Return to

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?

System76 Thelio HPC - Open Hardware/Software
DisplayPort and TVs

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

DDR5 motherboards
AMD Next Horizon - Livestream

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


Saw this on reddit:

Thought y’all might enjoy this. It’s OpenPOWER with OSS firmware and stuff:

I am not POWER user (never used it) but it’s interesting.


Yep, looks like they are bundling 8-core chips too:

mainboard CPU cooling Price
BK1B01 Blackbird 4-core None 1174.99 USD
BK1B02 Blackbird 8-core 3U HSF 1499.99 USD

for comparison, without bundling:

Component Price
BK1MB1 (Blackbird) 899.99 USD
CP9M01 (4-core) 375.00 USD
CP9M02 (8-core) 595.00 USD
TL2HS2 (2U heatsink, no fan) 75.00 USD
TL2HS3 (3U HSF) 110.00 USD

Edit: If anyone is curious, the post-thanksgiving sales had dropped the prices to:
799.99 USD for the Blackbird board itself
999.99 USD for BK1B01, the 4-core bundle without heatsink
1329.99 USD for BK1B02, the 8-core bundle with 3U HSF
so they did, temporarily, go below the 875 USD pricepoint they were polling on Twitter.


@wendell Any updates on the Talos II review?


I have the system, it’s pretty neat so far. I just got it so still testing. What sort of things you guys like to see?

2990WX Threadripper Performance Regression FIXED on Windows* #threadripper | Level One Techs

I’d like to have an idea of how it would be for a day-to-day usage situation. Like, what are the hiccups involved with having a non-x86 CPU?

Additionally, how is GPU support on there? Can we run AMD and Nvidia GPUs with open source software/games and get decent performance, or are we limited?

Moreover, let’s see some benchmarks. I’m sure it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but I’m still interested.


Testing suggestions

  • Unreal Tournament 4 – Raptor uses this as a demo, but I’d still be curious to see it, since the only video we have is from the IBM POWER8 system they were using to develop/test software; this was back when they were working on the Talos I campaign
  • Blender – again, I think Raptor has demoed this at events, but rendering could make for some nice b-roll (especially with htop)
  • OpenZFS – I’m curious what the state of it is on Power Arch., does it even compile?
  • SuperTux Kart – could be an amusing way to celebrate the addition of networked multiplayer
  • 0ad – It’s listed as working on the wiki porting page, why not?

The TenFourFox developer, who also works on Firefox for Power, made a post about how his Talos II handles the workflow for his roadgeeking hobby. In that post, he mentioned that he successfully uses Firefox, LibreOffice, GNOME Document Viewer, VLC, and Krita.

Something like that, a look at how much of Level1’s daily computing would work on Power, would be really interesting to me. I think I remember @kreestuh talking about Krita in a earlier video, so it would be cool to see her test it, and in so doing, probably some tablet drivers as well. Kdenlive could also be interesting to test, since some Youtubers like The Linux Gamer use it to edit their videos.

Endian testing

I also think it would be really cool to see what the differences are between Little and Big Endian compatibility. I’ve heard that several programs work equally well in both, but the porting pages for Chrome and Firefox show that there are some Endian-specific bugs.


I’m definitely also interested to see how Wendell and the gang would use a Talos II day-to-day, but I did come across a Adélie Linux dev’s blog post:

There are some wiki pages on GPU compatibility and troubleshooting, this would be the place to start looking:
Talos II/Hardware Compatibility List#Graphics_Cards

For benchmarks, you’re mainly looking at Phoronix for the time being. However, there is a new benchmark article since the one @BGL posted earlier.


Are anybody here actually running daily on Power? I am curios about this since the Raptor guys seem to provide fully free CPUs (well software wise at least) and IMO that’s amazing.