Group: Hardware/research/laptop/Pinebook PRO

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(Research: clarify loadable firmwares)
(Other differences with a Libreboot Thinkpad: Add infos about the display)
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| Integrated
| Integrated
| Through USB adapter
| Through USB adapter
! Display
| Mate, good enough for working.
| Mate, more recent / better?
! Debug
! Debug

Revision as of 04:10, 22 October 2020


This page research if it's possible to replace a Libreboot Thinkpad with a Pinebook PRO and how much freedom issue the Pinebook PRO has.


Nonfree firwmares:

  • Internal WiFi / Bluetooth [1] => Use another WiFi / Bluetooth adapter on another bus (USB, PCIe, etc).
  • dptx.bin => External displays won't work?
  • Video decoding offload? => Use the CPU instead
  • Others?


An adapter [2] exists to enable to connect NGFF A/E key WiFi cards.

=> TODO: Look if ath9k compatible cards exist in that form factor.

Alternatively it's possible to use external USB WiFi cards, but they will be limited to 2.4GHz and there is a tradeoff to make between the range and the key size.

=> TODO: look if it's possible to put the USB WiFi card inside the laptop.


  • 128M flash chip: can probably be used for the bootloader: This way you could encrypt fully the other storage which have internal nonfree firmwares.
  • removable eMMC (64G or 128G available at the time of writing)
  • MicroSD (SD3.0, MMC 4.5, up to 50MB/s)
  • Adding an NVMe is also possible but this has some downsides:
    • This occupies the PCIe connector. It might be a better idea to try to find a way to connect an ath9k compatible card on that connector.
    • The NVMe has an internal nonfree firmware and probably has DMA access to your RAM

Other differences with a Libreboot Thinkpad

Libreboot Thinkpad Pinebook PRO
  • i686 on some laptops
  • x86_64 on others
  • ARM 64bit

See distribution compatibility for more infos.

Embedded controller firmware Nonfree


  • The keyboard
  • The power up sequence (voltages, power rails)
  • WiFi / bluetooth power on/off
  • Battery charging
  • etc
Probably Free software

probably handles similar things.

RAM 4G, 8G possible with specific RAM DIMMs. 4G soldered
Ethernet Integrated Through USB adapter
Display Mate, good enough for working. Mate, more recent / better?
  • UART in the dock on some laptops, or absent on other
  • It might be possible to add an UART through the express card connector
  • USB Debug (not very practical)
  • Reinstalling Libreboot can be time consuming on some laptops
  • External UART connector (multiplexed with sound?)
  • TODO: What is the SOC/device boot order?