Tuesday, April 25


Daily News Stuff 25 April 2023

Rise of the DIMM Hero Edition

Top Story

  • With SSD pricing in free fall - I just checked on the PNY CS2241 and the 4TB model is down by 45% since January - it is tempting to just buy a dozen of them and build a big RAID-5 array and forget about mechanical drives and their abysmal random I/O performance (one budget SSD can do as many random I/Os as two hundred mechanical drives) and their inevitable hardware failures.

    Except - how?  There are some expensive hardware NVMe RAID cards but they won't work in my case - literally - because my Hyte Y60 PC case only accepts one full-height card.  There are cheap half-height cards that take one or two SSDs but depend on channel bifurcation and most consumer motherboards just don't have the PCIe lanes.  And there's the SilverStone CS01-HS which tough luck I just bought the last two on the market.

    And then there's the Asus FlashStor 6 and 12 Pro, which are compact desktop boxes (12x8x2 inches) that take 6 and 12 M.2 SSDs respectively.  (AnandTech)

    The FlashStor 6 has dual 2.5Gb Ethernet ports; the 12 Pro has a single 10Gb port.  Apart from that they share a 6W Intel Celeron N5105 CPU (not fast, but adequate for this kind of thing), 4GB of RAM, four USB ports, HDMI, and an S/PDIF audio output if you want to use one as a media server.

    Which is not a terrible idea: There are no noising spinning drives and the cooling fan is nearly silent at 18dB.

    These are real NASes too.  They run Btrfs where I'm a ZFS fan, but they support snapshots, SMB, NFS, iSCSI (so you can mount part of the space it as a dedicated rather than a shared disk), rsync, and a swarm of Docker apps if you're into that kind of thing.

    4GB of RAM will disappear fast if you're running Docker apps, but the memory is upgradeable using standard DDR4 SO-DIMMs, which I have lying around everywhere.  The specs say it goes to a maximum of 16GB, but I've seen reports that these Celeron chips work fine with 32GB.

    $449 for the FlashStor 6, $799 for the 12 Pro.  I'm going to get that one as soon as I can.  Even if I can't get 10Gb Ethernet running for the whole house it's small and quiet enough that it can sit in the main office rather than the computer room.

    Oh, and while there are no spinning drives included, either model will support up to two external expansion units with four 3.5" drives each if you need more capacity.

Tech News

  • If you need a tiny high-performance fanless router to complete your home network after CWWK (who?) has you covered.  (Serve the Home)

    The i5-1235U is more than three times the speed of the N5105 in the Asus NAS above, so it should be able to keep the packets flying through the six 2.5Gb Ethernet ports and the optional WiFi but you may have to fight with it to get your preferred operating system installed.  It comes with a preconfigured key for Windows 10/11 Pro - just download and install it and it will activate itself - but pfSense, Proxmox VE, and Ubuntu 22.04 all needed workarounds to get running.

    And if you hoped to run VMWare ESXi, just give up.  It doesn't work on Intel's big/little CPUs and there are no plans to fix that.

    Apart from all the Ethernet ports there are four USB ports and HDMI and DisplayPort, so if you want to run it as a media server....  Why?  Anyway, you can, and it has an M.2 slot and two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots for up to 64GB of RAM in case you have that lying around.

  • If you want a 14" laptop with the Four Essential Keys in their proper location - in a column to the right of the main keyboard - reasonable CPU and graphics performance, a 1080p screen covering 100% of sRGB, and the ability to upgrade to 64GB of RAM using those DDR4 SO-DIMMs you have lying around, there is exactly one such model available: HP's Pavilion 14.

    Not the Pavilion Plus 14.  That has a better screen (2240x1400 or 2880x1800 options are available) but all Plus 14 models have soldered RAM.

    I skipped over this one not realising that it had dual SO-DIMM slots, but after checking and double-checking it really does, and the screen is far superior to options from Acer or Dell.

    Plus it's not at all expensive.  I'll be getting one of these.  I'm tempted to buy more than one, but since I'm planning to build some new desktop systems it wouldn't really make sense to do so.

  • Stability AI - the people behind the open source Stable Diffusion image generation software - have launched an open source chatbot similar to ChatGPT.  (Ars Technica)

    Many - not all, but many - of the problems with ChatGPT are due to the biases of developers OpenAI.  As open source, you can afflict StableLM with your own preferred set of biases.

  • Speaking of chatbots ever since Snapchat unveiled their chatbot they've been flooded with 1-star reviews.  (Tech Crunch)

    Oh no.  Anyway-

  • Apple has won its antitrust battle with Epic Games...  Pyrrhically.  (Tech Crunch)

    The court has ruled that Epic didn't prove that Apple was acting as a monopoly, but also that Apple couldn't forbid developers from linking to third-party payment processors to escape Apple's 30% skim.  

    Which was the entire reason for this fight.  Apple seems to have won the battle but lost the war, and Epic vice versa.

  • Learn a trade.  (New Yorker)

    Web designers don't get called out at 4AM, but plumbing problems can't be outsourced to Bangalore.

  • Disney is outsourcing 7000 people to /dev/null.  (The Verge)

    Also their dragon caught fire.  (CNN / MSN)

Disclaimer: Paging Alanis Morissette.  Will Alanis Morissette please come to the white irony phone.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:48 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 995 words, total size 8 kb.

1 "how?"
This is about a 3/4 joking answer, but what about using a PCIe riser to an external enclosure?  (There probably isn't an enclosure designed for this purpose, admittedly.)

Posted by: Rick C at Tuesday, April 25 2023 11:28 PM (k3/O4)

2 That their dragon caught on fire is true irony. That made me laugh out loud.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at Wednesday, April 26 2023 11:32 AM (zpcwY)

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Apple pies are delicious. But never mind apple pies. What colour is a green orange?

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