raspberry pi

Pi Cluster vs Ampere Altra Max 128-core ARM CPU

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 and Ampere Altra Max M128-30

Sometimes life has a funny way of lining up opportunities, and one presented itself when Patrick from ServeTheHome reached out and said, "Jeff, I have an Ampere Altra Max server. You wanna come see it?"

Of course I did.

But seeing as Patrick is more than 800 miles away, I had to come up with a reason to go see it, so I pulled out my 6-node Raspberry Pi cluster—with it's 24 ARM Cortex A72 CPU cores—and decided to have a little competition.

And of course that competition is documented in a YouTube video:

You can't buy a Raspberry Pi right now

...or at least, not without a lot of patience or a fat wallet.

Scalping Prices of the Raspberry Pi on eBay

But why? And are there any signs Raspberry Pis will become available to the general public again soon?

To be clear, I'm speaking of the mainstream SBC Raspberry Pis, like the Pi 4 model B, the Compute Module 4, the Pi Zero 2 W, and even in many cases the Pi 400. The Pico and Pico W are both readily available, at least in most markets where I've looked (local shortages always exist, but typically not for months or years like with full-size Pis).

Homelab Pi Rack upgrade, just in time for AnsibleFest 2022

AnsibleFest is fast approaching, and this year it'll finally be back in person, in Chicago. Since that's a short jaunt from St. Louis, I'll be headed up to talk about my Homelab this year!

More specifically, I'll be giving a talk titled Ansible for the Homelab, and I'll walk through how I have at least part of my sprawling homelab environment automated using Ansible.

Raspberry Pi Rack Pro by UCTRONICS

BliKVM PCIe puts a computer in your computer

BliKVM PCIe with Raspberry Pi CM4 running PiKVM

This is the BliKVM PCIe, a full computer on a PCI Express card. This is an IP KVM (Internet Protocol Keyboard-Video-Mouse) that can be put inside another computer or server.

Most server motherboards already have remote 'lights-out' management functionality built in. Most frequently this is referred to as IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface, but Dell calls it iDRAC, and HPE calls it ILO.

Install Raspberry Pi OS's desktop environment over a Lite install

Almost every time I set up a Raspberry Pi these days, I use the 'Lite' version of Raspberry Pi OS. That version doesn't come with a GUI, it just boots to the console. It's much smaller in size and contains most things you'd need for a 'headless' Pi setup.

And if you know your way around the command line, it's not daunting to plug in a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and explore via the shell if you need to.

But every so often, I've had a Lite install that I wanted to switch to GUI, but I'm too lazy to pull the Pi out of wherever it's installed, pull the microSD card, and re-flash it with the full OS, and then re-run my automation on it to set up whatever I had running before.

And that's why it's nice to be able to just install the GUI on top of an existing Lite install!

To do that (assuming you're running the latest Pi OS version, Bullseye as of this writing), just install Xorg and the Raspberry Pi 'PIXEL' environment:

PTP and IEEE-1588 hardware timestamping on the Raspberry Pi CM4

I've been following the issue CM4 is missing IEEE1588-2008 support through BCM54210PE since I heard about IEEE1588-2008 support on the Compute Module 4 last year.

Broadcom NIC on Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

Apparently the little NIC included on every Compute Module 4—the BCM54210PE, which is different than the NIC on the Pi 4 model B (a BCM54213PE)—includes support for a feature called PTP, or Precision Time Protocol.

The Raspberry Pi Pico W brings WiFi for $6

Today, Raspberry Pi announced the Pico W, a new $6 version of the Pico that includes WiFi.

Raspberry Pi Pico W on breadboard

No word yet on Bluetooth. The WiFi chip in the Pico W (Infineon CYW43439) supports it, but right now the RP2040 firmware lacks Bluetooth support.

The Pico W being available for just $6 is huge, because one of the chief complaints about the original Pico (powered by Raspberry Pi's own RP2040) was its lack of wireless support—a feature present on similarly-priced boards based on the ESP32 and ESP8266.

Answering Questions about the PetaPi

A few weeks ago, I posted a video about the Petabyte Pi Project—an experiment to see if a single Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 could directly address sixty 20TB hard drives, totaling 1.2 Petabytes.

Petabyte of Seagate Exos Hard Drives

And in that video, it did, but with a caveat: RAID was unstable. For some reason, after writing 2 or 3 GB of data at a time, one of the HBAs I was using would flake out and reset itself, due to PCI Express bus errors.