* Posts by Gordan

487 posts • joined 15 Oct 2008

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Let's talk about the (real) price of flash and spinning disks

Gordan

Re: What about 3D?

The price per GB of SSD is already down to around 5:1 mark if you consider like for like (1TB 2.5" 7200rpm disk vs. 1TB 2.5" SSD).

Flash also tends to be much more reliable than spinning rust. Sure, there's the write endurance limit on flash, but this is a complete non-issue in just about every sane use-case:

http://techreport.com/review/27909/the-ssd-endurance-experiment-theyre-all-dead

Consider that most of the tested SSDs survived 1PB (yes, that's _peta_) of writes, with some surviving as much as 2PB. To write that much data to them took between 1 and 2 years of continuous writes. To write that much data to a mechanical disk in random order, would take many, many times longer. Sufficiently longer that you would be similarly looking at about 100% failure rate over a similar write volume. Then consider that write:read ratio is typically less than 5%, and that a mechanical disk suffers wear regardless of whether an operation is a read or a write (bearings and actuators will only survive so many seeks and revolutions) you are looking at a real life expectancy of an SSD that only suffers wear on writes that will on average vastly outlive a mechanical drive.

Spinning rust is increasingly struggling to maintain it's relevance in most environments.

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Gordan

+1

I just bought some 1TB SSDs for £225 each. That is a large multiple out from the price quoted for flash.

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Google gives spit n' polish to world's most expensive Chromebook

Gordan

Temperature?

Does this one get less hot? Or can we still expect the very uncomfortable 47C+ on the aluminium surfaces as measured on the original under heavy load? It's the temperatures under load (e.g. L4D2) that made me give up the original one in favour of something with better engineered ergonomics.

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Yes our NAS boxen have a 0day, says Seagate: we'll fix it in May

Gordan

Upstream Patched Years Ago?

Having had a cursory look at the CVEs, they were published and patched upstream years ago. It is somewhat surprising that nobody noticed these problems in the Seagate NAS-es long before now.

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Ouch! Google crocks capacitors and deviates DRAM to root Linux

Gordan

Re: Desktops don't have ECC

"This is making use of an x86 hardware feature."

It's not an x86 specific feature per se. The testing code uses an x86 assembly instruction that bypasses CPU caches for reads. It is quite likely that similar equivalents exist on many other if not most CPU architectures.

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Gordan

Re: It's not the fault of Linux

While this is an exploit, it shows that modern hardware is actually unstable out of the box even without overclocking or other tuning that reduces the margins for error. Anything that causes memory corruption on hardware level is, IMO, a hardware fault, and therefore grounds for returning the hardware to the retailer as unfit for purpose.

Given the descriptions of the methods, this is also mostly a RAM fabrication issue, rather than being largely related to the rest of the machine, as the leakage happens directly within the RAM chips. So using better RAM from a different manufacturer would almost certainly reduce the exposure to this bug, much more so than using the same RAM in a different laptop.

But in any case, ECC is the way forward - if only it was more commonly available in laptop and desktop grade chipsets.

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Gordan

Re: @thames

"In fact, outside of Xeon CPU's there's almost nothing for the desktop. (There's a few for lappies and embedded but not for desktop)."

FYI, most AMD chipsets still support ECC, whether it is officially listed on the motherboard spec or not.

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Errant update borks Samsung 850 Pro SSDs

Gordan

Re: Think people

TRIM support never was that important in the first place with decently designed drives and firmware, and since most flash controller manufacturers started to implement transparent compression and deduplication in firmware, it is even less relevant. Filling the empty space on the drive with 0s periodically will do the exact same thing that TRIM does.

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Nvidia U-turns on GTX 900M overclocking after gamer outrage

Gordan

Re: Thermal monitoring?

There is indeed thermal throttling on Nvidia chips that stops the GPU core from exceeding 95C. It will progressively slow down the clocks to whatever it takes to keep it under 95C.

This is not new. CPUs and GPUs from their respective duopolies have had such features for the past 10-15 years.

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So long, Lenovo, and no thanks for all the super-creepy Superfish

Gordan

Re: the fire rises

I used to like Asus kit for a long time - right up to the point where I found out the hard way that their warranty related customer service is by far the worst in the industry and in some cases outright in breach of consumer protection laws.

Lenovo permanently lost me as a customer about 2 minutes after I unboxed my Lenovo Y50-70 with the supposed 4K screen - when I discovered that it is a shitty pentile pseudo-4K screen than only has HALF of the number of subpixels that it should, making everything in "4K" look like it was printed on an '80s era dot matrix printer.

The problem is increasingly that all manufacturers (except maybe Apple) are rapidly racing to the bottom and finding a piece of kit that is genuinely good is becoming increasingly difficult.

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Gamers reach for BFG after Nvidia turns back the overclock

Gordan

Translation

Translation: "Our manufacturing process is crap, and following high failure rates a number of OEMs have asked us to prevent OC-ing because the warranty claims are killing us."

Frankly, I'm amazed it took this long. On my last laptop I went through 3 GPUs (GeForce GTX260M, followed by two underclocked (yes, I modified the BIOS to underclock and undervolt to keep temperatures reasonably sane) Quadro FX3700Ms).

The simple fact is that Nvidia don't actually make laptop GPUs - they rebadge desktop ones and ship them with a different power profile (lower clock speeds and voltages) programmed into the BIOS.

Either way, this will only be an issue for people who feel the need to be on the drivers' bleeding edge for some reason. The previous version of the driver already supports all the GPUs available today, so this will only really become an even remotely serious issue when the next generation of GPUs comes out (which isn't expected to happen any time soon).

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Seagate's spinning rust most likely to crash, claims backup biz

Gordan

"PLEASE! They're using consumer drives in enterprise gear, says firm"

Except all the other drives in the comparison were also desktop grade drives. It is a like for like comparison. Seagate has yet again been shown to be really crap on reliability.

Their 4TB drives look good - after 1 year in service. But it remains to be seen how they fare after 2-3 years in service, compared to other brands.

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Gordan

Re: Seagate 3TB

Death Star is a reference to Desk Star drive - made by IBM, back when it happened.

Every manufacturer has had a bad model at some point. For IBM -> Hitachi -> HGST it was the 120GB Deskstar series. I had the next model after that, 125GB Deskstar IDE drives, and all 8 of the ones I had survived 10 years of 24/7 use without any failures.

But with Seagate, the failure rates aren't specific to just one model - we are talking about many models over many generations of product. With Seagate, a reliable model is an exception.

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Acer Chromebook 13: The best Googletop on the market?

Gordan

Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

@Killing Time

I have a Mk1 and I think the screen size is just fine. The main problems with it, IMO, are the terrible touch pad (casing flexes and causes it to click when you don't want it to) and the low res screen.

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Gordan

Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

It is not entirely clear how this compares to the Mk2 Google Chromebook which has 8 CPU cores and also has a 1080p screen.

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HD and SSD Prices not declining - why ?

Gordan

Re: HD and SSD Prices not declining - why ?

Prices drop as and when new generations of products come out. We have seen this happen with every manufacturing process change. The prices don't drop in a smooth line - it is a step function, and as process shrinkage becomes increasingly impractical, the manufacturing process improvements aren't happening as steadily as they used to.

Even so, the SSD prices HAVE been dropping quite obviously over the past few years. A 1TB SATA SSD can be had for around £290, which is approximately 10% less than it cost 6 months ago. Back then Crucial M550 was the cheapest. That changed with the introduction of the Samsung EVO 840. So manufacturers are competing and undercutting each other.

You should also consider that prices of specific models rarely change (other than due to currency exchange rates). It is when new models come out that the price per TB reduces. This still holds true.

I don't see any evidence in the prices that might indicate anything like conspiracy going on.

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WD and HGST: We tried to merge our two drive makers, MOFCOM said NO, NO, NO

Gordan

Re: Please keep them separate forever

@fnj: I'm in the same boat. HGST and Toshiba drives are the only ones I consider. I am dreadding the day when WD is allowed to swallow HGST.

HGST: Excellent reliability, honest SMART, no firmware based crippling

Toshiba: Very good reliability, honest SMART, no firmware based crippling

Samsung: Livable with reliability, lying SMART, no TLER

WD: Livable with reliability, lying SMART, TLER removed from non-NAS drives' firmware

Seagate: Attrocious reliability, honest-ish SMART (well, more honest than WD and Samsung), TLER removed from non-NAS drives' firmware, most drives do have Write-Read-Verify feature, though.

And if anyone is in doubt about the reliability, read the Backblaze study on this subject.

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Crack open more champagne, Satya, XP's snowballing to HELL

Gordan

Re: Still running XP here...

It is plausible that something may sneak past your defences, but the good news is that 2K3 server patches do work on XP. Or at least they do on XP x64, I don't have 32-bit XP so haven't tried it.

Using 2K3 patches will only keep you going until July next year, but at least that's that's another 8 months you don't have to worry about.

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Gordan

I will be retiring my XP x64 Steam bootloader soon, since Steam and all the games I play (Left4Dead 2, Borderlands series, and Planetary Annihilation) all have native Linux ports.

So yes, people are abandoning XP, but I suspect a significant fraction are abandoning it for non-Windows OS-es. For Gamers Linux is now a viable option, and for non-gaming users I have observed a dramatic shift to Macbooks over the past 3 years. Whereas before there was a sprawl of cheap HP and Dell desktops running Windows in offices, it is increasingly common to see iMacs and Macbooks in their place.

Sadly, there is no Steam for ARM at the moment, but it is only a matter of time before that happens. Now that they have most of the important stuff ported to Linux it will be trivial to rebuild it for ARM.

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The Glorious Resolution: Feast your eyes on 5 HiDPI laptops

Gordan

Re: real work?

@AceRimmer

"when using the low res crap some companies expect us contractors to use"

As a contractor you should be able (and in some cases expected) to use your own equipment.

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Gordan

Re: Progress?

ThinkPad T60 was available with a 2048x1536 screen - I have one.

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Gordan

Re: too late, too expensive

I agree. I only just ordered a Lenovo Y50 because for the first time since 2006 that laptops have been available with a resolution that is significantly higher than my ThinkPad T60 from back then, which has a 2048x1536 screen.

Then again, we have had the same problem with desktop monitors. I have a pair of IBM T221s on my desk - 3840x2400. Apple's new Mac and Dell's new 5K monitor due out next month are the first time since 2001 when the T220 came out that the resolution bar has been pushed forward.

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Gordan

No mention of the Lenovo Y50

Lenovo Y50 really should have made the line-up there.

15.6" 3840x2160

Quad Core i7

16GB of RAM

4GB GTX860

I was planning to get the Aorus X3, but when I got around to ordering last week I spotted the Y50 and for me the higher res screen of the Y50 outweighed the slightly faster GPU in the Aorus.

Not to mention that the Lenovo also happens to be significantly cheaper than all of the reviewed models at £1099, and on top of the list price being cheapest, Lenovo are doing 20% cash-back at the moment for the next week or so.

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A WHOPPING 8 million Windows Server 2003 systems still out there

Gordan

Re: Not surprising...

"spending a lot of time fixing an old OS takes resources away from developing the new."

There are two important points on this subject:

1) As the earlier post points out, 2K3 patches work just fine on XP, which obliterates your argument that extra effort is required to support XP in addition to 2K3.

2) Those new features happen to be features that nobody actually wants. We have had the bloated Vista, the Windows 7 that was Vista "lite" which still introduced annoyances such as having to press Alt to bring menus up in the Explorer shell, and Windows 8 which has quite justifiably turned out to be a bigger commercial failure than Vista if addoption rates are anything to go by.

If it wasn't for newer games requiring DirectX 10 or 11, I suspect the only penetration of versions of Windows more recent than XP would be on machines that shipped with it pre-installed to people who don't know and don't care about the OS as long as the basic functionality is there. Except that most of those people have moved on to using Macs.

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Chromecast video on UK, Euro TVs hertz so badly it makes us judder – but Google 'won't fix'

Gordan

Re: None issue for me

The majority of my video collection is on DVDs encoded at 25fps, but the odd few are 24fps and some are 29.97fps, and I have never seen an issue with 24fps, 25fps, 29.97fps playback on any of my Chromecasts.

I completely agree it's a non-issue. People really need to stop shining about imaginary problems with a $30 device.

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Bloke fighting Facebook in court says ad network claims its users lack 'legal capacity' to sue it

Gordan

Re: Legally incapable

Perhaps, but the those legally incapable for the sort of reasons they are facebook users in the first place are ideal advertising audiences. As they say, fools and their money are easily parted. It makes perfect logical sense.

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Gordan

Legally incapable

"Austrian law says someone is legally incapable if he or she is underage or declared insane."

Seems legit. That covers the entirety of Facebook's membership.

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DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS

Gordan

Normally I would agree, but if you run big name CMS you are automatically exposed to all the exploits in it as and when they are discovered, and you will be probed for those along with every other site running that CMS.

If you have a site that is based on a home brewed CMS only used by you, it will most likely not bear the signatures of another commonly used CMS and the scanning bots will simply move on after a cursory glance. The only people who will bother to find obscure holes in your custom CMS are the people who are specifically after you, and if you have someone that determined to get you specifically, they will eventually succeed, but possibly still not as easily as by waiting with a finger on the trigger for another big name CMS exploit to be discovered.

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Microsoft's 'loss leader' Office 365 pricing strategy? NO THANKS

Gordan

Re: We are altering the deal.

The quote that comes to mind is:

Darth Vader: Perhaps you think you're being treated unfairly?

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Google Glassholes haven't achieved 'social acceptance' - report

Gordan

The real reason...

... that Google Glass hasn't gained huge popularity is the price tag. Yes, it's a cool gadget, but not cool enough to jump through beta program hoops and then spend $1000 on.

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Virgin Galactic vows to continue space program after 'serious anomaly'

Gordan

Re: Sad

I thought Buran was fully unmanned. It was designed so it could take a crew, but the only flight was carried out on full auto-pilot (including landing), with the cockpit controls not even installed.

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FIFTEEN whole dollars on offer for cranky Pentium 4 buyers

Gordan

Re: Pipelines

Very deep pipelines were the very reason why hyperthreading (and more generically speaking SMT) were invented. Context switching requires a full pipeline flush. That means that any instruction that hasn't completed gets reset and stacked away. If the pipeline is deep, that means many instructions could have been in it, so resetting is very expensive.

Adding an extra hardware thread means that you halve the number of context switches.

The other reason is memory latency. With internal speeds of the P4 the wait for RAM became very expensive in relative terms. With twice as many processes scheduled to run, there is twice as high a chance that the data for at least one will be in the on-die cache.

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Gordan

Re: Pentium 4 didn't suck. @Gordan

"You make a very good point, but you ignore that compiling for a particular processor, using all of the features of that processor breaks the "compile once run anywhere" ubiquity of the Intel x86 and compatible processors."

This would be an excellent point if it were the case - but it isn't. When I was doing the above testing I found that code in question built with only P3 optimisations using Intel's compiler performs near identically on the P4 as the code optimized for the P4.

P4 was more sensitive to really bad binary code, which happens to be what most compilers produce even today, but if the developers had done their homework during the years of the previous generation of CPUs (P3) it wouldn't have been a problem. Unfortunately, the disappointing reality is that the vast majority of software sucks, compilers included.

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Gordan

Pentium 4 didn't suck.

It is merely the case of developers (including most compiler developers) being too incompetent to leverage it's capabilities efficiently.

See here for relevant performance comparison data with well written C code (no assembly) of P3 vs. P4 using different compilers:

http://www.altechnative.net/2010/12/31/choice-of-compilers-part-1-x86/

Note that with crap compilers the P4 did indeed perform relatively poorly. OTOH, with a decent compiler (which annihilated a crap yet ubiqutous compiler on any CPU), P4 shows a very significant per clock throughput increase over the P3.

The point being that software is written for hardware, not vice versa. Don't blame the hardware manufacturer if you are too incompetent to use the equipment it to it's full capability.

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'ANYTHING BUT STABLE' Netflix suffers BIG Europe-wide outage

Gordan

Forgot to feed...

... the Chaos Monkey?

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OnePlus One cut-price Android phone on sale to all... for 1 HOUR

Gordan

Re: Confused

It's a marketing hype scam. It's not 2x better than the Moto-G; Moto-G is a pretty high end device at a budget price, and it is not being sold at cost. Unless this thing is made of solid gold there is no justification for it's price tag.

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AMD-AMMIT! Hundreds face axe at chip maker as PC, graphics crash

Gordan

Re: Sell to ARM?

AMD will soon stand for ARM Micro Devices.

http://www.amd.com/en-us/products/server/opteron-a-series/a1100

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Gordan

And this is what happens...

... when all those ex-mining high end GPUs that are no longer profitable flood out onto the second hand market.

And the posters above are right - ATI suck particularly badly when it comes to software, even down to the drivers. Things like drivers causing BSODs when used on motherboards with NF200 bridges (but only with R9 GPUs, earlier ones are fine), long standing bugs in desktop stretching across multiple monitors, endless feature removal (no more custom, non-EDID modes) and the fact that after years of virtualization their drivers still don't reinitialize GPUs properly when the guest VM being given the GPU restarts are nothing short of disgraceful.

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Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

Gordan

Re: It's actually Windows OS X

WindOS X, surely?

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'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux

Gordan

Re: Meeeh

I'm pretty sure virtual desktops date back to _at least_ 30 years back. OpenLook Virtual Window Manager (OLVWM) has it and I remember running that on my Sun3 machine in 1994 (which was already well deprecated back then - Motorola 68020 bases, pre SPARC). And I remember using similar virtual desktops long before then.

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Misery for Virgin Media mobe customers over mysterious 'EE data centre gaffe'

Gordan

You mean that isn't "normal" for EE?

I've generally crawling 3G data on mine in most places since I joined the network years ago (2010 IIRC). For example, there is plenty of 3G signal between Waterloo and Clapham Junction but I hardly ever manage to get a single data packet in/out in that area. It improves slightly further away from central London.

I just assumed this was normal, regular crapness of networks being shit. I was with O2 before and the data on their network was just as bad, so I didn't notice things getting any worse.

Is this definitely a new, different issue, over and above the normal level of uselessness?

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Read The Gods of War for every tired cliche you never wanted to see in a sci fi book

Gordan

Re: Want to see the film version?

It cannot possibly be any worse than "Moon 44".

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Italy's High Court orders HP to refund punter for putting Windows on PC

Gordan

Re: If

"And it'd be a Corolla (preferably of the AE86 variety) rather than a corollary."

Are you saying the analogy went more than a little sideways? :-)

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SanDisk's record-busting 512GB SD CARD will fit perfectly in your empty wallet

Gordan

Re: There are also 128GB and 256GB models available...

4x more expensive per GB than a proper SSD and 100x slower. Maybe it's time for cameras to start switching to mSATA form factor media...

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BONEHEAD FANBOIS encamp outside Apple Stores

Gordan

Marketing Hype vs. Desirability

So what you are saying is that the only people who want iProducts enough to queue for them are actually paid by PR and marketing companies to do so?

I've always suspected as much but now it seems official. Nobody could genuinely be such an iDiot.

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Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious

Gordan

Re: @Eugene Crosser

Such countries are few and getting fewer. If all the stolen phones were only usable there, the supply in those countries would balloon to the point where even the high end phones would become worthless, and thus not worth the risk of stealing in other countries.

Additionally, some makes of phone (e.g. Motorola, most likely many others) self-erase when the network tells them their IMEI ID is blocked to protect the data (on top of being encrypted), so at least any sensitive data like one's google password is protected for sufficiently long from casual thiefs to change the passwords even if the phone isn't noticed stolen for a while.

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Gordan

Hold on a second... IMEI Blocking?

Doesn't IMEI blocking effectively already do this? The IMEI block lists are nowdays supposedly more or less globally synchronised. The net effect should be that the stolen phone, once it's IMEI number has been blocked, is going to be useless for more that being used as a tiny WiFi-only fondle-slab.

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HP: We're still running the ARM race with Moonshot servers

Gordan

Rhetoric vs. Delivery

HP Moonshot servers were announced many months if not years ago - yet it is impossible to actually buy one as a regular buyer like you can buy their x86 servers. There has certainly been plenty of rhetoric, but so far in terms of availability and delivery this has been pure vaporware. That is really disappointing.

EL6 has been ported to ARM (RedSleeve) and EL7 port is being actively worked on (RedSleeve and CentOS). Debian and Ubuntu are also very committed to supporting ARM machines. But despite the Linux community having rallied, decent hardware (i.e. with more than 512MB of RAM) is scarce and almost entirely limited to Chromebooks (the old dual core model and the newer 8 core model), with the notable exceptions being the Arndale OCTA (similar spec to the new 8 core chromebook) and the Cornfed Conserver (mini-ITX).

Boston Viridis looks quite awesome but the cost is astronimical (many times what a similar spec machine farm made of Chromebooks would cost).

It would be nice if HP moved from words to deeds when it comes to delivering ARM servers.

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This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup

Gordan
FAIL

Oh, the embarrasment

http://opentrv.org.uk

Error establishing a database connection

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Hey Intel – that new Pro 2500 SSD looks awfully familiar

Gordan

IOPS

I hope the figures are wrong - 48/80 R/W IOPS is pittifully bad, worse than spinning rust. I am guessing there's a "K" missing in there somewhere.

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