Z83 mini PC

  • Is there some interest/intention to add support for the Z83 mini PCs that are sold under various names? IMHO this is a great device for running LibreELEC. It comes with 2 GB of RAM and has 32 GB of disk space, gigabit ethernet, USB 3, HDMI output and even a SD card reader. I got mine for about 70 Euros, which is in the same price range one has to pay for a Raspberry Pi3 (since you also need case, sd card, power supply and HDMI cable), but offers much better performance (I'm regularly using music visualizations such as goom that are not available for the raspberry).


    The only issue with that device is that it has a 32 bit UEFI, so the generic installation does not work. I played around with it today and came up with these small changes, which allow installation of the generic image on such a device. Adding the 32 bit syslinux files will not harm anybody else; only annoyance is that the EFI partition of the installer needs to be set to EFI boot instead of legacy boot. When booting later on from the internal disk, this change is not needed.


    Would it be feasible to create a special project/device for this mini PC? I have found several people on the net trying to install LibreELEC onto the Z83, and there are some images flying around that solve the boot problem (by using grub it seems), so offering an additional official image for those users might be a good idea. Especially as it is so easy.

  • By the way, why does the boot partition of the installer get set to legacy_boot in the first place? This does not sound correct to me because everything gets set up for EFI boot. Is this a work around for strange systems or just an leftover from previous times that still is working only by luck because most EFI implementations are able to cope with it?


    In my opinion this partition should just be set to regular boot, and after adding the 32 bit bootloader files, the generic image would be truely generic and also work for those mixed systems with 32 bit boot loader (such as the Bay Trail).

  • Great! Meanwhile I learned that legacy_boot seems to be needed for syslinux when booting BIOS systems with an EFI partition.

  • I bought one of these Z83 boxes and it behaved very oddly, I think it may have been defective or design-flawed. The company made their website disappear for it, the only support was on a forum that evaporated. I threw it in the garbage. RIP

  • Ah! the z83

    I have one Z83 myself gathering dust ...not powerful enough for win 10 (imho)

    Should be ok for libreelec though - i hope! -

    And, it would be really nice to raise from the dead and have something useful to do :P

    SO... any help is welcomed. Anyone had success with deleting the awefull OS and installing Libre?

    I am insane! My mother had me tested.

  • Hello,


    I this mini pc powerful enough to play Netflix in 1080p or even 4k? I'm thinking about buying one.

    Edited once, last by Cube ().

  • 1080p should be fine but 4K is not possible without an OS that supports HDCP on the video pipeline. There is development in that direction for Linux on Intel hardware but exactly what hardware ends up supported and when it happens are total unknowns (not anytime soon).

  • ,

    1080p should be fine but 4K is not possible without an OS that supports HDCP on the video pipeline. There is development in that direction for Linux on Intel hardware but exactly what hardware ends up supported and when it happens are total unknowns (not anytime soon).

    Thank you for the answer. At the moment I'm on mecool m8s pro w with coreelec, but I can watch Max 720p and even with that sometimes stuttering happens... (Especially on "our planet" more complicated scenes). I'm thinking about some interesting based fan less pc like this one or gigabyte brix (Celeron n3160) but I don't know if it will be any better.

    If anyone could confirm that I could run Netflix @1080p without stuttering on either of this PC and libreelec would be great.

  • Do yourself a favour, throw away the 32bit efi crap devices. I had a couple of these devices, even a very expensive industrial grade device. If it doesnt work it doesnt work. 32bit efi is just a nasty way of crippling an otherwise perfectly fine 64bit cpu. A way for the industry to limit use of potentional usefull hardware to next to nothing.


    Especially the intel cherry trail devices often come with 32bit efi, those cheap little plastic chinese boxes with sub par cooling. My humble opinion: save a little more and get yourself something better, like intel n3700 or j5005 devices, from a well known brand (with decent cooling).

  • Our master branch (future LE 9.0) includes support for 32-bit devices using GRUB as testing with 32-bit syslinux gave patchy results.


    see: added EFI 32bit support via GRUB2 by maideii · Pull Request #2061 · LibreELEC/LibreELEC.tv · GitHub

    So it looks as though the code in this commit has been removed at some point and for some reason.


    My experience is that I install LE8.0 using a modified version I found online with this patch, and it is fine. I then update to LE9.0.1 and all I get is a black screen on booting.


    I'd be more than happy to help debug this if you can tell me what you want, as it is a crying shame that an otherwise great little PC can't run LE.

  • So it looks as though the code in this commit has been removed at some point and for some reason.

    The code is still there.


    Furthermore the update does not alter the existing boot configuration. You can try to <e>dit the boot entry from the grub boot menu and replace "quiet" with "debug textmode" to see boot messages.

  • The code is still there.


    Furthermore the update does not alter the existing boot configuration. You can try to <e>dit the boot entry from the grub boot menu and replace "quiet" with "debug textmode" to see boot messages.

    Thanks for the comment. Could you explain how I would do that? Happy to try!

  • I see. timeout=0, the boot menu is not visible by default. Try to hold the <shift> key at boot or press the <Esc> key to activate it.


    Navigate to the boot entry and press <e> to edit. The changes are not stored.


    Or create an installation stick and boot from USB.

  • If I press the shift key at boot, nothing happens. If I press esc, I get to the bios.


    Sorry if I appear stupid, but I don't know what I am expecting to see.

  • I expect a Grub boot menu.


    But the shift key detection is not implemented in LE, my fault.


    With the BIOS being activated by <esc> finding the right timing for pressing the key may be difficult.


    Creating a LE 9 installation stick and booting from USB looks like the easiest test environment to use.

  • Can anyone please explain for us that are not so tech-experts

    what steps are needed to replace the installed windows with Libreelec

    I am insane! My mother had me tested.