Having tested out Debian and the DietPi-based operating systems, I now turn my attention to the Armbian community images for the Rock SBC. The review by RasPiPkr Tutorials (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ-gqPXWCUw&t=1304s) shows YouTube playing without much trouble and also a faster-looking Graphical interface.
So I downloaded the supported image from the Armbian Website (HERE), flashed it to a very fast MicroSD card using balenaEtcher, and got started with my testing. For the sake of testing everything out, I have connected the Rock 4SE to a 4K TV, with a wireless mouse and wired keyboard. I will be connected to my broadband via cable initially, but will also test out WiFi performance.
This version of Armbian booted up and I went through the setup, but only one USB port worked. So I could not use both a keyboard and a mouse. So I moved over to using the images from Radxa’s GitHub releases page (Here).
This image boots up and all four USB ports are active, so I was able to get fully set up and running. Not much was installed out of the box, so I needed to install Firefox so I could test YouTube’s performance.
Whilst I found the performance of YouTube better than other operating systems, it was still stuttering at 1080 60Hz.
I moved to a more bleeding-edge kernel to see if this gave any better performance. However, it performed about the same in my testing.
Next up was testing the speed of both the wired and wireless internet connection. I am on Virgin Media’s Gig1 package in the UK that provides speeds up to 1Gb/s down and 50Mbs up. So with wired access, I would expect to see up to 940Mbps down and 52Mbps up. I was not disappointed.
I went to test the WiFi performance, but despite following the guides, Armbian could not see the built in Wifi device:
The Rock 4SE does have the ability to perform based on its specs, but it is being held back by a lack of proper kernel and operating system support.
If I find an Armbian image that works with the onboard Wifi and has better GPU performance, I will let you know.