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#1 2016-02-06 01:12:56

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
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A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

The specs look good. Given that the Quad G5 new was $3300, $3100 doesn't sound too bad. I signed up as an interested buyer since I'd love a 12-core POWER8.

https://raptorengineeringinc.com/TALOS/prerelease.php

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#2 2016-02-06 01:59:26

bbraun
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

I have visions of getting Tiger booting on that.  Throw it in one of those intel developer boxes from the transition, and pretend the last 10 years went very differently.

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#3 2016-02-06 03:27:34

Eudimorphodon
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

The obvious question is, of course, "Will it run AmigaOS 4?". (On one core.)


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#4 2016-02-06 21:00:54

ClassicHasClass
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Can't imagine it couldn't be made to, since the hardware architecture is open. It will run all baseline PowerPC code fine, and it has AltiVec (VMX). A few instructions like mcrxr will need to be emulated in the kernel, but that's not very hard to do.

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#5 2016-02-06 21:55:10

Eudimorphodon
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Posts: 522

Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

The sheer pointlessness of such an endeavor almost makes it worthwhile. wink

(Although so far as I'm aware you'd probably be looking at an AROS or MorphOS port, Hyperion/Amiga Inc./whatever they call themselves these days seem to have religious objections to targeting the "real" AmigaOS to not-their-label boxes. They could always repackage the motherboard as some "Amiga Xsomebignumber, I suppose.)

What would the real world single core performance of one of these chips be like, anyway?

Last edited by Eudimorphodon (2016-02-06 21:55:52)


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#6 2016-02-07 02:32:47

ClassicHasClass
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Single threaded performance versus Xeon, its intended competitor, is not good (even against Ivy Bridge). But it does sneak by even Haswell cores with multithreaded, at least according to AnandTech.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9193/the- … -review/11

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#7 2016-02-16 14:46:00

ClassicHasClass
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Since I last pimped this mercilessly, Raptor has dropped the price to a flat $3000 and there are now some early benchmarks up from them and Phoronix -- which means it actually does exist, at least in prototype form. The current rumour is that they'll need 2000 requests to do a production run. I sent them an E-mail to clarify, but haven't heard back yet. I'll just link my blogpost, since there are a number of links in it.

http://tenfourfox.blogspot.com/2016/02/ … ower8.html

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#8 2016-02-17 02:54:37

bbraun
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Do you know what the planned process is?  Are they planning on making it generally available after the ~2000 signups, or are they planning on just making enough for the number of people signed up?  I'm interested, but my plan had been to wait and see what happens when it comes out and what people end up doing with it, but if it'll only be available to the people on the list then I guess I need to make up my mind a little sooner than that.

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#9 2016-02-17 07:04:22

cc333
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From: North S.F. Bay Area, CA
Registered: 2014-05-23
Posts: 562

Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

I would get it, but I can't afford $3000.

Perhaps someday, with mass production (if there's ever enough demand to justify it), the price will come down to something I can manage (either that or I get more money).

I'm wondering though, can Mac OS X be made to run natively on it (no virtualization)? It would make for a very nice upgrade if so, and it could run most PPC software at speeds far beyond what all other PPC Macs can ever achieve (maybe it can even run some OS 9 software natively (like Classic), which is something no Intel Mac can do out of the box). It could be a sort of "G6," which is probably what we would've gotten in some form had Apple stuck with PowerPC rather than switching to Intel.

c


Main Macs: Early '09 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 13"
Secondary Macs: Early '08 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 15"
Playthings: Mac SE/30, 3.0 GHz Mavericks-based HackServe, Many others....
Desired: Lisa, Kanga PowerBook G3, Apple IIc, Apple II, Spare parts, etc.

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#10 2016-02-17 07:08:57

ClassicHasClass
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

bbraun wrote:

Do you know what the planned process is?  Are they planning on making it generally available after the ~2000 signups, or are they planning on just making enough for the number of people signed up?  I'm interested, but my plan had been to wait and see what happens when it comes out and what people end up doing with it, but if it'll only be available to the people on the list then I guess I need to make up my mind a little sooner than that.

I got a reply and they weren't too specific, but my suspicion is that people who sign up will get dibs and the rest become available for any buyer. I imagine their manufacturer will only do it in lots of certain sizes. The rep said they didn't have enough yet to justify but didn't say how far short they were.

cc333 wrote:

I'm wondering though, can Mac OS X be made to run natively on it (no virtualization)?

Doubtful IMHO. I suppose xnu could be coerced to run on it, and POWER8 would work with many of the same optimizations (and limitations) as POWER4/G5, but the architecture is just too weird. qemu's going to be the best bet.

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#11 2016-02-17 07:43:17

LCGuy
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From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-13
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Mac-On-Linux?

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#12 2016-02-17 15:51:19

ClassicHasClass
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

It will work, but performance is not great. I talked with one of the M-O-L maintainers when the Tyan boards became available and he said:

On 09.10.14 17:11, Cameron Kaiser wrote:
>> It works, but it's not fast unfortunately, because we need to emulate
>> dcbz32. An Apple G5 will give you better performance with osx on kvm.
>
> That's actually very discouraging. sad What's the performance delta?
> I haven't looked to see how common this is in the operating system itself.

It makes your shiny POWER8 machine feel like a G3 or G4 wink.

> I have a quad G5, of course, but it runs OS X natively.

You're probably best off running kvm on that one then smile. It can
natively support dcbz32.

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#13 2016-02-19 20:02:26

Eudimorphodon
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Huh, KVM on PowerPC is a thing now and it can run OS X? I almost kinda sorta want to dust off a Powerbook and play with that. I haven't run PowerPC Linux for close to a decade now.


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#14 2016-02-20 03:42:11

ClassicHasClass
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Apparently so but I can't really advise on how practical it is.

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#15 2016-02-20 06:14:10

Eudimorphodon
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Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 522

Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Practicality would dictate avoiding playing with an old PowerBook at all. wink

Once upon a time I actually got real use out of MOL in a production environment so I still sort of have a soft spot for it. This was a loooong time ago, though; OS X wasn't even really a thing yet so I was using it to run OS 9. Photoshop in MOL was actually more reliable than running it native.  tongue

Last edited by Eudimorphodon (2016-02-20 06:15:04)


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#16 2016-02-26 02:32:06

bbraun
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Hmm.  I wonder if a noticeable speedup could be acquired by rebuilding some of the open source portions (I'm thinking kernel and libc) to not use dcbz32.

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#17 2016-02-26 23:18:29

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Maybe? That's an interesting idea.

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#18 2016-02-26 23:20:36

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

(Related: this is pretty gross. I see why he mentions it as a real performance killer. http://www.spinics.net/lists/kvm/msg102126.html )

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#19 2016-02-29 17:03:39

bbraun
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Obviously emulating the instruction is going to be a hit, but how much is just the scanning for the instruction to patch it, I wonder?  It seems like that'd be a non-trivial hit in its self, since it seems like they're scanning on page load?

For the emulation hit, I'd guess doing native optimization of common things like memset/bzero would have a non-trivial impact.  Any new pages the VM hands the userspace process are probably going to be zero'd using this instruction, as would calloc()'d regions.

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#20 2016-03-01 16:00:24

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Yeah, they're scanning on pageload. I imagine you could intercept some calls to the commpage and replace them with native versions, but that only helps if they're actually calling the system routines. That could be enough for the OS, especially since we're emulating an OS that won't be changing.

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#21 2016-10-16 01:17:54

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
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Posts: 1,081
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Re: A POWER8 workstation? Sign up for preorders!

Okay, you can back it.

Before you see the $18,000 (!!) complete system and panic, you don't need to back that. I picked up the board and a 190W octocore POWER8 (separate campaign, but you can order together, see link in the blurb). That is $5340, and I think I'll be around $7000 all in for everything.

If you're not ready to take a plunge like that, please donate. They'll even take $10. With a $3.7 million threshold (!!!), they'll need every dollar.

I think this is a much more practical successor to the Quad G5 than, say, the AmigaOne series, which just aren't grunty enough.

https://www.crowdsupply.com/raptor-comp … orkstation

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