HiKey 960 as Dolphin emulation console



I’d like to use the HiKey for dolphin because of the fast CPU, but the hard requirement is a 64 bit userspace. Will the HiKey 960 be shipped with a 64 bit Android?

Next issue is the GPU driver. We have bad experience with Mali, but let’s hope this will improve over time. Are you going to update the drivers over time on your provided images? Also do you know a good way to report bugs like crashes in the shader compiler or feature requests for eg EXT_buffer_storage?

I’m sorry for maybe obvious questions, I’m just so used to the mobile “ship it and forget it” way.



I was looking at this board also and possibly using it for dolphin. As far as I can tell the board does not come preinstalled with Android. There is documentation about installing Android from Android open source project and it appears Google is supporting the board. AOSP can be built with 64 bit userland. You’ll have to get your hands dirty to get Android running. No downloading and flashing images yet as far at I could tell. The Mali gpu supports the new vulkan API which from some videos I’ve seen looks to be quite an improvement. Android 7 should support vulkan as well. It looks like this board should emulate N64 without a problem and possibly some GameCube.
Hopefully this board will be a real desktop replacement unlike the RPI. Huaweii, Google, and linaro are supporting the board. The site says they’re going to get mainline Linux kernel support so hopefully drivers and stuff working won’t be an issue. I do wish there were some prebuilt images.


My suggestion is to not buy this board if you just want to play Gamecube/Wii games. The CPU cores aren’t fast enough for most games, and the driver crashes both on OpenGL and Vulkan.
It is however a good board if you want to work on those issues. Feel free to RE the driver blob and to write a mesa driver, or to contribute on dolphin for a faster CPU emulation. But both tasks are out of scope if you just want to play.


I agree it is probably a bit early to use Hikey960 for this… but I’m surprised that the 4 big A73 cores don’t provide sufficient horsepower. Hikey960 is significantly more powerful than the “high end 2015 phone” I thought was needed.

If your results are based on experimental evidence (and who can argue that that?) then you might like to try again in a month or two since there is active work going on to improve the thermal management.

I don’t really have any views on the GPU. The graphics hardware is fairly powerful (by phone standards) but I’ve no real idea on the driver status nor what the plans are to keep it up to date.


I think the raw single core CPU performance will match the Samsung S8, maybe a bit worse in thermal efficiently, but easier to cool. The Snapdragon variant (less driver issues compared to Mali) performs quite fine for light Gamecube games. But most games are still out of scope. Please keep in mind that the recormended requirements are a mid-range desktop Haswell+ CPU. Just because there is an android package doesn’t mean there is also any hardware which will run it well.

Through I expect you to manage all kind of thermal issues, I doubt we’ll see good Mali drivers soon. They crash within half of my tested games before the menu within the shader compiler. The other games have major graphic issues. Not providing any way to efficient stream vertex data is another point… I just hope someone will pick this board and start with the RE effort to provide a mesa driver :smiley:

Edit: Video of a few popular games on the S8. Neither really hard, nor really light games.