Return to Level1Techs.com

Catsays Random Thread (Thoughts, Intersting things, Random Projects)

Some may have noticed that I haven’t been particularly active on the forum anymore and also just to say that I’m still around.

This is my thread to share why I think that is.

Over the past ~year or so I have become more involved with my new line of work and getting far more active engaging in communities closer to me.

And by closer I don’t just mean physically so - I mean communities that have an active and evolving discussion around complex topics that I feel able to more closely contribute to with actual results.

Someone once said the infamous quote:

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

It’s not a phrase I fully agree with, but it is one that feels apt here for different reasons.

It seems like the smartest and most creative audience has left L1 for deeper, richer waters and rarely if ever congregates here. Now they are found on discord, github and on their own websites and micro-blogs.
Direct connection and collaboration via e-mail even yields much better collaboration and results than any open platform.

There’s also the aspect that L1 and forums in general are a bit of an exclusive club - that not everyone logs into anymore. Controversial opinion: it’s going the way of IRC - but in a different direction. The signal to noise ratio is starting to skew towards noise more and more.

Now going back to the original quote, why do I feel it applies here?
Some of my past posts on L1 I have gotten barely any strong useful feedback or critique and I’ve seen the pattern repeat across other high value posts from other users. Even when I knew exactly I was doing something the wrong way - sometimes deliberately as a test to get some response - nobody picked up on it. It became a bit of a disincentive to post here since the responses where mostly neutral/positive/negative but not contributary to the actual topic/project.

So let me explain why I joined here in the first place:
Collaboration and Community. I didn’t come for the attention or karma.
I joined for the far out ideas, the DIY projects, the posters asking ‘what if we built this’ - and then someone actually comes back with a plan and another joins to put that plan into action.

That’s what I want to see expanded here - but not just exclusively here.
Going forth I’m going to start posting some of the things I do, the projects I’ve built and maintaining a blog (also writing this as a bit of a push for myself - so you here can hold me to that).

Things i post here will be sort of the behind the scenes version of what I post elsewhere and serve as a discussion - jumping board of sorts.

And to start this off I’d like to post a little arduino project I’ve started yesterday.

[Next Post]

11 Likes

[Circuit Diagram Pending] - it’s pretty basic anyhow.

This is basically a momentary switch simulator built with an arduino nano and 2x CD4066 Quad Bi Lateral switches.

So I can read the state of a computers mainboard as well as control the Power(on/off)/Reset/and force off (hold button) state of each of the boards via software. This is especially useful for me in cases of automated software testing where I know that the system will crash hard and require a reset/power cycle etc.

Pictures

The future plan for this is to develop this into a raspberry pi hat module which can control and monitor up to 8 systems. As well as log data from those systems via ethernet.

Maybe even make it chainable to multiple others and or make an ESP8266 version with network control. (That’s for another time.)

So yeah please poke at my code - open issues whatever.

Throw your own ideas into it.

Also:
PCB design.

10 Likes

This is a very nice way to call us dumb. :wink:

It’s not just you bud. The masses would rather meme about spatulas than read anything useful. I’m not sure how to change that or if it should be changed at all.

Either way glad to have you.

6 Likes

For those wondering, the boards I’m using in the picture are cheap HP767104’s A few months ago they could be had for $15 a pop. Often now they still pop up for bargain rates in bulk.

AMD A8-6410 15W APU (can be unlocked to 60W :fire: ) with standard 1.5V DDR3 dimms
All powered off 19V (In this case I’ve wired all to a common rail supply)

Note to self: Probably need to add independent cutoff switches too each.

I’m using these for all sorts of automated testing or just as Malware test boxes. They are PXE Booted (100Mbit Ethernet is good enough for thin server distro booting) and the value is pretty much unbeatable.

EDIT: You can go wild with these:

Also full OpenCL (Clover + APP) and AMDGPU support. Just not ROCm (yet :wink: )

2 Likes

You know rule 33 (Lurk more)?

Some discussions/thread blogs on here are way over my head, so I just read through all of it to pick up useful tricks here and there.

4 Likes

Remember the BSD Blog Resurrection? RIP in Peace…


CatSays I wish you well in your endeavor. I’ll be sure to take a peak and comment when it seems appropriate.

1 Like

Latest Weekend project

Modding a Tesla C2075 and a Tesla M2090 (No display outputs by default) into a Quadro 7000.

Why a Quadro 7000?
Well it’s the only GF110 Quadro with a matching strap, bios and core config.
Also the Tesla cards are sold as compute cards but windows doesn’t enable the 3D Driver component for them - just VGA with a primary focus on compute. Interestingly linux has now such seperation of features and the 3d driver just works natively on the C2075.

So here’s the C2075 turned into a Quadro 7000

Overclocking ftw

Stock voltages are 0.9125 reads as 0.95V peaks mainly due to LLC

Some of the sensor readouts while running a compute test
The GPU chip power readout is a bit bugged in HWInfo
But the VRM readout is accurate - barely 100W (amazing result for Fermi)

Oh no - there’s 2!!

Well one of these is a Tesla M2090 with a DVI port soldered on - a bios flash and a lot of strap mods to enable bits not active on the M2090.

And now there’s at least one Steam Hardware Survey entry for a Quadro 7000 hahaha

More stuff including gaming coming up soon.
(6GB turns out to be a big deal for Fermi’s performance)

8 Likes

Hehehe
Fun times with New Old hardware.

3 Likes

Welcome to the Dangerzone

If you ever hear a fan go to this speed in a server without you intentionally setting it that fast - leave the area.

3 Likes

My internet does not load the video for some reason.
Fast spinning things are fun.

1 Like

This weekends first hack.

Enabling full advanced BIOS menu’s on an HP767104 board.

Write-up gonna follow on how to mod AMI BIOS 8 and AMI APTIO IV.
For now just some screens.

By default this boards BIOS is a bit of a lemon.
You can see the Advanced Menu is pretty barren.

Taking a quick peek at the Setup menu structure using AMIBCP
image
Decoding our Menu entries and addresses.
Note how there’s two different sets. The top which are not present in our menu screenshot.
image

Finding the mask and toggling the bytes to 1.
image
Flashing the BIOS back using undocumented commands and bypassing firmware signing.
image

And lastly check out just some of our cool new options

This architecture (Beema) is pre HSA (So memory between GPU and CPU is using fixed allocation. UMA != HSA
But at least we can now increase it beyond HP’s lame 256MB.

8 Likes

The latest acquisition

AMD Pike

990FX Engineering board

One of a kind.
Header count: yes

3 Likes

Does that die have a chip off the corner? And is that some sort of m.2 at the bottom?

1 Like

The corner is minorly chipped, but doesn’t affect functionality.
The actual important bits are underneath on the other side of the die (flipchip and all that).

The connector at the bottom is your bog standard wireless card mini PCI-e connector.

2 Likes

Cool. If you do more with it or turn up anything interesting, like odd bios options, please post about them. Look like an interesting board just from a potential options point.

1 Like

Well it works
So we’re off to a good start.
It even boots windows 10 after some bios readjustments

6 Likes

Just linking this in here

3 Likes

PCI-e slot clearance?
What’s that?

An interesting bodge:

Here is the VRM and mosfets used.

The mosfets in question:

5 Likes

Oh lawd this VRM controller has configuration jumpers.
Wish I knew what they even set.

Seems they select between different resister+capacitor combinations as form of analog adjustment.

4 Likes

I agree that I came here to learn, and did. The older atmosphere here got me from “what is a server really?” To an all-in-one tower build virtualizing FreeNAS via an obscure on board hardware raid chip flashed to IT mode, drives in passthrough, multiple nix and windows VMs, network isolation (big thanks to @Dexter_Kane and many others). I still like this community but agree I feel it has changed somewhat.

I haven’t shifted to other platforms as I’m neither 1337 nor have ventured far into other platforms.

I am part of the problem as I do not upkeep my thread of projects, how-ever low level they may be. I’m very happy to see you starting to post projects.

2 Likes