For $3100 USD You Can Have A Fast, Fully-Free-Software Workstation
Written by Michael Larabel in Computers on 6 February 2016. Page 4 of 4. 35 Comments

From these initial results, it appears that the Talos Secure Workstation has the potential to perform very well in workloads where it's optimized for the POWER8 architecture. In ideal cases, that put the performance in line with around $1000 USD Intel CPUs, but there the system isn't free/libre down to the firmware and the $3,100 price factors in the POWER8 motherboard too.

Raptor Engineering has published some of their own Talos benchmarks from their end and there the POWER8 performance is compared to an Intel Xeon E3-1270 and AMD Opteron 6328.

At the very least, the Talos Secure Workstation is certainly much more performant than the refurbished ThinkPad laptops running Libreboot, the "unfree" modern systems, or the older Intel/AMD server motherboards ported after the fact to running Libreboot/Coreboot. At the end of the day it really comes down to how much you value a fully free system for respecting your freedom and security.

If you are interested in learning more about the Talos Secure Workstation, visit the Raptor Engineering site. Thanks go out to Raptor Engineering for allowing us remote access to benchmark one of their early development systems.

If you want to see how your own Linux system(s) compare to the POWER8 benchmarks shown in this article, install the Phoronix Test Suite and run phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1602070-GA-1512297GA38.

I also ran some other standalone benchmarks from this system and uploaded the data to this OpenBenchmarking.org result file. So to compare your own system's performance side-by-side to the data there, simply run phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1602078-GA-POWER8TAL19. As mentioned already, keep in mind the system is running Debian 8.3 and libm isn't yet optimized for POWER8. Also understand that the disk and graphics processor have yet to be firmed up.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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