Buy CPU in 2022

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SenlinOS
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Joined: 06/29/2022

Now I want to buy a new desktop computer. What CPU model is suitable for Trisquel?(in 2022)

Intel 10, 11, 12th Gen?
AMD Zen?
Is anyone using it?

iShareFreedom
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Joined: 12/20/2021

I dont recommend buy hardware who maybe need nonfree software to work. Visit https://ryf.fsf.org/products the Respect Your Freedom certification for hardware who dont need nonfree software to work

PublicLewdness
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Joined: 03/15/2020

"Now I want to buy a new desktop computer. What CPU model is suitable for Trisquel?(in 2022)

Intel 10, 11, 12th Gen?
AMD Zen?
Is anyone using it?"

What iShareFreedom said isn't wrong but also isn't always realistic. Many people may not have a budget for a Talos II which is $5000-10000; a Libreboot desktop which can start at $2000 for a prebuilt, or may not be able to make a ten+ year old laptop work for their needs. If you fall into those categories then there are still options. I can say from experience that Intel 10th gen and 2nd gen Ryzen CPU's work with Trisquel. Newer AMD and Intel CPU's probably work as well. What is your budget and needs ? If we know those then we may be able to suggest a more freedom respecting option. Getting a off the shelf Intel or AMD system is your worst option from a privacy and security aspect regardless of whether they work with Trisquel.

SenlinOS
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Joined: 06/29/2022

Re: iShareFreedom.
Online purchase is not convenient in some countries, and the price and performance of old computer equipment can't be satisfied. (However, that website is a good reference. Thank you.)

---

Re: PublicLewdness.
> "I can say from experience that Intel 10th gen and 2nd gen Ryzen CPU's work with Trisquel."
Yes, because these are easy to buy.

> "Getting a off the shelf Intel or AMD system is your worst option from a privacy."
But there is no CPU with FreeHardware! (And $5000-10000 is really expensive.)

PublicLewdness
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Joined: 03/15/2020

Perfect is the enemy of good. For instance a Purism's Librem laptops and desktops have a 10th gen i7 and Coreboot so while they aren't perfect the BIOS is semi open and the ME neutered. Vikings and Mini Free have laptops with 4th gen i7's and Coreboot. Both options will work fine with Trisquel. Both will be cheaper than a Talos II and a Libreboot desktop and both will be more powerful than a Libreboot laptop. I still don't know your budget or needs but I feel that there is a option for you that while it won't be as free as a Libreboot or Talos II will be more free than a custom built system or a typical prebuilt system.

SenlinOS
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Joined: 06/29/2022

Thank you for the information.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Online
Joined: 07/24/2010

I have just installed Trisquel 10.0.1 on a laptop with that processor from Intel's 10th generation: https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/196449/intel-core-i710510u-processor-8m-cache-up-to-4-90-ghz.html

I first kept the EFI default configuration, which was OK for Debian 11. The installation of Trisquel apparently took place. No error interrupted it. Nevertheless, after the reboot, GRUB's restricted shell greeted me. I tried from a chroot environment to execute grub-install with the --efi-directory option. Unfortunately, after some warnings, it returned an input/output error (although EFI/trisquel/grubx64.efi was written on the EFI partition). I then reconfigured the BIOS to chose "BIOS Legacy" and relaunched the graphical installation. Everything went fine: I am back on Trisquel (in 2020, I could not manage to graphically install Trisquel 9 on that machine, even using "BIOS Legacy").

SenlinOS
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Joined: 06/29/2022

Thank you for your experience.

In order to use Trisquel, I'm still using my old computer.
(But this old computer has already shown insufficient performance.)

andyprough
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Joined: 02/12/2015

If you want a corebooted laptop with a recent processor, System76 will sell you one for right about $1,000. It's probably several hundred dollars cheaper than Purism.

Not that I am knocking Purism. They have some extreme levels of hardware security that make me want to spend the extra money. Look into their "anti-interdiction" package, it's pretty cool.

PublicLewdness
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Joined: 03/15/2020

"If you want a corebooted laptop with a recent processor, System76 will sell you one for right about $1,000. It's probably several hundred dollars cheaper than Purism.

Not that I am knocking Purism. They have some extreme levels of hardware security that make me want to spend the extra money. Look into their "anti-interdiction" package, it's pretty cool."

Purism tests their hardware on FLOSS distros like Trisquel and Pure OS where System76 doesn't. Do the wifi chips the System76 laptops ship with work on Trisquel ?

andyprough
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Joined: 02/12/2015

>"Do the wifi chips the System76 laptops ship with work on Trisquel ?"

I have no idea. I'm used to using my Atheros USB wifi dongles, so I personally wouldn't have any attention on it. Like I said, between the two I'd probably try to spend the extra money and get the Purism regardless, because I like the cool hardware security options.

Legimet
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Joined: 12/10/2013

I do not think they do, but you could probably replace the wifi chip with an old Atheros (ath9k) chip. As far as I know, there are no 802.11ac or 802.11ax wifi chips that work without proprietary firmware.

Vikings_thum
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Joined: 04/04/2017

I think the current options for "the most free computer" that are usable in a productive fashion today are as follows:

0) Low budget
X200
X220 (IME partly neutralized)
X230 (IME partly neutralized)
T440p (IME partly neutralized, RAM blob)

1) Low to medium budget
D8
D16

2) Medium budget
Blackbird

3) Medium to very high budget
Talos II

Blackbird and Talos II are the only machines still being produced today.

hate29
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Joined: 04/10/2021

No love for T400? Though I understand there are "plenty" of low budget models and T440p is superior in CPU power compared to T400.

Vikings_thum
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Joined: 04/04/2017

Of course the T400 and T500 are also good options and are more flexible with their socketed CPUs compared to the X200.

The T440p requires more blobs but is the latest laptop that runs coreboot and where IME can still be partly removed.

PublicLewdness
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Joined: 03/15/2020

"The T440p requires more blobs but is the latest laptop that runs coreboot and where IME can still be partly removed."

I'm really glad you made that comment because my knee jerk reaction was to mention that the Librem 14 and Librem Mini used the ME Cleaner to remove parts of the ME but upon further research I realized I was wrong and they only disabled it.

prospero
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Joined: 05/20/2022

> Blackbird and Talos II are the only machines still being produced today.

...and are probably out of budget for most Trisquel users. Adding a new "low to medium budget" option by sponsoring, say, a fully libre version of the MNT Reform would be a great improvement. Any plans about that at Vikings? You would become heroes, forever celebrated in songs sung at libre midsummer's eve parties and in stories told during long freedom winter evening gatherings.
https://mntre.com/media/reform_md/2022-07-25-ls1028a-status-update.html

EDIT: sorry, forget about it, except maybe if the goal is eternal glory for adding a libre toaster to your selection: https://community.mnt.re/t/laptop-unresponsive/749/13.

Vikings_thum
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Joined: 04/04/2017

Yes, we've been talking with MNT Reform regarding a potential RYF-able laptop.
Not sure why they are still looking for distributors according to the page you linked; the more the merrier I guess.

Broken hardware can happen with any high-tech device. The MNT provides schematics for everyone so you can do board repair or let someone else do it for you. In the current climate I believe it is essential to provide hardware that is easy to repair, robust and can continue to operate many, many years. The libre (potential RYF-able) version will go further and provide design source files and will operate w/o blobs.

prospero
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Joined: 05/20/2022

That is great news!

And yes, most of the concepts from the Reform are definitely on the good side. I just thought my enthusiasm may need to be a wee bit tempered given the overheat problems reported, but these are on-going developments and improvements anyway.

I would guess more integrators could mean larger batch orders and hence possibly cheaper unit price. And in turn happier end users and larger evening gatherings.

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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Joined: 06/09/2014

name at domain wrote:
> Yes, we've been talking with MNT Reform regarding a potential RYF-able laptop.

Such a thing sounds very interesting to me as well. It would be great if such a
computer could handle much more RAM.

One of the big problems I see with current modern hardware are RAM limits. It's not
interesting to me to replace what I've got with a computer that can only handle 32GB
maximum RAM because I do work that requires a lot more RAM and I'm willing to buy the
extra RAM to go into the machine. I'm seriously considering one of those older Asus
server mainboards (Viking ASUS KCMA D8, or Vikings ASUS KGPE D16/Technoethical D16)
that meets RYF specs but I don't know anyone that has put the maximum amount of RAM
(256 GB RAM) into one of those and also runs libreboot.

Blackbird and Talos II look interesting in terms of RAM ceiling but it's not clear to
me if the fully free distros are providing updated repos of compiled packages for
that architecture. So if I were to spend a lot of money on a new-to-me (not new to
plenty of other users but new in terms of my experience) architecture (such as
POWER), I'd want to know that I can get on with using the computer and not spending
time porting applications.

Thanks for your efforts on this, please do keep us all posted.

Vikings_thum
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Joined: 04/04/2017

> but I don't know anyone that has put the maximum amount of RAM
> (256 GB RAM) into one of those and also runs libreboot.

We still run a comparatively large amount of D16 servers for a couple of customers (and one for the the FSF). Most have 256 GB RAM installed and run coreboot. We also sell these (workstations in our store or customized servers on request). The D16 has two major shortfalls: no working OOB management and its age.

> So if I were to spend a lot of money on a new-to-me (not new to
> plenty of other users but new in terms of my experience) architecture
> (such as POWER), I'd want to know that I can get on with using the
> computer and not spending time porting applications.

If I had that problem I'd run a virtualised ppcle machine and test my requirements in a live environment.

PublicLewdness
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Joined: 03/15/2020

"The D16 has two major shortfalls: no working OOB management and its age."

I have an FX-9590, any idea how comparible performance would be to the Opteron 6386 SE ? It's hard to find a comparison as one is a consumer chip and the other a server chip.

Vikings_thum
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Joined: 04/04/2017

Educated guess: Not that much difference. The Opteron will be slightly faster for multi-threaded tasks and slightly slower for single-threaded tasks.

Geshmy
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Joined: 04/23/2015

Looking at ARM possibilities, I found this laptop, Lenovo ThinkPad X13. It's not libreboot but won't have the intel inspired backdoor stuff like ME will it?
Maybe the Microsoft Secured-core PC aspect is a deal breaker. Would one be able to reformat the HD and install GNU/Linux?

They range from aprox $1000 to $1600. Don't know what it costs to get the 'up to 32 GB' RAM.
https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/p/laptops/thinkpad/thinkpadx/thinkpad-x13s-(13-inch-snapdragon)/len101t0019

PublicLewdness
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Joined: 03/15/2020

What would worry me about most ARM chips is that they most likely have Trustzone which is smililar to Intel's ME and also is what AMD's PSP is based on.

prospero
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Joined: 05/20/2022

The Cortex-A72 in the libre SoM is 64-bit. I was under the impression that Trustzone was implemented differently on 32-bit vs. 64-bit CPUs but cannot remember where I have been reading about that. There may in fact be no essential difference.

EDIT: this is an old, but interesting read about the relationship between TrustZone and the kernel:
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/12334069/handling-arm-trustzones

Avron
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Joined: 08/18/2020

Does that TrustZone have firmware burnt it?

As I commented before in https://trisquel.info/fr/forum/any-arm-systems-dont-use-trustzone#comment-167777 on the RockPro64, my impression is that the answer is "no" and that it is possible to use the chip with only free software, including that "TrustZone", and then, I don't see any problem at all (except the lack of better software or of better specfication to help writing it).

Of course, I may be mistaken, and then I would be glad to have someone explain. By the way, I have one such board that I unsuccessfully tried to boot (but I didn't spend that much time on that yet).

prospero
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Joined: 05/20/2022

It seems that the kernel can decide what is "secure" and what is not, which would mean that the kernel determines whether to make use of the TrustZone capabilities or not.

This does somehow remind me of Alexandre Oliva's comments about Spectre, Meltdown and microcode: as long as everything executed in your system is libre software, you do not need to worry too much about potential malicious behavior. That is why it is suggested not to upgrade said microcode: you would allow unknown (proprietary) extra code in as a mitigation to a non-existing problem. If TrustZone does only enter into action when things on your system are divided into "secure" vs "non-secure" worlds, then not doing so may be enough to ignore it.

Geshmy
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Joined: 04/23/2015

'I don't see any problem at all (except the lack of better software or of better specfication to help writing it)'

I think I saw jxself saying he has a kernel for ARM. If one wanted to try to build a system how would they start?

prospero
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Joined: 05/20/2022

As per "Architecture changes" in https://trisquel.info/en/trisquel-10-nabia-release-announcement :

"We are happy to announce the addition of support for ARM devices, incorporating armhf as a newly supported architecture for Nabia. The changes done to the development system to achieve this will make it much easier to expand to other architectures soon, targeting 64-bit ARM and PowerPC next."