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POWER9 & Raptors? Oh my! - TalosII Talk & Interview w/ Raptor Computing Systems | Level One Techs



This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The POWER and PowerPC General Discussion / News Thread

Awesome conversation!



But what is talos ?

An Operating System ?



If i recall correctly it is a complete workstation with Power9 processors.
I have not seen the video yet, did i miss the joke? :stuck_out_tongue:

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Wendell + Timothy + silly Jurassic Park jokes + OpenPOWER discussion

What more could I ask for?

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Talos is the “product” line; since you can buy either as a finished system or the mainboard by itself, you’ll see it mainly used to refer the common denominator, the mainboard/motherboard.

The OS that Raptor uses is Debian, though several other distros can be used.

Edit: Here’s a glossary of sorts, with links if you want to read more:

  • Power - is the ISA, a continuation of PowerPC, which itself was from the POWER ISA used by the POWER1 chips that IBM made - Wikipedia
  • POWER9 - an IBM CPU that has a theoretical maximum of 12 SMT8 (eight-thread) cores or 24 SMT4 (four-thread) cores - RCS Wiki page
  • Talos I - a mainboard/system using POWER8 chips that Raptor tried to crowdfund, unsuccessfully - RCS wiki page
  • Talos II - a mainboard/system using POWER9 chips that Raptor created without crowdfunding (though probably encouraged by the interest in Talos I) - RCS Wiki page
  • Blackbird - the “little brother” of Talos II, single socket rather than dual, and with built-in audio-out, and HDMI rather than VGA for the ASpeed “GPU” - RCS Wiki

It’s just a play on words of the name of the company.



But will they run Crysis?



It can run Unreal Engine 4, so if you ported CryEngine to Power+Linux, it probably could.

Without that, you’d probably need to be running on top of x86 emulation and WINE which would likely be too slow.

Edit: It’s funny that you mention it though; one of the talks on POWER9 linked in the Power Architecture thread actually had someone ask about Crysis as a joke. It went a bit over the IBM people’s heads.

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I think it would be really interesting to see to more on the blackbird board when its available. Testing a few distros, basic use as a desktop, etc. I kinda wish they went atx or at least jammed 4 memory slots on the matx board. I think though an atx with a little more expansion would have been better but still overall it looks like it could be a really cool system.



From what I know, that’s not really possible, there are hard limits to how many PCIe devices can be connected without a PLX-style switch, which would increase cost.

On the Talos II, the six PCIe endpoints of the first CPU are used by:

  1. BMC
  2. USB controller
  3. NIC
  4. Storage controller
  5. PCIe x8
  6. PCIe x16

I imagine a Blackbird has the same configuration, although there additionally is audio-output; I imagine it might be through the BMC, which acts as a 2D GPU.

If you want to look at the Talos II diagram, you can expand this quote:



While watching a video about ARM-based servers on Level1Techs, I came across an interview with Raptor Systems about their fully open source POWER9 systems.

Yes, come to the dark side, we have source! Or rather they have source, I’m still on x86 at the moment…



I really wish I didn’t need x86 for games otherwise power9 would be a serious consideration for me.