Anyone interested in an open architecture, powerful, secure workstation motherboard?

If you don't live under a rock you'll know that all modern Intel based motherboards are backdoored via Intels management engine, and generally x86 isn't a particularly open or user friendly architecture.

Raptor Engineering are looking to see if there's interest in an open secure fully auditable POWER8 motherboard

Here's a fancy diagram i stole showing POWER8 compared to others

Talos™ is the world's first ATX workstation-class mainboard for the new, free software friendly IBM POWER8 processor and architecture. Raptor Engineering's Talos™ Secure Workstation brings unparalleled performance, security, and user control to the desktop. Designed for security-conscious, high performance users, the highly flexible and extensible Talos™ Secure Workstation board includes two Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) capable slots, utilizes libre-toolchain FPGAs, provides a plethora of PCI Express slots, and includes a GPIO header, along with open schematics and libre (fully open and auditable) firmware.

@wendell I feel like you'd have some interest in this.

Here is a current list of the planned specs

8, 10, and 12 core variants available (190W TDP)
8 and 10 core variants also available in 130W TDP versions
Hardware virtualization (HVM, qemu supported)
Vector Multimedia eXtension (VMX)
Vector Scalar eXtension (VSX)
AES acceleration for VMX / VSX
8 DDR3 RDIMM slots w/ ECC support (2 memory controllers, 256GB maximum)
2 x16 Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) capable PCIe slots (8 shared lanes)
4 x8 PCIe slots
1 x1 internal mPCIe slot
1 legacy PCI slot
8 internal SATA 6Gbps ports
2 external eSATA 6Gbps ports
1 HDMI port
8x USB 3.0
2 GbE ports
2 external RS232 ports
2 internal RS232 ports
1 internal GPIO header
1 heatsink with 92mm fan
Open-toolchain FPGAs
Blob-free operation
Fully libre (open-source) IBM OPAL primary firmware w/ PetitBoot interface
Fully libre (open-source) OpenBMC secondary (IPMI / OoBM) firmware
NO signing keys preventing firmware modification
...and much, much more!

Apart from the pretty flexible hardware specs the thing that does it for me is the open firmware as well. All is well and good until your realise that x86 IME can potentially compromise your system regardless of what you do.


Phoronix article and benchmarks against Intel and AMD x86 processors:

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Oh gosh, you almost had me... i totally was interested... but $3,000 USD gosh that is way above my usual price range for stuff I buy for myself.

Sadly that such limited, small quantity, productions can't reach a reasonable pricerange for people not early adopting Teslas

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Yeah its a pretty large sum. I imagine thats partly to do with small manufacturing numbers, choice of architecture, and the components on the motherboard. It comes with a lot of stuff you wouldnt normally see on a x86 workstation board.

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What I am not sure, will it also include a fairly capable GPU in that price? - to be honest, I would enjoy the open approach, but I hardly have need for most of the "exotic" features.

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Excellent topic and read! So, I has a question. HOw would this benifit me, as a studio owner wanting to upgrage specific pieces in my production chain. Yeah, I didn't give any specs. So I'll rephrase. how, and in what ways would this be of benefit to the TEK? as production, all phases, are concerned?

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Not sure yet, though HDMI suggests it has something.

@LooseNeutral its definitely more of a developer/power user/hacker/builder type board, the types of IO available makes it extremely flexible. I dont even know how to use an FPGA but its there, and I know they can be super useful. Except for the open firmware and process or, i recon youll know if it for you by looking at it.

I hope they have some success with this and consider a more consumer oriented board as well.


I saw this a while back, looks amazing honestly and I'm glad to see that there are non-x86 fully libre options available. Would rather spend that much cash on travel than a computer though.

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all the more reason to push forward! :)