Time to raise the Itanic?


So it occurred to me that now might be a good time to pick up Itanium server hardware on the used market to re-purpose as a personal workstation.

Best option looks to be systems about 10 years old. By then it was only HP making them. These systems started around $10K and could run up to $100K+

There are still a few refurb IT outfits asking big money for these, but you can find them cheap enough on ebay. The blade servers are the most ubiquitous and cheapest, although this obviously presents the problem of acquiring an enclosure. Some of the blades sell cheap enough that it might work out to cannibalise them for CPUs and RAM to populate another server.

I've never worked with these systems myself. Does anyone have an insights into whether this is a viable idea? Performance comparisons to current hardware are a bit of an unknown. I believe it depends a lot on the workload, particularly how parallelisable it is.

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maybe just get a beaglebone black

fucking retard never come back here

For what purpose?
For most purposes that an average kid on this site, they don't need that high power server stuff. They could just easily do with a SBC like Raspberry pi or what said and not put a huge dent in their neetbux pile.
Besides, I wouldn't imagine the supply for these computers being enough for any substantial switchover.

It would be a viable option if shit was useable as a desktop PC or at least worked.

more usable and functional than a fucking itanium, what the fuck are you thinking

Well, I guess that confirms my theory that CIAniggers can't into Itanium.

As a non-botnet, non-spectre-vulnerable, general-purpose workstation. I think this "high power server stuff" from 10 years ago might be fairly comparable to modern consumer CPUs performance wise - or at least it can be made to be, as these systems range up to 16 sockets. Of course it's not directly comparable for single-thread performance, this architecture thrives on parallel workloads.

And who said anything about a "substantial switchover"? Remaining a niche platform not in CIAnigger's sights is an advantage.

There is another negative - EFI BIOS, no core/libreboot available. Weighing this against ME and spectre vulnerabilities, I still think it comes out ahead.

try again, sweetie.
you're looking at pretty expensive space-heaters.

I wondered about down-clocking them.

Keep in mind, you won't be able to run x86 programs.

And how would lack of x86 binary compatibility be an issue when running Gentoo, which compiles from source?

It maybe non-botnet, but it's fucking weird. Get SPARC/MIPS64/POWER hardware instead. Or

Wouldn't it be better to use SPARC server? But I don't know how much those cost.

Why should I care? I have free software! This means I have the freedom to make all my programs run without x86!

That's a lot of work when I can just deal with AMD.
I know someone's gonna say "but that's backdoored too!", but honestly, I trust AMD with this kind of access. They're just not in the position to fuck over consumers. They don't have the money to pull it off. If there's ever a huge controversy surrounding the security of their CPUs, the company is done, period. Intel can tank bad press like it's nobody's business.

POWER is vulnerable to spectre.
SPARC status unconfirmed, I'm investigating.
Are there MIPS64 systems with reasonable workstation-level performance? I thought MIPS was relegated to embedded these days.

AMD is vulnerable to spectre.

Spectre is not just one hole, it's a new class of vulnerabilities of which Meltdown was just the first example found. Itanium is immune by design due to it's EPIC/VLIW architecture.

So far all of the press I read says that the manner in which AMD is vulnerable is either easily patchable, or not a security risk. But I honestly haven't been following this shit too closely, so if you have an article or something suggesting otherwise, I'll read it.

They haven't found a spectre vuln on AMD or POWER yet, but any processor that does speculative execution is potentially vulnerable to this newly conceived vector of attack.

...so you're deciding not to buy chips because they are POTENTIALLY vulnerable?
The fuck is that? Literally every piece of silicone on the market is vulnerable to SOME kind of future exploit. You might as well stop using computers altogether if you're that paranoid.

It's not just "potentially vulnerable" in a hypothetical "there are always new exploits" sense. It's potentially vulnerable in the "It has a fundamental design flaw which opens up an entirely new vector of attack" sense. Speculative execution was a mistake.

A dam could have a "fundamental flaw" somewhere and still stay up for decades. The chips are a security risk when there's an exploit in the wild, and not a second before.

And this is why you go all FOSS or nothing, you can use it on any platform you compile it for. OP a Itanium with a pci-e nvidia gpu with nouveau would be very nice.

Older powerpc CPU's like those in the powermac G4's are not vulnerable. And appearently itanium is not either.

You do know most programs cant just be compiled for other architectures right?

Yes they can you giant faggot. Unless it is something like a emulator with hardcoded assembly in memory or using specific things to the architecture like cryptodev it will compile if it uses C code and the target architecture supports the features neccessary for C. Which is to say a MMU, superscalarness, having enough RAM, and having had a general C library ported to it. All of which itanium supports or has.

That second one is probably worth 3 times its sale price for the RAM alone. Whoever's selling that is retarded.

AMD-PSP: fTPM Remote Code Execution via crafted EK certificate



All it needs to fix a problem is a literal slap.

Not necessarily. Various combinations of software such as Bochs, QEMU, KVM, and WINE will allow you to emulate other architectures and OSs, often at near-native speed for very library-heavy software.

The 4chan in here is palpable, or are they just glowing?

TBH OP, It's not a bad idea, might be a fun little project if you can pick something up cheap enough. Although personally I'd like the Sun Fire SPARC server myself, just because Intel sickens me so much. I would love an update thread with pics and vids to see how you progress if you do this.

That's where you're wrong.
Speculative execution was introduced in Poulson (~2012) to improve the performance.
But as long as you buy something older you're fine.

Do you realize those need an enclosure that costs an order or two of magnitude more?


OP, get a sunfire E25K
The E25K supports up to 72 dual-core UltraSPARC IV+ processors (up to 1.95 GHz). As with UltraSPARC IV-based 15K systems, the "MaxCPU" option was not offered for E25K systems. Overall system bandwidth is claimed as up to 172.8 GB/s aggregate, up to 115.2 GB/s peak, and up to 43.2 GB/s sustained. For overall I/O bandwidth, up to 35.8-GB/s sustained. Up to 64 GB of RAM per board is possible with a maximum of 1.15 TB of RAM for a single domain. Up to 72 hot swappable PCI-X I/O slots; 54 slots are 90 MHz, 18 slots are 33 MHz. It also supports 10/100 BaseT Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, UltraSCSI (LVD and HVD), ATM, FC-AL, HSI and SCI.

might as well get a pocket calculator because that's what low-clocked RISC amounts to

What's wrong with Beaglebone exactly? I know some boards need non-free software to even boot-up, but that page only covers a small subset of all ARM SBCs.

if you can live without 3d acceleration, that's as free as you'll get

Yeah, I don't care about 3D stuff at all. Only problem is, some of these boards have very limited RAM, and I need to be able to run Firefox or Chromium once in a while. On my amd64 laptop, Firefox sucks up nearly 170 MB after just starting up. Homepage is set to my home directory, so it's not even rendering any webpage, CSS, javascript, and so on. Maybe 512 MB would be sufficient, but I'd feel safer with a 1 GB board to avoid swapping (which would be pretty horrible especially if your SBC is running with an SD card rathar than hard disk).
ARM Cortex-A7 seems to be recommended choice as per marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=151527756600887&w=2 so that rules out a lot of other boards. Of the ones that remain, Banana Pi (and M2/M3 variants) stands out as a possibility, since it's based on Allwinner Axx SOC, which isn't listed under "fatal flaws" in fsf.org/resources/hw/single-board-computers so presumably that means it can boot without non-free software. Then again, they don't directly confirm this, so who knows...
Also here's a useful page to compare specs of various ARM SBCs: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_single-board_computers


I'm not at all a fan of those bloated browsers, but I'm forced to use them on occasion, because web developers insist on making sites that only work in those kind of browsers. I try to minize my interaction with Web 2.0, but I'm not at the stage where I can just cut it off completely. Personally I've no use for any computer more powerful than a non-accelerated Amiga 500. And I really hate upgrading OS and other shit constantly. Modern computeting sucks ass, but I'm kind of stuck using it. My aim is simply to minimize my exposure and interaction with the modern browser shit, that's all. If I could do everything Unix-related in text terminal, I would.

I have an Olinuxino A20 Micro that works with 100% free software and with the mainline kernel, has SATA and 1GB of RAM. I've never tried using X though, but apparently 2D works.

I'm being 100% serious when I say this: if you have some website that's so important to you that it makes you use CHROME, maybe you should consider just writing your own standalone reader for that site and that site alone. Not a general purpose web browser, but a single purpose standalone app viewer. FOSS niggers do it all the time on Android, there's nothing stopping you from doing it on desktop.

... which is a small subset of popular programs.

You're still a Fagette

could you even run firefox on it?

Why are you faggets focusing on this dead ass architecture when you could be looking at Lemote MIPS. Same cockspeed and it's gonna go up soon, fully libre PMON boot firmware, made for GNU/Linux.

where can you buy them?

Are you retarded? Itanium does a lot more per cycle than other architectures.

Oh, right, you are retarded.


52.5.2 is at "testing" status. This means someone has compiled and is using it. IA64 stuff rarely makes it to "stable" status due to the small userbase.

57.0.4 is "unknown" status, which means you can go ahead try it and see.

well its not going to be immune if its no longer obscure as it is

aka chinese freedom cpu
revolutional comrade!

Weren't those dropped by everyone because too slow?
Even Stallman moved from Lemote Yeeloong to a T400s.

that was their yeeloong netbook.

IIRC that was because his Lemote was stolen in some south-murican shithole

He moved to a t60? Or an x60? Something with libreboot anyhow


Currently I don't know, but I do know that there was a german user on halfchan who said he was gonna start a business reselling them into western markets. Dunno if he's actually gonna go through with that though.

Well considering that the boot firmware used on the boards is way more free than 90% of what's out there, yeah it's pretty damn good in that respect
also thats a cute doll, user

Are you fucking retarded?
Do the math.

Actually they offer an mitx board that looks really good, was thinking of getting one. However I am holding out hope for POWER9 or Risc-V, the MIPS stuff they use seems very weak.


Stop LARPing that you know what you're talking about.
That thing is 72 low-clocked RISC dual-cores from the year 2003. Ancient technology.
Might have been great if you were running enterprise shit like Oracle or SAP in mid 2000s, but useless for a personal workstation in 2018.
It's large, draws incredible amounts of power, produces fuckload of heat, and still sucks performance-wise.
Fucking autist.

I did in fact mention the need for a blade enclosure in the OP...

Here's one that I found for a reasonable price. The problem I see with blades is that they don't have standard PCIe slots, they take XMC Mezzanine modules instead. This would necessitate a hard to find, probably expensive adaptor to bring the PCIe signalling out to an external enclosure for a graphics card.


Nope. T400s now.

G5 outperforms it and is more easily available and is better supported.

It's going to be a dinosaur though, if you can lay your hands on a working setup and preserve it real nice it'll be worth a mint in 25 years. I've sunk thousands of dollars into speculative retro-computers which aren't quite old enough to be worth fuck you money like an Apple I but which are destined to appreciate.

I just picked two specific genres of stuff too, you can't just start buying every heap of shit out there, if you want to get into this hobby which now, oddly, might have a practical side, learn and become an auteur. Specialize.


Supposedly vulnerable to SPECTRE as well. Has that been confirmed for sure? I'm still interested in the things for other freedom reasons.

70-80% of the software that the average Holla Forumsnitian on here uses could be ported by the better 25% of us easily. If it aint foss, then fuckem.

Go advertise on 4chan.

You have to go back you fucking newfag sucm

kill yourself shill

POWER9 has been prereleased patched, SPECTRE and MELTDOWN have been fixed with zero performance loss according to Raptor Engineering.


Now that's rage.

Are you sure about that?

Most powerful G5 had 2 x 2.5Ghz PowerPC 970MP dual core CPUs. 2005 vintage.
The Itanium systems I'm looking at have Montvale Itanium 9140M processors from 2007.

Itanium performance was famously disappointing, but you have to take that in the context of the market it was aimed at and the price. It was a much more expensive piece of silicon than the IBM chip. Performance comparisons are hard to come by, it's a very different architecture and it's said to depend heavily on the application, but I'd be surprised if the G5 kicked the Itanium's ass on a core-for-core basis.

Even if core-for-core it does outperform, these HP Itanium systems go up to 16 x quad cores. I could potentially get 4 x dual cores in my price range.

Yeah, the G5 would get obliterated, mainly because it's a scaled-down POWER4 arch meant for workstations and Itanium is a full-blown big iron chip. The massive amounts of cache alone would make a huge difference.
More interesting (and fair) would be comparing Itanium and POWER.

You're probably going to need 10+ amps for it though.

These systems are probably all on the SPEC site, maybe later I will look into them. Anyway if you're not 3D gaymen anything post-2000 is probably powerful enough for most uses. I use an old X41 for shitposting and it can handle modern JS-heavy sites even if it's a little slow.

It's their claim, the only companies on the planet who can say otherwise are Google and IBM.

And everyone else using POWER9 systems right now. Wikipedia lists a several other high-profile customers, I'm sure there are many more.

Yes, I'm aware that power consumption, and the noise from all the associated cooling, may be the biggest issue.

Fortunately the 9100 series were among the best for this. TDP is 104W. Some others went up to 260W. I don't know what the total system power usage would be, obviously with 4 of them it's still going to be juicy, but I'd guess it might be comparable to some of the mental SLI gaming rigs out there - not beyond reason.

Even if they perfectly engineered the things you probably will draw 2kw idle.

That's a new one on me and on Google.