Blackbird Saga: 11. Sound of Silence

My new 3U CPU heatsink arrived today. This is the big one with a fan. I ordered it the early August, the Raptor needed its usual two week to process the order (well, they still are a tiny company so they are not as fast as big ones), the USPS was fast this time but our Post Service was even slower than usually.

Anyway, the thing arrived. So I removed the older 2U heatsink and installed this new one. Of course I didn’t re-seated the PCU so the system refused to start. So I re-seated all things once more (including the RAM as it is placed close to the CPU socket) and it started to work!

Well, temperatures. My previous situation was 61-63oC in idle or light use (with CPU governor “powersave”) and up to 85-87oC in full use (with “ondemand”).
Now I have 51-52oC in normal use (with teh “ondemand” governor). By “normal use” I mean also running of a current, un-optimised Firefox with Javascript-burden WWW pages. I saw temperatures over 70oC in full use.

For your information, current temperatures (when I’m writing this post) are (as obtained from “sensors” command):

Chip 0 Core 0: +52.0°C (lowest = +25.0°C, highest = +67.0°C)
Chip 0 Core 4: +52.0°C (lowest = +26.0°C, highest = +68.0°C)
Chip 0 Core 8: +51.0°C (lowest = +25.0°C, highest = +66.0°C)
Chip 0 Core 12: +51.0°C (lowest = +27.0°C, highest = +69.0°C)
Chip 0 DIMM 12 : +52.0°C (lowest = +29.0°C, highest = +54.0°C)
Chip 0 Nest: +51.0°C (lowest = +27.0°C, highest = +60.0°C)
Chip 0 VRM VDD: +55.0°C (lowest = +31.0°C, highest = +61.0°C)

Please don’t ask me why the only RAM module is called "DIMM 12". I don’t know.

But the noise is different. The new CPU fan is very powerfull and noisy – it runs at full speed during start and increase of noise is noticeable (it’s much louder) than it was just with three case fans. But after that the system is quiet. Fans are running on slow speeds and they are even not noticeable. At least I cannot hear them. Previously the fans ran on pretty high speed so the system was near as noisy as my SGI O2 is (an its 10-years old and dirty fan is not really not quiet!). Now it is the quietest system in house. Even our GPD Pocket laptops are much more noisy (not speakting about the ORDOID or about the iMac G5).

So this piece of cra.., err, aluminium with the attached fan might be expensive but it worth its price!

Resume: If you are going to buy the Raptor Blackbird then you should buy the 3U heatsink and not the cheaper 2U one!

Blackbird Saga: 11. Sound of Silence

BlackBird Saga: 10. From O2 to Blackbird

I have been started the transition from my SGI O2 (with the IRIX 6.5) to my brand new BlackBird (with the Fedora Linux, now in version 30). As I expected it is not (and will) not be smooth nor easy. At the moment I use the O2 for most of time and the BlackBird only when I need more computing power (and yes, also when I need to add a WordPress post). I ahve been trying to find good substitutes for various pieces of software which I have been using for years. Below is a short summary of things which are already done.

It is good to remember that the BlackBird is a POWER9 computer (ppc64le) not an Intel/AMD-based PC (i386 or x68_64) nor my favorite MIPS (misp/mipsel). It has its (big) advantages but it also can make it less compatible with some codes.

Mate Terminal with the IRIX-like colors

  • My own uFEM software (so Gtk+-2.0 + OpenGL 1.1 + libgtkglext) – done. Surprisingly, there were no issues as all of the necessary libraries are still supported. It might change in near future, though.
  • My own MicroDef software (so Gtk+-2.0 + libGD). The Gtk+ is the same as in the uFEM case but the GD was not in the Fedora for some reason. But it compiles without issues here. Done.
  • Web browsing: There is a Firefox (66 at the moment) which is not fully optimized, so some ugly, JavaScript-burden pages are not as fast as one might expect. But this is a minor problem of some porly made pages (one of the biggest Czech e-shops is a typical example). I don’t use services like Facebook or Twitter so I don’t know how responsible they are. The second problem is that I have to use the Chromium/Chrome browser to upload stuff to my calculator. There is no such browser for Fedora on ppc64le, yet (but I can use my GPD Pocket for this task). So partially done.
  • LaTeX/csLaTeX/Beamer and so: I have had to finally abandon the old csLaTeX here and use the Babel package which all normal human beings have using for ages. So I have to update all my files to that. Fortunately, it’s a change of 2 \usepackage{} statements and it also works on my older TeXlive instalation on the O2. Done.
  • Image viewer: I used to use the GQview port on IRIX. There is an actively developed fork called Geeqie for the Linux. Done.
  • Vim/gVim -> Vim/gVim. Done.
  • Gnuplot -> Gnuplot. Done.
  • GNU Octave -> GNU Octave. Done.
  • XFig -> XFig. Done.
  • Terminal Emulator. XTerm -> XTerm (even the Tektronics mode still work!). SGI Winterm -> Mate Terminal. I only adjusted the colors and change the font. But I’m not happy from any available font and I’m still have been searching for a better one. Work in progress.

More on this topic later…

BTW, an archive of this blog can be also found at That archive is much more friendly to old computers and browsers. Also a WWW version of my Gopher Phlog can be found at that place. Many thanks to Logout for them!

BlackBird Saga: 10. From O2 to Blackbird