy a modern I7 machine or something and be done with it. SD-Cards can not manage all them endless writing in terms of swapping anyway.

The point is not having to go big but still able to play legacy x86 DOS/Windows games from the past. I wasn't at all refer to modern computing, though virtualization can be considered as modern computing, it can also be used to run old software and games, especially from the past x86 collection. ARM SBCs can do that, too, with DOSBox/QEMU but without a KVM that can accelerate x86 instructions. The Atoms can with QEMU KVM, hence they run x86 software in virtual machine much better than ARM SBCs.

Reply 12 of 31, by brostenen

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jmarsh wrote on 2020-10-09, 10:52:
brostenen wrote on 2020-10-09, 10:32:

because you are bound to do emulation (DosBox), then the Atom is no more better than ARM and vice versa.

That's not true. Any x86-based system (even first gen atom) will have better DOSBox performance than anything non-x86, due to the dynamic_x86 core.

Are you telling me that I can buy one of these and install Dos natively and have full sound support? Interresting point you have. Please enlighten me, because that is a new one.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk

001100 010010 011110 100001 101101 110011

Jah ich will trynen... Die Leute wie macht scheisse in dem Grünen.

Reply 13 of 31, by brostenen

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kjliew wrote on 2020-10-09, 10:54:
brostenen wrote on 2020-10-09, 10:32:

.....why not just go big, and buy a modern I7 machine or something and be done with it. SD-Cards can not manage all them endless writing in terms of swapping anyway.

The point is not having to go big but still able to play legacy x86 DOS/Windows games from the past. I wasn't at all refer to modern computing, though virtualization can be considered as modern computing, it can also be used to run old software and games, especially from the past x86 collection. ARM SBCs can do that, too, with DOSBox/QEMU but without a KVM that can accelerate x86 instructions. The Atoms can with QEMU KVM, hence they run x86 software in virtual machine much better than ARM SBCs.

And I am telling you that it can not be done. Why do you think Dosbox exist in the first place?

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk

001100 010010 011110 100001 101101 110011

Jah ich will trynen... Die Leute wie macht scheisse in dem Grünen.

Reply 14 of 31, by jmarsh

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brostenen wrote on 2020-10-09, 11:01:

Are you telling me that I can buy one of these and install Dos natively and have full sound support? Interresting point you have. Please enlighten me, because that is a new one.

No. I said DOSBox, not DOS. Why would you say emulation (DOSBox) if you actually meant native DOS?

Reply 15 of 31, by kjliew

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brostenen wrote on 2020-10-09, 11:03:

And I am telling you that it can not be done. Why do you think Dosbox exist in the first place?

You can buy one of these, install modern Linux, run DOS/Win9x on QEMU KVM and you can play your past x86 games collection. I am telling you that it can be done. You could do the same on ARM SBCs but much slower. My estimate would say it could probably do 30FPS in UT2003 for the Atoms, about 2x the performance of the latest RPi4 with Box86.

Reply 16 of 31, by ragefury32

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brostenen wrote on 2020-10-08, 13:59:

These new Atom based PI boards are not really more suiteable for old software than ARM based PI boards. If you want the moste versatile and well documented PI-Board for vintage software, then you go with the RaspberryPI board.

PI-Boards equals emulation, simple as that. And if you do not want software emulation, then I am afraid that you have only two choices. One is going with original hardware and the other is re-creating the old hardware using FPGA technology. Exactly like the Vampire-V4 or the Spectrum-NEXT.

The whole x86 SBC thing seems pointless for retrogaming (if your retrogaming is the early 90s DOS stuff). No IDE emulation, no PS/2 input, and no SB/Adlib. How good is setmul when it came to throttling the Atoms?

If you want better performance while emulating for DOS in a small device there are a myriad of x86 thin clients that can be had for less than the price of an RPi2/3/4 (HP t420/520, Wyse SX0) that can run DOSbox decently within Win7 embedded, Win10 IoT or whatever desktop Linux variant you can think of.

If you are a stickler for a small device with native DOS support for the real old stuff, just look for an old thin client with a NetSemi Geode GX1, something like a Compaq Evo T20. Those are available for 10 USD plus shipping.

Reply 17 of 31, by brostenen

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ragefury32 wrote on 2020-10-10, 17:42:
The whole x86 SBC thing seems pointless for retrogaming (if your retrogaming is the early 90s DOS stuff). No IDE emulation, no […]
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brostenen wrote on 2020-10-08, 13:59:

These new Atom based PI boards are not really more suiteable for old software than ARM based PI boards. If you want the moste versatile and well documented PI-Board for vintage software, then you go with the RaspberryPI board.

PI-Boards equals emulation, simple as that. And if you do not want software emulation, then I am afraid that you have only two choices. One is going with original hardware and the other is re-creating the old hardware using FPGA technology. Exactly like the Vampire-V4 or the Spectrum-NEXT.

The whole x86 SBC thing seems pointless for retrogaming (if your retrogaming is the early 90s DOS stuff). No IDE emulation, no PS/2 input, and no SB/Adlib. How good is setmul when it came to throttling the Atoms?

If you want better performance while emulating for DOS in a small device there are a myriad of x86 thin clients that can be had for less than the price of an RPi2/3/4 (HP t420/520, Wyse SX0) that can run DOSbox decently within Win7 embedded, Win10 IoT or whatever desktop Linux variant you can think of.

If you are a stickler for a small device with native DOS support for the real old stuff, just look for an old thin client with a NetSemi Geode GX1, something like a Compaq Evo T20. Those are available for 10 USD plus shipping.

Exactly my point. On these SBC/PI machines, emulation run more or less the same.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk

001100 010010 011110 100001 101101 110011

Jah ich will trynen... Die Leute wie macht scheisse in dem Grünen.

Reply 18 of 31, by jmarsh

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If you think DOSBox's emulation runs "more or less the same" regardless of the host being ARM or x86, you're quite mistaken. Same goes for many other emulators because they've been mostly optimized for x86.

Reply 19 of 31, by leileilol

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There's being-optimized-for-ARM, and then there's the held-back-by-the-video-driver bottleneck. It's still very true for Pi4 on a typical Raspbian setup, and more often than not, those who report "excellent" results often void their warranties from overclocking and use some other OS.

(Also while Box86 shows promise, it's still not that great at the time of this writing. I couldn't get many games to work personally despite all those "WOW WINDOW GAME WORK PI" videos. i've only had best luck on the earlier GDI-only Win32 games. They still have a looooong way to go, but sure beats the unusuably slow qemu "win 98 works on pi!!!" bullshit from the Pi3 era)

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