Another "Best Hardware" 4 VMs setup question.

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Stumpy

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Jan 20, 2018, 1:51:54 PM1/20/18
to Qubes users
I have been reading through the forum about the various recommendations
for hardware. The general consensus seems to be "more mem and ssd
drive". I am running 3.2, have 16gb mem, and a Samsung ssd drive and it
still takes 10 sec (timed it) to put up a terminal in a new vm. While I
can tolerate that I'm really wanting to explore options that can give me
a faster start up for apps (and appvms). Its been awhile since I bought
my CPU so I can't remember what it is beyond a i5, if the /proc/cpuinfo
is right (its a bit confusing for me as I don't understand if its
showing the nfo for the proc or a virtual proc?) then I have a Intel
Core i5-4570 CPU @ 3.20GHz and it displays for processor 0 and processor
1 so I will go out on a limb and assume its a dual core?

Considering my current setup, and the fact that I wholly plan on
upgrading to qubes v4 once its stable, and that I am willing to fork out
for a new system (though with a pretty limited budget ~500) could anyone
make suggestions on the most logical route to take? (hopefully not "grin
and bear it").
Cheers

PS I have 30 VMs BUT don't usually run more than 10 at a time (due to
mem i guess) but would probably run about 15 regularly if I could.

Davidson

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Jan 20, 2018, 2:08:41 PM1/20/18
to Qubes users
I just forgot. I noticed that some places (librem I think, and System76) are selling computers with ME (partially) disabled on their intel procs, does anyone know about either buying just procs or mobo/proc combos with (partially) disabled intel ME procs?

Tai...@gmx.com

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Jan 20, 2018, 2:16:56 PM1/20/18
to Qubes users, Davidson, stu...@posteo.co
On 01/20/2018 02:08 PM, Davidson wrote:

>
> I just forgot. I noticed that some places (librem I think, and
> System76
> <https://duckduckgo.com/l/?kh=-1&uddg=https%3A%2F%2Fliliputing.com%2F2017%2F11%2Fsystem76-will-disable-intel-management-engine-linux-laptops.html>)
> are selling computers with ME (partially) disabled on their intel
> procs, does anyone know about either buying just procs or mobo/proc
> combos with (partially) disabled intel ME procs?
>
Purism is a scam, ME can't be disabled.
Please note their "coreboot" is simply a shim loader layer, the hardware
init is done by the intel FSP binary blob moving the trust layer from
the vendor+intel to just intel which I argue is not a real improvement
to justify the high price of their devices.

https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/3anjgm/on_the_librem_laptop_purism_doesnt_believe_in/
https://goblinrefuge.com/mediagoblin/u/onpon4/m/what-purism-s-road-to-fsf-ryf-endorsement-chart-should-look-like/

Google tried to get intel to free ME, if they can't do it then no one can.

System76, Purism etc are all using me_cleaner a tool which they didn't
develop so you can buy pretty much any laptop and get the same results
if ME is your only concern although considering the massive security
problems with intel CPU's now I wouldn't buy one.

My laptop recommendation as always is a lenovo G505S, no ME/PSP and
coreboot with open source cpu/ram init (blobs for video/power, but are
removable due to no hardware code signing enforcement unlike intel or
new amd stuff). It works with Qubes 4.0.

For a desktop/workstation I recommend the libre firmware available
KCMA-D8/KGPE-D16 (coreboot with entirely open source hardware init) they
also feature OpenBMC for libre remote management.

Davidson H

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Jan 20, 2018, 4:14:08 PM1/20/18
to Tai...@gmx.com, Qubes users
As I understood it, its not *totally* disabled but is *partially*
disabled (like the TCP/IP stack).
Anyway. Your KGPE-D16 suggestion is interesting (thx!), and that mobo+ a
12core 2014 opteron seems like it would be fairly speedy? Certainly
compared to my old i3/8gb tower. This may sound silly but in the VM
context, would a 12 core processor be excessive or would it be "fully
utilized" by Qubes?

[799]

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Jan 20, 2018, 5:47:44 PM1/20/18
to davi...@posteo.net, qubes...@googlegroups.com
Davidson wrote:

> I am running 3.2, have 16gb mem, and a
> Samsung ssd drive and it still takes 10 sec
> (timed it) to put up a terminal in a new vm

I am also interested in comparing App(VM) start times, to compare the performance.

I have run the following test after boot and with only sys-firewall and sys-net running:

Test on my Lenovo x230
Intel Core i5-3320M @ 2.60Ghz
16 GB RAM
500 GB SanDisk SSD
Qubes 4.0rc3
Coreboot'able

startup/boot till xterm window = 17sec (normal AppVM)
startup/boot till xterm window = 21sec (Disposable AppVM)


Test on my Lenovo W540
Intel Core i7-4900MQ @ 2.8 Ghz
16 GB RAM
480 GB Samsung SSD
Qubes 4.0rc3
Not Coreboot'able

startup/boot till xterm window = 15sec (normal AppVM)
startup/boot till xterm window = 16sec (Disposable AppVM)

If the AppVM is already running launching new applications is done within in 1 or 2 sec.

Your question regarding hardware recommendation:
I would look at the Coreboot HCL/Compatibility List and choose a model which fits your preferred display size and resolution.
https://www.coreboot.org/Supported_Motherboards

Using Coreboot you can also remove large parts of Intel ME.

Then as a 2nd test check the Qubes HCL
https://www.qubes-os.org/hcl/

[799]

Tai...@gmx.com

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Jan 20, 2018, 7:34:26 PM1/20/18
to Davidson H, Qubes users
On 01/20/2018 04:14 PM, Davidson H wrote:

> As I understood it, its not *totally* disabled but is *partially*
> disabled (like the TCP/IP stack).
> Anyway. Your KGPE-D16 suggestion is interesting (thx!), and that mobo+
> a 12core 2014 opteron seems like it would be fairly speedy? Certainly
> compared to my old i3/8gb tower. This may sound silly but in the VM
> context, would a 12 core processor be excessive or would it be "fully
> utilized" by Qubes?
>
16 cores, 32 if you use dual 16 core CPU's.

As always it depends on how many VM's you run and how much CPU juice
they need.
With 16 cores and 64GB RAM you would truly want for nothing.

pixel fairy

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Jan 21, 2018, 5:54:39 AM1/21/18
to qubes-users
On Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 10:51:54 AM UTC-8, Stumpy wrote:
> I have been reading through the forum about the various recommendations
> for hardware. The general consensus seems to be "more mem and ssd
> drive". I am running 3.2, have 16gb mem, and a Samsung ssd drive and it
> still takes 10 sec (timed it) to put up a terminal in a new vm. While I

i have much faster hardware, takes 11 seconds to start an appvm, and a new terminal in it. 16 gigs is the sweet spot for most average uses. 8 gigs is tight.

> can tolerate that I'm really wanting to explore options that can give me
> a faster start up for apps (and appvms). Its been awhile since I bought
> my CPU so I can't remember what it is beyond a i5, if the /proc/cpuinfo
> is right (its a bit confusing for me as I don't understand if its
> showing the nfo for the proc or a virtual proc?) then I have a Intel
> Core i5-4570 CPU @ 3.20GHz and it displays for processor 0 and processor
> 1 so I will go out on a limb and assume its a dual core?

its a 4 core,4 thread. https://ark.intel.com/products/75043/Intel-Core-i5-4570-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_60-GHz

this shows in /proc/cpuinfo in dom0 (qubes 4). appvms default to 2 virtual cpus. thats what your seeing.

>
> Considering my current setup, and the fact that I wholly plan on
> upgrading to qubes v4 once its stable, and that I am willing to fork out
> for a new system (though with a pretty limited budget ~500) could anyone
> make suggestions on the most logical route to take? (hopefully not "grin
> and bear it").
> Cheers

wait till this speculative execution mess (meltdown, specter etc) is cleared up before choosing or buying new hardware.

> PS I have 30 VMs BUT don't usually run more than 10 at a time (due to
> mem i guess) but would probably run about 15 regularly if I could.

16 gigs of ram should be ok for that, but id go for 32.

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