I was recently given an old HP MediaSmart EX470 server along with some other junk hardware. Although it has no graphics, a slow single-core AMD Sempron CPU, and just 512 MB of RAM, I was able to revive it quite satisfactorily. Here’s how I upgraded the hardware and software.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about microprocessors, from the many-core CPUs that AMD and Intel introduced recently to the massively scalable GPGPU processing that’s taking machine learning by storm. After years of consolidation on commodity x86 CPUs, it seems that the computing paradigm is turning again to specialized offload processors. This trend towards heterogeneous computing will change the face of hardware, from mobile devices to the datacenter.
With the advent of AMD Threadripper and Epyc, we are about to see an explosion of PCIe lanes in the pro-sumer and datacenter market. Although many of those lanes will be taken up by conventional PCIe cards, some will be used for SSD’s (M.2 and U.2) or for external connectivity. This is where OCuLink might finally take off: As an AMD alternative to Thunderbolt for external PCIe peripheral connectivity.
General-purpose GPU computing has been on the rise for years, from OpenCL and CUDA to machine learning and self-driving cars. But cryptocurrency mining has exploded in 2017, draining the market of AMD’s latest graphics cards as mining rigs pop up from basements to warehouses all over the world. The strength of Bitcoin in international finance suggests that Ethereum, Zcash, and others “altcoins” will find their own niches. We are seeing the emergence of a new computing category.
The VMware ESX hardware compatibility list is awesome but it’s kind of hard to wade through. It’s super-detailed, but difficult to navigate if one is browsing for compatible hardware. Although SATA and especially PATA aren’t exactly mainstream in enterprise datacenters, they’re the most-likely storage attachment for labs and tinkerers like me.
There is a lot of FUD flowing between Apple Macintosh true believers and the rest of the PC world. This is especially true now that Macs use Intel CPUs, NVIDIA chipsets and graphics, and so much more commodity PC parts. Lots have argued that a Mac is just an expensive PC with a flashy case […]