Hardware

With the success on preliminary benchmark on my use case for Elasticsearch . I thought I would see how it ran on a ARM based ODroid U3.

The U3 is a credit card sized mini PC from HardKernel, that runs Android or Linux.

The Odroid U3 Specs include a 1.7GHz Exynos4412 Prime Cortex-A9 Quad-core processor, and 2GB RAM. While it support MMC storage, I'll be using a 16GB Sandisk Ultra UHS I Class 10 SD Card, in part to makes things interesting, and in part so I easily swap out my Android XBMC MMC between projects.

I have gone with Ubuntu 14.4 from the ODroid forum site.

Oracle Java 8 via apt-get was straight forward, however elasticsearch via packages.elasticsearch.org did not explicitly support armhf.

I added the following to /etc/apt/sources.list as outline by the docs

However apt-get update gave me the following error.

As Elasticsearch runs in Java, I figured running the x86 version would be fine. Just needed to figure out how to do it.

After hitting a dead end after editing /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg.d/architectures, I tried adding architecture tags to /etc/apt/sources.list as outlined in the Multarch/HOWTO.

Worked a treat, package sources updated, and elastic search installed as a deb package.

After a long wait, and a missing, though refunded shipment from one vendor, I finally received 4 MCX to Co-Ax Converters from ebay.

Not willing to wait after the first AWOL shipment, I ordered 2 flyleads and 2 one piece converters.

20140623_212910_

The difference in FM radio off the bat was huge. With a slight adjustment of the AF gain and setting Noise reduction to -75db, the signal was crystal clear. SDR# also picked up the 64 Character Radio Data System message, though that come through at a character or two every second.

TripleM

Next I'll be seeing what luck i have getting anything of substance from Bankstown Airport traffic control.

After a friend told me about their own SDR setups, I though I would take the sub $10 investment to have a tinker myself.

While I have never been into the HAM radio scene, at this low cost, having the ability to scan a wide range of frequencies via my desktop was enough to get my attention.

The two most common entry level USB's, commonly sold as cheap USB DVB-T dongles both sport a RTL2832U chipset, there are older references on the web to the E4000 Elonics Tuner, rare enough for an asking price 4 times what it was 24 months ago for the places that have stock, and the more common and newer R820T Tuner.

While it would be some time until I would be at a level that I would notice a difference from one tuner to the other, outside of the slighly limited frequency range of the E4000 (52MHZ -to 1100MHz & 1250MHz - 2200MHz) compared to the R820T (24MHZ - 1770MHz), I wanted to try for a E4000 as my friend had the R820T.

Selling R820T's as E4000's

Alibaba has a ton of these, or at least claim too of which I got two of the variety below. Not sure of the exact sellers as I gave a few links to my Wife for birthday ideas as few months ago, though I know she got them from 2 different vendors

Some are boxed in the Digital Energy Branded Mini Digital TV Stick, sporting the text DVB-T+DAB+FM.

20140508_214929

The hardware ID PID 2838 matched to the E4000 according to this SDR Wiki.

SDRHWID

However, closer investigation shows this was in fact a R820T.

Here is the PCB, case & antenna of my Sticks

My USB

My USB

And here is one I found on Superkuh's Blog, which he stated he purchased early 2012.

http://superkuh.com/rtlsdr.html

http://superkuh.com/rtlsdr.html

Notice the PCB Layout Differences.

Close up of the two Tuner Chips.

E400 on Left, R280T on Right

E400 on Left, R280T on Right

It seems this enclosure used to hold a E4000 years ago, and Alibaba vendors are selling them as E4000's, which are more desirable for those wanting to utilise the higher frequencies.

Not a big deal I kind of though it was too good to be true to get a E4000 via Alibaba at a R820T price, and since the current going price on a E4000 ($65 at the time of this post), I wasn't out anything I would have been sourcing a pair of R820T's.

There is a MCX plug on the side, which resulted in a purchase of a MCX to Coaxial adapter that will be arriving soon though some USB models have a RF Coaxial instead.

20140508_213958

After the un-boxing, it was time to try out some software.

Windows SDR Software

There are plenty of blogs and pages that go into the details of installing the USB drivers, and setting up SDR# (SDR Sharp), and the add-ons needed for the RTL2832U, and a ton of other plugins. As well as setup for another common entry level SDR package, HDSDR.

While, I am lucky to get a FM signal at all thanks to the mini antenna, I do manage to get the 3 main local FM stations on SDR#

SDRSharp

Similar results on HDSDR.

HDSDR

Not all too impressive quite yet.

Once the MSX to Coax arrives I'll be able to plug it into the TV Antenna and get a much better signal. and start scanning more frequencies

 

 

 

Getting my hands on a new Server, and before we move the Fusion IO Drives over to the new server on top of a Hyper V layer, where the File System will be stored inside VHD files, I though I would do a few benchmarks as a baseline to compare to on the VM.

We have a IO Drive (Gen 1) 160GB SLC and a IO Drive 2 600GB SLC

Both are at 80% factory capacity (which uses the extra 20% for extra write performance), A.K.A, High Performance Mode. Swap Support is also Enabled.

Running in an IBM HS23 Blade, with 2x 8 Core 2.8Ghz X5560 Xeons & 64GB RAM

First the newer, and much larger capacity Fusion IO 2 600GB.

FusionIO2

CDMF2drive

And the earlier Fusion IO 160GB.

FusionIO

 

CDMFdrive

Compared this to the 6x900GB NL SAS RAID10 Array in the 10GBE attached IBM V7000.

Not a great comparison, but just what happened to be attached to the server.

V7000Mdisk2

 

CDMMdrive

As well as the very unimpressive 2xRAID1 10K 146GB 2.5" SAS, the server's C Drive.

Cdrive

 

CDMCdrive

 

Have had the Fusions for a few years now, and can never go back to anything other than PCI SSD's now I've been spoilt with performance like this.

 

AMD's Clawhammer AKA the Athlon 64 was the CPU architecture to have in the early 2000's. I still had mine won from Epics Make Something Unreal Competition where our Star Wars themed Total Conversion Mod, UT 2004 Troopers landed a runner up place.

Great thing about old hardware, I landed a great Gigabyte Neocooler 8 Pro Cooler for the long forgotten Socket 754 for $5.50. The guys down at EYO must have had sitting on a shelf or the best part of a decade. As of the date of this post they even had a few more in stock.

 

clawhammer

Lord Vader's LED lightsaber illuminating the installation of the CPU Cooler.

The extra long 7800GS, one of the last hi-end cards made for AGP, powered up fine, though I do remember I overclocked her to squeeze a bit more juice out of her, so she may well be in her last legs.

A few quirks came to light with the old girl. I always thought my days of loading Disk Driver prior to a windows install were long behind me. Not the case with the Gigabyte GA-K8NPro in windows 7. After trying one before, my second attempt of The 64 Bit Silicon Image  Drivers managed to get a drive appearing in the Windows & installation. Zip filenames was 3x12_x64_w7_1.2.15.3_logo.zip for those coming here looking for them.

Next, once the OS was installed, there were constant lockups and freezes that I remember plagued her towards the end of her role as my primary PC. I always chalked it up to Windows rot, though the fresh Win 7 install was showing the same symptoms.

Turned out that disabling the onboard RAID on the Gigabyte GA-K8NPro seemed to be the cause. Every time I left the SATA Raid enabled, and just did not set up a array, as opposed to disabling the RAID (setting to BASE in BIOS), the lockup issues disappeared. The old Silicon Image RAID under the N-Force 150 chipset seemed to be much content in RAID mode, even if powering a single drive.

This beast of yesteryear will now live of at a relatives place until being replaced by something an order of magnitude faster likely at a cost lower than what i payed for the Video card alone.