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Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 + interface (H3)
Well this is fun, in a kinda, why can't they do that with the bigger boards, way.

As a games system on its own this is pretty useless, unless you can hook up the USB on the GPIO pins. It comes with only HDMI out and a single OTG micro usb for no where to hook up networking or keyboards.

But..there is a small inexpensive expansion board available for the zero range which gives you access to a few more pins and that lets you plug in two more usb units, in this case, my powered hub for keyboard, mouse and usb->RJ45 network connector. Suddenly this becomes a viable machine...barely

It does also have wifi though and onboard emmc with a Chinese version of Android in place, which actually makes it a really nice self contained unit if you can get Linux on the eMMC which has to be possible somehow? right? Oh easy, sudo install_to_emmc Big Grin

Well no matter, I only got this out of the drawer because I saw that they had a recent version of Ubuntu available, most recent Ubuntu's seem to be quite stable on older chips.

This is the H3 version, so a Mali 400Mp2, very old hardware. But hardware that is now supported, Allwinner gave out driver spec for most of their older chips last year and we're seeing more and more of these older boards becoming usable.

And I'm happy to say that indeed the Ubuntu build I installed on the SD, booted up straight away, and gave no issues. GLMark2-es2 is onboard and running on screen gave a respectable score of 79 (for a Mali 400MP2, thats about normal). Running offscreen it returns 150, again, for such an old GPU, not bad

It is running in 720p though so not sure if the lower res helped it.

The H3 is not a fast chip though, and this baby only has 512Mb of ram on board so this is a board for test and small projects only.

None the works... its cheap, its compact and when fitted into a nice case is portable and fun, which is frustrating because some of the higher end OrangePi boards are really nice spec but their software is so painfully bad that they become paperweights as soon as you open the box. 

As always I can't comment on other features being good or bad, I only care about graphical ability. This puppy has drivers, and runs fine, a properly optimised multi core game with effective rendering is quite possible.

The Ubuntu build is also in Chinese...ermm ok, but thats not a massive issue as I don't generally need to use the terminal much once I'm set up, but it would be nice to see a standard English or at least roman language system as navigating around Chinese is not on my list of skills. I'll post on their forums to see if that can be sorted.

I'm quite impressed with this, so much so I might splash out on the H5 version to compare the performance but something tells me the H5 will suffer like other H5 boards from a lack of drivers. 

Running the maze demo, it managed it quite well, 40-45fps on a Mali400Mp2, isn't too bad, but at 720p, with some good coding it can do better. It does overheat very quick so it needs a heatsink and probably a fan, or it freezes up and can be a bitch to get back to working state

Unfortunately, we can rely on OrangePi software to screw things up. After an update/upgrade cycle, SSH no longer connected, making it impossible to compile from PC....meh I noticed on the forums people have been complaining about this for 2 no chance of a fix soon then?

But leave the original chinese ubuntu in place, do a simple update, no upgrade, and it works fine
The Mali GPU also has some nice extensions to play with.

GL_OES_texture_npot GL_OES_compressed_ETC1_RGB8_texture GL_OES_standard_derivatives GL_OES_EGL_image GL_OES_depth24 GL_ARM_rgba8 GL_ARM_mali_shader_binary GL_OES_depth_texture GL_OES_packed_depth_stencil GL_EXT_texture_format_BGRA8888 GL_OES_vertex_half_float GL_EXT_blend_minmax GL_OES_EGL_image_external GL_OES_EGL_sync GL_OES_rgb8_rgba8 GL_EXT_multisampled_render_to_texture GL_EXT_discard_framebuffer GL_OES_get_program_binary GL_ARM_mali_program_binary GL_EXT_shader_texture_lod GL_EXT_robustness GL_OES_depth_texture_cube_map GL_KHR_debug
Brian Beuken
Lecturer in Game Programming at Breda University of Applied Sciences.
Author of The Fundamentals of C/C++ Game Programming: Using Target-based Development on SBC's 


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