Author Topic: next generation Blackbird ideas  (Read 400 times)

pocock

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next generation Blackbird ideas
« on: May 08, 2020, 06:04:11 pm »
I had a look over the various specs and blogs that people wrote about experiences with Blackbird and Talos II boards.

Here are some observations, maybe a wish list for future board designs:

Blackbird only supports 2 DIMMs / 2 memory channels, but for the price of these boards and CPUs I feel that it is very compelling to have 4 channels, as in the Talos II Lite, which is only a little bit more expensive than Blackbird anyway.

With only two PCIe slots on the Blackbird and Talos II Lite and no support for PCIe bifurcation, it is difficult for people to do NVMe RAID.  It would be really useful to have a couple of M.2 slots on the board so that people can have up to two NVMe SSDs and still keep the PCIe slots free.

4K monitors are much more common today than they were when POWER9 was launched.  It would be nice to have basic 2D support for a 4K display on the built-in HDMI port.  From practical experience running Debian and GNOME, I found that small 4K graphics cards, like the NVIDIA K420 with 2GB were unstable but cards with 4GB or more have been trouble-free for a development desktop.

On size, it could be bigger than Blackboard but it really needs to be smaller than Talos II (Lite) to open up a wider choice of cases.

A board with all of the above would probably be somewhere between Blackbird and Talos II Lite.
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Borley

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Re: next generation Blackbird ideas
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2020, 07:50:23 am »
It sounds like you want the Condor. IIRC its release is unfortunately on hold.

I actually like the simplicity of the Blackbird as it fits the minimalist design philosophy of having no more than is needed. That said, I was also surprised to find that there was no M.2 port. I've had a bit of a wish list of my own for any prospective Blackbird II:

  • Integrated Displayport rather than (or along with) the HDMI port. I understand that HDMI is more popular in home theater but it is not freedom friendly compared to DP (there are licensing fees for implementing it at the very least).
  • Stronger integrated graphics. The AST2500 is okay, the Talosspace author was even able to get a detailed 3D shooter running on it at something like 10 FPS which is impressive considering what it is. I would love to be able to game on a fully free graphics stack.
  • Suspend-to-RAM funtionality.
  • Shorter boot time.

pocock

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Re: next generation Blackbird ideas
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2020, 07:16:15 pm »

Condor release is coming after all.  Beware...
https://www.kptv.com/news/oregon-zoo-welcomes-first-condor-eggs-of-2020/article_91490aba-540c-11ea-b34e-87c36640b987.html

But in our case, it looks like Raptor's Condor has half of what is discussed in this thread.

DisplayPort would be completely acceptable in lieu of HDMI.  Most good monitors seem to have at least one of each these days.

The Condor wiki page doesn't mention plans for M.2 or bifurcation.
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