Appnotes and Tutorials about Debugging UEFI and Linux Kernel on Intel SoCs with OpenOCD and ARM-USB-OCD-H or ARM-USB-TINY-H


Intel made nice video tutorial how to use OpenOCD and our JTAGs with their SoCs! This explains the frequent purchases they do from many Intel locations all around the world of ARM-USB-TINY-H , ARM-USB-OCD-H and ARM-JTAG-20-10.

Searching bit more there is application note How to setup ARM-USB-OCD-H with Intel Quark SoC X1000 and tutorials about Low-cost UEFI debugging options for Intel and How to debug Linux Kernel on Intel Quark

Is it time for Open Source Hardware x86 OLinuXino?


We have been so focused on ARM that somehow we have missed the Intel latest development.

Yesterday browsing the net I saw $100 tablet with X5-Z8300 and check the datasheet. It looks good!

Quad Core 1.84Ghz 64-bit data bus “Cherry Trial” Atom with support for up to 4GB DDR Ram, USB 3.0 (!) we guess working as on A80 USB3 is one of the broken peripherials. PICe, MIPI camera, display etc.

All this come in handy BGA 17×17 mm 0.65 package not quite different than Allwinner A64 part.

And of course it comes with first class documentation you can see product page and documentation.

Intel write recommended price for tray $20 in their site, but brief check shows that it could be sourced from China at less than $15. Much better deal than the obsolete iMX6 quad core SoC for instance! Still x3 times more expensive than Allwinner A64 but probably x10 times more powerful.


  • first class SOC vendor 14 nm process;
  • well documented;
  • nice features;
  • removes the cumbersome ARM obsolete Android Linux Kernels problems;
  • you can work with the latest vanilla Linux Kernel;
  • we guess Graphics and Video drivers are also mainlined;
  • can run Linux, Windows, Android whatever you want;
  • can be build to work with standard  64bit computer memory modules, so you can put whatever amount of RAM you want up to 4GB;


  • probably more power hungry than ARM, but maybe not, the tablet I was looking at was with 4000mAh battery



Workshops at Olimex Training Building – 10th of January – Intel vs ARM, IoT and SMT Technology


2014 is almost gone, New Year is coming and we will start the year with three Workshops on January 10th.

Update your agenda: Starting from 14.00 o’clock on 10th of January in Olimex Training Building there will be three interesting workshops.

First Workshop will be about Intel vs ARM. Minnowboard MAX will be compared to OLinuXino and RK3188-SOM-EVB in terms of productivity, power consumption, Linux support, etc.

Second Workshop will present ESP8266 and RT5350 OSHW boards for IoT applications.

Third Workshop will be about SMT technology, type of components, how to design PCBs for SMT, what is solder paste, how to handle solder paste, how to design stencil for solder paste, how to print solder paste, reflow profiles, how to make profile and how to trouble shoot problems with SMT technology like printing, soldering etc. There will be practical demonstrations and will be shared know-how captured for the 23+ years of experience with electronics manufacturing which cost gold 🙂

Everyone is invited! This is free event.

Rockchip will launch a new SoFIA SoC, featuring four Intel Atom cores and an Intel 3G modem



One month ago I wrote about the Intel plans to penetrate the tablet market with their new quad core Bay Trail SoC. The ambitions were Intel to release low cost $5 chip which to compete with the ARM based Allwinner and Rockchip SOCs which dominate the low cost tablet market.

We all were wondering how this could happen as Intel design and production is focused on the expensive and powerful desktop/server processors which sells for $30-1000.

Now we know how this will be achieved 🙂 from this Press release. Intel has signed strategic Agreement with Rockchip to accelerate the Intel based solutions in Tablet market.

What does this means? Intel will licensee x86 Silvermount architecture to Rockchip and Intel’s 3G/LTE know how, so Rockchip will be able to design their own chips based on Intel’s architecture.

The first new chips will be available in 2015. This is very interesting move from Intel to penetrate the tablet market which was exclusively held by ARM devices.


Intel agressively penetrates the Chinese tablet market



“Prices of Intel’s mainstream quad-core tablet CPUs have dropped to below US$5, which are almost on par with those offered by China-based chipset suppliers such as Rockchip Electronics and Allwinner Technology and even below those available from Nvidia, Qualcomm and MediaTek”

Intel aims to ship 40 million tablet CPUs in 2014, including entry-level Bay Trail family and SoFIA 3G platform products.


Time for 4 core Atom based OLinuXino…? 😉

Via Digitimes

Intel enters in the LED blinking business!


Arduino with its over 1 million sold development boards is acting as magneto for marketing managers in all semi companies.

We already review the incredible engineering done by NXP on this subject to make Adruino compatible low cost 8-bit processor without ADC and enough GPIOs, and while we though nobody can come up with something so incredible non-sense.

Now it seems Intel is on the way to eclipse them, they put Arduino connectors on their Galileo processor

Galileo datasheet is very skinny but seems this is 400Mhz Pentium 32bit processor with 256MB of RAM.

Looking at the tiny datasheet there is block diagram:


seems familiar? yes, same crap like in NXP design, processor with no GPIO, no ADC, etc which connects to external ICs to make something which is available in simple 8-bit AVR processor 🙂

At least one thing Intel do it better than NXP here – they paid to Arduino team to build them Arduino Like IDE and some basic library

In 2015 Samsung will have same technology capability as Intel


For decades Intel have been few years ahead of the competition. They always had semiconductor process which is two nodes before rest in the industry, but with the decline of Desktops and the rise of the mobile devices this is about to change.

Samsung is catching up Intel and they both will have 14nm process at the same time in 2015.

Intel announced their first SoC based on 14nm will be available in the first half of 2015, Samsung is preparing to do the same, they have signed with Apple to manufacture their new iPhone7 SoC on 14nm first half of 2015.

Lies, damn Lies and Benchmarking!




Making decent and objective Benchmark test is quite hard almost impossible task.

Why? as the different systems should be put in equal testing conditions.

Good example is the ARM commercial compilers, if you go to the web site of Keil, IAR, etc you will see on their web sites benchmarks which show how their compiler is best as code, speed etc.

How this is done? There is always example which you can make for your specific compiler which to execute faster and to have shorter code than the competitor, so this is cheap trick which less and less novices buy.

All these commercial compilers usually show GCC as slowest and less optimized compiler, needless to say they have run these tests with questionable options 🙂 real tests show that almost all ARM compilers produce about same code, the variations are few percents, also most of commercial compilers would fail to do the job where GCC shines, i.e. to compile and link HUGE projects like GB sources of Linux Kernel, so the focus which compiler to use should be on what additional value these compilers have around them, i.e. what flash loaders, processor support, demo examples are available which to kickstart your development.

So if we benchmark same architectures, on same code and same compiler with same settings it’s possible to have something relevant, but how do we benchmark different architectures?

Let’s face it – this is not possible to be done objectively and the recent debates for AnTuTu fake benchmarking for Intel new processors prove it.

In June, The Reg reported analyst firm ABI Research’s claim that it had pitted a Lenovo K900 smartphone based on Intel’s Atom Z2580 processor against a brace of devices build around ARM system-on-chip (SoC) components and found that not only did the Intel part perform better, but it also drew less power.
Jim McGregor of analyst firm Tirias Research smelled something fishy, and after investigating, he now says the surprise showing by Intel had less to do with the chip itself as it did with inconsistencies in the AnTuTu benchmark used to conduct the tests.
McGregor’s first clue was that different versions of the benchmark produced wildly different results.
“Going from the 2.9.3 version of the AnTuTu benchmark to the 3.3 version, the overall AnTuTu scores increased 122 percent, and the RAM score increased 292 percent for the Intel processor, while the scores for the Samsung processor increased only 59 percent and 53 percent, respectively,” McGregor wrote in a blog post at EE Times. “This was just from a change in the benchmark test, not the processors.”
Versions of AnTuTu for ARM chips are built using the open source GCC compiler. But beginning with version 2.9.4, AnTuTu for Intel is built using ICC, a proprietary optimizing compiler designed by Intel itself.
Working with AnTuTu and technology consulting firm BDTI, McGregor determined that the version of the benchmark built with ICC was allowing Intel processors to skip some of the instructions that make up the RAM performance test, leading to artificially inflated results.
AnTuTu released version 3.3.2 of the benchmark on Wednesday to address the problem, and according to McGregor, it negates Intel’s artificial advantage. Intel’s CPU and Overall scores are now about 20 per cent lower than they were with the previous build, and the RAM score is around 50 per cent lower.

It’s still questionable if these new results are valid as AnTuTu didn’t explain what changed in the benchmark – the result AnTuTu is IMO totally compromised as reliable source for benchmarking, switching to Intel compiler smells of corruption 😉

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