Android: the death of a BOINC-platform?

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Dirk Broer
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#1 Android: the death of a BOINC-platform?

Post by Dirk Broer » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:38 am

Boinc platforms come and go (e.g. PowerPC, Itanium, Alpha) but sometimes it makes you wonder.

Take Android. Millions of Android users, as it is the almost default OS on mobiles/handys/cellphones. Second on that hardware platform is IOS, but Apple won't allow BOINC in their app store.
And it is not that Google does likewise: the number of BOINC projects with an active Android app is very low. I installed Android 4.4.4 on a Odroid-XU4 (using NativeBoinc and BAM!) and tried to run BOINC: only GoofyxGrid ran, one WU of each of their four apps and that was it, as I seem to have reached my daily quota. Totally underwhelmed with the performance/benchmarks under Android I will continue to test some more Linux distro's.

Is it all the fault of NativeBoinc, the Android 4.4.4 image (version 6.9 from March 2020), or the ancient 7.0.36 client? I will order a Odroid-N2+ with a more recent Android and try to install the Berkeley client (didn't work on the XU4, stupid Android only sees my smartphone) to find out.
Last edited by Dirk Broer on Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#2 Re: Android: the death of a BOINC-platform?

Post by Dirk Broer » Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:55 pm

I have good news and I have bad new about the combination Android-Boinc.

The good news first.
You can still run BOINC on a modern Android 9 device -though I did see some minor alarming messages about Android 10- e.g. the Odroid-N2+, provided you either supply it with a WiFi and a Bluetooth dongle, or are prepared to run the Berkeley supplied experimental 7.16.3 client -which they themselves do not advice. I could connect with all projects that still have active Android apps.

The bad news then.
If you have an Android device that is not a modern smartphone you face problems, as Google does not see your e.g. Odroid, unless you have it equipped with both WiFi and Bluetooth.

Android is not a keyboard-mouse-PC monitor OS, and sure it will let you know. I had a quite annoying black rectangle blocking my view, stating that the automatic screen resolution was not good and that I needed to run in 1024x1080@60Mhz instead (yes, it is such a monitor). The moment I choose that -to be able to fill in the info for the last remaining project (Ralph)- the screen went into reboot, only to return all-black. Worst of all: nothing is running in the background.

Another point of annoyance is that Android 9 won't let the Odroid-N2+ run at the higher speeds for that model, making the fan a present rather useless feature -speeds and temperatures aren't getting high enough.
Last edited by Dirk Broer on Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#3 Re: Android: the death of a BOINC-platform

Post by Alez » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:05 pm

Android 4.4.4 on a Odroid-XU4 (using NativeBoinc and BAM!) will still work with WUProp, goofy, mapping cancer on WCG and Moowrapper. Think they are the only ones that support NativeBoinc non PIE.
My U2's run that combo on MooWrapper mainly. Mapping cancer when it has units. Pretty much all the other droid freindly projects are gone now.
The best form of help from above is a sniper on the rooftop....

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#4 Re: Android: the death of a BOINC-platform?

Post by Dirk Broer » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:07 pm

I was able to connect the N2+ to WCG's Covid-19, Universe, Rosetta (but not Ralph), Einstein (plus Albert), WuProp, GoofyxGrid, from the top of my mind.
Will download a new Android 9 on the eMMC and do a straight install of the Berkeley client, bypassing the :evil: Google :evil: play store that keeps installing BOINC on my ancient Android 3.4 semi-smartphone. Now checking the Odroid forums for tips about getting it to run the full advertised 2400 MHz....

Turns out that the latest image solves the needed speed settings. So, 2nd try.
I've just connected to
Einstein (one WU is already running too),
Rosetta,
World Community Grid (one WU is already running too),
Yoyo (four Wu's are already running too),
Moo!,
Universe,
and Asteroids.

I now need to manually attach WuProp, GoofyxGrid, Ralph and Albert -they are not supplied in the menu, just as always with those beta's (in case of Ralph and Albert) and shady's.
And, apart from Ralph, all were attached. I can even choose LHC, but I need to investigate whether that needs virtual box too...it doesn't, it is just sixtracks and sixtracks beta. Hop! another project added to the odroid/android....

Added bonus: temperatures caused by all six cores doing BOINC takes care of the fan problem: It runs by itself, no hokus-pocus needed.

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#5 Re: Android: the death of a BOINC-platform?

Post by Dirk Broer » Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:21 am

Latest september image even provides easy super-user access, so you can alter the threshold of the fan.
Tried the 'normal' 7.4.53 Android client instead of the 7.16.3 Development Version, and it gives more settings than the latter.
The 7.4.53 client is less savvy about the used ARM SOC though, and just reports it as being 6-core.

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#6 Re: Android: the death of a BOINC-platform?

Post by scole of TSBT » Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:29 am

We an update on the ARM CPU performance specs/comparisons. I'm way out of way with what they are putting in the ARM TV Boxes
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#7 Re: Android: the death of a BOINC-platform?

Post by Dirk Broer » Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:23 pm

The market for Android TVs is over here dominated by Amlogic SOC-based designs, with such lowly models as the Amlogic AML8726MxD (a dual-core Cortex-A9), the S805 (quad-core Cortex-A5, like the Odroid-C1+) or the Amlogic S812 (quad-core Cortex-A9), but also with Amlogic S905 (quad-core Cortex-A53, like the Odroid-C2). The Amlogic TV-boxes cost generally more than the corresponding Odroid boards. The better Amlogic chips, such as the S922X that features in the Odroid-N2 and N2+, are sadly missing in the TV-box models.

Another major player is Realtek. Their oldest design is based upon the RTD1185, a dual-core SOC, as is their RTD1195 (in fact a dual-core Cortex-A7) they have also the more modern RTD1295 and RTD1296 in their portfolio (both Cortex-A53 quad-core). The TV-boxes also cost significantly more than the Odroid boards. Other Players are MediaTek (only cheap MT8653 shit here, they have much better), Sigma Designs (expensive stuf of unknown performance) and nVidia Tegra X1 based stuff at a price that brings you two Jetson Nano's with the same SOC.

Strangely missing here at the moment are Rockchip-based designs, such as the RK3399 (Dual Cortex-A72 + Quad Cortex-A53) or the RK3288 (Quad-Core Cortex-A17, like the ASUS Tinker Board S)

Also missing are Qualcomm Snapdragon and HiSilicon Kirin-based boxes. These companies are the top of cell phone land with their high-end Cortex-A72, -A73, -A75, -A76 and -A77 SOCs.
A TV-box, a tablet, or a SBC with such a chip (and 8 GB of RAM) and at an affordable price would be welcomed.

As BOINC cruncher, Android-wise the most affordable way seems to me either trying to run Android on an @2000 MHz overclocked Raspberry Pi 4 with 8 GB of RAM, or waiting for a 8 GB version of the Android-N2+. In the meantime the 4 GB N2+ will do, with its immense heat sink and optional 80mm fan -really needed when running the four Cortex-A73's @2400 MHz and the two A53's @2000 MHz.

Recapitulation
For any ARM-based cruncher, whether running Android or Linux, whether SBC, tablet, TV-box or smart phone: Try for at least a 64-bit quad-core, the more cores the merrier.
64-bit cores even run 32-bit applications better, so -in case you run a 64-bit OS- just make sure to use the alternative platform and install 32-bit libraries too.
Those four cores should be Cortex-7x CPUs, so e.g. no RK3399 -a hexa-core with two A72 and four A53 cores, found in lots of hardware.
Try for at least 4 GB of DDR4 RAM, choose 8 GB where possible.
The ability to run from a M.2 SSD should not be frowned upon, it outperforms eMMC cards, let alone SD cards.

The promised Huawei desktop board has at least a quad-core A72 -there's a octo-core planned too- and it will support 64 GB of RAM.
It seems to come with a Chinese Linux, but a real hacker has Debian running on it in a jiffy. Android might be a bigger challenge...

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