Companies Address Concerns related to Speculative Execution Exploits: Meltdown and Spectre

Yesterday, news surfaced about a “bug” in Intel processors that could be fixed at the operating system level at the cost of a decrease in performance for some tasks, from a typical, and barely noticeable 5% hit, to a more consequent 30% hit for some specific tasks, and as we discussed yesterday I/O intensive tasks are the most impacted by the changes. While Intel (and Arm) are impacted, AMD claims not to be, and the issue was reported by major news outlets and likely impacting the stock price of the companies with Intel stock losing 3.39%, and AMD stock gaining 5.19%, so obviously every company felt the need to answer, starting with Intel’s response to security research findings: Recent reports that these exploits are caused by a “bug” or a “flaw” and are unique to Intel products are incorrect. Based on the analysis to date, many types of computing devices — with many different vendors’ processors and operating systems — …

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OpenBSD 6.2 Adds Support for Orange Pi PC 2, Firefly-RK3399

OpenBSD has been supporting 32-bit (ARMv7) and 64-bit (ARM64) ARM targets, but the just released OpenBSD 6.2 adds support for two more ARM64 boards: Orange Pi PC 2 and Firefly-RK3399. Those two add to the ARM64 list comprised of Raspberry Pi 3, Pine A64/A64+, and AMD Opteron A1100 based development board and SoftIron OverDrive 1000 servers. Other platforms based on Allwinner A64 & H5, and Rockchip RK3399 could likely also be supported. If you want to try it on your board, visit OpenBSD 6.2 ARM64 page to download the files: INSTALL.arm64 – Installation notes SHA256 – Output of the cksum(1) program using the option -a sha256, usable for verification of the correctness of downloaded files. SHA256.sig – The above file, signed with the OpenBSD signing key for the 6.2 release, usable for verification of the integrity of the above file, and thus of the downloaded files. miniroot62.fs – A miniroot filesystem image to be used if you for some reason …

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$599 Softiron Overdrive 1000 Server is Powered by AMD Opteron A1100 64-bit ARM Processor

ARMv8 servers have been around for a year or so, but normally only available to companies, mostly due to their very high price. LeMaker Cello board based on AMD Opteron A1120 quad core SoC have changed that since it’s priced at $299, but I’m not sure it’s shipping right now, and it’s not a complete solution fitted with memory and storage, and lacks an enclosure. The good news is that Softiron has just launched Overdrive 1000 server powered by AMD Opteron A1100 series processor, with 8GB DDR4 RAM, a 1TB drive, and a case. Softiron Overdrive 1000 server specifications: SoC – AMD Opteron A1100 series quad core ARM Cortex A57 processor System Memory – 2x RDIMM slots fitted with 8GB DDR4 DRAM and expandable to 64GB Storage – 2x SATA 3.0 connector with one fitted with  a 1TB HDD Connectivity – 1x GBase-T Ethernet USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports Power Supply – ATX power supply; 100~240V @ 50-60Hz Dimensions …

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Linux 4.6 Release – Main Changes, ARM and MIPS Architectures

Linus Torvalds released Linux Kernel 4.6 earlier today: It’s just as well I didn’t cut the rc cycle short, since the last week ended up getting a few more fixes than expected, but nothing in there feels all that odd or out of line. So 4.6 is out there at the normal schedule, and that obviously also means that I’ll start doing merge window pull requests for 4.7 starting tomorrow. Since rc7, there’s been small noise all over, with driver fixes being the bulk of it, but there is minor noise all over (perf tooling, networking, filesystems,  documentation, some small arch fixes..) The appended shortlog will give you a feel for what’s been going on during the last week. The 4.6 kernel on the whole was a fairly big release – more commits than we’ve had in a while. But it all felt fairly calm despite that. Linux 4.5 added support for GCC’s Undefined Behavior Sanitizer flag (-fsanitize=undefined) which should …

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LeMaker Cello 96Boards EE Board Powered by AMD Opteron A1120 Processor Targets Server Applications

There are two versions of Linaro’s 96Boards specifications the Consumer Edition (CE) and the Enterprise Edition (EE) with higher hardware requirements, and while several boards mostly compliant with 96Boards CE are available such as DragonBoard 410c and Hikey boards, the only board announced to be compliant with 96Boards EE specifications was AMD Huskyboard based on Opteron A1100 series processor and is yet to be available for sale. LeMaker has now designed a similar EE boards called Cello. LeMaker Cello board specifications: Processor – AMD Opteron A1120 quad core Cortex A57 processor @ 1.7 GHz with 2MB L2 cache, 8MB L3 cache System Memory – 2x DDR3 SO-DIMM sockets Storage – 2x SATA 3.0 ports, micro SD slot Connectivity – 1x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports Expansions x16 PCIe G3 slot 40-pin Low Speed (LE) expansion header Debugging – micro USB port for console access, 10-pin JTAG connector Power Supply – 4-pin power connector Dimensions – …

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AMD Launches 3 ARM based Opteron A1100 Server SoCs: A1120, A1150 and A1170

AMD Roadmap showed “Seattle” Cortex A57 server SoC were expected in H2 2014, which later became known as Opteron A1100, and the company unveiled their Optron A1100 development board in summer 2014, but since then there has been a few delays, the announcement of Huskyboard 96Boards EE development board, and finally they announced availability of three Opteron A1100 processors yesterday. So there’s one quad core Cortex A57 with Opteron A1120, and two octa-core with Opteron A1150 and A1170 clocked at respectively 1.7 and 2.0 GHz. I was surprised by the rather high TDP at 25W and 32W since one of ARM advantage is low power consumption. But since it is a server SoC it needs to be compared to Intel server SoC, and AnandTech did that against Intel Atom C2750 with eight Silvermont cores @ 2.4 GHz. On the three important metrics, i.e. price, performance and power consumption, AMD A1170 does not look very good against C2750, with AnandTech estimating …

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AMD Announces 96Boards Enterprise Edition Server Board Powered by Opteron A1100 Processor

When Linaro announced the 96Boards initiative, they started by launching “Consumer Edition” boards with a target price of around $100, but they also had plans to launch more powerful and feature-packed “Enterprise Edition” board in the $300 to $400 range. The first Enterprise Edition is based on AMD Opteron A1100 quad core Cortex A57 processor. The company has not released the full specs yet, but the press release mentions the board features a 4-core AMD Opteron A1100 Series processor with two SO-DIMM memory slots, PCIe, USB, SATA (3x), and Gigabit Ethernet capabilities. It measures 160×120 mm. CentOS, Fedora, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server for ARM Development Preview are the main operating systems planned for the board but additional software and operating systems will be available later on. The board is should become available in H2 2015, and will be supported through the Linaro Enterprise Group’s 96Boards.org site. Exact price has not been announced, bu it should be much cheaper …

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AMD “Hierofalcon” Octa-core ARM Cortex A57 Embedded Processors to Ship in H1 2015

AMD started using the ARM license(s) by embedding ARM Cortex A5 cores into some of their x86 processors to add TrustZone security, followed up with Opteron A1100 ARM Cortex A57 processors for servers, and now they’ll soon ship AMD Embedded R-Series SoCs featuring up to 8 Cortex A57 processors. The processors, codenamed “Hierofalcon”, target embedded data center applications, communications infrastructure, and industrial solutions. AMD Embedded R-Series SoC will have the following key features: Up to 8 ARM Cortex A57 cores with 4MB L2 cache (total) Cache Coherent Network with 8MB L3 cache Memory – 2x 64-bit DD3/4 channels with ECC up to 1866MHz; up to 128GB per CPU I/Os: Two 10GbE KR 8x SATA 3 (6Gb/s) ports 8 lanes PCIe Gen 3 (1×8, 2×4 or  1×4+2×2 configurations) SPI, UART, I2C interfaces System Control Processor – ARM Cortex A5 for TrustZone technology and 1Gb Ethernet port for system management Crypto co-processor Freedon Fabric Manfacturing Process – 28 nm Package – 27 …

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