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You can fling an email to freontrip at <google mail>. I am also preparing to start back up again, though I don't think I have a contact form there...

Who Dis

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 on one hand, and the prioritization of speed and feature improvements at the expense of engineering QC and user freedom that characterizes the x86 experience on the other. Mostly I just want a capable, focused environment to do real work, whether that be working in GIS projects, writing about tech and movies, or simply 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.


Hostname: garlic
Status: Built and operational as of July 2022. One warranty motherboard replacement in February of 2023. Upgraded storage to a HighPoint Rocket 1204 with two NVMe drives in early 2024.
System Type: Raptor Blackbird
Operating System: Fedora Linux 40; previously ran Void Linux until the maintainer stepped away to build Chimera Linux. No, haven't tried it yet; yes, I've got one beady eye periodically roving over to check its progress.

component brand model
System Mainboard/CPU Raptor Computing 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
Storage Controller HighPoint Rocket 1204 PCIe x8 controller
OS Drive (/) Samsung SN770 512GB NVMe SSD
Storage Drive (/home) SK Hynix Platinum P41 1TB NVMe SSD
Video Card AMD Radeon Pro W6600
Monitor BenQ 32" 4K IPS LCD
UPS/Power Backup APC BX1500M 900W
Keyboard Filco Majestouch 104 key blue switch
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.

My first motherboard was part of a new batch manufactured after a long dry spell, reportedly due to COVID-related component shortages. I ordered my eight core bundle in September of 2021. The board arrived in good physical condition the following July 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 of 2023, 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.

Despite initial difficulties I’m ecstatic with the machine and would recommend it to anyone with the technical background to wrangle its initial setup. It handles the open source software I use with aplomb, it feels good to know the machine isn't tattling to anyone, and the hardware is capable enough to muscle through a lot without a lot of specific optimizations. If I could buy another one, I would.