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Review LattePanda Alpha : Core M3-7Y30 Single Board PC: Windows & Linux + External GPU!


hey everybody its lines I’ve been and we’re taking a look today at a rather interesting product this is the Lotte Panda alpha it is a single board computer powered by a core m3 processor it’s essentially the same guts as the 12-inch MacBook but you have a lot more flexibility with this platform than you might with a macbook cost about $300 or so in the configuration you’re going to see it’s even got eight gigs of ddr3 RAM in dual channel configuration as well so they really thought about a lot of the things that enthusiasts might want out of something like this and we’re going to be exploring some of the things you can do with it in just a second but I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that I paid for this with my own funds all the opinions are about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this little computer is all about so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware and this is a device that is geared towards the maker community it’s kind of a Swiss Army knife of computing you’ve got the Intel processor on here of course but you also have an Arduino as well as a number of ways to get data in and out of the device without additional things hanging off of it I’ll cover some of that here in this video I just know that we are not a maker channel here on this channel we’re going to look at general performance here so I will try to find some examples of people using these in more maker oriented environments so if you’re trying to see what it can do as an Arduino board for example this is not going to be the video for you I don’t want to waste anyone’s time here but again I will try to find some examples and if you have some definitely let me know in the comments

below now the one we’re looking at today cost three hundred dollars for the base model that’s what this one is they do though have a configuration with built-in emmc storage and unfortunately I didn’t get that one I probably should have the reason is is that I added a PCI Express slot here on the back of the lot a panda that required me to remove my internal storage to make room for it and that made it a little difficult to get Windows running on this so you might just want to get the version with that emmc storage that will give you the option to boot right off the device itself without having to rely on another hard drive and then of course you can add crazy cool things like this little slot here to it later and we’ll explore some of the things you can with that you’ve got a ton of GPIO options on here and there are a number of things that the board supports you got pm here I – si – si you got rs-232 serial another USB riser here you can also plug in DC power directly to the board if you wish but you can also use the USB type-c connector for powering the device you got a lot of options on that front your Arduino is accessed over here on this side and everything is very clearly labeled on both sides of the GPIO pins here you also have BIOS access here as well so you get a ton of functionality here especially if you are using this as part of a project you get a very powerful processor that’s very easy to interface up with other devices without having to get a whole bunch of USB dongles and all the other stuff you might need to do so I think it’s going to give people a very good head start it’s even got a real-time

clock here and this is what this little battery is for over on that side over here you’ve got three USB 3.0 ports those are very useful you can boot operating systems off of that if you want to do so on the back we’ve got that USB type-c connector I mentioned before this is a full service connector so it does power delivery in it also shoots DisplayPort video out and of course it allows for USB data devices to be connected I’ve got one of these docks on the desk that will boot up in a second so I can plug in a single cable to get my monitor and a few extra ports added to the device so that was pretty helpful to have that port be fully functional we’ve seen some name-brand laptops that don’t do this with the USB C port audio out over here you’ve got Gigabit Ethernet right here HDMI is over here one thing though with its built-in HDMI port it does not appear to support 60 Hertz at 4k the best I could get out of it was 30 Hertz 30 frames per second at 4k but it did Drive a 1080p display at 60 Hertz so I think you’re going to have some issues perhaps in the home theater world with this especially if you want to watch 1080p 60 content it did not appear at least through the

HDMI port at any rate that you could get things running at the proper framerate there now in the back you’ve got 2 m2 expansion slots including an M key here at the bottom this one’s probably the most versatile on the device because you can hook up your nvme storage here you could also attach an M say to drive if you want you can even do something like this funky adapter that allows you to connect up desktop PCI Express boards to the lot a panda isn’t that cool I found that about this through ETA primes channel who’s done a lot on this board will reference him a few more times in this video above it is a more limited slot this is an e key this is something that you can use for Bluetooth adapters and Wi-Fi cards and whatnot but there’s already Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in here on this chip so it would have been nice to have two MPs I think that would have given it a little bit more flexibility but perhaps there was some hardware limitations at work with this so that really the most useful slot here is the lower one there’s also a few other things of note including the ability to connect up a display via a ribbon cable there’s also a panel here for adding touch capability if you want you’ve also got an SD card slot over here for augmenting that onboard storage if you opt for it so there are some additional expansion options here as well and on the Wi-Fi just one note they give you a couple of antennas in the box which I suggest using because without those antennas attached

the signal is very very weak going into the card alright let’s take a look now and see how this thing performs we’ve gotten boon to eighteen point one zero running right now and it seems to be working just fine I’ve got the proper video resolution loading up here we’ve got Wi-Fi audio Ethernet Bluetooth all of that stuff seems to be working and it feels pretty snappy too because we do have that core m3 chip on board here so I think you’ll have a pretty good experience on open source operating systems and if you’re running this thing headless for example with whatever you’re using to power your robotics and a project I think this will be just fine and will deliver all of the performance you need it’s definitely going to be a lot faster than a Raspberry Pi might be thanks to the fact that you’ve got that core m3 chip here so it’s good that out of the box you’ve got a good Linux solution here that appears to be working fairly well what’s really cool is I’ve got all of this right now kind of running through this dock here on the desk so this USBC cable is powering the lot a panda it’s delivering the operating system actually because I have an external hard drive plugged into the dock and the only thing I’m using right now beyond that USBC cable is just the Ethernet that I connected up but I could probably run that through the dock here too so having that multifunction port is really adding some flexibility let’s take a look now and see how Windows performs on here and then

we’ll do some more fun stuff so on Windows let’s kick things off with some web browsing we’ve got YouTube running at 60 frames per second 1080p no issues or dropped frames here which is what I would expect out of one of these KB Lake core m3 processors we also had very good experiences browsing the web as well things are really snappy and responsive as they have been on other core m3 devices we reviewed here on the channel mostly laptops in the past but again it feels about the same to us we also ran the browser bench org speedometer test and on that one running in Google Chrome we got a score of 86 point one that comes in right about where I would expect this chip to come in at and other basic tasks like word processing also performed as expected pretty snappy and responsive and it’s a good general purpose computer so let’s shift gears over to gaming now we’re looking at the dolphin emulator running on the lot a panda with no external GPU just two built in Intel stuff and we’re seeing a really nice performance here it’s running at full speed it looks great this is again just off of the Intel GPU so no fancy tricks going on here so I was pleased to see this this is pretty consistent though with other core m3 processors from this generation intel has been making some pretty good progress here with this chip and I think we also can benefit from the dual channel ram with this emulator as well so we’re seeing really nice performance here and I think

you’ll have a good time emulating stuff with this device definitely check out ETA Prime’s video because he’s got more examples of how the latte Panda can work for emulation and some things that he suggests you can do to get it tweaked for the best performance so here is Fortnight running on the latte panda again just with the intel hardware this is at the lowest possible settings so we are outputting at 1080p but rendering I think at around 720p or less so it doesn’t look all that great but the frame rate is very playable you’ll hit 60 a good portion of the time when other players come into the area and you start having more of a intensive battle you’ll see that dip a bit I also found some dips when I was jumping out of the bus but over a playable experience although a bit ugly in the process and we also ran rocket League and there we were getting frame rates between 40 and 50 frames per second at the lowest settings at 1080p again that is with the internal Intel hardware here not bad but again a little ugly but let’s take a look now and see how we might improve the situation through the use of a desktop GPU which is one of the coolest features I’ve seen on this thing let’s take a look now this is not the most practical solution for a gaming PC but it actually does work so what we’ve got here is the latte panda on the bottom of the stack we have an adapter here that I got at Amazon they were selling these for like two for $20 so it’s not all that expensive I did have to hook up a power supply to give the little adapter here enough power to power the card and some cards might need additional power is well from the power supply so that’s another thing you got a stack into the mix here and we’re running with a GT 1030 GPU from Nvidia so this is kind of like a low-end

card but it seems to be working pretty nicely here we’ve got the witcher 3 here running at about 30 frames per second at the lowest settings with this GPU we would not see this performance off the intel hardware so this is an example of just how you could really boost the power of this thing by using an external GPU with it or in this case kind of an internal one I guess so it really is delivering performance we’ve seen on a lot of MX 150 laptops it really is about the same I’m noticing some lag here and there it might just be because I had to boot windows off of an external drive given that the slot for that drive is being taken up right now by the card here but it has been a pretty good experience here playing some games with the GPU let’s take a look at one other game all right here is Street Fighter 5 and we’re running at the lowest settings so it doesn’t look as good as it could but we are getting a solid 60 frames per second out of this which this game really requires so you can definitely get yourself a cheap little GPU connected here and get better performance than you would out of the Intel Hardware ETA prime on his channel actually hooked up a larger GPU I think he connected up a gtx 1070 so if you want to see how far you can push this thing with this little adapter connect here you can check out his channel for more but overall I am quite impressed that this even worked at all surprisingly this worked the second I got everything attached to it I was just totally shocked that the smoke didn’t come out and I actually got video out of this thing on the first shot windows detected the GPU right out of the gate and it was often running it was really pretty cool to actually have a

crazy project like this actually work let’s take a look now at some benchmarks and see how this stacks up with other pcs we’ve looked at so let’s begin on the 3dmark cloud gate test and without the GPU we got a score of four thousand nine hundred and forty-one this does put it below the GPD win 2 which is a handheld Windows gaming machine with the same processor they tuned that one a little faster perhaps because they had more confidence in their cooling system on it so you can see it’s just slightly below there but definitely within the ballpark I’d also perform well against another core m3 laptop we’ve looked at from teclast now with the GPU we got a score of seven thousand seven hundred and eighty eight and it actually did a little better on the graphics performance than we saw on a few laptops powered by an MX 150 GPU which is pretty much the same chip so it is doing fairly well with the particular GPU we were using but you’ll see the CPU score on this one is lower than some of the laptops we’ve looked at primarily because this chip is a Core m3 chip and is not as fast as the i5 chips we typically see on a lot of those laptops that have that GPU and with the GPU attached we ran the time spy benchmark which runs in direct x12 and there we got a score of 1106 which puts it pretty close to many of the MX 150 laptops we’ve looked at in the past here on the channel graphically but again the cpu score is a little lower just because

those laptops did have faster processors than what’s inside of this device but nonetheless very good performance now we also tested without the GPU how well this fan here can keep the processor cool with the 3d mark stress test there we got a score of ninety point one zero percent that’s a failing grade on that test ninety seven percent is passing so I think if you are really eager to keep this thing running at its top performance even under load you might need to come up with a different solution for the fan and heatsink here you can easily remove it if you wish and put in something else I think they were trying to keep everything really compact here and the cost of that is a little throttling when the computer is under heavy load alright one last thing to check out and that is its home theater performance we’re going to start with the HEV C jellyfish test file this is for K 10 bid 140 megabits per second no dropped frames it seems to be working quite well as it usually does on these KB Lake processors and I also connected it up to my home theater receiver the HDMI port here was able to get my TV to switch into 24 P mode correctly for movies that require that it also passed through Dolby true HD and DTS HD lossless audio to my receiver correctly so that was good but because this HDMI port doesn’t support some of the newer 4k copyright and HDR standards it will not work well with HDR movies nor will you be able to get anything beyond 30 frames per second

out of the HDMI out of this you can probably get 60 frames per second via DisplayPort from the USB type-c connector if you’ve got a power slash video output dongle for it so that’s a possibility there but again I don’t anticipate this working with any of the copyright standards that Netflix and some of the other folks are using now at 4k resolution so it’s not perfect as a home theater device which is unfortunate because it would be a real slam-dunk if it had better 4k support out of that HDMI but overall I think a pretty decent little package for playing back 1080p movies and getting some decent games and emulators to run on it as well so altogether I’m pretty impressed with this again I would like a little better performance out of the HDMI but this is such an open book for a computer here they just want you to hack away at this thing and see what you can do with it it’s a major improvement over the last lot a panda that we looked at about two years ago they’ve really put together a pretty cool little machine here and I’m eager to see what other folks do with these especially related to some projects that might make use of its onboard argentino along with the processing power that you have I think it’s really cool you can just pop in one of these adapters here and start plugging in desktop boards to it as well but again I would have liked to have seen 2 M Keys here versus just the one but overall they’ve put them together really cool computer here and I

think if you like to tinker you’ll really enjoy using this I have seen some other folks actually get Mac OS to boot up on this thing so it’s not all that difficult to make a hackintosh out of this again it’s got the same guts as the MacBook 12 inch so it’s not much of a stretch to get it working on here at least for now until the t2 chip begins locking everybody out of that that’s a new Apple security chip they’ve introduced so do it while you can but it can run Mac OS as well it’s a very open-ended platform here so check it out you can find the link down below in the video description let me know if you’d like to see any follow-ups on this device and also again check out ETA primes channel because he’s done a lot with this thing and it’s a great channel to get more detail on some things that we review here on this channel like this device until next time this is lon Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold-level supporters Chris Allegretto the four guys with quarters podcast Tom Albrecht Gerard Newberg in Cali an Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to LAN TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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