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Old 24th October 2012
tedeumjorge tedeumjorge is offline
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Default New Workstation hardware question.

Hello everyone I attempted to read all I could before asking this, so please bear with me. Thank you very much for any help or suggestion, your time is well appreciated.

Here it goes so I am planning to buy a new workstation to do some serious work, I have been wanting to install OpenBSD on a dedicated Hard Drive.

Since I am new in posting I cant give a link, but this is the company that I plan to buy my system in.

SW Technology, 1701 N. Greenville Ave., Suite 1102, Richardson TX 75081. A simple search will get you to the right website, the company is quite friendly and helpful with the BSD's which is one of the reasons why I want to buy it from there.

Now I read somewhere on the mailing list (cant find it anymore), it was an older post when SMP was introduced into OpenBSD. It said that OpenBSD supports up to 64 GB of RAM of SMP mode. The system I want to get has 96 GB, would that been that it bottle caps to 64 GB of RAM? Or would it simply not function correctly. Also on the man pages with amd64 support I did not see the following graphics card below that I wish to buy. What does anyone recommend for me to do. In general does anything from the hardware below pop up as not possible to work in OpenBSD? Thanks so much, I really plan to buy this machine real soon (I already have the money but I am simply waiting to make sure to buy the right parts). Only on one of the hard drives is OpenBSD going to be installed, I am also waiting to buy it for the new 5.2 OpenBSD (cant wait). I eagerly await your responses, by the way if you go the website, you can be able to see the different options available. (I wish I could show the link can someone else do it for me?)
___________________________________
Specs: DP Xeon E5-2400 Series
Dual Xeon Workstation: $1399.00
Two Xeon E5-2430 CPUs, 6 cores/12 threads, 2.2GHz, 15MB L3, 95W: +=$990
Supermicro X9DAL-i motherboard, 1PCI/4PCI-e slots, 2xGbit, audio
96GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800 memory, Reg. ECC, dual rank, 6 DIMMs: +=$1410
SC743TQ-1200 case, 8 hotswap SAS/SATA & 2 5.25" bays, 1200W PS: +=$419
LSI 9211-8i SAS 6Gb/s controller, 8 direct devices, 256 w/ expanders: +=$315
Battery backup unit for LSI and 3ware RAID controllers: +=$175
512GB Solid State Drive, SATA: +=$474
2nd HD: 3TB SATA 6Gb/s drive, 64MB, 7200RPM: +=$229
3rd HD: 3TB SATA 6Gb/s drive, 64MB, 7200RPM: +=$229
4th HD: 3TB SATA 6Gb/s drive, 64MB, 7200RPM: +=$229
5th HD: 3TB SATA 6Gb/s drive, 64MB, 7200RPM: +=$229
LG UH10LS20K Blu-Ray combo drive, 10X BD read, 16X DVD/48X CD write: +=$99
ATI Radeon HD 7870 PCI-Express, 2GB, DVI+HDMI+2xDisplayPort: +=$365
IO port: 6 x USB, 2 x RJ45, 1 x serial, 1 x PS2
Built-in Gigabit network w/ two Gbit ports
Three year return to depot warranty
Total price: $6562 (plus shipping)

EDIT: the URL is http://www.swt.com/bx808.php

Last edited by J65nko; 24th October 2012 at 03:09 PM. Reason: URL added
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Old 24th October 2012
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jggimi jggimi is offline
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Hello, and welcome!

The company you referenced mentions only FreeBSD on their website; FreeBSD and OpenBSD have not shared a common kernel since the final Berkeley code release in 1994 -- 4.4BSD Lite. These two projects may inspect each other's code and may import or derive functions by including portions each others' code, but that's it. There is absolutely no guarantee that what functions with one BSD may also function with another.
If your vendor is willing, you might ask them to test the proposed hardware package with OpenBSD and send you a dmesg, so you will know what works and what does not.
It's very hard to tell by looking at a product model number whether or not a particular driver will function with it. That's because the drivers communicate with underlying components -- chipsets -- which are subject to change at manufacturer whim, often without any product model number changes.

The official hardware compatibility list for the adm64 architecture is at www.openbsd.org/amd64.html and is applicable for the most recent release, which is 5.1. However, the links to the driver man pages within it will point to -current man pages. And -current is already months beyond the next release, 5.2, which is in pre-order status and is expected to be announced and supported on or about November 1.

As one example of the complexity of this "will it work?" question, your hardware list includes an LSI/Dell RAID controller. The hardware compatibility page states that LSI/Dell MegaRAID SAS controllers are supported at 5.1-release, and it has a link to the -current mfi(4) driver man page. In that man page, you will see that 9211 models are not listed. That means that, at this time, that particular RAID controller is not listed among the supported models.

For each key component, you will need to conduct this research. Unfortunately, due to how manufacturers change underlying chipsets, model name alone is usually insufficient for surety. Better, always, is a test of the hardware.

---

As for memory limitations, 96 GB should work. See this dmesg fragment that rocket357 posted in April of last year, showing a 132GB amd64 system.

http://www.daemonforums.org/showthread.php?t=5859

Last edited by jggimi; 24th October 2012 at 03:51 PM. Reason: typo, clarity
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Old 24th October 2012
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jggimi jggimi is offline
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Another example:

Your network interfaces were not listed in your "specs" that you posted. But the motherboard was, and it's specs mention there that the network controller is an Intel 82574L. The Intel 82754L chipset is listed on the em(4) man page.
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Old 26th October 2012
tedeumjorge tedeumjorge is offline
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Default Thanks appreciated!

I will definitely message you back to see what the vendor can be able to do about that. Meanwhile, I will keep trying to look . Now that I know that the RAM will be able to work, that is a huge relief. I did not want to downgrade because of that. Now the next thing is just getting the right raider control, and also getting 3D acceleration would be nice too. As much as possible I would like to get the best hardware possible, but if I have to downgrade I will do so to make it work flawlessly.

I know that for a long time OpenBSD did not offer 3D acceleration from those man pages you gave me how do I know which graphics cards are supported for acceleration? Once again you guys are a great bunch, I eagerly await to hack away.
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Old 26th October 2012
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The radeon(4) man page lists ATI cards that are known to X. It is my understanding that basic 3d acceleration has been available via dri/drm capable ATI cards since openbsd 4.5 or so.

Edited to add:
===========
  • The -current radeon(4) driver is xf86-video-ati 6.14.6. It's man page is the starting page of in the radeon(4) link in this posting.
  • OpenBSD 5.2 will use 6.14.4 when it is released -- in a matter of days. It's man page is not yet available online (unless you want to browse the CVS repository for the applicable source).
  • OpenBSD 5.1 uses the 6.14.3 driver, and its man page can be selected when browsing the online man page.

Last edited by jggimi; 26th October 2012 at 03:15 PM. Reason: Driver version differences
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Old 26th October 2012
backrow backrow is offline
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I would definitely test the radeon card before buying. While some Radeon cards are supported on OpenBSD and have basic 3D accel, some cards (like mine) are unusable without falling back to software rendering (which in turn makes most OpenGL apps unusable).

Intel graphics tend to be better supported, as long as you don’t get a PowerVR chip (some proprietary IP that Intel hasn’t released open drivers for).
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Old 27th October 2012
angryfirelord angryfirelord is offline
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Yeah, the radeon card might have problems. I have a Radeon 4550 and while it does work for 2D stuff, changing resolutions and 3D support doesn't work. OpenBSD 5.2 will have the latest radeon driver with additional UMS support for certain cards, so you might want to hold off until 5.2 is released. I can confirm that the cards works (although 3D is slow) on FreeBSD 9.

The rest I'm not sure. You'll have to check the forums/mailing lists/man pages for support.
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Old 16th November 2012
tedeumjorge tedeumjorge is offline
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Yes I was able to talk to the company and they will do some pretesting with a lot of that stuff. What they recommended was a Radeon 6xxx series. So hey that will be nice of them, so they will send that message to the OpenBSD community so one more computer where people can be able to see the functionality of newer hardware.

I appreciate all the responses, yes I have been checking the man pages/forums and some other resources.
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