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:
Then you have to unzip that file, under the Z83-F_audio folder run to enable the audio chip, under the Z83-F_wifi run to enable the wifi chip. The following commands will set as executable, and run it.
sudo chmod a+x
sudo ./
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

  • read risk disclaimer
  • excuse my bad english