Nvidia Tegra2 and Gentoo: Part Two (Running Gentoo!)


This is the second post on Nvidia Tegra2 and Gentoo, after the first one with the unpack and specifications. In this one i’ll speak about putting Gentoo on it, and results about it.

First i’d like to announce the guide for installing Gentoo on the Nvidia Tegra 250 Developer kit. Check it out at: http://dev.gentoo.org/~armin76/arm/tegra2/install.xml and feel free to send corrections to my way, either by mail or by putting a comment on this post.

Its been a week already since i’ve been testing the Nvidia Tegra 250 Developer kit, and i can say its pretty rock solid. The only issues i’ve had are USB issues(which i guess my 8G USB stick is to blame), and that the stable Xorg server(1.6.5) didn’t work. I tried the unstable Xorg and that one worked fine. I need to say that i’m not a video person. Mainly because i don’t have a spare monitor or KVM(i should get one…as this not the first time i’ve needed something like that. Are there cheap USB+VGA KVMs?), so if i have serial, that makes me happy enough.

Regarding the hardware integrated on the board, this is what i’ve got:
-Audio: Gets detected(check dmesg), but doesn’t work(driver not working/broken?)
-Wifi: Uses Atheros 6002, no driver available for Linux yet.
-Bluetooth: Uses CSR BC6, haven’t got it to work(not detected?)
-Video: Only fbdev works, no Xorg driver. Check Xorg.0.log for more info. VGA works fine, don’t have HDMI to test.
-SD/MMC slot: Both external/internal slot detects an SD card
-Ethernet: Works fine.

So, regarding Gentoo, it was really easy to boot Gentoo, the only difficult part is getting a kernel to boot πŸ™‚ Apart from that, its pretty much the standard way to put Gentoo on this kind of devices.

Let’s talk about the compile times, this is by far the most fast ARM device i’ve seen. Its obvious, with its 2x1GHz cores.

Here are the buildtimes, compare them with the buildtimes page:
gcc-4.3.4: Mon Mar 29 10:49:06 2010: 1 hour, 51 minutes, 49 seconds
binutils-2.19.1-r1: Sun Mar 28 19:10:15 2010: 9 minutes, 59 seconds
portage- Sun Mar 28 18:07:56 2010: 1 minute, 36 seconds
glibc-2.10.1-r1: Mon Mar 29 08:42:44 2010: 1 hour, 19 minutes, 32 seconds

Hope you appreciate this information πŸ™‚ Let me know if you have any question.


14 Responses to “Nvidia Tegra2 and Gentoo: Part Two (Running Gentoo!)”

  1. Fedor Says:

    Really intresting info.
    Can you on some point compile firefox or/and chromium for it and test their perfomance on http://service.futuremark.com/peacekeeper/

    Intresting how this board behave in more desktop (in a way) usage, especially compared to diffrent Atoms

    • armin762 Says:

      Firefox(v3.6.2) Scored:
      520 Points

      • Fedor Says:

        that’s really good result.
        for comparision – my lenovo s10 netbook with atom n270 gets in that test (with firefox 3.6.2) 493 points.
        So, i guess, we could say that tegra2 is pretty good for netbooks) (though still waiting for real devices using it)

  2. gringo Says:

    nice summary, thanks !
    so the wifi doesnt work at all ? Im asking because you mentioned the ar6k driver earlier.


    • armin762 Says:

      Well, i haven’t tested that driver, since that driver is for ar6001, and the tegra has 6002…there’s a driver on chromium for 6003 called ath6k… The latter doesn’t work for 6001. And i doubt ar6k works for ar6002… Need to check if ath6k works, but i haven’t seen where to get the driver from.

  3. Varun Says:

    Did you manage to get the CSR BC6 to work eventually? I am using it with another development board (RMI Alchemy AU1200) and hoping that the module works as I am shifting to Linux.


    • armin762 Says:

      Negative, i have no clue how to do it actually :/ I don’t know if i’m missing something or what…

      • Varun Says:

        Damn, that’s unfortunate. Really hope that they’ve got Linux drivers for this thing. Will let you know if I am able to solve it.

        Take care.

  4. Christopher Friedt Says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that your build times were mainly slow because you were using a USB flash device as your root fs. There’s no way that a 2x1GHz system should take that long.

    If you’re building things natively, then you should seriously consider an usb-enclosure with a 2.5″ hard disk. The reason is that flash devices do not handle small, frequent writes very well, which is 99% of a typical configure script. I should also suggest that you direct your portage_tmpdir to /tmp and have all temporary files compiled in ram / swap – it will make your build times a _lot_ faster.

    Keep us updated πŸ˜‰

  5. Bokeoa Says:

    I’m curious how well it scales to two cores. Could you try out pbzip2 on the linux kernel 2.6.33 tarball?

    # wget http://kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/linux-2.6.33.tar.bz2
    # bzip2 -d linux-2.6.33.tar.bz2
    # pbzip2 -9vc -p1 linux-2.6.33.tar > /dev/null
    # pbzip2 -9vc -p2 linux-2.6.33.tar > /dev/null

    Posting just the wall clock times would be awesome. Thanks in advance!

  6. Bokeoa Says:

    Wow, that’s pretty good! Not quite linear scaling, but single-core performance is quite good! For comparison’s sake, the single-core PowerPC G4 1.25GHz processor in my Mac Mini does a 1proc run in 332.985848 seconds.

  7. Pandaboard and Gentoo: Part Two (Running Gentoo!) « Armin76's Blog Says:

    […] the buildtimes, i compared it with the other Cortex A9 hardware i have, which is the Nvidia Tegra2 devkit, the results are the following: -glibc: 1h24m <- the tegra was 13 minutes faster -gcc: 2h6m […]

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