Tyan 2720 motherboard for Xeons (fwd)

Ivan Oleynik oleynik at chuma.cas.usf.edu
Mon Jun 24 16:47:54 PDT 2002

My original query was about Tyan's Thunder i7500 (S2720), but most of
replies with a lot of negative info are about MPX (S2466). I would still
like to get specific info about S2720, if there is some?


On Mon, 24 Jun 2002, Robert G. Brown wrote:

> On Mon, 24 Jun 2002, Ivan Oleynik wrote:
> > Does anyone agree with Steve's opinion?
> I wouldn't have six months ago, based on their market reputation and my
> experiences with single CPU boards, but I do now.  At least in the
> specific case of the dual AMD, the 2460 was and is semi-broken with all
> sorts of oddities (riser in slot 2, certain cards not supported,
> nonstandard power requirements, middling degree of amorphous long-term
> hardware instability in the form of crashes with no obvious causes in
> some nodes, the screwed up sensors support).  The 2466 "seems" better,
> but I'm still seeing a range of wierdnesses in brand new nodes,
> hardware, bios, wherever.  Between one thing and another, I'm seeing a
> failure rate of nearly 50% out of the box, so to speak.  After screwing
> around with them for a while (sometimes involving some parts
> replacements) I can generally get them going and then they seem stable,
> but I've never had this much trouble with any system configuration
> before in my fairly broad 18 year Unix experience.  At a guess the BIOS
> is still semi-broken and the hardware engineering is way too "marginal"
> for robust operation.
> I suppose Tyan isn't too likely to replace all of our 2460's with the
> 2466's that repaired this "beta" motherboard.  They're of course
> ultimately replacing all the 2466 motherboards that are DOA under
> warranty, and one day we might even get a BIOS flash that really works
> and that stabilizes our few remaining marginal nodes.
> Would I buy Tyan again?  I honestly don't know.  There are features of
> the 2466 motherboard that I really like.  It has an onboard 3c920 with
> PXE, for example, instead of the piece-of-junk RTL's one finds on many
> motherboards.  I like having a 64/66 PCI bus, of course.  I REALLY like
> the serial console option.
> Still, the board could be FAR better designed for its obvious rackmount
> server role.  Stupid little details:  the CPUs are oriented laterally so
> that heatsink fans are perpendicular to airflow and obstruct it.  Memory
> DIMMS oriented laterally so that they are perpendicular to airflow.
> Power supply connectors at the BACK of the motherboard (right for a
> tower, wrong for a rackmount system).  IDE and floppy connectors on the
> "wrong side" of the motherboard for at least the 2U (AIC) cases we are
> using, so that one has to stretch a wide, twisted ribbon across to form
> yet another obstacle to airflow in the case -- we have adopted round IDE
> cables to get "around" this one.  Finally, they actually use jumpers to
> control things like enabling/disabling the onboard NIC, and don't do
> other BIOS things that would certainly be nice, such as providing a
> serial console by DEFAULT (so a system could be setup without ever
> needing a video card at all, with corresponding ignoring keyboard errors
> and with some special keystroke sequence provided to replace
> Ctrl-Alt-Del for serial console soft reboots).
> Not impressive engineering, in other words.  So yes I think I agree with
> Steve -- the 246X dual AMD Tigers, at least, were clearly brought to
> market hastily, sloppily engineered for its primary market purpose, and
> in a somewhat "unfinished" state beyond even that.  Not Tyan's brightest
> move, given the number of irritated customers they've developed as a
> consequence.
>    rgb
Ivan I. Oleynik                       E-mail : oleynik at chuma.cas.usf.edu
Department of Physics
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Avenue                  Tel : (813) 974-8186
Tampa, Florida 33620-5700                Fax : (813) 974-5813

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