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Author Topic: TC on Intel NUC  (Read 1290 times)

Offline PDP-8

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TC on Intel NUC
« on: March 27, 2018, 04:37:40 PM »
Hmm..  maybe this subforum should be just generalized non-pi hardware now?

In a moment of weakness and just trying to reclaim some desk space, I picked up an Intel NUC mini-pc, model NUC6AYH since it was the same price as an earlier version.  Manufactured 2/18 with a bios from November of 2017.

I won't go into a total review, but some generalized comments and initial TinyCore stuff.  I haven't tested all TC <> NUC configs...

Out of the box, boots CorePure64 just fine.   Ran it without any storage, and no complaints from bios about not seeing a hard drive, emmc, or ssd onboard.

Used a 2gb ram stick, but beware!  The bios will complain if your stick does not have either a 4gb or 8gb "DENSITY".  In my case, even though my small 2gb ram stick claims to be built with 4gb-density, I still had to hit a y/n warning prompt about instability and/or corruption possibilities before it would continue booting.

I think the stick is ok, but at only 2gb capacity, the bios may be confusing it with older ram that is not 4 or 8gb "dense".  Intel has a list of compatible stick specs, and some users who throw in any old thing may not even get to boot.  Just so you know.

Visual bios! (F2 key setup)  You could spend a day in there.  Wow.  Played with both UEFI and Legacy boots.  No problem for TC either way.  Although not totally officially supported, dropdowns containing Linux options were nice to see.

I disabled the TPM feature.

The NUC6AYH bare bones did contain a dual-band wifi, and all it took to get it up and running was loading nothing more than:

wifi.tcz
iwlwifi.tcz  firmware

Although it might be obvious that TC is my favorite toolkit, distros like Knoppix 8.1 and Slitaz rolling came right up too.

I'll probably upgrade to more "compatible" ram, maybe an emmc/ ssd / hdd, but PiCore helped teach me the ways of not needing so much storage. :)
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Offline PDP-8

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2018, 01:19:06 AM »
Tinycore Pure64 just barfs half way through boot on my older (new old stock) SD cards.  But it's not TC's fault!

When they say it supports SDXC  ($$), I guess they mean it.  My older cards are just no-go.  many are finding out the hard way. :)  So for now I boot TC from USB no sweat...

When SDXC cards are about the price of an entire Raspberry Pi 3 computer, um, maybe I'll just stick to usb for now until the price comes down on the XC cards. :)

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Offline curaga

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2018, 10:27:55 AM »
It's unlikely it's the card's fault if you tried multiple cards.
The only barriers that can stop you are the ones you create yourself.

Offline PDP-8

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2018, 01:18:21 PM »
One would think so!  But I believe that with these units Intel has drawn a line in the sand regarding backwards compatability in a variety of areas...

Ram sticks: MUST be 4/8gb "dense", otherwise it will complain.
USB3: The o/s MUST support USB3.  So Windows 7 (or any old linux distro) would be out.  If you fire up without USB3 support, you won't have any mouse or keyboard....
SDXC:  Cards must be SDXC

In regards to the card, I even made sure I formatted them with the utility from the formatter from the SD Association (sdcard.org).  Nope - still flaky with lesser cards.

Common issue - earlier NUC's had plenty of complaints about cards dissappearing after boot.  Or being read-only.  Lots of back and forth having users try the latest bios, swapping cards etc.  BUT when that same complaint was seen on this recent NUC, users were sent to the specifications page, and sandisk's sd card specifications page - essentially telling them that SDXC is the minimum requirement without coming out explicitly saying that.

So, ok it get it.  No bottlenecks with older tech.  If I was making my own kernels, it might be interesting to see how much backwards-compatible drivers I could pull from it to make it smaller since the hardware won't support the older stuff anyway.

Argh.  I guess my next project is to learn the kernel's make-menuconfig! :)

But, it's a nice box to save desk space, the visual bios is nice, and most importantly, the UEFI / Legacy / secure boot / Linux boot options are right up front and easily found.

While most of the world may not notice it, the Xvesa output is even nicer and cleaner than my 2 year old Acer desktop!  I still run terminus bitmapped fonts in Aterm however.

 
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Offline PDP-8

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2018, 03:47:19 AM »
FAT32 notes - just so you don't blame TC if you have problems ...

Right - so while Intel doesn't officially support Linux or anything other than windows on the NUC's, there IS a Linux dropdown in the bios menu, at least on my NUC6AYH.  And the usual UEFI / Legacy / Secure boot stuff is right on the home page in your face so you can't miss it.

BUT, when it comes to FAT32 formatting, they acknowledge that there are Linux based utilities that will do fat32, but state that small differences in formatting mean that they expect that if you have troubles, you need to do a FULL, and NOT a quick format in a windows box on the stick.

Just makes me appreciate my ARM-based boards that much more.  Maybe I should have put the money towards a PiCore based RPI cluster instead. No shenanigans when it comes to Linux. :)

I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, but wanted to throw this out so nobody blames TC or CorePure if that becomes an issue.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 03:48:52 AM by PDP-8 »
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Online Rich

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2018, 07:59:49 AM »
Hi PDP-8
... BUT, when it comes to FAT32 formatting, they acknowledge that there are Linux based utilities that will do fat32, but state that small differences in formatting mean that they expect that if you have troubles, you need to do a FULL, and NOT a quick format in a windows box on the stick. ...
Could you please provide a link to the source of that information?

Offline coreplayer2

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2018, 11:57:29 AM »
iirc, early (WinXP) formatting utilities did not write "Zeros" to the drive.  However, since Windows Vista the formatting Utility does write "Zeros" to the drive.    Writing Zero's to Flash storage effectively fills the drive (programs flash cells).    I suspect Windows 10 and possibly 8.1 uses the test "Spindle speed = 0" to determine flash storage and disable bad sector test and the writing of damaging zeros, but since I can't remember exactly..  I'm sifting through the Microsoft info to determine this..

Additionally, the old HDD was formatted with sector geometry and most file system formatting utilities aligned accordingly.    With Flash this is not the case and formatting with a 1MB offset will significantly improve performance.

AFAIK Gparted provides options to format without data erase and to align with MB offset of your size choice which is particularly useful when formatting raid arrays.  1MB offset is deemed satisfactory for most systems.

Offline PDP-8

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2018, 11:00:01 PM »
Hi Rich - here's the link.  About 3rd page, op: Pearson

https://communities.intel.com/thread/121952?start=30&tstart=0

But note that this is NOT an official statement, but seems to come from someone who has an inside connection.  Official statements will be from messages containing something like "this message was posted on behalf of Intel Corporation".  This guy does not have that header in his messages.  This is what happens when you read forums on a phone browser. :)

coreplayer2:  still interesting stuff and makes me think about redoing all my formatting on my own just to be sure.

I used to do the zero out trick with something like this before formatting and partitioning (where xx is your actual device):
Code: [Select]
sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdxx count=50
Maybe I'll remove the count=50 and allow dd to scribble to the entire thing.

From my recollection, the standard Windows fat32/vfat was this set of options:
Code: [Select]
sudo mkdosfs /dev/sdxx -s 16 -F 32
Wonder if that differs any from Gparted or even this:
Code: [Select]
sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdxx
I just might take the time to zero out my sticks, and reformat/partition just for the heck of it.  making sure they are on 1mb offset...


« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 11:12:29 PM by PDP-8 »
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Offline coreplayer2

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2018, 02:00:13 AM »
coreplayer2:  still interesting stuff and makes me think about redoing all my formatting on my own just to be sure.

I used to do the zero out trick with something like this before formatting and partitioning (where xx is your actual device):
Code: [Select]
sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdxx count=50
Maybe I'll remove the count=50 and allow dd to scribble to the entire thing.
...
I just might take the time to zero out my sticks,
...
No!!!   Please don't do that...    My point was a FULL format from Windows utilities can actually be dangerous to a Flash drive and a reminder to NEVER EVER ZERO A FLASH BASED DRIVE of any kind 

Zero'ing a Flash based drive effectively fills the drive, unlike an HDD Zero'ing a flash drive does not erase the drive

Zero'ing a Flash based drive has disastrous effects.  At best the drive will be temporarily unusable,  at least until an erase operation has been completed.


It's impossible to write random data to Flash memory.   A Nand cell only understands a logical 0 or 1.     Writing zero's to the drive will effectively fill the drive until no free cells are remaining, rendering the drive unable to accept further writes.     The drive will remain in this unusable state until an erase operation is performed.   See where I'm heading with this??

« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 02:20:15 AM by coreplayer2 »

Offline PDP-8

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2018, 01:03:17 AM »
Ah, write!  er, right! :)

Luckily I haven't done anything yet.  Still had my head in the spinning-rust mode there.  Thanks for the heads up!
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Offline coreplayer2

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2018, 10:28:46 PM »
It's impossible to write random data to Flash memory.
Nobody questioned this??   Well it was April 1st ;)
Thing is writing random data to flash memory is pointless.  Best methods to wipe flash drives are:
Write 1’s to drive
Send a  controller based “secure erase” command
Send a trim command

Depending on the drive some or all of those options may not be available







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Offline Misalf

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2018, 02:36:52 PM »
Nah, it was  31 March 2018, 11:00:13 ! :p
Download a copy and keep it handy: Core book ;)

Offline coreplayer2

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2018, 02:44:27 PM »
LOL. I blame Trump or SIRI, but that’s my story and I’m sticky to that



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Offline PDP-8

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2018, 02:16:48 PM »
Aha - so here's my real problem:  Tinycore doesn't seem to detect SD card in the nuc at all..

1) Picked up a true SDXC card.  Reformatted from exFat to VFAT with gparted just to be cool with linux . Ok.

2) Knoppix will recognize any SD card, whether HC or XC as an mmcblk0 device in this box.

3) Tinycore WILL recognize it as an sdx device, but only if put through a card-reader.  Directly from the slot in the NUC box - it's a ghost.

So my problem is do I need firmware?, or is TC not recognizing SD cards.  Is it a mmcblk device thing?  Tried using TinyCorePlus, but sadly, it is not recognized and not mountable in any fashion I tried...

Hmmm...
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 02:18:44 PM by PDP-8 »
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Offline Greg Erskine

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Re: TC on Intel NUC
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2018, 03:05:09 PM »
Just to muddy the waters further....

I use an Intel NUC with Windows 10 for cutting my piCorePlayer images, which I do a lot.

When I first got my NUC, SD cards in the slot were not recognized so I ended up using a USB adapter. All fine, worked well, then a month or two ago, no matter what I did, the SD cards via USB adaptor(s) were no longer recognized by Window 10, so in desperation I tried the slot and it now worked!!

I never worked out a reason why this happened as I had a working alternative.  ;)

regards
Greg