BUILDING A 10BASE5 “THICK ETHERNET” NETWORK

Vampires!

Totally not my photo, or article, but this is making the rounds ‘BUILDING A 10BASE5 “THICK ETHERNET” NETWORK‘, over on Matt’s Tech Pages.

I didn’t get into networking professionally until 1996. It was at a certain bank that is full of Americans in a hurry. Anyways, as part of the line of interrogation from some outside consultant he pulls out a vampire and does the old man rant of ‘I bet this kid doesn’t even know what this is!’ bit.

Except I did.

Although to be honest, I’d never seen one in person, but I’d read about them in some ancient book about Unix Networking that went over in great details how to put down the cable, how to pay attention to the black bands in the cable, as they are the only place you should be tapping, how to use the tapping kit, and how to secure the vampire to the cable, along with the appropriate AUI cable to the host (PC).

So yeah, I did get the job. The old guy was genuinely shocked.

But time marches on.

Now I’m the old man.

SharpShooter3D

When the best friend becomes an enemy, and the main villain becomes you yourself and blood flows like a river, someone will definitely have to answer the main question – Who is behind the awakening of ancient evil and is there still a chance for humanity?

PUBLISHER:Dagestan Technology
DEVELOPER:HeadHuntersGames

I saw this ‘gem’ pop up on steam for $3.50 HKD (so $0.50 USD?) and thought what the hell let’s try it out. SharpShooter3D is well, a DooM mod of sorts, but it also feels a lot like Duke3D with the inclusion of vehicles and ‘moving room/vehicles’ like train cars. At it’s heart is GZDoom 3.3.2 which states in the license:

Parts of the voxel code in the software renderer use code from the
BUILD engine by Ken Silverman and are used under the terms of the
GPL v3 with permission.

Well isn’t that cool! The best of Duke3D and Doom! All in one.

It captures the imagined feel of the eastern block, old factories, nuclear power plants, lots of guys in trainers & Adidas all over the place, along with copious alcohol and milk (yes milk is the health thing here!).

Not to mention the punk sound track is pretty good for such a seemingly ‘low end offer’. Had this come out 20 years ago, it really would have set the world on fire, and probably set off quite the few controversy, but today it’s a discount mod that no doubt the devs did put a bit of work into.

I have no idea if the game is 90% off for the rest of the world, but I’d say it’s worth a look at the price.

Comcast Router and SNMP

(this is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

This is a lame duck, low effort post. And if you already know it it’s obvious. However this question seem to be asked a lot on the intertubes. I hope it will help someone else, as there is no good readily available answer out there.

Problem: I wanted to have SNMP on my Comcast/Xfinity router so I can monitor current bandwidth usage.

Research:

  • Possible to enable on vanilla router? – Nope
  • Do 3rd party, Comcast compatible routers do? – Nope
  • Can you SSH or hack in to the router to do it? – Nope
  • Can you load custom / hacked firmware to do it? – Nope*

Nope or very hard / unsupported.

So is it possible at all? Yes, but with a separate device. Comcast/Xfinity routers have so called “Bridge Mode” which essentially turns them in to a DOCSIS modem without router / firewall / wifi access point.

Solution: Turn on Bridge Mode in your vanilla Comcast router and buy a WRT firmware router / access point. I got Linksys AC3200 for $99 on Amazon. Ssh to the router and run: opkg install snmpd

Done.

Huananzhi X79

So I picked up this board on AliExpress for about $200 USD. Natrually the x79 chipset is NOT a dual CPU chipset, so yeah it’s one of those ‘not exactly 100% legit’ Chinese motherboards.

One thing about Chinese companies that many don’t sell directly to consumers, instead they sell on Tao Bao, Alibaba, or to foreigners, AliExpress. The company’s site is http://www.huananzhi.com, as they had written on the box. Yes you need the www. portion of the name, as again many things are… well dated on the Chinese internet.

The product page is currently http://www.huananzhi.com/html/1/149/150/256.html, if anyone cares. It lists the technical specs as:

  • Support for Xeon E5 series processors
  • High-speed DDR3 four-channel memory slot: support 1333/1600/1866MHz, maximum capacity 128G memory slot
  • Desktop general purpose memory
  • X79 dual motherboard supports 5.1 channel ALC887 chip
  • 8-layer PCB backplane, 7+7 phase power supply
  • High-speed USB3.0, SATA3.0 interface transmission speed is increased
  • PCI-E expansion slot*4
  • RJ45 Gigabit LAN interface
  • North Korean heat sink with HUANAN logo

Yes, I don’t get the whole Korean heat sink thing either. Anyways I thought it’d be fun to try so I ordered the thing. It took 3 days to get to my office in China, and an additional week to get from China to Hong Kong. I hear these things can take upwards of a month to arrive in North America.

Also worth noting is that they will not ship with a CMOS battery, so you need to supply your own CR-2032 battery, otherwise the board will not operate correctly.

The contents of the box are VERY minimal, but they did include 2 SATA cables, some CPU thermal paste, a very bare and … well not very good manual, a CD which I haven’t even tried to read, along with an IO shield.

I decided to pair this with a pair of E5-2620 v2‘s that I got for $40 USD shipped, as I didn’t want to initially spend a lot of money in case all of this just exploded or something. These were the ‘widest’ and cheapest processors I could find, I wanted a v2 E5 as they are faster then the first generation.

Also worth noting is that the board is only capable of driving v1 & v2 E5’s. And they need to be the E5-2 type, which support operating in pairs, unlike the E5-1 set. I have no idea if the E5-4’s aka 4-way part would work in a pair. Although it may be an interesting experiment to try.

The board apparently doesn’t support overclocking or anything that fancy.

Although it reports itself as an x79 based motherboard, it is in reality an Intel C602, based chipset. I don’t know if they are harvesting them off of recycled servers, or if they have located a giant cache of repair parts that have been pushed beyond 5 year warranties, so they are prime candidates for being re-purposed as end user motherboards. Nice things about these boards vs standard server boards is the inclusion of a Realtek HD Audio chip, VIA USB 3.0 controller, and even the nice spacing out of the slots so you could really use all the slots.

Since this is a dual processor board you really want a PSU with dual 8 pin power connectors, however as mentioned in the poorly translated manual, you can take a PCI-E 6 pin adapter, and place it into the 8 pin socket, just position it backwards so that the 12v+ pins are facing inwards.

It may look strange (well more so as I’m using an extension cable that is sadly more focused on aesthetics than function, but heh it was cheap), but rest assured it works!

Another thing to keep in mind is that since this board uses a server chipset, not a consumer one, just as it is using server processors, you will need server grade memory. In this case it’s REG ECC DDR3 based memory. I went with 1833Mhz parts, which are the fastest DDR3 parts they made. Although the processors I chose have a maximum frequency support of 1600Mhz, but the memory works fine when underclocked.

Another gotcha is the CPU fans. These need to fit the Intel Xeon 2011, but have support for the 2011 motherbards. Which unlike the consumer versions don’t have a separate plate to bolt to the underside, rather they screw in all from the top. I had purchased a pair of cheap heatsinks that were about the right size, but didn’t include any of the mounting hardware for a 2011 board. I picked up these GELID Phantom Black CPU’s for about $80 for the pair.

They are quite big, and include a pair of fans for each processor which will make the end build look a little crazy.

I didn’t want to spend a lot, and went with the cheapest PSU I could find to output more than 450 watts. Although it did turn on and run with the lower PSU the machine did shut off overnight for no apparent reason. I’ve been okay with the larger and cheap Antec NX 650 PSU.

Although, this is the older style ‘bundle o cables’ type of PSU which I’m not such a fan of.

If I had charged up a cordless screwdriver this would have taken a few minutes, but screwing in the heatsinks was a chore, and they really do dominate the boards real estate.

Almost completed build

I thought I had a case, but it turns out that it was for normal ATX sized boards, and this is an E-ATX board so it simply will not fit.

view from above

Another nice server like feature is that the board has an LED readout for early post codes, as booting this board will take some time. I think with 32GB of RAM it’s almost a minute.

I took the SSD & Hard disk out of my MacPro 2010 and put them into the new machine, and it booted up right away. Once connected to the internet Windows 10 picked up the new hardware and downloaded and installed the board drivers as needed. Interestingly enough Windows 10 also wanted a new activation code as the CPU/Motherboard was changed, although it didn’t complain about it.

When it comes to jobs that can run in parallel this is an incredible build. Obviously single core performance at 2Ghz is. well. terrible. I know going to a 4Ghz max E5-2667 v2 won’t be exactly magic either, but there is something nice about having 32 threads. Running stuff like parallel compiles, compression and video encoding is a dream on these massively parallel machines.

Games, are ‘okay’. I get 60fps with Fallout 76 on this current 2Ghz build on medium settings with the 1050 video card.

I do plan on getting faster CPU’s after the Chinese New Year, as right now basically everything is shut down (it sucks being the only person in the office building, literally), and shipments wont’ resume for at least another week.

New Year! New Machine!

24 cores!

New format for stuff too!

I picked up an ‘interesting Chinese motherboard, a dual LGA2011 board, some DD3 ECC memory, and 2 of the cheapest ‘widest’ chips I could find, the 6 core E5-2620 v2. The board cost me $200 US, the memory was $90 and the CPU’s were $40. Although the board is E-ATX, and that means I’ll need to get a new case as it won’t fit anything I have lying around.

I think I finally got the hang of Vegas. It’s taken far too long to get here, but I was hoping to have received the board much quicker as it shipped from 30km from here, but they did their best to NOT ship to Hong Kong.

I know it’s far too long, and far too maranding. Oh well it’s late and I’m just babbling like crazy.