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The POWER and PowerPC General Discussion / News Thread



I don’t know what an olx is or does




Some more tidbits about the sub-Lite Talos II machine.

DRM Dictates that Hardware Cannot be Owner-Controlled

AKA normal market mATX boards that Tyan didn’t want to make unless money.


What Tyan mATX mainboard are you talking about?

The Talos II design is heavily based on the Romulus reference mainboard, which is the only other POWER9 Sforza board I know of. So this sounds like either a new design, or a minor redesign of Talos II’s mainboard.

I can’t find a mention of any Tyan POWER9 boards at all, although their POWER8 Palmetto system looks like it might be mATX.


This document describes Tyan’s POWER8 mainboards, Palmetto and Habanero:

In this thread on Twitter I asked about the difference between Romulus and Talos II:

How different is Romulus from #TalosII? Also, where did you get it, i.e. is it an IBM prototype or something like that?

Different fan control, a few other minor things. It’s a reference design that the Tallos II is based on, so very similar

Also no FlexVer support, proprietary CPLD toolchain, and all the normal bugs one would expect in a prototype. :wink: Still a nice machine for development though!


There was discussion of an mATX format board back in the Power8 design days lol.


Well, everything’s still very light on details, but I thought I should mention that Raptor announced a new single-socket microATX mainboard at the OpenPOWER Summit in Amsterdam:

Edit: I saw some more details from Raptor themselves on Twitter; here is the matching article by Phoronix

So based on what we know so far, Blackbird will have:

  • microATX form factor
  • 2 × DDR4 2666 MHz RAM slot
  • 4 × SATA (onboard Marvell controller)
  • HDMI out (via AST2500)
  • 5.1 sound with S/PDIF out
  • consume < 100 W power with 4-core CPU

Since this is a simpler storage controller (SATA-only) than the SAS controller on Talos II, the only proprietary code needed will be the firmware for the Broadcom NIC:

For any newcomers to the thread, this refers to code that only runs on the NIC or SAS hardware itself; all drivers and any code running on the CPU is open source for both Blackbird and the original Talos II. The POWER9 CPUs have an IOMMU, so DMA attacks should not be a concern.

Here’s a top-down picture at the OpenPOWER Summit from a LinkedIn post:

Interesting, could you elaborate?

DisplayPort and TVs
System76 Thelio HPC - Open Hardware/Software

There is a new WikiChip post about IBM’s plans for POWER chips:

AMD Next Horizon - Livestream
DDR5 motherboards

SMT PortSmash / CVE-2018-5407 on POWER chips

According to Marcan (Wii / PS3 / PS4 / console hardware hacker) and Raptor Computing, it looks like POWER is potentially vulnerable to SMT attacks like the one currently announced as CVE-2018-5407 for Intel’s x86 SMT (Hyperthreading).

This could have some interesting ramifications for future IBM POWER chips, which tend to be very SMT-heavy.

If you’re curious about this issue, the PortSmash thread I’ve quoted above is where most of the forum discussion is going on currently.


Wendell’s getting a Talos II to test over Thanksgiving!

wendell (tekwendell)
Tinkering with it over the Thanksgiving break would be good timing if that works for you? I have a wx7100 and 16tb of SAS flash I can test with it too?

Raptor Computing Sys (RaptorCompSys)
Sure, that sounds great! We’d send over a desktop that already has a WX7100 in it, but feel free to add in more storage and a second GPU if you’d like for testing! :grin:

wendell (tekwendell)
Its on the way. Very excited, can’t wait! : D


Phoronix have been benchmarking a 22 core Power9 against Threadripper:

Talospace also have some new blogs about using Talos and Power9 which were an interesting read.


I didn’t even know roadgeeking was a thing:

BTW, I found someone talking about this book on Reddit, as part of a discussion on the design choices for the Cell PPE (some people are not fans of it), and thought this is the kind of book many on this thread would be interested in:

The Race for a New Game Machine
Creating the Chips Inside the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3
ISBN: 9780806531014