EU Dell/Gigabyte MT70-HD0 (Cavium ThunderX CN8890)

hmartin

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Sep 20, 2017
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Edit: These are the former Online.net/Scaleway ARM64 instances. I would avoid ;)
DC2-S203A.O11-S12.jpg
(Pro-tip for equipment decommissioning, remove your DC labels before sending to resellers)

Not sure if this is a great deal, but it's certainly an obscure deal. This is the first time I've seen a Cavium ThunderX system sold used for a (somewhat) reasonable sum:
Dell H8DNF MOTHERBOARD GIGABYTE MT70-HD0.png

 
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RTM

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Jan 26, 2014
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hmartin

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Scaleway is a previous employer and I have first hand experience with these servers.

They are full of firmware bugs and would frequently kernel panic. Support from Dell is non-existent (e.g. check the service tag, it returns no results) and Gigabyte isn't much better. I see they have released a firmware in 2019, so maybe they fixed some of the show stopping bugs, but I wouldn't gamble 450€ on it.

The seller is located 1km from DC5:
Innopart_DC5.png
 
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anything1233

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Dec 29, 2020
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Apart from the platform stability issues, non-existent support and the necessity to somehow build your own chassis and power delivery (without the docs available) — are these Cavium CN8890 any good at all? They’re ThunderX version 1, not 2 - manufactured @ 28nm, with idle consumption of ~140W! As for the performance, they’re as or less fast than some Xeon D parts and slower than Xeon E5-269* v3 and even some v1 in multi core tests, while the single core performance is even worse. See the STH review on them. They’re ARM, which is cool and such, but, dunno — they seem to be neither efficient as Xeon D, nor powerful enough as at least v4 at that price — what could be the use case?
 

dgp

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Oct 1, 2021
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For what it's worth:

- I bought one of these for some fun.
- I haven't got it booted yet as I'm waiting on DIMMs for it.
- If there were firmware bugs then the people that had these things didn't help themselves as they never updated the BMC firmware or the firmware for the ThunderX side.
- Gigabyte's quality control is a bit lacking. I removed the CPU heat sinks to redo the paste and found a solder splat across a bunch of passives. If you buy one of these you want to strip it down and take some IPA and a brush over it.
- If you buy one of these and want to know how to modify a cheap server psu to power it, how to flash the BMC to remove the existing password etc I'm putting notes here: GitHub - fifteenhex/crappy96corearmserverexperiments: Place holder