Talos™ Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where can I find detailed, low-level documentation for the POWER8 CPUs?
A: IBM has published a significant amount of detailed design and software documentation online. A good place to start is downloading and reading the complete POWER ISA v2.07, along with checking out the resources available from IBM's OpenPOWER Connect landing page.
 
Q: Are the libre-toolchain FPGAs integrated onto the mainboard?
A: The libre-toolchain FPGAs mentioned on the prerelease page are integral to the board and handle multiple critical system functions; they take the place of many of the proprietary ASICs normally used by mainboard designers to handle such tasks as power sequencing and IRQ routing. As such, the Talos™ mainboard offers unprecendented opportunities to customize and tweak the lowest levels of hardware and software operation.
 
Q: What graphics processor drives the integrated HDMI output?
A: The VGA controller of ASpeed AST2400 BMC is used to provide the integrated HDMI graphics output. This is primarily a 2D, non-accelerated output that should be replaced by an appropriate discrete GPU; the discrete GPU can be selected and purchased separately based on your specific requirements. One such recommended add-on would be an nVidia GK104-based card, which is a reasonably modern GPU that can be initialized by and used with the libre Nouveau driver. Should a discrete GPU be installed, the integrated GPU can either be safely disabled or used as a secondary display output, contingent on software support.
 
Q: Will the provided heatsink / fan cool the processor sufficiently to prevent thermal throttling at full load?
A: Yes! We are working with our heatsink vendor and the original IBM heatsink design to ensure that the 190W of heat generated by the CPU at full load can be dissipated into a normal office environment. We will be publishing recommended environmental maximum limits within which the system will not experience thermal throttling when operated according to design specifications.
 
Q: Do you recommend specific RAM modules?
A: While a full RAM HCL is not yet available, at this time we are able to recommend Hynix 16GB x4 ECC RDIMMs operating at DDR3 PC-12800 speeds. These modules were used to generate the memory benchmarks on the main Talos™ information page.
 
Q: How many logical CPUs will Linux see?
A: Due to the POWER8's 8-way SMT, Linux will see the number of physical cores multiplied by 8. For example, with the stock 130W 8-core CPU, Linux will show 64 logical cores. This is configurable at runtime with a small loss of overall performance when the SMT level is reduced.
 
Q: May I purchase more than one Talos™ mainboard from the initial run?
A: Yes! We can accomodate order sizes up to and including bulk retail shipments. Special offers and/or pricing may be available on orders of 10 units or more; please contact us at sales@raptorengineering.com for more information.
 
Q: Your site mentions patents and copyright. Why?
A: We believe in the intrinsic value of hard work and innovation, and would prefer that other manufacturers design their own hardware instead of re-using our designs, slapping a different logo on them, and shipping them without the libre-friendly features that make Talos™ unique. We do not intend to, nor will we, enforce any of these intellectual property rights against our customers, commercial or non-commercial, who, repair, enhance, or otherwise modify. analyze, or reverse engineer their Talos™ board(s). The sole intent is that we remain in control of official Talos™ mainboard manufacture to prevent non-affiliated manufacturers from creating non-libre boards based on Talos™.
 
Q: Are there plans to reduce mainboard cost in the future?
A: Yes! Provided that the initial Crowd Supply funding goals are met, and after shipment of the initial Crowd Supply systems, pricing of subsequent POWER8-based Talos™ systems will likely be reduced as part of the normal product life cycle. This should, in turn, make Talos™ systems affordable to more individuals, and help to grow the POWER ecosystem even further.

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© 2009 - 2021 Raptor Engineering, LLC.
All rights reserved.
No pages or files may be distributed without express written permission.

This website makes minimal use of cookies.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of this policy.