Some questions about the board


I was hoping to get some answers to questions before diving in, but very little seems to be announced right now.

  • The documentation here lacks ( a fair bit of information. Especially notable is the “What’s in the Box” section. So: what’s in the box?

  • Is there support for video hardware en-/trans-coding via Android and/or Linux?

  • Do you recommend a heatsink and/or fan? I presume processor throttling due to heat is implemented within the Android distribution. Could you clarify is you think a fan is necessary for heavy use, and what are the performance consequences of fan-v-heatsink-v-none? What are the dimensions of the main SOC/processor (for heatsink configuration). I see that the 96Boards specification calls for support for an external fan, and it looks like this can be achieved by using the 5V or the SYS_DCIN (12V), both present on the Low Speed Expansion connector, but I do not see an specific recommendations for fans, and it is unclear how one can implement a variable speed fan.

  • Is there any functionality that is yet to be implemented within the Android distribution? For instance, I have used devboards where bluetooth is non-functional upon delivery.

  • Could you give more details on the implemented functionality of the M.2 socket? In the past, I have used an ARM board with an M.2 slot, but no kernel drivers had been implemented for SATA support, for instance.

And finally …

  • I know this has been asked before, but is there any news on mainline Linux support?


How can I use the AOSP?

There are no special instructions for hikey960.

build your own
download and install

  • What’s in the Box can depend on who’s selling it and if its part of a kit or not. I believe that currently, it only ships with a board and a heatsink - no power supply or other accessories. But that can change in the future.
  • HW encoding/decoding on AOSP is being worked on and will land in a future release sometime in June according to current estimates
  • The in-kernel thermal support should land soon (this month) that would keep the system working within the thermal envelope. The board also ships with a heatsink but you could add an external fan to increase your performance envelope.
  • At the moment HW encoding/decoding is the major one missing
  • Mainline Linux support is already happening, basic support has already landed as of 4.11 and support for various peripherals is expected to land in 4.13 and 4.14.
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@idlethread Many thanks for your informative responses. This all sounds very positive. I’ll believe the HW encoding when I see it, though, as that always seems to be the goal that slips the most on ARM boards. Still, I’m excited to get started to start tinkering (board arrives this weekend).

Some more general questions if you don’t mind:

  1. is there any additional details about the PCIe-M.2 socket? Does the provided kernel support NVMe (over PCIe)?

  2. does the board boot up from UFS only? If yes, is there any plan to support booting from SD or a PCIe device?

Thanks !

In response to one of my questions, when I ordered from Amazon the board came with a PSU and a connector adapter so that it fit the board.

I ordered my board from and it did not include a heatsink.

Inside an Alpha-Star-branded box were:

  • the HiKey 960 board
  • an 18 cm adapter cable from 5.5/2.1 mm female to 4.75/1.7 mm male for the power connector
  • four 2 cm riser screws and nuts
  • a “Getting Started” leaflet making references to things not included in the box (in English)
  • a card warning about electrostatic discharge (in English and Chinese)

Nothing else. No heatsink, no PSU.

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The heatsink was actually a tiny thing in the official box with the HiKey board. I’m pretty sure it really should have been in there, and I’d contact the supplier.

What about HW encoding/decoding on AOSP now?
I tested the latest image, it seems still not support.

yeah… i was wondering about that too. Maybe @leo-yan can shed some light.

No, H/W codec driver has not been supported in AOSP. AFAIK, this is working in progress but has not been integrated into Android.

Is it something that is being worked on open source side of things or will it require blobs from arm/hisilicon ?

There have some libraries should be released by Hisilicon, and in kernel there also have some patches need to be merged.


Hi Leo-Yan,
Would you like help testing and and maturing of this feature? We are happy to
alpha/beta test the hw video OMX plugins. I already have the kernel driver cherry picked
from here:
(3 commits) but there is not much I can do with it. With a lot of fiddling around in user space,
I can get the stagefright framework to load the OMX plugins copied from the vendor image of a
Huawei P9, but they don’t communicate correctly with this kernel driver and it gives errors.

I have put in a Linaro support request, (Request #2114) and you can find my contact details
there. For us, the Hikey960 boards are basically paperweights without
hw video acceleration. We would be eager to get going with what we are doing.
I will be running the related CTS tests and other video tests, and will be happy to share the results.

Best regards,

Hi @frostybeard, I talked with landing team and John for video codec supporting; you could see there have some comments for the kernel patches from John Stultz so the patches still need to be improved quality for merging. So we still need to wait for the final integration into AOSP. There have another propertied package in user space so we need Hisilicon official releasing and integrate into AOSP releasing, we cannot release the userspace blob binaries until the approved official releasing from Hisilicon.

It is sorry for the delaying due this feature actually has some progress at beginning for opensource but now it’s pending by related developer has no enough bandwidth to continuously following up comments to improve the patches. I will delivery your request for our internal discussion.

We are eagerly waiting on any news of hardware video acceleration for Hikey960.

I think this is a key use-case for this kind of board.