Andrew Que Sites list Photos
Projects Contact
Main
Data Dragon

The Snow Dragon side

(Click for larger image)

Data Dragon

The Snow Dragon angle

(Click for larger image)

The Snow Dragon

  • AMD Ryzen 7 1700 8-core 3.0 GHz
  • ASUS X370-F motherboard
  • 2x 16 GB PC4-21300 Unbuffered ECC RAM
  • 2x AMD Radeon R9 350X video cards
  • Intel M.2 512GB PCI-Express 3.0 x4 SSD (boot)
  • 2x Western Digital 10 TB 6 Gb/sec 256 MB cache hard drive (RAID-1)
  • Toshiba 3TB 7200 RPM 6.0 Gb/sec
  • Hitachi 3TB 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache 6 Gb/sec
  • Snow Silent 750 W 80+ Platinum Power Supply
  • Acer P241W 24" 1920x1200 monitor
  • Acer P243W 24" 1920x1200 monitor
  • Dell U2412M 24" 1920x1200 monitor
  • Dell U2412M 24" 1920x1200 monitor
  • Dell U2415 24" 1920x1200 monitor
  • Asus VH232H 23" 1920x1080 monitor
  • Logitech Z-5500 5.1 surround sound speakers
  • APC Back-UPS 1260VA uninterruptible power supply

History

The Snow Dragon was commissioned in March of 2019 but got off to a slow and very turbulent start. It was designed to replace the aging Blue Dragon that was last upgraded in 2012 and was suffering from heat problems. The system was ordered and assembled by Pluvius in May but sat unplugged until November of 2019 as there wasn't time to move into a new computer. In November the move began and a long series of problems gave the computer a very arduous beginning to operations.

Problem Child

Initially the Snow Dragon was going to use Windows 10 as the primary operating system and like the Blue Dragon always have a Linux virtual machine running. Due to the way Windows 10 is designed to enforce security and always tries to use the Internet I found the operating system completely unusable. I refuse to allow operating system to connect to the Internet and found the often ridiculous restrictions permanently enforced by Windows Defender unworkable. Defeating the "security" resulted in a laggy, unusable system. By December I completely gave up on trying to have Windows 10 as the base operating system and switched to Linux Mint. I used a virtual machine that runs the Windows 7 installed operating system from the Blue Dragon so all legacy software can run. This turned out to be the easiest part of the migration.

A plethora of hardware problems on all the systems of the dragon array followed, including the new Snow Dragon. The system was very unstable and crashed regularly. There were also graphic issues that would make Gnome slow to a crawl after many hours of operation. Over the coming months I would be constantly putting out fires, but slowly the problems were being worked out. In late February I sorted out the graphic issue, and over the summer of 2020 I solved both the graphic issue and stumbled on the stability solution—a constant CPU load. The Snow Dragon still has quirks but has been more-or-less stable since.

The Snow Dragon has been fairly stable since June of 2020. There are video issues on occasion in which one graphics card will lock up and stall the system. These are rare, happening less than once every 20 days. It may be the video cards are overheating.

Design

The base of the system in a 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 7. One of the holdups for upgrading the Blue Dragon was the lack of a really good AMD CPU to replace it. In an almost malicious turn around AMD released the Ryzen series that took the industry by storm and was the processor we had been waiting for. To complement the Ryzen we selected 32 GiB of ECC RAM and PCI-e solid state disk. For video an odd combination was needed. Not being a gamer the Snow Dragon has no need of a high-end graphic card, but 6 monitors to drive I needed more than one card. Initially the Snow Dragon was designed with a higher end Radeon R9 and a lower end Radeon R7. Due to graphic issues encountered early on the R9 was replaced by an identical R7. Latter it was discovered that the issue was likely due to the drivers being loaded, but the two R7 cards have no problem driving the 6 monitors.

With the Data Dragon now hosting network storage the Snow Dragon no longer needed to be outfitted with a large number of drives. Still primary storage consists of 2x 10 TB drives in a RAID-1 configuration. Two 3 TB drives from the Blue Dragon were also installed and setup in RAID-1 although this storage is not yet needed and the drives stay spun down. Most of the storage on the Snow Dragon isn't needed. All of my irreplaceable data, such as photos, recordings, programming projects, etc., are kept locally. Other metadata such as virtual machines are also stored locally but this is just because such data needs the higher speeds local data offers.

The smaller drive requirements means I can also use a smaller case. Selected was a white case with tempered glass side. Cooling is provided by 3x120 mm.

Upgrade History

2020-06

Stability issues inadvertently solved by constant CPU load caused by virtual machine.

2020-05-12

Video card driver issues resolved

2020-02-29

Switched to running 2x R7 video cards and removed R9

2020-01-20

Two additional monitors

2019-12

Snow Dragon takes over from Blue Dragon

2019-11-23

System goes online

2019-05

Base system assembly begins

2019-03

Snow Dragon is commissioned

Andrew Que | Sites | Photos | Projects | Contact | Main