They are well built machines. They were introduced in 2013 at CES.
They were also expensive at between $500+ USD each. Purchased each here for $60 USD.
I am doing a comparison here to the PiPoX7. The PipoX7 is an Atom Baytrail with 2Gb of RAM. Mine is currently running Windows 10.
Goals here are to make one a mini Homeseer automation server replacing the current RPi2/3 and the other one a KodiBuntu box (just to see how it works mostly).
Take apart pictures.
Specifications of the Xi3 Xi5A.
I - the Xi5A came with 64 bit Windows 7 Pro - runs fine - wiped it after playing. I could have removed / replaced the SSD drive but did not.
A - worked fine out of the box
II - Installed KodiBuntu on it and had to redo the AMD video / audio drivers on it - sort of a PITA but easy.
A - worked fine except for the video / HD audio issues until I updated the drivers.
III- Stock Xi5A came with OpenSuse such that I downloaded the ISO and giving that a try today.
A - Well looked nice out of the box.
B - Updated it and broke the build. I haven't played with OpenSuse in some 20 years such that I am not versed in it today.
IV - Doing a fresh install of LUbuntu on it then installing KODI.
A - Installed LUbuntu V.16.04. So far it is looking nice. See's all hardware just fine.
B - installed openssh-server
C - installed webmin D - updated build
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lshw -c video *-display description: VGA compatible controller product: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] vendor: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] physical id: 5 bus info: pci@0000:01:05.0 version: 00 width: 32 bits clock: 33MHz capabilities: pm msi vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom configuration: driver=radeon latency=0 resources: irq:18 memory:d0000000-dfffffff ioport:9000(size=256) memory:f0100000-f010ffff memory:f0000000-f00fffff lshw -c sound *-multimedia description: Audio device product: RS780 HDMI Audio [Radeon (HD) 3000 Series] vendor: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] physical id: 5.1 bus info: pci@0000:01:05.1 version: 00 width: 32 bits clock: 33MHz capabilities: pm msi bus_master cap_list configuration: driver=snd_hda_intel latency=0 resources: irq:19 memory:f0110000-f0113fff *-multimedia description: Audio device product: SBx00 Azalia (Intel HDA) vendor: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] physical id: 14.2 bus info: pci@0000:00:14.2 version: 00 width: 64 bits clock: 33MHz capabilities: pm bus_master cap_list configuration: driver=snd_hda_intel latency=64 resources: irq:16 memory:f0500000-f0503fff
G - installed Kodi
H - tested HD video and audio - working fine
I - Updated BIOS
Frustrated a bit. Updating the original OpenSuse, Kodibuntu (14.04) and current LUbuntu 16.04 messes with the video and audio drivers.
I have had similar issues with my Intel based laptops and desktops that were running Ubuntu 14.04 and now running Ubuntu 16.04. I have no sound anymore on my HP Laptop. The last update to the AMD Xi3 / Xi5a was a working open source AMD (posted on the AMD site) made me lose my booting graphics and now it boots to a Grub menu. I can hit enter and go to the desktop. It is a PITA and 16.04 documented a bunch on the internet. I tried every little tweak I read about yesterday and frustrated. It appears now that their is a shift of OS mechanisms relating to HD sound and HD video these days with Linux to appease the peanut gallery providers.
Such that I started all over again with KodiBuntu and will update Kodi but probably leave well enough alone relating to general updates of the OS.
The updated BIOS works but it looks like a kludge with misspellings and probably some urgency to get it out there - IE: it is not clean to me but works.
Running one box as a mini automation server so I really do not care about the graphics (sound is fine with the updates after removing Alsa and switching over to PulseAudio.)
Started from scratch using KodiBuntu. Only change was adding pulse audio. All is well.
Thinking of increasing the size of the SSD from 32 Gb to something larger.
V - installed Kodi
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sudo apt-get install software-properties-common sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install kodi
A - tested HD video and audio - working fine in KODI
VI - started from scratch with the current KodiBuntu ISO.
A - Video worked fine from scratch
B - Audio didn't work until I installed PulseAudio - working fine.
C - new add considerations
1 - larger SSD
2 - HDMI cable to video port.
VII - took apart the Xi5A last night. Easy except for the hex sockets.
A - imaged the SSD to a USB stick
B - shrunk the image down to around 4Gb (from 32 Gb)
C - installed another SSD drive (32 Gb) in the Xi5A, wiped it clean before installing.
D - Wrote the shrunken image from the USB stick to the SSD with Gparted
E - checked grub and did a quickie repair of the SSD with Boot-Repair (just in case)
F - Booted up fine in to KodiBuntu. Was a bit concerned that maybe the UUID would change and it didn't.
G - will take some pictures today as there isn't much to the Xi5A. Noticed too while sitting idle it is very cool.
Upping the SSD drive on one of them.