If you have a few Elbrus ARM-401 PCs, or even a couple Elbrus 4.4 servers, that are a) for sale, and b) shippable to the western hemisphere, I invite you to hop on #bitcoin-assets on IRC or via webchat, or PGP-gram myself, Stan (ascii_field/asciilifeform), or Mircea Popescu. Cheers !
Sometimes, the channel says it all :
The Elbrus 4c used in the PCs and servers is said to support two instruction sets: very long instruction word and SPARC. The Elbrus ARM-401 PC is a minitower packing a version of Linux also called Elbrus and boasts four USB 2.0 ports, a PCI-express slot, gigabit ethernet and not much more. The CPU is otherwise unremarkable: it packs four cores, but they stroll along at 800 MHz and are built using a 65 nm process. The Server Elbrus 4.4 is a four-socket affair and four of the machines fit into a 1U chassis. Gigabit ethernet, SATA and plenty of PCI slots connect it to other kit and the rest of the worlds.
… Can it be ?
ascii_field: Eh no distributor afaik.
pete_dushenski: No factory direct ?
ascii_field: Nope. Just an email addr. ‘Inquiries.’
pete_dushenski: What the hell are airplanes for ?ii
ascii_field: Pretty clear from the www that they aren’t selling onceies.
williamdunne: 65 nm – thats BFL standards.iii
pete_dushenski: Hm. So groupbuy it is.
williamdunne: Are we gonna be able to get maybe 10k units between us ? Bitcoin-ISP growing faster than expected.
ascii_field: If you exclude mircea_popescu, I doubt we can get 10,000 plastic forks between the lot of us.
pete_dushenski: Lolk. Except excluding MP from this consideration is like excluding air from discussions of breathing. To what end do you make this exclusion ?iv
ascii_field: To the end that thread re: whether ‘we’ will buy something is really a thread about whether mircea_popescu might buy something, and ought to be labeled correctly.
pete_dushenski: ‘Groupbuy’ implies nothing about proportions. So it’s 95-5.
ascii_field: But to go to original point, there is nothing magical about Ru CPU (esp. a SPARC clone,v Almost certainly built from ‘OpenSPARC’)
pete_dushenski: But yes, is this Elbrus isn’t sufficiently magical, then it makes as much sense as buying 10,000 apple watches.
ascii_field: More like 10,000 ‘Loongson’s. From spec sheet: 800MHz sparc-like; SATA-2; 12 DDR3 ECC DIMM slots; various standard i/o (e.g., PCI-e, GbE;) and, most interestingly, built-in FPGA for 2d interconnect into clusters by directly linking bus (202 G/s claimed.) So far reminiscent of SGI ‘Origin.’
pete_dushenski: ‘There’s nothing new under the sun.’
ascii_field: Beg to differ. But ‘nothing new sold retail’ – sure.
pete_dushenski: Ok, so is similarity to ‘Origin’ a positive step or a mark of failure ? (For those of us who have nfi.)
ascii_field: Positive. One of the things glaringly missing from even the costliest x86 mb is a means for connecting them as tiles. At full bus speed.
ascii_field: http://www.overclockers.ua/news/hardware/2015-05-09/115773 << Alleged price, $4k USD. Though, pictured unit is a much more modest demo, it appears. rather than the quad CPU rack mount thing from earlier link. Offered to ‘Russian incorporated entities only.’
pete_dushenski: Same as this : http://www.mcst.ru/arm-elbrus401
pete_dushenski: Was in article as well. It’s surely doable to incorporate in Russia. If the juice is worth the squeeze.
ascii_field: IIRC you gotta have a physical agent there. (And do at least a convincing simulacrum of legit business).vi
pete_dushenski: Ok so not exactly wrapped in an Amazon box and shipped to your door.
ascii_field: At any rate, for what it is – $4k USD is not an obscene bag of benjies; but I have doubts that you can get these 1) In onecies 2) For anywhere close to the manufacturer’s retail cost. 3) Any time soon.
pete_dushenski: But hey, if these things are cool enough, they’re not exactly ‘unobtanium.’
ascii_field: First one here to grab one, please write in.vii
pete_dushenski: Doubts shmouts. This seems like a worthy project. For all the bitching about USG chip diddling in this place.viii
ascii_field: Mebbe you can trade that Aston Martin for an ‘Elbrus’
pete_dushenski: It’s a mercedes !ix
ascii_field: Ah. l0l. Elbrus for many decades (yes) had reputation not entirely unlike ‘Butterfly Labs’ or what was it. Since Soviet times, even.
pete_dushenski: ‘Pay now, mebbe ship later’
williamdunne: At least it’s marginally less important when the kit arrives in some circumstances than with bitcoin mining.
pete_dushenski: Typical crowdfund dealio apparently wasn’t invented for crowdfunding. who knew. Is there nothing those crowdfundtards won’t steal!
ascii_field: At any rate, the reason to hold off creaming your pants on this occasion, is that 1) It’s yet another von neumann turd 2) enjoy trading USG boobytraps for Ru variant.
mircea_popescu: ascii_field: to the end that thread re: whether ‘we’ will buy something is really a thread about whether mircea_popescu might buy something, and ought to be labeled correctly << says the guy who bought & brought an entire fucking case of pogos, lol. !up ascii_field
pete_dushenski: But but but pogos are cheap and shipped to door!
ascii_field: Ty mircea_popescu. and pete_dushenski has it – those were lunch money, yes.
pete_dushenski: Which…. is considerable.
ascii_field: Buy Elbrus … << Ru corps only is the advertised offer.
mircea_popescu: There is some residual interest in exploring this thing, because it will definitely become the standard in Ru bureaucracy, and knowing its holes will allow us to complete our collection of Michelle Obama cockinmouth.jpg with all the random hos Putin manhandles.
ascii_field: So from what I can see, 1) They cut every possible corner 2) Rolled in x86 because unspoken ‘Winblows 4ever’ and 3) No public docs whatsoever. I looked.
mircea_popescu: ascii_field: at any rate, the reason to hold off creaming your pants on this occasion, is that 1) It’s yet another von neumann turd 2) enjoy trading USG boobytraps for Ru variant << This is much more valuable than it looks. Run them in tandem. Independence is built EXACTLY out of having access to all the flavours of idiocy. That’s why trade centers get fat.
So the equation looks like this : Elbrus leads to independence, independence leads to trade, trade leads to a few extra pounds around the middle, and all of this positive energy leads to educated young men and women feeling confident enough in their futures to tie the knot and start families.x After that, their devilishxi spawn aren’t far behind.
See ? It’s for the children. What, you thought I was kidding ?
___ ___ ___
- Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe and is located on the border between Russia and the birthplace of that Jugashvili fellow. Seems a reasonable name for a Soviet-era computing company, wouldn’t you say ? [↩]
- It seems that services like Amazon and eBay, for all their shittiness, have spoiled me. I now very much expect anything and everything that I might desire to be available online and, if they be a physical thing, shipped to my door within two weeks. Original printings of obscure works, office supplies, travel arrangements, cars, etc.
What the fuck is this geography thing anyways ? “You must live in x to obtain y.” What the fuck is this, the past ? [↩]
- Butterfly Labs, for those unfamiliar with 2012-13 Bitcoin history, was a mining company that promised a great deal of hashpower, took in a great deal of funds from doe-eyed dreamers in the form of “pre-orders,” and then proceeded to stack lie on top of lie as to why they couldn’t deliver the goods. Yet ! Couldn’t deliver yet ! Maybe… tomorrow. When the weather clears up and this Advil kicks in. [↩]
- What can I say ? MP and MPEx are the wind in the sails of the most serene republic. It’s probably not said often enough (by anyone other than he), but I don’t dispute it for a second. The history speaks for itself. [↩]
- SPARC was a CPU architecture developed by Sun Microsystems in the mid-1980’s. [↩]
- One must “do a convincing simulacrum of legit business” in the eyes of whom ? What one government official sees as “legit” almost certainly isn’t what another sees. Russia being a large country, let’s just say that where there’s a will, there’s a way. [↩]
- To repeat : If you have a few Elbrus ARM-401 PCs, or even a couple Elbrus 4.4 servers for sale, hop on #bitcoin-assets on IRC or webchat, or PGP myself, Stan (ascii_field/asciilifeform), or Mircea Popescu. Cheers ! [↩]
- Well really, what won’t the USG diddle ? [↩]
- And y’know what ? I’d totally trade it for an Elbrus. If I couldn’t afford both, but I can. [↩]
- Uneducated folks need no such environmental cue. They breed like bunnies whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times. This is also, incidentally why, it’s not so much the meek that will inherit the earth as the fecund. Though, of course, the pendulum of humanity can only swing in that particular progenic direction for so long before turning a bend and heading back towards the graces and delicacies of civilisation. Again, for only so long…
On a personal note, this exact phenomenon was experienced first-hand by my maternal grandparents in socialist Romania in the 1950’s. Following the war, none of their educated friends could imagine bringing children into such a godforsaken place. Somehow, someway, my grandparents bucked the trend, and so here I am. I guess a little l’chaim goes a long way. [↩]
- To the new parents, of course, despite the interrupted sleeps and showers of liquid feces, the little demons will be devilish… ly cute. Biology really is a drug like no other. [↩]