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Messages - vikings.thum

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General OpenPOWER Discussion / Re: Raptor CS fediverse presence?
« on: June 18, 2022, 10:06:17 am »

General OpenPOWER Discussion / Re: Story Time
« on: May 05, 2022, 03:42:39 pm »
The die hard D16 board. We still have some of those running, fully specced with dual CPU and 256GB RAM. Rarely any issues and the only server-grade X86 hardware that runs coreboot without blobs (except CPU microcode updates you probably want). They are okay while they last - though we prefer the Talos II line-up for the well functioning BMC, better performance and much more RAM. I'm planning to replace all D16 boards with Talos II by 2023 for our hosting offers.

There is someone who recently started coding new boot firmware for the D16, which probably will add a couple of years to its live-span if that will work well:

What I find odd is that they ignored the KCMA-D8 so far.

the price of the equipment increased by 6.5% in a month :(

Yes, this sucks! We are currently seeing the biggest inflation rates in decades, worldwide. Small manufacturers are not only the first to feel this, but also the first to go down if they do not act in time. Broken supply chains are the next problem that play into this. Even without covid and a full on war going on, the inflation would've been around 4% p.a. (instead of the ~8% we can except right now). For some categories, e.g. energy, inflation is expected to be more than 30% in 2022. Right now, things are looking really bleak, but we all have to accept the new reality and that it won't be over anytime soon and that waiting for prices to improve could be a bad decision: it's been a while since there's been deflation

That's what you get for hijacking a thread; another rant  :D

Mod Zone / Re: 2U or 3U Heatsink Assembly Wanted
« on: December 22, 2021, 04:20:04 am »
I'm probably able to help out.

General CPU Discussion / Re: POWER9 water cooling kit
« on: October 20, 2021, 02:42:46 pm »
No, I saw that; just checking it didn't change. Thanks!

What changed in fact is that this isn't a high-pressure mount. This was unrealistic for our budget because it would've required a custom made water cooler. I would've preferred to do just that, but... Perhaps next year :-)

General CPU Discussion / Re: POWER9 water cooling kit
« on: October 20, 2021, 03:04:21 am »
Are you planning to sell fluid as well, or if not,

Yes, though it should be pretty easy to make a solution yourself.

what's your specific recommendation?
Please see reply #20 from a while ago above, perhaps you've missed that.

How good is the mounting pressure on these?
We try to prevent over-tightening by choosing a short screw correspondingly, so that it shouldn't be possible to tighten it too much. The mounting mechanism is somewhat improvised to be low-cost, so high pressure, e.g. with IBM's 90kg high-pressure system, would bend the mechanism and probably destroy the water cooler as well.

General CPU Discussion / POWER9 water cooling kit soon available
« on: October 19, 2021, 02:27:52 pm »
Glide, O sparkling waves and murmur softly...

We now have a second revision of our improvized mounting mechanism in place, made of stainless steel and a couple of other small improvements. The mounting mechanism is in production and will be available in approx. 2 to 4 weeks  together with a water cooling kit for all RaptorCS mainboards. We'll also make it available with just the cooler (because the mechanism is made for a specific cooler), just in case people want to use existing pumps/radiators.

I'll send another update here once we have them in stock.

General CPU Discussion / Re: POWER9 water cooling kit
« on: June 22, 2021, 02:45:14 pm »
Nice temperature reduction! I'm pretty confident all those problems are solvable.
I'm pretty confident as well, the manufacturer has been helpful so far.

Also, what fluid did you use?
We use DM or osmosis water (better avoid distilled water from the supermarket, it's often a bit on the acidic side) and a glycol without additives somewhere around a ratio of 1:20 (or even less), I've never ran into problems with that but this also depends on what tubing you use (PVC tubing can be problematic with very high glycol contents). There are also ready-to-use solutions available for PC watercooling enthusiasts, AFAIK most of those also use glycol/water but are more expensive, some contain glutaral (even though very little) which I would be a bit scared of to be honest. Correct me if I'm wrong :)

Cooling solutions that contains glycol must be disposed of properly. In Germany for example municipalities accept it free of charge as hazardous waste in small quantities.

General CPU Discussion / Re: POWER9 water cooling kit
« on: June 22, 2021, 10:18:28 am »
Hello there,

We were finally able to give this a quick run today and prepare some comparisons :)

Specs: Talos 2 with 1x 02CY296 (22-core, 88 threads)
Setup 1: HSF, 3U IBM HSF
Setup 2: Water cooling system heatsink, 120mm / 4.7″ radiator, 120mm / 4,7″ PWM fan, Laing DC pump, compression fittings and TPV (EPDM/PP) tubes.
Setup 3: Identical to setup 2, with MX5 thermal paste
Stressing the CPU: $ sudo sysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=990000000 --threads=90 run

We stressed each setup for 15 minutes / 9e+11 nanoseconds, both fans (HSF and the fan attached to the radiator) are PWM fans, controlled by Talos 2.

Compared to setup 1, setup 2 showed similar core temperatures, though quieter. Which makes sense since this mechanism can't deliver the high pressure of 90 kg (200 lbs) the IBM HSF can.
Setup 3 showed the best results which were roughly 10 °C / 50 °F below the present temperatures at the 15 minute / / 9e+11 nanoseconds mark and roughly 20 °C / 68 °F below the "highest" temperature of setup 1 and 2. Quite honestly this is as positive surprise.

I'd expect even better results with a larger 240mm / 9.45″ radiator.

Unfortunately, the upper plate of the mechanism had warped during the first attempts (which ist a quality issue and shouldn't have happened) and the mechanism as a whole is too tight against the compression fittings (perhaps that's not an issue with angled fittings). It's easy to overtighten the screw of the mechanism because it's unclear how much force is necessary to hold the heat sink in place and provide enough pressure for a sufficient cooling result. 
All in all this seems to be very usable in principle, but there are some improvements to be made before we're happy enough with the quality and if we want to use standard components (esp. a standard water cooled heat sink) that doesn't break the bank.

From left to right: watercooled with thermal paste / watercooled without thermal paste / IBM HSF

Blackbird / Re: Price of Blackbird went up $1,144 from April 2020
« on: April 12, 2021, 12:59:57 pm »
You should get everything you need to know by using

Blackbird / Re: Price of Blackbird went up $1,144 from April 2020
« on: April 12, 2021, 03:45:43 am »
The price for a Blackbird is $1,558.19 today, ~$400 more compared to ~1 year ago.

Edit: Oh you're referring to the desktop (BK1SD1). My guess is that building such a system has become more costly because a) it needs more time than just putting a mainboard in a box and ship it and b) Tim's calendar is full, so time has become more valuable.

Excellent! Will that extend to RMAs as well?
Yep, this is the E.U. where consumers have substantial rights. It's the law that we have to offer the legal two year warranty for consumers and it's impossible to exclude it. AFAIK this is very different compared to e.g. the U.S. where implied warranties don't exist B2C or are on a voluntary basis (c.f. RCS). Furthermore we have an agreement with RCS that their two year manufacturer warranty is valid for items bought at the Vikings Store (just in case we can't help etc.).

@vikings.thum My first choice would be a BlackBird but ... will they be available in a near future?
As soon as RCS has them in stock again we'll add Blackbirds, too. I don't know when this will be. Our new shop is taking shape though and will soon be online with RCS items (TALOS II and TALOS II Lite) in it. We underestimated the complexity of the new shop software... :/

You can place orders without having to pay immediately. I don't know if there is any kind of time limit, but I'd imagine one can order now and then pay once they have become available again.
It's generally correct that you can order backordered items at Vikings, though an order should be paid within a couple of days or it's cancelled automatically (B2C), no matter whether that item is available or backordered. This way we're able to guarantee delivery as soon as such an item would become available. We could handle pre-orders differently in order to gauge interest, but we already know that there is high demand for RCS's products. :)

There are a few comments about this topic in other threads (search for Europe to find them) but I thought it is worth having its own thread.

To summarize the problems:

- delivery from the US means longer delay, higher shipping costs and uncertain administrative charges at customs clearance
- if a product has to be returned under warranty, there are extra taxes in each direction, on top of the extra shipping cost and delay
- if a product being returned is completely dead on arrival or subsequently failed beyond repair, it is a horrendous waste of money to pay more taxes for a round-trip through customs
- overall, the type of person who buys this product is probably an experienced user who is aware of all these risks and may be deterred from purchasing
- most EU countries have a single market and there is a possibility the UK will participate in the single market after Brexit.
- Switzerland is not in the single market but some logistics companies have been very effective at setting up customs-bonded warehouses near the border and they can deliver into either the EU or Swiss markets without extra burden.  Example: Basel (CH) airport is actually on French territory, in the EU.
- a lot of the developers on related projects are in the European countries.  Looking at the Raptor wiki, the Firefox and Tor issues are on the front page, both of these groups have a lot of people in Europe.
This pretty much nails it regarding why a local seller (and a single market for that matter) is important. I'd also add that having a person you can speak to in your local language, who doesn't live in a time zone 10h away from you and who has a similar cultural background will be appreciated by some. E.g. in Germany and even more so in Switzerland: if you don't do work in a precise and quick manner, most people would just fire you and look elsewhere.
I believe having a more local source for RCS products will improve the overall situation and trust in their products. That's what I'm aiming for at least.

Wanted to let everybody know that we've placed our first order with RaptorCS today. Once the products arrive here we'll take the listings in our store live.  :)

General Discussion / Re: Fractal Design cases
« on: October 09, 2020, 03:37:20 am »
After building a number of system with Fractal Design cases I've monitored a decline in build quality, esp. in the Define 7 XL:
Some of the stand-off holes are not drilled correctly and either can't be used at all or have to be re-drilled with a screw tap.
Some of the motherboard stand-offs break off when you try screwing them in because of weak material (sometimes requires a thin drill for removal). Do not use Fractal Design stand-offs.

Side-note for assemblers who are shipping these cases: Fractal design uses cheap packaging, it's not suitable to ship workstations builds. They use hard styro which often already breaks with just the case inside, shipping with broken styro not recommended at all. Customized corrugated board with engineered foam enclosures (foam bags) are more effective and reinforce the rigidity of the outer box. Alternatively I can recommend double-boxing with the original box inside.

General CPU Discussion / Re: POWER9 water cooling kit
« on: October 07, 2020, 04:17:03 am »
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.

We can wholesale this system to an U.S. location on request. Not sure if RaptorCS would be interested.
We really chose the low-cost route here to check out demand. We're using an existing high-quality cooler (with different connectors where needed) with a custom-made high-pressure mount. If there is a market big enough, we'll invest in making a completely new cooler for 1U solutions (this only would fit 2U).

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.

There are use-cases that require a more quiet setup, of course if you don't need it like with your use-case there's no need to spend extra $ for a water cooler.
I found the IBM HSFs quiet enough when idle as well, for everything else, like office or living room situations, those HSFs are unusable IMO.
The reason for using water cooling for POWER in a data center, at least for us, is space and using a water/glycol heat exchanger for heating nearby offices, especially with energy being very expensive in our area.

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.

This could be a fun side project indeed! In order for this to be economically feasible I'd think you'd have to have more than one computer though :)

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