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Messages - pocock

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Applications and Porting / Re: Building software, a bit of a newb question
« on: September 12, 2020, 12:09:29 pm »

make doesn't really care so much about the architecture, it depends more on the project and autotools, if the project uses autotools

By default, make will use the default compiler, which is usually a compiler for the host you are using.

The Makefile for a project might be fussy though, it might have things hardcoded for some other platform

Looking in Debian, there does appear to be an OBS package available:

Can you please clarify the problem you had installing the OBS package from there?

I tried putting a Quadro K2200 into my Talos II.

It is running Debian buster

The card appears in the lspci output.

I added the package:

Code: [Select]
apt install xserver-xorg-video-nouveau
systemctl restart gdm3

Xorg.0.log shows that the nouveau driver loads but it fails to initialize

Code: [Select]
[   161.140] (II) NOUVEAU driver Date:   Mon Jan 28 23:25:58 2019 -0500
[   161.140] (II) NOUVEAU driver for NVIDIA chipset families :

[   161.271] (EE) [drm] Failed to open DRM device for pci:0033:01:00.0: -19
[   161.271] (EE) open /dev/dri/card0: No such file or directory
[   161.271] (WW) Falling back to old probe method for modesetting
[   161.271] (EE) open /dev/dri/card0: No such file or directory

This failure is mentioned here in the Nouveau Troubleshooting guide

I didn't have more time to test it so I took out the K2200 card and put the Radeon back into the machine.

For any NVIDIA card, I feel it is a good idea to test the exact same OS and Nouveau version on an x86 host for comparison, to see if the issue is only a fault on powerpc64 or if the issue is in Nouveau for all architectures.

Operating Systems and Porting / petitboot doesn't show the OpenBSD partition
« on: September 11, 2020, 01:52:36 pm »

To workaround the issue with my HBA, I removed the HBA and did an install to an SSD in a USB 3 dock (Sharkoon)

The OpenBSD installer completed successfully

petitboot doesn't show the OpenBSD partition in the boot menu

If I exit to the OpenBSD shell, I can use fdisk to inspect the SSD and I can see the partition is there.  It is /dev/sda4 and type = a6 (OpenBSD)

Is there any way I can get petitboot to boot this partition or does it need some newer version of petitboot or some change in the OpenBSD partitioning scheme?

GPU Compute / Accelerators / Re: Which GPU would *you* choose?
« on: September 10, 2020, 11:41:55 am »
They already made some contributions at the kernel level.

Does anybody know if AMD provides any prototype boards to the X developers or if there is any way to explore that with them?

GPU Compute / Accelerators / Re: Which GPU would *you* choose?
« on: September 10, 2020, 04:01:41 am »

News sites are reporting that AMD will announce details of the Big Navi cards (Navi 2, RX 6000, Sienna Cichlid) on 28 October and it looks like they might reach the shops in November.  The news doesn't really include any specs.

Personally, I can get by using an old GPU for a couple of months longer to see if Big Navi is a worthwhile buy.

GPU Compute / Accelerators / Re: Current support distributions for Navi AMD
« on: September 08, 2020, 12:34:21 pm »

That is the way Debian traditionally works, yes.

The Debian backports facility gives you a way to work around that for specific packages that you want now.

The Debian testing distribution also gives you a way to get newer packages but if you run the testing distribution, every package on your computer can potentially change at any time when a developer updates it.  Debian testing could be considered a rolling release, every package has been through a short period of testing, 5-10 days before you get it.

GPU Compute / Accelerators / Re: Current support distributions for Navi AMD
« on: September 07, 2020, 04:58:55 pm »

On any Linux, you need a combination of the following:

- the kernel
- the firmware blob packages
- other libraries like mesa
- xserver-xorg-video-amdgpu

While it is a long time since the first Navi cards released, please remember that Debian only makes a release every 2 years.  Debian freezes 6 months before the release.  The current Debian stable release, buster, entered freeze back in January 2019:

and the next stable freeze will be in 2021.  That is why backport packages are necessary for Debian users.

Every user has different requirements.  I personally don't need a Big Navi right now, I never do any gaming or 3D, but I think it may be worth paying a little bit more money to have a PCIe 4.0 card that can handle multiple monitors, maybe even a multi-seat configuration in future.  If it has better video encoding and decoding that will be useful for anybody running OBS but they haven't given any confirmation whether codecs like AV1 will be included in the spec.

Blackbird / Re: using bigger CPUs with some cores disabled on Blackbird?
« on: September 07, 2020, 12:40:51 pm »

I tried using the ppc64_cpu command to disable all but 2 out of 16 cores.

It reports the cores are disabled but I didn't see any reduction in the power consumption when the OS is idle.

I didn't test making the cores work but I assume that the power consumption and fan noise would remain much closer to idle when it can only use limited cores.

It would be really interesting to know about any runtime options to reduce power consumption even further when the system is idle.

General Discussion / U.2 vs U.3 disks, PCIe 4.0 HBAs
« on: September 07, 2020, 12:29:18 pm »

I was thinking about putting U.2 disks in my workstation to get optimum speed.  However, reading about the subject, I found a few gotchas:

The U.2 disks will not work in future U.3 slots, but U.3 drives will work on U.2 controllers, according to this article.  That is despite all the effort for interoperability promised by tri-mode HBAs.  The implication is that it is better to avoid U.2 now and wait for more U.3 products in the months ahead.

Supermicro's HBA list does not include any PCIe 4.0 product now, using only 50% of the speed of the slots in Talos II.  The PCIe 4.0 cards appear to be arriving in the market very slowly.

It seems that the PCIe 4.0 products that do exist now are not fully supported yet on every OS, e.g. the LSI 9500-8i

For people running Fedora, they will go with Btrfs as the default filesystem soon.  As far as I know, Btrfs mirrored configurations require two copies of each write to go through the bus from CPU to HBA, compared to mirroring in hardware RAID, where the OS only has to send a single write to the RAID controller.  This appears to be another good reason to have the fastest possible storage path, PCIe 4.0

The conclusion: I can live with SATA SSDs running on my LSI 9207-4i4e for 6-12 months while the U.3 drives and PCIe 4.0 Tri-mode controllers become more certain.

General CPU Discussion / Re: POWER9 water cooling kit
« on: September 07, 2020, 10:55:45 am »

I use a lot of German products without any hesitation and given my location, I'd probably try your product first.

Some of the US users may prefer a supplier local to them, it could also be good publicity for the platform if some of these other vendors list Raptor and POWER9 on their web sites.

Personally, I've found that the dual POWER9 system is so fast that my projects are finished compiling in less than 30 seconds.  In that time period, the CPU doesn't get hot enough for the fans to make a crazy noise.

That said, as I put more jobs on the workstation, I suspect I'll need the watercooling.

I went looking for more adventurous solutions too, for example, external chillers and heat exchangers.  This could be interesting for people who can dump the heat into a thermal store.  For example, you can basically rack a couple of Talos II servers in your basement and 90% of the electricity will heat water for your shower.

General CPU Discussion / Re: POWER9 water cooling kit
« on: September 07, 2020, 08:11:41 am »
Looks really interesting.

Will the connections rotate?  It could be helpful for getting the best pipe routing.

I had been looking for companies that do this, I found this company, Optimus Water Cooling are close to Raptor in Chicago.

Then there is Ice Giant in Texas, maybe not far from the location where the motherboards are manufactured.

GPU Compute / Accelerators / Re: Current support distributions for Navi AMD
« on: September 07, 2020, 06:47:13 am »
On Debian buster, it should be possible with updated kernel and mesa packages from the buster-backports catalog.

This shows how to search the current versions of mesa packages in buster-backports, nobody backported them at the time of writing this reply.

If I was using a Navi card myself, I would prepare the necessary backports and find a way to make those packages available conveniently.  For now, I decided to start with the RX 580 and wait for the Big Navi cards to arrive.  I don't feel it is a good use of money to buy an RX 5700 today when the Big Navi might come in 2 weeks.

OpenBSD commented that amdgpu is currently being adapted for the powerpc64 port, that list might be the best place to get further details about Navi.

On any distribution, developers are sometimes willing to make an extra effort to support things like this if the manufacturer or another user can provide free or subsidized access to the hardware.

Operating Systems and Porting / Re: installers not booting
« on: September 07, 2020, 03:23:06 am »

The OpenBSD memory issue mentioned above has been resolved by a patch.  I created separate topic for any dedicated discussion about OpenBSD 6.8


According to the PPC page on the OpenBSD web site, OpenBSD 6.8, which is imminent, will be the first official release to support PPC64

Has anybody else tried their PPC64 installer snapshots recently?

After my attempt to run it last week, they included a patch to support machines with larger amounts of memory and the installer progresses further but it still has a limit somewhere.

The next problem I found was that it becomes stuck when I have the LSI 9207-4i4e HBA in the machine.  If I remove the HBA, the OpenBSD installer boots all the way to the first question:

Code: [Select]
Welcome to the OpenBSD/powerpc64 6.8 installation program.
(I)nstall, (U)pgrade, (A)utoinstall or (S)hell?

If anybody else has time to test it, especially if you have accessories like a HBA or NIC, that can help the OpenBSD 6.8 release gain traction or at least help qualify the list of supported hardware on the wiki.

GPU Compute / Accelerators / Re: Which GPU would *you* choose?
« on: September 06, 2020, 07:57:54 am »

Another observation I made when installing the Sapphire Radeon RX 580 Pulse: this particular card has heatsink on the back of the card

In a Blackbird, the 8x slot is on the fan side of the GPU, so the rear heatsink on the RX 580 will not clash with another card.

In a Talos II Lite, there are only two slots and the 8x slot is behind the 16x slot, opposite of the Blackbird layout: therefore, if you put something like a HBA with a front heatsink into the 8x slot, it may be too close to the rear heatsink of the GPU

I tried putting the LSI 9207-4i4e behind the Sapphire Radeon RX 580 Pulse and I found they don't touch but the gap is less than 2mm

The only way around that appears to be choosing another RX 580 variation or using one of the other strategies described above, e.g. a PCIe riser or an 8x GPU

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