I have a new love

I need to add some annotations to these multi-layered jokes and references for explaination cause they’re too good to be trapped in my cranial cage

Anywho, so since Meltdown/Spectre were a thing, I’ve been espousing that Intel’s market lead was done for - at the time my praise went to AMD of course for missing some of the blast radius. Wish I had bought AMD stock then…

Now I believe that X86 architectures are going to really color in the edges of Moore’s Law for their domain - the AMD chiplet design is brilliant and will make things better, but you can also see how large, hot, and heavy those multi-chiplet dies are getting. Intel is trying to diversify with accelerators but honestly they’ve never been that great at that, and by their own admission they’ve already lost considerable ground by a gap of multiple years…probably more if they’re being honest and not trying to scare advertisers and investors.

ARM is where I’m starting to flex my strength - still a bit of a fresh landscape to be exciting from a research perspective, but established enough to where it’s usable.

Costs, ARMs, and Legs

Now, typically, much like modern PPC systems, ARM systems that are available to retail consumers have been long known to be pretty expensive.

Thankfully the demand in the ARM market is heating up - you have players like Ampere Computing who supplies massive hyperscalar cloud providers like Google, Microsoft, and Oracle. Not only do they supply the big dogs, they supply the little guys like me too - and maybe you if you’re in the market for a new ARM system.

Through their partners ADLINK, and their retail arm IPI, you too can get your own watercooled, LED-lit, ultra-silent, and super-efficient ARM system too! There’s the Ampere Altra Developer Platform which comes in a few sizes, and the AVA Developer Platform which is the same thing just in a smaller size of 32 cores. Of course I purchased both, with the AADP configured with 128 cores.

Ordering and Unboxing

So if you clicked either one of those links, you probably were hit with some sticker shock - $3500 for an ARM system?! How can it be worth it?!

Totally - if you were to price out all those components, it’s a very reasonable BOM with little margin. It’s honestly a pretty great deal if you ask me, especially when you factor in the efficiency it provides, which I’ll get to in a bit. When you move up to the 128 Core AADP system, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something with it’s range.

Inspection & Hardware Overview

Getting Started

First Boot

OS Re-Installation

GPU Setup

Remote Management



Summary & Next Steps