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Messages - vikings.thum

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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 :)

Talos II / Re: setting up FRONT PANEL.
« on: October 05, 2020, 08:52:04 am »
See page 22 (and 67) in the PDF user guide.

General CPU Discussion / Re: POWER9 water cooling kit
« on: September 07, 2020, 08:56:22 am »
Looks really interesting.

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

Generally that's a feature of the fitting installed, not so much the cooler. Since standard dimensions are used, the cooler would be interoperable with other standard cooling systems. The top fittings in the draft are an example of rotating fittings.
We're also checking if this would work for 1U machines - would be a huge advantage for anyone looking for hosting these machines in a data center where rack space is expensive.

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.

While it is generally interesting to check all options available, we're based in Germany so it makes more sense to look for a partner on this side of the pond, also keeping indirect costs in check and potential legal issues manageable.

General CPU Discussion / Re: POWER9 water cooling kit
« on: September 07, 2020, 07:03:31 am »
Here's a draft for a POWER9 water cooler. The base plate is made of nickel-plated copper.

GPU Compute / Accelerators / Which GPU would *you* choose?
« on: August 11, 2020, 10:39:47 am »
We're aiming to build desktop/workstation computers in Europe based on RCS hardware and we're looking to offer a selection of 3D GPUs that are close to the user/market for needs beyond the 2D AST2500.
Basically we're looking for an entry solution for office/daily driver use (incl. ≥ two non-4k display setups) and a mid-level solution (which can do at least 1x 2160p@60Hz). More high-end than that will be available on request (pointers still appreciated).

  • What do you as an existing/aspiring user of Talos II (Lite) or Blackbird currently use and for what purposes?
  • For which technical aspects would you choose AMD over NVIDIA and vice-versa?
  • Do you have a personal recommendation/preference for specific GPUs and if so for what reason(s)?

I'd appreciate any additional data you can give us!


General CPU Discussion / Re: POWER9 water cooling kit
« on: August 10, 2020, 08:39:19 am »
Vikings is working on a silent water cooling solution for POWER systems. We should have something presentable in ~one to ~two month(s) from now.

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