Saturday, October 5, 2019

Linux Mint on Z83-F Intel Atom X5-Z8350 mini PC


The Z83-F is a mini PC from Minis.

It has 4GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage, the CPU is Intel Atom X5-Z8350. Speaking of connectivity, it has a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port (with 4K support), an SD card slot, a VGA port, an Ethernet port and a headphone-microphone combo. This mini PC also inclues a dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter and Bluetooth 4.0 one. No fan inside, it just has a big heat sink for thermal dissipation.
Mine comes with Windows 10 Pro pre installed.
Find below the top and bottom view of the board of this mini PC.



Unluckly Windows is a big beast, the poor Atom processor is not able to give a good experience to the user. Also after a while it stucks on the Windows logo.
I would like to use this PC as a second house desktop, so the main use of this PC would be browsing and remote connections.
Using Windows, even with Chrome or Firefox the browing experience is so sad, slow and smooth page scrolling and lags on Youtube videos. For this reason I choose to try a linux installation on this PC.
The MinisForum is the place to look at, if you would like to install any other than Windows, or to solve any problem related to your Minis PC.


I choose the Linux Mint 19.1 Xfce version. Compered to Cinnamon version, Xfce uses less resources and for this reason the user experience is smoother. By the way Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment, for the purpose of this PC it's enough.
The installation procedure is simple, like any other installation at first you have to prepare the USB install drive, I've used Rufus for this.
Then at boot press the Delete button to enter the BIOS during startup, and press F7 to select the startup item.
Install Linux Mint on the main drive.
After you have installed it, at the first boot you have to fix WiFi and audio.
The audio chip of this PC is the bytcr-rt5651, WiFI is brcmfmac43455.
I've prepared two script, one for audio, and the other for WiFi. The scripts simply updates the driver for both the chip.
The audio enabler does the following actions:
sudo cp -rf bytcr-rt5651 /usr/share/alsa/ucm
sudo cp asound.state /var/lib/alsa
sudo cp blacklist_snd_hdmi_lpe_audio.conf /etc/modprobe.d/
The WiFi enabler simply move a single file:
sudo cp brcmfmac43455-sdio.txt /lib/firmware/brcm/
You can download the installation script at the following location:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/davidegironi/files/dev-install/Z83-F_linuxmint19.1_audio-video_v1.zip/download
Then you have to unzip that file, under the Z83-F_audio folder run install.sh to enable the audio chip, under the Z83-F_wifi run install.sh to enable the wifi chip. The following commands will set install.sh as executable, and run it.
sudo chmod a+x install.sh
sudo ./install.sh
Now reboot your PC, you should now have the WiFi chip enabled, as the audio chip.


With Linux Mint installed, this PC to me is now "usable" at least for browsing.
As i tell you, I'll use this PC for remote connections too, to use this capability just install the Remmina package, if you need it, install also the rdp package using the following commands:
sudo apt-get install remmina remmina-plugin-vnc remmina-plugin-rdp

Notes
  • read risk disclaimer
  • excuse my bad english

36 comments:

  1. I came here thanks to your video on Youtube. Thank for your good work.

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  2. Ciao, proverò a seguire la tua guida. Anch'io trovo windows 10 troppo pesante per questo dispositivo sperando che con linux riprenda un po di ossigeno per usarlo come media player e niente di più. Ho provato Xubuntu ed effettivamente l'audio e la wi fi non funzionavano. Grazie per la guida.

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    1. Running Kubuntu 20.04 on mine. Freezes sometimes, but a restart takes care of it. Only 4G of RAM, but i'm loving it!

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  3. Hi Davide, I am new to Linux. If I place the unzipped files on a usb stick, start up the mini pc, place the usb stick in a slot, do I run them from there? Thank you for your great video!

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    1. Hello. You can copy those files in your Download folder or run from the mounted usb path. Follow the instruction above to undestand how run those files.

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    2. Thank you - I tried that before but it said that the file didn't exist. I will try again. Thanks again.

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    3. Hi Davide, I am really sorry, but I can't get it to work. I am a complete newbie with Linux. I transferred the two files to my downloads folder on Mint, ran the two .sh scripts inside the unzipped folders, rebooted and nothing. Then I tried to enter the chmod a+x script and it said the files don't exist. I changed directory to downloads and same problem. Can you time the time to give me a step by step? I am so sorry to waste your time. Thanks. John

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    4. Hello, you have to check script by script what happens inside. Unluckly, or luckly, you need to learn a little bit of linux world to be able to run this. As example the command "sudo cp -rf bytcr-rt5651 /usr/share/alsa/ucm" simply copy a folder, so check if the folder has been copied... and so on. Hope this helps.

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    5. Hi Davide, I did it! I looked online and have learnt a lot about Linux. Thank you so much!

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  4. Ciao Davide,
    I have a Z83-F from Minis and wanted to get rid of Windows.
    Linux Mint Xfce was a good idea to me as well so I tried your solution.
    Unfortunately no luck.
    WI-FI is fine, but sound is not.
    aplay -l says no soundcard found ...
    Any hint? anything interesting you found out while putting together your solution?
    Many thanks,
    gp

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    Replies
    1. Hello gpoc, you should check your audio chip, i think all the Z83-F has bytcr-rt565, so the solution I've post here should work. Also, please do not double post.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. Brilliant work. I got my wifi working in Lubuntu 19.10 with this.

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  7. ciao Davide io ho un z83II ho provato tutto il procedimento ma l audio non va, potrebbe essere dovuto alla mia inesperienza con linux oppure il fix funziona solo su z83V grazie

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    Replies
    1. Ciao, potrebbe dipendere dal chipset audio. La versione Z83V potrebbe essere diversa. Controlla il chipset.

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  8. Is there some flavor of Linux that installs without my having to be so clever ?
    ... so the WIFI and audio work ?

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    Replies
    1. Hello, i think no, at least you have to run the script I've posted here.

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  9. I got sound, but no hdmi sound...

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    Replies
    1. Hello Karl, I've not tested HDMI sound, also unluckily I do not have this PC in my house not, so I can not help you now, sorry.

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  10. Now Z83-F is fully working with new Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, only have to place NVRAM file of wifi in the right place as shown Davide. The matter is Mint based isn't released yet based in 20.04 Ubuntu version, but box is working not bad in Kubuntu 20.04. But waiting for Mint, for me, is the best.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing your experience here KARL!

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    2. Hi guys, I have this same PC and just installed Linux Mint on it. I am hardwired and internet is working. But my problem is video streaming/playback. All videos stutter-from hard drive, USB drive, Network drive or Online...my main reason for this change was to setup this machien as Kodi player and little bit of computing. Any suggestions on what I should try? Total Linux Newbie here...

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    3. Hello, i would suggest you and Android box as a media/Kodi player. The video card of this mini PC can't play FullHD without lags.

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  11. Also HDMI sound is working, no limitations in Linux now...

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    1. Hello Karl, sorry for my english (i'm french) i'm probleme sound HDMI (20.04 version) out jack is ok , your are solution my probleme ? Config Z83-F

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  12. Tell me, is it possible to somehow use hardware acceleration of video decoding?

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    1. Dear LS, I do not have this PC in my house so I ca not try. If you check it out, please share your experience here.

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  13. Have you tried the latest antix? Same tricks works as well, and is super fast

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