Author Topic: Talos User's Survival Kit/New Talos User's Shopping List  (Read 324 times)

JollyRoger

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Talos User's Survival Kit/New Talos User's Shopping List
« on: November 25, 2019, 12:33:42 pm »
I decided to figure out a quick list of things that are good to have or nice to have that can make Talos ownership a little easier for people who are planning to buy one but don't quite know what they're getting.

It's my goal with posting this thread to assemble, with community input, a comprehensive "Talos User's Survival Kit" or some kind of a strongly opinionated shopping list which will contain the absolute bare minimum of equipment, in both e that a Talos user or a future Talos user could ever need to set up and maintain their computer, and then I could open up a new page on the wiki for it.

I know that I had to pick up and assemble my kit piece by piece by piece, and in many circumstances I was lucky to be able to have stuff lying around that I could repurpose (I also owe a deep debt of gratitude to the rest of the IRC channel for helping me through it), but I was thinking to help newcomers it might be a good idea to have a "Talos User's Shopping List" to have ready in advance that we could point to that would have everything they could need so they could prepare ahead of time. I was thinking the following items:

Day To Day Upkeep and Use
  • Multiple USB 3.0 Hub
  • USB Soundcard
  • PCI-e SATA card
    Cards with the Marvell 88SE9215 SATA controller have been tested and work great, and Petitboot can boot an OS from them without needing tweaks, firmware blobs, or additional drivers to be installed. There are versions of the card that have up to 8 ports which makes it a pretty good deal. I figured this would be a good recommendation to throw in off the bat since I don't know many people that use SAS drives on their computers.
  • PCI-e to M2 Riser
Maintenance and Rescue
  • BMC Serial Header
  • 9-pin Serial Cable
  • RS-232 to USB adapter
    These three items seem necessary to connect to the BMC COM port. If I recall right the Talos uses the DTK/Intel standard, which is easily recognized by the cables alternating between pins, rather than being connected in order. There's more on the Wiki page here: https://wiki.raptorcs.com/wiki/Talos_II/Building_FAQ#BMC_serial_port_J7701
  • An old laptop running Coreboot or Libreboot as a Hardware Monitoring Console, or a Terminal.
    Since the BMC doesn't have its own dedicated graphics card output, I just communicate with it using an old X200 laptop running OpenBSD. For extra security, it may be best to ensure that the HMC can't talk to any other networks, so I removed the wifi card. I noticed that OpenBSD comes with a lot of stuff necessary to talk to the BMC but I haven't been able to figure this out yet, since unfortunately at this time the Serial header I have is the wrong type, so if anyone else has any information on that please let me know.
  • Six foot ethernet cable.
    Looks like the BMC supports autonegotiation for talking to the HMC over the ethernet, so a dedicated crossover cable is not necessary.
  • Bus Pirate or SPI flash programmer
  • Bus Pirate Cable and 300-mil SOIC-16 Programmer Socket
    Something to bear in mind with this is that currently I've bought a couple SOIC-16 sockets and clips, but they're the wrong size. I think I'm going to need to find measurements or something like that, since I need to figure out which ones fit. Please let me know.

What do you guys think so far?
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madscientist159

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Re: Talos User's Survival Kit/New Talos User's Shopping List
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2019, 07:28:42 pm »
Looks good as an initial start -- might want to emphasize that some of those tools (SPI reprogrammer, etc.) are only needed if you really want to dive into the guts of the machine, otherwise it might scare new users off.  You can easily break an x86 system to the point of needing an external reprogrammer as well, so let's not put POWER at a public disadvantage for no good reason.  ;)

MPC7500

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Re: Talos User's Survival Kit/New Talos User's Shopping List
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2019, 05:59:50 pm »
But if you want to update the FPGA firmware, you have to use a SPI programmer.

nglevin

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Re: Talos User's Survival Kit/New Talos User's Shopping List
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2019, 06:43:48 pm »
(I also owe a deep debt of gratitude to the rest of the IRC channel for helping me through it)
Seconding this.

I don't have any of these tools yet. I have a Blackbird, which is mostly kept as-is with a WX5100 as the GPU and no other expansion cards.

Something that would act as an intro-ish level guide to dealing with the SPI programmer with maybe some links to recommended kit to buy would be very nice to have, for want-to-be advanced users.

JollyRoger

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Re: Talos User's Survival Kit/New Talos User's Shopping List
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2019, 01:40:51 pm »
Looks good as an initial start -- might want to emphasize that some of those tools (SPI reprogrammer, etc.) are only needed if you really want to dive into the guts of the machine, otherwise it might scare new users off.  You can easily break an x86 system to the point of needing an external reprogrammer as well, so let's not put POWER at a public disadvantage for no good reason.  ;)
Great, I'll add something like this then:

With the help of OpenBMC, the Talos II is capable of being managed remotely over the network from a computer system you trust via ssh. OpenBMC can also self-update over the network, allowing the Talos II's firmware to be updated or modified without needing any special tools. However, the Talos II has some owner-modifiable elements that are inaccessible to the BMC, such as the Field Programmable Gate Array used to control power sequencing. The following list items are only recommended if you wish to tinker with, examine, or modify parts of the Talos II that do not need to be serviced during expected normal operation of the computer, or if you intend to do a lot of modification, experimentation or tinkering with the platform on your own.

What do you think?

Something that would act as an intro-ish level guide to dealing with the SPI programmer with maybe some links to recommended kit to buy would be very nice to have, for want-to-be advanced users.
Oh that's a good idea too! I'm actually unsure of what tools to buy at this moment, all I have is the bus pirate and one of the bus pirate cables, and I recently got another socket, but I don't know if it fits or not. I have never used it yet though and don't quite know how so I think I might need some help with this, so I hope maybe someone else that knows more about SPI programmers could chip in...?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 01:46:18 pm by JollyRoger »
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