Solid Run Delivers

“The Marvell MacchiatoBIN is a first-of-its-kind Cost-Effective and High-Performance networking community board targeting OpenDataPlane (ODP), OpenFastPath (OFP) and ARM network functions virtualization (NFV) ecosystem communities.”
 
See Marvell MacchiatoBIN
I received an e-mail that Solid Run has been taking orders and shipping for weeks. Their website is not consistent with that, but, it’s their business…

This is one of several options I am considering to have an ARMed server replace my current hair-drier. It’s big advantage for me is an actual socket for memory and 16gB is one of their options. Unfortunately, all of my funds from my annuity are committed this month and most of next month so I won’t buy now. We’ll see in the meantime what the other players will do. The Cello is gone from the market… AMD killed it. RockChip is still in play though selling on AliExpress and others.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

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37 Responses to Solid Run Delivers

  1. Dr Loser wrote, “I know people who have been on IEEE standards committees. I doubt you do.”

    I was on IEEE P1014.

  2. DrLoser says:

    That’s not how standards work. DDR4 is complicated, but it is fully possible for someone to design and build a device that’s plug and play with anyone’s motherboard.

    I’m going to charitably assume your attitude is down to block-headed obstinacy, Robert, rather than a combination of senility and pathetic ignorance.

    That is indeed how standards work. They specify things like tolerances and state machines and various electrical parameters at a level determined by the Standards Committee. The Standards Committee, like most committees, is composed of delegates provided by various Industry Biggies, and quite often those delegates are either (a) dispensable 22 year olds with no great experience or (b) ancient old farts like you and I, who no longer care very much, because they are near pensionable age.

    I know people who have been on IEEE standards committees. I doubt you do.

    But, let’s say your hypothesis is correct. Let’s even stretch the point — to a ludicrous extent, but hey, you’re the paranoid cheapskate on this one, and I like to accommodate outlying data points — and accept your view that “Qualifying Hardware” lists are bought and sold through the moral equivalent of bribery and corruption.

    Why do you think that companies like Crucial and Kingston exist? If you like, I can dig up a price spread on, say, a random 8GB of your choice. Without doing so, I will guarantee you that they charge at least 25% more for their product than some no-name company based in Shanghai will charge.

    How on earth do they make their money, I wonder?

  3. DrLoser wrote, “Compatibility lists are the result of extensive testing — in a fully-equipped lab”.

    That’s not how standards work. DDR4 is complicated, but it is fully possible for someone to design and build a device that’s plug and play with anyone’s motherboard. I’ve worked with many motherboards and while I have seen many compatibility lists, I’ve never seen a stick of RAM that wasn’t plug and play despite every maker of RAM not testing every mother board on the planet. That’s not how it works.

  4. DrLoser says:

    Either I am a wastrel for expecting random RAM to work with a particular motherboard and wasting time/money fiddling with it or I am cheap for trying to use less expensive parts. Which is it?

    Both, although in the first case you misrepresent being a “wastrel” for being “better-informed than everybody else” and in the second case, bang on, you’re so cheap that it hurts my teeth thinking about it.

    Perhaps I’m just not playing a game where the maker of a motherboard accepts payment from the maker of RAM to be put on a list.

    That’s not how it works, Robert. Compatibility lists are the result of extensive testing — in a fully-equipped lab, not in a hut out back of a residence in suburban Manitoba. It takes money to fabricate RAM at a sufficiently reliable standard. It takes money to test it.

    Here, you confuse “investment” with “bribery.”

    Why should I help them be enriched?

    Paranoia. Sheer paranoia.

    Anyway, good luck. The one and only time I tried sourcing my own RAM (for a self-build x86 PC, about as bog-standard as you can get) … it didn’t work. At all.

    So, personally, I’d cough up the “extra” $64, which equates to about $13 of security for even a basic life-span — you will of course double that to ten years, which is even better value — although I’m pretty sure this is another pipe-dream. No way in hell are you going to pay $455 for anything that doesn’t have three wheels and a polythene bag pretending to be a car body.

  5. Deaf Spy wrote, “you applaud them when they bestow Linux and LO on the unsuspected employees of the state administration and schools, instead of letting the market decide.”

    What employer lets employees or “the market” decide what tools to use for the job? I’ve never met one. They may consider input but the decision is done locally, in-house. A government just like a business can decide what software to use rather than letting M$ decide. Same with hardware.

  6. Deaf Spy says:

    Criminals or governments do that.

    But you applaud them when they bestow Linux and LO on the unsuspected employees of the state administration and schools, instead of letting the market decide.

    Hypocrite.

    And you still don’t understand how modern IT is manufactured and QA-ed. No wonder that even TLW doesn’t listen to you when it comes to IT, Robert.

  7. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “So, you don’t want the market to decide whether a product sells or not? You want to surrender your free will to marketing departments? Sad.”

    What an amazing load of irrelevant garbage you spew,All because you don’t want to spend an additional $62.00 to get memory from the board vendor that (presumably) the Vendor has tested and will stand by.

    Now that IS Sad.

  8. Deaf Spy wrote, “Refuses to accept that the free market made MS Office the only viable standard office suite for personal, business and even mobile use.”

    Free markets don’t create monopolies. Criminals or governments do that.

  9. Deaf Spy says:

    So, you don’t want the market to decide whether a product sells or not? You want to surrender your free will to marketing departments?

    Says the man who:
    1. Applauds Putin for enforcing Linux on Russia’s administration.
    2. Applauds a handful of European municipalities for enforcing Linux on their administration.
    3. Refuses to accept that the free market made Windows de facto standard for desktop.
    4. Refuses to accept that the free market made MS Office the only viable standard office suite for personal, business and even mobile use.
    5. Refuses to accept that the free market is making Azure the fastest growing cloud service.

    You are such a hypocrite, Robert.

    And you are totally clueless about IT.

  10. The Wiz wrote, “You blog posts on IT are just shot through with such excuses to avoid paying what most people would consider a reasonable cost delta to insure that a new technology works as advertised.”

    So, you don’t want the market to decide whether a product sells or not? You want to surrender your free will to marketing departments? Sad.

  11. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Perhaps I’m just not playing a game where the maker of a motherboard accepts payment from the maker of RAM to be put on a list. Why should I help them be enriched?”

    And more likely you are just cheap and looking for excuses not to pay. You blog posts on IT are just shot through with such excuses to avoid paying what most people would consider a reasonable cost delta to insure that a new technology works as advertised.

    Fortunately you hurt no one but yourself with your cheapness.

  12. The Wiz wrote, “is saving $62.00 all that important in this case?”

    You can’t have it both ways. Either I am a wastrel for expecting random RAM to work with a particular motherboard and wasting time/money fiddling with it or I am cheap for trying to use less expensive parts. Which is it? Perhaps I’m just not playing a game where the maker of a motherboard accepts payment from the maker of RAM to be put on a list. Why should I help them be enriched? I’ve done electronics since the 1960s. If a part matches the specs it’s usually usable unless incorrectly labelled or defective. Those are rare occurrences. I will take my chances just like you do driving your car/bicycle/roller skates on the street.

  13. Deaf Spy says:

    You make quite a fool of yourself to compare lightbulbs with memory modules.

    In this day and age…

    In this day and age, Robert, there exist something called Qualified Vendor List, or QVL. For the very reason you can’t quite comprehend, memory and motherboard manufacturers actively work to test their items against each other and produce QVLs in swarms. Basically, every motherboard you purchase has something like this:
    http://download.gigabyte.us/FileList/Memory/mb_memory_ga-x99-ud4p.pdf

    Of course, you may try to combine everything. On x86 desktop world, it mostly works, because manufacturers work very, very hard to guarantee compatibility.

    On laptops, not quite so. Again, Robert, how many laptops did you memory-upgrade? My guess is exactly zero.

    Once again, Robert, you are totally clueless when it comes to technology these days.

    Nevermind, just buy this motherboard! I am sure it will serve you just as well as that fabulous Chinese tractor. 🙂

  14. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Nope. Red Hat reported that the Husky Board could use standard parts and devices with no issues. That’s all in the electrical standards and Linux.”

    What Red Hat reported for a different board from a different manufacturer does not necessarily apply here, especially when one is dealing with a critical component like memory.

    Again, is saving $62.00 all that important in this case?

    Or are you really that cheap?

  15. The Wiz wrote, “anyone who wants to work with leading edge developer boards for ARM knows better than to treat it like a bog standard x86 motherboard”.

    Nope. Red Hat reported that the Husky Board could use standard parts and devices with no issues. That’s all in the electrical standards and Linux.

  16. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “OMG! You guys are from the 19th century when every gun-maker made their own screws and no others would fit…”

    Nope. We are from the world where anyone who wants to work with leading edge developer boards for ARM knows better than to treat it like a bog standard x86 motherboard where one can play mix and match on parts with impunity. Anyone who has dealt with this kind of hardware has the common sense to buy a matched kit from the vendor, especially if one is adapting it for a use case that represents a corner case from what it is being marketed for.

  17. The Wiz wrote, “Marvel can only certify so many DIMM’s with their board”.

    OMG! You guys are from the 19th century when every gun-maker made their own screws and no others would fit…

    In this day and age, a complex DDR4 spec exists from JEDEC and the device speaks to the controller announcing clock rate ranges, time delay ranges, voltages, arrangement of memory banks… and the controller adjusts to interface to the device. It’s just silly to expect every manufacturer of anything to test every device with every other device to certify compatibility. I’ve seen compatibility lists and they work but random devices plugged into slots also work. It’s all about standards. Standards are meant to eliminate those incompatibilities. Standards work.

    Think about it. When you buy a lightbulb, do you test it to destruction to see whether it will run at 120VAC 60Hz? What about 59Hz or 62Hz? Better test again! Nonsense. Consider ammunition. Every firearms maker knows the dimensions of maximum cartridge and the minimum chamber specified by SAAMI and everyone’s ammunition works in everyone’s rifle. Do doubt DDR4 is fussier but the concept is the same.

  18. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “We’ll see in the meantime what the other players will do.”

    As you keep looking for an ARM board that can function as you server, keep in mind the old saying.

    You can have it good…
    or you can have it cheap…

    Pick one.

  19. Wizard Emeritus says:

    Marvell implements a standard DDR4 interface. See http://www.marvell.com/embedded-processors/assets/Armada8040PB-Jan2016.pdf

    As I said, Marvel can only certify so many DIMM’s with their board. Others “Should” work, but if you run into any problems with the board that seem hardware related, good luck getting support from Marvel on a DIMM that they haven’t tested.

  20. Marvell implements a standard DDR4 interface. See http://www.marvell.com/embedded-processors/assets/Armada8040PB-Jan2016.pdf

    ““The 88F8040 also supports standard high speed DDR4 interface in 64 and 32b bus widths, with optional ECC function.””

  21. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Nope. It’s $160 USD – $128 CDN, $64 USD.”

    $64.00 is still not that much of a savings compared to the headaches you could be letting yourself in for.

    “Why would Marvell do that? They are motivated to sell SoCs. That works for me.”

    It is highly doubtful that Marvell has tested that many vendors DIMMs with their equipment. Marvel is motivated to make sure that they have in hand DIMMS that they can guarantee work with their boards. They know that most people are going to buy a fully integrated kit, if only to guarantee one throat to choke.

  22. The Wiz wrote, “for a savings of $32 US you are going to open yourself up to potential compatibility problems”

    Nope. It’s $160 USD – $128 CDN, $64 USD.

    You guys are harping on the board being incompatible with generic DDR4 parts. Why would Marvell do that? They are motivated to sell SoCs. That works for me.

  23. Deaf Spy says:

    I’ve installed a lot of RAM and never had a problem. So, most probably, DS is wrong.

    You didn’t quite comprehend what I wrote.

    Tell us, Robert, on how many laptops did you install RAM modules that you purchased from a different supplier? On how many laptops did you install RAM modules at all?

    Charming how naïve you are to extrapolate the industry-driven compatibility of the x86 world to the buy-and-forget market of ARM, where upgrades are basically never considered.

  24. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “I wouldn’t pay the $519 price. At $359, I could buy the bare board and power-adaptor and add a memory module for much less than $160.”

    So for a savings of $32 US you are going to open yourself up to potential compatibility problems. You are not dealing with x86 mother boards here. This is a one of a kind motherboard and while it uses the standard connector for the DDR4 DIMM that it specifies, as has already been noted, there is no guarantee how sensitive it will be to the slight variations between DIMM from different manufacturers, especially those created with cost effectiveness as the primary determinant.

    Incredible.

  25. kurkosdr says:

    I’ve installed a lot of RAM and never had a problem.

    Because when you did those installs, you lived inside the world of PC compatibles, where every memory manufacturer has a financial incentive to be compatible with as many motherboards as possible, and by “compatible” I mean both “works” and “works with decent performance and RAS/CAS/RAS-to-CAS latencies”. But if a DIMM module isn’t compatible with your little Marvell board… well, who cares? The company is going to miss the business of one Manitoban retired teacher buying one DIMM. In such cases, you shop by compatibility list. I did the same when I wanted to fit my ODROID-U3 with an eMMC and a WiFi adapter, though to their credit, the HardKernel dudes sold such compatible gear in their eShop (does Marvell do the same?)

    Some months later I tried booting from a MicroSD card bought from Sainsbury’s, which I had formatted using the supplied MicroSD-to-SD adapter, guess what it didn’t work, and HardKernel actually has a compatibility list of MicroSD-to-USB adapters known to be compatible.

    Which allows me to re-iterate: In such cases, you shop by compatibility list.

  26. Deaf Spy, not understanding standards, wrote, “add a memory module for much less than $160. 

    And it will most probably not work on this board”

    I’ve installed a lot of RAM and never had a problem. So, most probably, DS is wrong.

  27. Deaf Spy says:

    add a memory module for much less than $160.

    And it will most probably not work on this board.

    If you had any actual real-life experience outside these mythical dark class-rooms with antiquated semi-working desktops, Robert, you would have undoubtedly learned that it is quite an endeavor to upgrade the memory of any laptop out there if you decide to abandon the threaded path of the original manufacturer and their support. Then you would have never even considered spending your money for a memory module, designed and tested with established x86-related brands in mind, to use it with an obscure community-targeted motherboard from an even obscurer manufacturer (yes, Marvell are not exactly well-known for their PC motherboards).

    But hey, why don’t you prove me wrong, Robert? Buy this glorious board without memory, and purchase a DIMM separately. I eagerly await your feedback.

  28. kurkosdr wrote, “For example, he does need an EV, but not some ordinary Nissan Leaf that can actually carry hunting supplies and shopping bags and can pick up someone else from the mall, instead, he wants a one-seater electric mobility scooter which is however wide enough to be useless as a motorcycle, and he doesn’t mind preordering it from some custom body shop with no track record and waiting for an undefined amount of time to get it.”

    Meccanica has a long track record. They have a lot of input into the project. For a year the delivery dates have slipped. That’s not happening now. They are ready to start production/delivery to paying customers. They are continuing to take deposits and rather than waiting, they are setting up small retail establishments in high traffic areas of Vancouver. I will have my EV in a year or so. I will be able to pay cash because of that long wait. My kids can take care of themselves. This car will be for me.

    I’m not alone in this. My neighbour across the street drives a sporty car. Several of the neighbours have vehicles they only use for vacations. Mine is at least as practical as those. I know my needs. The last time I carried a large object in the SUV was … I can’t remember when. However, I make frequent trips of short duration. I will be able to take longer trips with Solo and have even more fun. With the SUV I’m always worried about running out of fuel, money, or oil on a trip. It’s stressful. A new car would be an improvement but a new electric vehicle is better. The Solo, being rather inexpensive compared to other EVs, is optimal.

    BTW, Leaf advertises 24-30 cubic feet of cargo space depending on the position of the rear seat but it’s 100% higher price. I don’t need that much space. Why pay for it? Solo holds 10 cubic feet in two compartments. That’s quite useful. I don’t care if there are a few chores I can’t do with it. The SUV will be a backup. It can hold 8 foot long stuff with seats folded down. It’s like a small truck then. I don’t need Solo to do that. It’s primary task will be to get me from A to B. Leaf also takes 50% more kWh to drive from A to B than the Solo. That’s just a waste if I’m the only occupant.

  29. The Wiz wrote, “the Solidrun board. It has a chance because it is marketed as a inexpensive generic network controller/supervisor board for routing appliances a la cisco. It is close enough in price ($518.00 US) to your ideal (read cheapskates) price for a “server” class machine, so you could adopt it as your server board and declare your victory for ARM.”

    I wouldn’t pay the $519 price. At $359, I could buy the bare board and power-adaptor and add a memory module for much less than $160. It’s a nice board for networking, but needs a PCIe adaptor for SATA. I have one. That’s a little more expensive than the Cello but it’s available, shipping, and supported for Linux 4.4.* by Marvell.

  30. kurkosdr says:

    AMD CPU = AMD PC

  31. kurkosdr says:

    Generally, one of the reasons I still visit the this blog is Pog’s peculiar needs, and as a result, the so-eccentric-it-is-actually-cool aura this blog emits. For example, he does need an EV, but not some ordinary Nissan Leaf that can actually carry hunting supplies and shopping bags and can pick up someone else from the mall, instead, he wants a one-seater electric mobility scooter which is however wide enough to be useless as a motorcycle, and he doesn’t mind preordering it from some custom body shop with no track record and waiting for an undefined amount of time to get it. Also, he wants an ARM board, but not in the usual way of a cheap media streamer thing other people want, he wants it to have 16GBs of RAM on it and a PCI-E slot on it, so he can use it as a server, never mind that an AMD CPU would be much better for the job and comes with a fan to avoid throttling.

    I am somewhat peculiar in my IT needs, evidenced by the fact I have a full stereoscopic 3D pipeline (in case you are wondering, capture: LG Optimus 3D/Sharp SH12-C/LG V900/HTC Evo3D -> play: Sony NSZ-GS7 which for some reason plays 3D pics and movies from usb -> display: Sony Bravia 3D from 2015, coupled with the Real-Movies Kodi plugin which brings me the latest 3D movies). In an age 3D is dying, I ‘ve built this… But Pog’s eccentric-ness, his willingness to spend thousands of dollars, and his willingness to order pure vaporware trumps my eccentricity in every way. And for this reason, I can’t stop visiting this blog.

  32. kurkosdr says:

    I never got Pog’s fascination with ARM anyway. It’s much less of a commodity architecture than an ordinary 64-bit PC, which means support is worse in GNU/Linux, and even Android has to deal with proprietary blobs for peripheral support. In general, more blobs are needed to run Linux on ARM than on a standard 64-bit PC. And with PCs, you actually get some real power and a CPU fan that helps avoid throttling.

    But you see, this is where moral imperatives collide. x86 is an evil architecture, ARM SoCs rely on evil binary blobs. Oh, the dilemma.

  33. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “The similar HuskyBoard did. RedHat tested it out used as a desktop. It was snappy.”

    So What. RedHat does a lot of work with pre-production and prototype boards. That does not mean that they ever make it to production, let alone as a desktop. The fact remains that the Cello Board never made it to market, so you still don’t have your cheap “server class” ARM based system.

    But you may indeed have lucked out with the Solidrun board. It has a chance because it is marketed as a inexpensive generic network controller/supervisor board for routing appliances a la cisco. It is close enough in price ($518.00 US) to your ideal (read cheapskates) price for a “server” class machine, so you could adopt it as your server board and declare your victory for ARM.

    The only question in my mind would be whether or not you are in the end too cheap to go for it.

  34. Kurkosdr wrote, “Was it ever in the market so it can be gone from it? Did a single fully functional Cello board ever exist?”

    The similar HuskyBoard did. RedHat tested it out used as a desktop. It was snappy.

  35. Kurkosdr says:

    Shipping in 4-weeks? You seriously do not do any computer related work, ever do you? If I needed a new board, I can have one next day.

    Pfftt.. 4 weeks in Pogson-Time is roughly equivalent to Amazon Next Day Delivery for the rest of us. I mean, a product already in production and with a shipping date? Pogson exceeded all expectations with this.

    The Cello is gone from the market… AMD killed it.
    Was it ever in the market so it can be gone from it? Did a single fully functional Cello board ever exist?

  36. Grece says:

    Shipping in 4-weeks? You seriously do not do any computer related work, ever do you? If I needed a new board, I can have one next day.

  37. AdmFubar says:

    Robert,
    You’ll want to visit here.

    http://pi.wecraftalot.com/

    Ken has done some amazing things with PI’s.

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