My ARM fleet, it ain't no Armada -yet

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Dirk Broer
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#1 My ARM fleet, it ain't no Armada -yet

Post by Dirk Broer » Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:08 am

My ARM fleet has grown over the years, but is as yet no Armada. What began with a single Raspberry Pi Model B+ and soon grew with Banana Pro and a BeagleBone Black to no less than four running ARM cores, was in the end of the 32-bit era a cluster-like stack of SBCs consisting of Raspberry Pi's 2, 3 and 4 (two examples of each), so 24 cores running, with the afore mentioned Raspberry Pi Model B+, Banana Pro and BeagleBone Black forming the reserve, together with a Cubieboard 4 that went out with a bang! due to overheating -and I still hope to be able to revive it -I hope it was the card or the PSU that went bang!, I can't find anything on the board. I must have a PSU that's able to deliver 5V-4A somewhere....

Then the Raspberry foundation brought out their 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 Model, together with a 64-bit OS. So I went out and bought one, and I bought a 64-bit Odroid-N2+ as well -after my experiment with a 32-bit Odroid-XU4 went well.

My 32-bit fleet now consists of two Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, two Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and an Odroid-XU4 (still 24 cores running, but a tad faster) with the Cubieboard 4 (8 cores) still in reserve. In the event the Cubieboard 4 is raised from the grave the Raspberry Pi 2's go to the reserve, as I expect the performance of the Cubieboard 4 to be about the same as that of the Odroid-XU4 -slightly less than four times that of a Raspberry Pi 2, two times that of a Raspberry Pi 3.

The 64-bit fleet is in the build-up phase and will consist of three Raspberry Pi 4 Model B and two Odroid-N2+ (one with Android, the other with Linux), also 24 cores running.
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Dirk Broer
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#2 Re: My ARM fleet, it ain't no Armada -yet

Post by Dirk Broer » Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:14 pm

Good news on the 32-bit front: the Cubieboard 4 lives! It is the PSU that died -just as I thought. I was able to flash a new OS to the onboard eMMC by using a USB 3.0 cable between a PC and the Cubieboard. Now to the hunt for a 5V 4A PSU with the right connector -those for e.g. an Odroid-XU4 don't fit, too big, but there might be an adapter. If the Cubie goes up, I'll have 40 32-bit ARM cores up and running! I think I'll try FreeBSD on the two Raspberry PI 2's by that time.

Less good news on the 64-bit front: Though all my three Raspberry Pi 4's now merrily run Raspberry Pi OS 64-bit and my first Odroid-N2+ 64-bit does the same with Android64 9 PIE, my 2nd Odroid-N2+, the one I meant for Linux, gives big troubles. The HDMI port seems to have a problem, as I only get 'digital signal error' out of it. Going in via SSH -thanks to PuTTy- gives a sluggish, underperforming board, not the blistering fast cruncher I had in mind. So, I have 24 64-bit ARM cores running, but I am not happy with six of those.

Edit: I don't know what I did -perhaps even nothing and the system just calibrated itself-, but the speed of the N2+ has improved dramatically. WEP M2 went from 7+ hours per WU to less than 2 -and it is not even running at 2400 MHz yet....and now it is running @2016(LITTLE)-2400(big) MHz and the big heat sink and ditto fan keep it at a mere 37-39°C!
Last edited by Dirk Broer on Tue Dec 22, 2020 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#3 Re: My ARM fleet, it ain't no Armada -yet

Post by Dirk Broer » Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:55 pm

About the Odroid-N2+ there are four things I'd like to mention.
  1. Buy the 80mm fan too, it is a must-have. You'll read further as to why.
  2. Enable the fan to run always, it's a must-do. You can actually lift the N2+ without saying 'ouch' while it's on.
  3. Overclock to 2400 MHz (big) and 2016 MHz (LITTLE), another must-do. We're talking about an almost 20% increase in speed for the biggies as compared to stock N2+ (which is already much higher than the original N2@1800 MHz) and another 100 MHz for them little ones. But you can only overclock to these speeds when you use a fan.
  4. Last but not least: the screws for the fan are the N2+'s standoffs too
Last edited by Dirk Broer on Sat May 01, 2021 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#4 Re: My ARM fleet, it ain't no Armada -yet

Post by Dirk Broer » Sat May 01, 2021 1:01 am

Actual life always goes in another direction than the carefully laid-out plans you made.

The present active 32-bit fleet of my ARMada consists solely of two Raspberry Pi 3's running the latest version of 32-bit Raspberry Pi OS and one Odroid-XU4 running Ubuntu Mate 20.04, so a mere sixteen cores where I had planned twenty-four.
Two Raspberry Pi 2's, an Odroid-C1, a Banana Pro, a Raspberry Pi B+ and a BeagleBone Black form the 1st line reserve -as I know they will function when powered on.
The 2nd line reserve is formed by two Cubieboard4-CC-A80's and a Banana Pi M2, boards that have me baffled as to why they won't run when I say so -or at least when I power them on and all the blinkenlights are doing their things.

The 64-bit fleet is doing more than well at the moment however. Two Odroid-N2+ boards -one running 64-bit Android 9 PIE-, three Raspberry Pi 4's and two Jetson Nano's perform up to expectations and give me 32 running 64-bit ARM cores. Apart from the occasional 64-bit ARM application, the twenty-six 64-bit cores running Linux mainly run WEP-M+2 in 32-bit alt_platform mode, as our man in Vietnam, DavidBAM, might have noticed.

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