Green Computing with a Server Based Desktop Workstation

A lot of people whether friends or family wonder what kind of computer I have and usually say something along the lines of “Areeb must have a supercomputer as a PC”.  Most people are surprised when it couldn’t be further from the truth, and even more, I have no need for a more powerful computer.

A few months ago I decided to upgrade from a self-built AMD Phenom Quad Core CPU with 8GB of RAM and RAID 1 x 1TB hard drives, not because I needed the CPU power, but because I wanted more RAM and grew tired of maintaining so many physical computers in my personal space.

Prior to this I used to have a separate server for all of my testing, VPS and another for filebackups and media.  But it really was quite the waste to use so much extra power when those other systems sat mainly idle.

My solution was to make a hybrid, Desktop workstation on my own (I always prefer to build my own systems).  I must admit I didn’t have an exact plan and it was more of a work in progress when I first started.

My Home Made Workstation

I have used servers based on the AMD Opteron 2400 (Opteron 2419EE) series and loved them because of their low wattage and high cores.  Almost any of them would give me more power than I had before (which I didn’t need).

I settled on a brand new Coolermaster Case which supported dual power supplies, and more importantly EATX server motherboards.

The Coolermaster case is fantastic with so many large fans. I was getting a loud and annoying errrerr whirring noise from the CPU fan at the rear even with an exhaust fan there due to heat. By plugging in the included large top vents this fixed it. I suspect the rear of the case with the cards being there is one of the hotter areas in a PC case (heat coming from GPU and also LSI 9200). I was surprised that this was the case even with a 120MM rear exhaust fan.  The noise does still happen sometimes, to get rid of it permanently I suspect I’ll need to actively cool and move air from those 2 cards.  I am in the middle of a very hot summer and the noise hasn’t come back, the solution has been the top vents and also a PCI Slot cooler sucking the LSI card’s hot air out of the back.  The system now runs very cool even in summer temperatures.

AMD Opteron Tyan/HP Server Based Motherboard:

I’ve always been a fan of AMD so I couldn’t resist when I came across this model.

HP XW9400 but is really a rebranded Tyan S2915E (I love Tyan products because I find they are incredibly stable and long-lasting, no Asus Desktop product can compare in my opinion).

What’s to love about the Tyan S2915E/XW9400 Motherboard?

 

AreebXW9400build

  • Dual CPU Sockets (I installed dual 6-core AMD 2419EE to keep the power low, at just 45W each for a total of 12 cores)
  • 8 RAM sockets (4 per CPU with support for up to 64GB DDR2 ECC RAM)
  • SAS/SATA Controller (LSI 1068E) with 8 ports
  • SATA Controller (MCP55) with 6 ports.
  • Dual NVIDIA 1gbit NICs
  • Dual PCI-E x16 Graphics Slots
  • PCI-X (2) PCI-X 64-bit 133/100MHz slots
    PCI (1) PCI 32-bit slot
  • Onboard Audio

Can be flashed with Tyan firmware and in case of a bad flash it has a standard ROM chip that can be replaced and/or flashed even from Linux (using Flashrom).

The Build

Since I bought a brand new HP XW9400 motherboard there were some challenges.  First of all it came with standoffs meant for the HP XW9400 case but are completely useless for a standard EATX case.  To make it worse they are TORX screws with a security bit in the middle.  Fortunately it is fairly easy to break the security bits off using a flat head screw driver.

Power Supply is not a standard ATX, I bought one used from the XW8400 (interestingly enough the ones branded as XW9400 are missing the memory power connector so will not work).

Compatible power supply: Delta DPS-825AB B 800W Power Supply 405351-003

What I like about this power supply is that it is incredibly quiet.

Non-compatbile power supply: Delta DPS1050CB 1050W HP P/N 440860-001 (SPARE) 442038-001

You NEED to use both processors otherwise only the first slot (#2) x16 graphics will work and no other PCI/PCI-E slot will work!  They had to design it with that minimum in mind because otherwise the system couldn’t post without a graphics card installed.  I love this system so much I built another and thought I would save power by using a single CPU.  It is commonly known that you lose the Memory RAM DIMMs for the corresponding socket when you don’t populate it but the documentation from HP and Tyan does not advise that you lose all the other slots by not using the second CPU!   This is something that had be wasting more time than I’d like to admit troubleshooting.  There is the possibility of using a Pass-Thru CPU but I can’t find one they are apparently expensive and rare.  I hope other XW9400/Tyan S2915

I thought I would update the info for the power supply. Some sites imply you must use an HP power supply or you may blow your motherboard but this is unnecessary and untrue (although the HP power supply will blow a standard ATX motherboard!). The HP power supply cannot be bolted unto a standard ATX computer case because they are not the same dimensions. This motherboard has 3 power connectors a P4 4pin ATX12V to power the RAM, an EPS12V 8pin to power the CPUs and standard ATX 24 pin.

Many normal ATX power supplies offer the 8 pin EPS12V connector and the standard ATX 24PIN connector is compatible. Most do not offer the ATX12V P4 4pin.

This is not a problem as there are adapters which easily convert Molex LP4 connectors into EPS12V and P4 ATX 12V so no need to limit your choices to EPS12V power supplies (though it is nice to have it builtin).I am currently using a Logisys 650W 80Plus Gold power supply which includes an EPS12V and I am using a Startech MOLEX to P4/ATX12V 4-pin adapter for the memory connector.

I’ve changed my power supply to a Corsair 750W Bronze and have been much happier.  If I pegged the CPUs to a very high load the computer would switch off or reboot with the Logisys (it clearly was not 650W or Gold).  I thought the certification could be trusted but this is simply not the case, go with known brands but of course nothing is fool proof but so far I’ve had a 300W GPU, 64GB of RAM, 4 HDDs and 2 CPUs maxed out with 1200% load with no issues on this new Corsair power supply.

CPU Fans & Heatsink are Proprietary (even the power connectors are)

You have to buy the correct HP part# for these but it is worth the money, after 117 days of uptime both heatsinks are luke warm to the touch (no need for liquid cooling).

CPUs

2 x AMD Opteron 2419EE (45 Watts and 6-cores each clocked at 1.8ghz)

RAM
8 x 4GB PC2-5300P ECC Registered RAM Qimonda

*I’ve upgraded the RAM recently to 8x8GB for a total of 64GB and the system is running fantastic and always has extra RAM to spare.

It is way too much power for me

As you can see even with a load of nearly 3.0 most cores sit idle and at 800mhz to conserve energy and lower heat, showing that I have way more CPU power and cores than I really need.

cat /proc/cpuinfo|grep MHz

cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 1200.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 1000.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 1800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cpu MHz        : 800.000

I have used 1200% load doing video editing and the great thing is that the system doesn’t really lag compared to doing the same thing on a Quad Core CPU.  There are just so many cores that even if a small percentage relinquish some of their power for my normal Desktop usage that everything works seamlessly, very impressive to me and this is where having the 12-Cores really pays off.

The Green Computing Effect

Because of this build I was able to retire 2 servers and combine them into one.  It is an ideal setup having so many SATA ports that I am able to have separate RAID arrays for different functions so IO does not become a factor.

I have a RAID10 array for my main OS and /home, a second array for media and a third for Virtual Servers.

I’ve saved a lot of money, power and also don’t have the hassle of maintaining more systems than I need, all in a rock solid build with more CPU power than I’ll need.

People are always surprised when I tell them what I am using and usually they have spent a lot more on a computer they don’t need and have a CPU that uses far more power (eg. 150+W CPU).

This is a great way to go green, save power and also consolidate unnecessary systems and make life easier so it’s been a win-win.

Conclusion/Update

I am really happy with this setup the PC runs cool and is super quiet. I recently upgraded to the maximum amount of RAM 64GB (8x8GB). Another addition has been an LSI 9200 SAS/SATA card which has 2 SFF8088 connectors that create a total of 8 ports. The main reason is to support 3TB+ drives including my 8TB Seagates for backup.

I am starting to do more video editing now and may consider some of the other AMD Opteron architectures in the future says as the G34 or C32 which have low-power versions with as many as 16-Cores on a single CPU.

Possible future upgrades.

The C32 architecture I am interested in would be Opteron 4256EE because it has 8-Cores and a TDP of just 35W with frequency between base 1.6Ghz and half-load turbo 2.8Ghz.  Upgrading to this architecture would save me power, heat and give me more computing power at the same time.

The G34 architecture I am interested in would be Opteron 6366 HE with 16-Cores between 1.8Ghz and 3.1Ghz with TDP of 85W.  In terms of power usage it comes out slightly higher than 2x4256EEs (C32) so the more sensible solution to me would still probably be the 4356EE Opteron (C32).

WIPO UDRP Domain Dispute Domain Seizure Experience

When providing hosting and domain registration services, there are known and various risks including fraud, DOS attacks etc…

Unfortunately in this case, it was customer based fraud and this is something almost impossible to predict or stop.  A customer from Brazil purchased a domain and hosting from us and then reported the transaction as unauthorized.  As many businesses will know, even rock solid proof that the purchase was authorized is often a futile attempt in fighting fraudulent credit card chargebacks.

After the chargeback we naturally canceled their hosting and moved the domain back into our name and it was parked as any standard domain to prevent them from making use of it.

How I learned about UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) & WIPO First Hand

UDRP is a sort of internet domain lawsuit challenging the rights of the current owner under the pretext that it contains trademarked words and/or is misleading and confusing over whatever brand or rights they claim to hold.  It can cost as little as $1000 USD to file a UDRP complaint and if successful the domain will be transferred to the complainant (assuming you do not file a lawsuit to fight it).  UDRP is something any TLD (Top Level Domain) under ICANN that you agree to accepting when registering any ICANN administered TLD (so virtually almost all TLDs).

According to Bradesco Bank and counsel from Brazil, the domain registered by our customer “ativacoestabelabradesco.com” allegedly contained one of their trademarked names in Portugese.  To us the domain was gibberish and a random string of characters that we didn’t recognize, and we had never heard of the name, likeness or bank in Brazil since none of us even speak Portugese or have ever visited Brazil.  They e-mailed our administrative contact with a notice of the UDRP filed with WIPO.

What is WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)?

It is a third party organization established through ICANN for UDRP disputes.  They act as a quasi-judicial court for domain name disputes and are supposed to be impartial, however a Google search reveals many outrageous complaints about “rogue” adjudicators or judges.  In essence and practice the adjudicators do not have to follow precedent cases or even apply all the rules as I believe my experience shows, there is a wide range of discretion for the adjudicator.

What does it take to win a UDRP Dispute?

Here is what WIPO says as of 2016-02-13 (note our dispute was back in 2013): https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/policy-2012-02-25-en#4

By definition the following tests must be met:

4. Mandatory Administrative Proceeding.

This Paragraph sets forth the type of disputes for which you are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding. These proceedings will be conducted before one of the administrative-dispute-resolution service providers listed at www.icann.org/en/dndr/udrp/approved-providers.htm (each, a “Provider”).

a. Applicable Disputes. You are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that a third party (a “complainant”) asserts to the applicable Provider, in compliance with the Rules of Procedure, that

(i) your domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

(ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

In the administrative proceeding, the complainant must prove that each of these three elements are present.

b. Evidence of Registration and Use in Bad Faith. For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.

c. How to Demonstrate Your Rights to and Legitimate Interests in the Domain Name in Responding to a Complaint. When you receive a complaint, you should refer to Paragraph 5 of the Rules of Procedure in determining how your response should be prepared. Any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate your rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(ii):

(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

Continue reading “WIPO UDRP Domain Dispute Domain Seizure Experience”

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Business Decision to Fight the FBI/Court Order

Mr. Cook has clearly made a strategic decision to be one of the first and few tech companies to challenge a court order of this magnitude, and if anyone can do it, it would be Apple.

Now to be clear there is a very serious matter in this case, and it is a tricky rope for investigators and business to get it right.  A crime has been committed and the authorities have presumably presented credible evidence and there is a court order, however the order is essentially unlimited access to all Apple devices.  The business (Apple) has two choices, co-operate or deal with the consequences of not doing so, in Apple’s case there is little financial consequence to not co-operate.  The opposite case could be made that Apple recognizes that if the public finds out that they complied that their encryption is as good as useless, their analysts probably put a price tag on the customer backlash and likely predicted a huge drop in AAPL shares.  Aside from the business case, it looks like now that the issue of privacy has come knocking on his doorstep, he has no choice but to take a bold and very public stand.

This is not a typical court order but is in effect a blanket and mass surveillance project.  Apple is basically being asked to make an app and backdoor to bypass their encryption, or at least disable the 10-try mechanism so they can try traditional bruteforce password methods.  Tim Cook stated very clearly that the ramifications would go far beyond this one case and validated his concerns by mentioning there would be little control over oversight over such a mechanism if Apple complied, which could mean the backdoor could be abused without due cause, as has been the case in the past with other surveillance.

One wonders if Apple has pondered its next move because it is unlikely that Apple can indefinitely delay or win the fight in the end.  They are legally under US jurisdiction and must win their challenge or comply.  Failing that Apple’s only option would be to move overseas/off-shore and this would be a huge blow for the US economy, tech sector and other companies may follow suit, such as McAfee’s weighing in on the issue and offer to crack the iPhone.

My philosophy has always been the US is a great place to do business with huge potential, but I always advise people to understand that any traffic transiting the US and especially data stored there is subject to US laws and regulations.

It will be interesting to watch where this goes, I have a feeling that most are cheering for Apple and Tim Cook at the moment and it is really no wonder with what is at stake.

Chung Chuck of Ladner BC

I wasn’t aware until my last year of high school that my great grandfather, Chung Chuck, played a prominent role in the history of BC civil rights especially among the Chinese community.  Normally people would not associate a name like Areeb Yasir (formerly Jeffery Soo) with the Chinese ethnic group and many expect to meet someone of the Arab ethnic group so they are surprised when they meet me or, rather that they can’t see who they were expecting.

Chung Chuck (Chung Mor Ping)

Born: 1897 in China, Canton Province (now known as Guandong in Southern China).

Immigrated: 1909 to Ladner, Delta BC with his father (Chinese females were not permitted to enter Canada at that time).

Married: Mary (May Lee, 1907-1969) in 1940.

Sons: Napoleon and Winch

Daughters: Frances, Joyce and Vicki

Death: 1986/12/08

Chung Chuck and his father settled in Ladner where other Chinese migrants had moved to work in the farming and fishing industry.  Like most ethnic groups who immigrated to Canada, they paid the head tax and the rights of ethnic groups were virtually non-existent. Members of the Chinese ethnic group and others faced discriminatory policies from the government and persecution among other colonial settlers of the time.

In 1929 Chung Chuck bought a piece of land at the end of Westham Street(formerly the old China town, now known as 48th Avenue and converted it into a Potato Farm.

The timeline is not exactly clear but apparently in the late 1920’s local business and government officials created a scheme to put Chinese farmers out of business.  This meant that him and other farmers of the Chinese ethnic group were now bootlegging and breaking the law by farming and selling their produce.  The situation become so tense that caucasian hate groups formed a physical blockade on the Knight Street bridge to stop him from taking his product to market, and he faced numerous assaults.  The blockade was eventually broken and had him named as the “Delta Rifleman” when he rode shotgun across the bridge to bring his produce to the Vancouver markets.

Ultimately Chung Chuck and a fellow farmer named Mah Lai challenged the discriminatory laws against Chinese farmers in Supreme Court and won.

He built his first home at 4756 47A Street and this is where the famous building “Chung Chuck Potato Grower” was located.

Sometime in the mid 1940’s Chung Chuck built his family home by purchasing the “Maeda home” on Westham street and converted it into a family home and successful restaurant.

Eventually he built a riverfront Marina and Houseboat Moorage and provided services including water and electricity to less fortunate people.  This eventually lead to a  Police standoff with the City who threatened to cut off his water supply.  It is reported that he was charged for pointing a rifle at police and city officials but those charges were eventually dropped when it was revealed he was simply holding a piece of wood.

Chung Chuck is known for contributing to the civil rights movement in BC and standing his ground against oppression and other hate groups and was able to succeed to despite organized movements to stop the settling, free movement and basic human rights of Chinese migrants and other ethnic groups.

 

References:

http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=22269303-9a80-4d7d-b146-3dc5c0b9ea42&sponsor

http://www.vancouverhistory.ca/chronology1986.htm

http://www.narrativethreads.ca/explorer-explore/panier_demigres_chinois-chinese_settlement_basket.html

Chung Chuck

http://www.delta-optimist.com/news/cover-story-ladner-s-forgotten-chinatown-1.890596

http://www.mingpaocanada.com/van/htm/News/20140515/vasb.htm?m=0

http://www.delta-optimist.com/opinion/columnists/chung-chuck-was-a-colourful-character-in-area-s-early-days-1.459480

http://www.memorybc.ca/chung-chuck

About Areeb Soo Yasir and compevo communications

Areeb Soo Yasir is the CEO of compevo communications and founded the company in 2001.  compevo communications was originally named by Areeb Yasir, “computer evolution” started out by offering outstanding technical support services, locally in the Vancouver, BC area of Canada while attending BCIT.  Areeb Yasir quickly expanded compevo’s reach and offerings to nearly all things IT, with a focus around business IT solutions, web hosting (initially web hosting, then VPS, then Dedicated Servers), IT security, and IT consulting.

15 years later, compevo communications has survived the dot bomb era and financial crisis of 2008 and has been constantly growing thanks to our highly targeted and unique in-house services.  compevo has multiple facilities worldwide with a strong focus on North America and Asia.

compevo communications offers superior IT solutions and has excelled in bundling in house support, consulting and VPS, Dedicated Server hosting solutions.