Who got Talos II order #1?

It wasn't me at Floodgap, though ours is an early machine (my unit on the right is serial #12, from order #8). Turns out it was Trevor Dickinson.

If the name sounds familiar to some folks in the audience, that's because Trevor is perhaps best known for his work in the Amiga scene. I'd been watching his PowerPC-based AmigaOne series for awhile to see if they were decent successors to the Quad G5 I used prior to getting the Talos II, though neither the X1000 nor the current iteration of the X5000 are a match for the G5 in raw CPU terms. (I'm also underwhelmed that the NXP P5020 the X5000 is currently using lacks AltiVec, which I think is a terrible omission. More on that in a bit.) On the other hand, if you have a substantial investment in Amiga software (I don't), then these are the gruntiest machines that natively boot AmigaOS, and they can also boot Linux.

I'm not sure if Trevor was a backer of the original POWER8 Talos (I was), but he definitely got in at the ground floor with his T2. Not only did he order a rather beefy configuration (dual 18-core POWER9 CPUs and 96GB of RAM, etc., compared to my relatively middling dual 4-core with "just" 32GB), but Raptor even sent him a cool "order #1" certificate to commemorate his getting in first.

What's Trevor doing with this machine? Well, apparently, nothing. He mentions that the "beta Linux" he was instructed to download didn't work, though I don't recall my unit coming with any such thing. Indeed, I selected Fedora precisely because it booted on the T2 out of the box, and I can't imagine my machine arrived much later than his did. But the really baffling part is that his blog post was written just a few days ago and by now almost all the distros that support ppc64/ppc64le support POWER9, so I don't know what's still got him marooned.

He makes another interesting comment: "With the price I paid including shipping and [New Zealand] import duties I could have purchased 8 or 9 complete AmigaOne X5000 systems which can actually run AmigaOS 4, MorphOS and Linux." Well, that's probably true, and despite some wishful pipe dreams I've seen on MorphOS forums, there's very little likelihood AmigaOS or MorphOS will be ported to the T2 anytime soon. But the P5020 in the X5000 isn't even remotely in the same class as the POWER9: it has just two cores with a single thread per core, it has much less cache, it doesn't have AltiVec, let alone VSX, and it doesn't have the memory bandwidth. Part of this is because it's a design dating back to 2010, but the other part of it (and one of my perpetual complaints about recent PowerPC-based Amiga systems) is that it's an embedded-class CPU being put into a desktop environment. I should point out that I actually rather like Amigas; I own several A500s, an A3000 which one of these days I'll get Amix up on, and a '060 A4000T. But eight or nine X5000s lashed together wouldn't equal even a reasonable fraction of the power of the dual 18-core SMT-4 POWER9 he's got there (that's 144 threads, kids, plus everything else the POWER9 supports that the P5020 doesn't).

Still, no one wants a big expensive doorstop, and I hope he's able to get order #1 up and running (though I dispute that "the Talos II Secure Workstation is really aimed at a Linux administrator in a data centre" -- the Talos is now unambiguously my daily driver and I'm no longer a professional system administrator nor do I work in a data centre). I suppose I could drop by if he needs a hand in Aotearoa since I'm currently in the Southern Hemisphere with my wife's family in New South Wales. We fly back to sunny Southern California via Auckland, so we'll see.

Either way, Merry Christmas (or your holiday of choice), whatever your timezone.


  1. Thanks for correcting some of the misleading statements Trevor stated about his TalosII adventure. Although I don't doubt Trevor's honesty, he definitely slanted his comments in a way to defend his own poor choices, and the poor choices of the hardware designers advising him, for the AmigaOne X1000, X5000, and unreleased A1222 systems. I believe he made those negative comments about his TalosII, because the whole rest of the computing world, except perhaps 100 to 200 AmigaOS4 fanatics, know just how bad the Price:Performance ratio is for all of Trevor's products. The TalosII, or more likely, the upcoming Blackbird systems, are so far above anything A-Eon is offering, and at a huge Price:Performance ratio improvement (so huge that it is hard to calculate), many AmigaOS4, MorphOS, AROS, and even old school AmigaOS3.x users, are publicly questioning A-Eon's decisions. With 100's (maybe as many as 1000) of unreleased/unsold A1222 motherboards already produced probably over a year ago, and sales for X5000 systems probably very low, it is not surprising that Trevor would make comments to attempt to curb the negative perception that appears to be growing in his targeted user base.

  2. Long story short, Trevor is a fool. I really can't believe that he has serial #1. His post is only about to promote his own overpriced computers.

    I half a year after his Talos-II arrived, he wrote, he can't use the noisy Talos-II?

    I strong believe, the pictures are from someone else.

  3. I think even my grandma is more fit for a Talos II computer than Trevor. His statements were clearly a publicity stunt for his bottom-tier Amiga computers, the most powerful of which pales in comparison to even the 2005 Quad G5 (not to mention you can get multiple G5 Quads today for the price of a single Amiga X5000).

    Someone should let him know he can also buy over 1.000.000 toilet paper rolls with the money for a single Amiga X5000: it would have been both cheaper and more useful.

  4. Please, let Trevor be. His words may be more precised, definitely.
    Anyway, he made very good job in AmigaPPC.
    And Talos is great machine. I am planning to buy one and to have MorphOS or AmigaOS on it will be great benefit (but, I know ...)
    I like PPCs, it was great architecture in time of birth, and POWER9 is on top again. I hope Talos will be succesfull desktop.
    And also, if I buy Talos, it doen't mean that I cannot buy Tabor, if ever will be.

  5. Seems I may have touched a nerve or two. :-)


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