PinePhone Speed Up Takes Soldering

It is no secret that we like a good hack and [Federico Amedeo Izzo] explains a hack for the PinePhone that can double the speed used for the device’s memory chips. Like many good hacks, it all started with a question. [Federico] was reading a review of the PinePhone Pro (the source of the image for this post) and apparently, the eMMC memory in that phone clocks in at about 150 MB/s. The original phone gets about 50-80 MB/s.

Reading some datasheets, it looked like the same chips are in both phones and should support not only DDR52 mode — the mode the original phone uses — but also HS200 and HS400 modes which top out at 200 and 400 MB/s, respectively. But there was one problem.

The eMMC used has two power supply lines: one for the memory and another for the interface management hardware. If the interface power supply is at 3.3V, the chip can’t support the faster modes. The original phone, of course, does provide 3.3V to this chip and, apparently, the new phone uses a lower supply.

However, the design does have a jumper that can select 3.3V or 1.8V for the chip. Of course, a jumper in a little phone is really a zero ohm surface mount resistor but you can remove it and resolder it to get the different voltage. Of course, you also need software support for the faster mode and there is a warning that you won’t be able to boot from the eMMC unless you have a kernel that supports the faster mode after you do this modification.

Testing on two different phones saw speed increases from 55 MB/s to 125 MB/s and 80 MB/s to 110 MB/s. Not shabby for a quick soldering job.

We had our own discussion of the PinePhone Pro you might enjoy. If internal surgery on your phone is too much, why not print a keyboard?

18 thoughts on “PinePhone Speed Up Takes Soldering

      1. My mistake. I got misled by the marketing on Pine64 site. It appears that the original PinePhone was/is being sold at cost while it is in Beta, which is what the discount refers to. I got things mixed up with the Pureos/Librem 5 phone Actually the PinePhone is very attractive at $150

  1. I held off buying a PinePhone due to reports of unreliability. I just need something that can handle voice calls and SMS reliably, as I don’t want to have to carry two devices. Perhaps the Pro version is worth laying out on.

    1. The PinePhones all carry warnings on the Pine64 website about being Beta and for developers only, just so you are aware of what you are buying. You probably won’t get the same experience as on Android or IOS out of the box. You will have to do some tinkering.

      1. Rightly so. I run manjaro with phosh and sometimes the UI just locks up forcing a reboot. Seems to happen more quickly in convergence mode with heavy desktop applications. It’s a fun thing but I wouldn’t use it as my daily driver without a lot of tweaking to resolve things like that.

        1. I have tried postmarketos with phosh on an old tablet of mine and it locked up everytime I tried to browse the web after a few minutes regardless of the browser I am using. Then I realized it had no swap available and that led to lock-ups.

      2. Tinkering and the time taken isn’t so much of a concern, I have 20+ years experience of Linux & open source. I’d read about reliability issues with my target use (voice calls, SMS), and I need something dependable. Apps or other functionality is a nice to have, but not essential to me.

        1. From a quick take from the reviews, it appears that on the original, the GUI is quite laggy, due I believe to the lack of (use of?)GPU hardware. The sluggish GUI , as well as a much better camera are among the major parts addressed in the new PinePhone Pro. For the underlying OS, I would assume that , being Linux,it is pretty solid, and the developers would probably be grateful for your input… Anyway I’m off to see if anyone want to buy me one for Xmas:)

      1. Hi there Andy. I’m confused. Are there 2 Andy’s in the thread?
        Qualified FOSS developer? Is there such a thing?
        I would hope the only qualification required is enthusiasm. The Pine64 site mentions that users should have a fair knowledge of Linux, presumably to avoid raising expectations that they are going to get an out of the box getting a tweak free experience, but I don’t see any mention regarding qualifications?

      2. Hi there Andy.
        Qualified FOSS developer? Is there such a thing?
        I would hope the only qualification required is enthusiasm. The Pine64 site mentions that users should have a fair knowledge of linux, presumably to avoid raising expectaions that you are getting a pain free experience, but I don’t see any mention regarding qualifications?

      3. Hey Andy.
        Qualified FOSS developer? Is there such a thing?
        I would hope the only qualification required is enthusiasm. The Pine64 site mentions that users should have a fair knowledge of linux, presumably to avoid raising expectaions that you are getting a pain free experience, but I don’t see any mention regarding qualifications?

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