I'm not on social media much, aside from a Letterboxd account, but you could send send a direct message to this handle on Reddit, or fling an email to freontrip at <google mail>. I also run wallabyjones.com, and will start posting blogs there again soon. Really.
I am a tech-literate geologist and *nix fan who wanted to explore a non-x86 architecture and put it to practical use. Experiments with Raspberry Pi units found me wanting, used workstations on eBay are expensive in addition to needing a lot of configuration to run anything contemporary, and impressed as I am by Apple Silicon I wanted something with a primary focus on user freedom. We deserve more than a duopoly between a gaggle of ARM machines with black box binary blobs and the prioritization of forward progress at the expense of engineering QC and user freedom that characterizes the x86 experience. Mostly I just want a capable, focused environment to do real work, whether that be dabbling in GIS projects, writing about tech and movies, or just listening to music and enjoying a distraction-free environment that isn't constantly needling me about something or sending telemetry behind my back. And this most certainly fits the bill.
status: Built and operational as of July 2022. One warranty motherboard replacement in February of 2023.
system type: Raptor Blackbird
operating system: Fedora Linux 37; previously ran Void Linux until that was discontinued.
|system mainboard/cpu||Raptor Blackbird||8-Core POWER9 Bundle|
|heatsink||Raptor Computing||3U Power9 Assembly|
|case||be quiet!||Pure Base 500 White ATX|
|power supply||EVGA||SuperNOVA 1000 G3 80+ GOLD|
|ram||Nemix||32GB (2x16) Registered ECC DDR4 2666|
|os drive||Samsung||870 256GB 2.5" SATA SSD|
|storage drive||Samsung||4TB 3.5" SATA HDD|
|video card||AMD||Powercolor Radeon RX 6600|
|monitor||BenQ||32" 4K IPS LCD|
|ups/power backup||APC||BX1500M 900W|
|keyboard||Apple Extended II w/ ADB converter||Model M3501|
|mouse||Microsoft Ergonomic||Model 1923|
Originally I had the system living inside of a Chenbro SR20503 ATX case from circa 2004. It was quite nice - originally intended for servers, the power LED had two states, and the boot readiness of the BMC was communicated by an amber light that slowly strobed while it powered on, and then shifted to a very subtly blinking "ready" state until the power button was pressed, the LED would go dark, and then turn green as the motherboard powered on. Eventually I got tired of its lack of cable management, and replaced it when I sent the motherboard in for warranty work. The new case doesn't have the LED niceties, but is superior in every other way for what I do.
Initially the motherboard was part of a new batch manufactured after a long dry spell - I ordered my eight core bundle in September of 2021. The board arrived in good physical condition but with bad network firmware flashed onto it, which also made it impossible to connect to the BMC to set system time. Communication with Raptor was good and their support had a fix ready for me to flash on the device in less than 12 hours. The unit abruptly showed signs of failure in early February, but with the unit under warranty I sent it in and received an RMA replacement less than two weeks later, and the new unit is humming along in fine shape.
Overall, I’m ecstatic with the machine and would recommend it to anyone with the technical background to wrangle initial setup. It handles the open source software I use with aplomb, and while a fully optimized Firefox JIT or a fallback Chromium option I didn't have to compile would be good for web browsing, the hardware is capable enough to muscle through a lot without a lot of specific optimizations. If I could buy another one, I would.