Frederic Cambus

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NetBSD on the Vortex86DX CPU

NetBSD

I'm not exactly sure how I first heard about the Vortex86 CPUs, I think it was either when seeing the demonstration video on KolibriOS project site showcasing the system running on a DMP EBOX machine, or when skimming NetBSD's identcpu.c code. Or did the discovery of the machine prompted me to check if the CPU would be correctly probed by the NetBSD's kernel?

For those interested, Wikipedia has an article retracing the history of the Vortex86 from its birth at Rise to our days.

Several DMP EBOX machines are available for sale at various specialized vendors, but new devices cost several hundreds of dollars which is prohibitive for such low spec systems. However, I was recently able to acquire a boxed older model on a local auction site for about $25: the EBOX 3300A-H, with a 1GHz CPU and 256MB of RAM, no less.

As I already mentioned, those machines are quite slow but they still do have a few things going for them:

I used a power meter to do measurements, and an idle system consumes 5.3W. Power consumption peaked at 6.4W when running the OpenSSL speed benchmark.

There is space for a 2.5" hard drive in the enclosure, but I don't have any IDE drives anymore so I opted to use old CompactFlash cards I had laying around. As a side note, it's actually exquisite to use those cards like glorified floppies :-)

For this post, I used a 1GB CompactFlash card and selected a minimal installation in sysinst.

The installed system takes 212M:

Filesystem         Size       Used      Avail %Cap Mounted on
/dev/wd0a          919M       212M       661M  24% /
kernfs             1.0K       1.0K         0B 100% /kern
ptyfs              1.0K       1.0K         0B 100% /dev/pts
procfs             4.0K       4.0K         0B 100% /proc
tmpfs               64M         0B        64M   0% /var/shm

On a freshly booted system, 15 processes are running and 26M of RAM are used:

load averages:  0.01,  0.00,  0.00;               up 0+00:48:26        14:48:28
16 processes: 15 sleeping, 1 on CPU
CPU states:  0.0% user,  0.0% nice,  0.0% system,  0.0% interrupt,  100% idle
Memory: 26M Act, 6460K Exec, 12M File, 195M Free
Swap: 

  PID USERNAME PRI NICE   SIZE   RES STATE      TIME   WCPU    CPU COMMAND
    0 root      96    0     0K   26M usbevt     0:01  0.00%  0.00% [system]
  795 root      43    0  6160K 1628K CPU        0:00  0.00%  0.00% top
  555 root      85    0    12M 3472K wait       0:00  0.00%  0.00% login
  630 postfix   85    0    13M 3220K kqueue     0:00  0.00%  0.00% qmgr
  599 postfix   85    0    12M 3172K kqueue     0:00  0.00%  0.00% pickup
  575 root      85    0    13M 2304K kqueue     0:00  0.00%  0.00% master
  196 root      85    0  9780K 1960K kqueue     0:00  0.00%  0.00% syslogd
  583 root      85    0  6788K 1824K wait       0:00  0.00%  0.00% sh
  710 root      85    0  6276K 1448K nanoslp    0:00  0.00%  0.00% cron
  733 root      85    0  6108K 1396K ttyraw     0:00  0.00%  0.00% getty
  730 root      85    0  5720K 1392K ttyraw     0:00  0.00%  0.00% getty
  633 root      85    0  6104K 1388K ttyraw     0:00  0.00%  0.00% getty
  211 root      85    0  7316K 1360K kqueue     0:00  0.00%  0.00% dhcpcd
    1 root      85    0  6600K 1340K wait       0:00  0.00%  0.00% init
  689 root      85    0  5700K 1184K kqueue     0:00  0.00%  0.00% inetd
  402 root      84    0  5920K 1140K kqueue     0:00  0.00%  0.00% powerd

Here is the result of running cat /proc/cpuinfo on this device:

processor	: 0
vendor_id	: Vortex86 SoC
cpu family	: 5
model		: 2
model name	: Vortex86DX
stepping	: 2
cpu MHz		: 1000.05
apicid		: 0
initial apicid	: 0
fdiv_bug	: no
fpu		: yes
fpu_exception	: yes
cpuid level	: 1
wp		: yes
flags		: fpu tsc cx8 
clflush size	: 0

For the record, OpenSSL speed benchmark results are available here.

System message buffer (dmesg output):

[     1.000000] Copyright (c) 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005,
[     1.000000]     2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,
[     1.000000]     2018, 2019, 2020 The NetBSD Foundation, Inc.  All rights reserved.
[     1.000000] Copyright (c) 1982, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993
[     1.000000]     The Regents of the University of California.  All rights reserved.

[     1.000000] NetBSD 9.2 (GENERIC) #0: Wed May 12 13:15:55 UTC 2021
[     1.000000] 	mkrepro@mkrepro.NetBSD.org:/usr/src/sys/arch/i386/compile/GENERIC
[     1.000000] total memory = 255 MB
[     1.000000] avail memory = 231 MB
[     1.000000] rnd: seeded with 66 bits
[     1.000000] timecounter: Timecounters tick every 10.000 msec
[     1.000000] Kernelized RAIDframe activated
[     1.000000] running cgd selftest aes-xts-256 aes-xts-512 done
[     1.000000] timecounter: Timecounter "i8254" frequency 1193182 Hz quality 100
[     1.000003] Generic PC
[     1.000003] mainbus0 (root)
[     1.000003] Firmware Error (ACPI): A valid RSDP was not found (20190405/tbxfroot-261)
[     1.000003] autoconfiguration error: acpi_probe: failed to initialize tables
[     1.000003] ACPI Error: Could not remove SCI handler (20190405/evmisc-312)
[     1.000003] cpu0 at mainbus0
[     1.000003] cpu0: Vortex86DX, id 0x522
[     1.000003] cpu0: package 0, core 0, smt 0
[     1.000003] pci0 at mainbus0 bus 0: configuration mode 1
[     1.000003] pci0: i/o space, memory space enabled, rd/line, rd/mult, wr/inv ok
[     1.000003] pchb0 at pci0 dev 0 function 0: vendor 17f3 product 6021 (rev. 0x02)
[     1.000003] vga0 at pci0 dev 3 function 0: vendor 18ca product 0020 (rev. 0x00)
[     1.000003] wsdisplay0 at vga0 kbdmux 1: console (80x25, vt100 emulation)
[     1.000003] wsmux1: connecting to wsdisplay0
[     1.000003] drm at vga0 not configured
[     1.000003] rdcpcib0 at pci0 dev 7 function 0: vendor 17f3 product 6031 (rev. 0x02)
[     1.000003] rdcpcib0: watchdog timer configured.
[     1.000003] vte0 at pci0 dev 8 function 0: vendor 17f3 product 6040 (rev. 0x00)
[     1.000003] vte0: Ethernet address 00:1b:eb:22:16:5c
[     1.000003] vte0: interrupting at irq 10
[     1.000003] rdcphy0 at vte0 phy 1: R6040 10/100 media interface, rev. 1
[     1.000003] rdcphy0: 10baseT, 10baseT-FDX, 100baseTX, 100baseTX-FDX, auto
[     1.000003] ohci0 at pci0 dev 10 function 0: vendor 17f3 product 6060 (rev. 0x12)
[     1.000003] ohci0: interrupting at irq 11
[     1.000003] ohci0: OHCI version 1.0, legacy support
[     1.000003] usb0 at ohci0: USB revision 1.0
[     1.000003] ehci0 at pci0 dev 10 function 1: vendor 17f3 product 6061 (rev. 0x03)
[     1.000003] ehci0: interrupting at irq 11
[     1.000003] ehci0: BIOS has given up ownership
[     1.000003] ehci0: EHCI version 1.0
[     1.000003] ehci0: 1 companion controller, 2 ports: ohci0
[     1.000003] usb1 at ehci0: USB revision 2.0
[     1.000003] ohci1 at pci0 dev 11 function 0: vendor 17f3 product 6060 (rev. 0x12)
[     1.000003] ohci1: interrupting at irq 11
[     1.000003] ohci1: OHCI version 1.0, legacy support
[     1.000003] usb2 at ohci1: USB revision 1.0
[     1.000003] ehci1 at pci0 dev 11 function 1: vendor 17f3 product 6061 (rev. 0x03)
[     1.000003] ehci1: interrupting at irq 11
[     1.000003] ehci1: BIOS has given up ownership
[     1.000003] ehci1: EHCI version 1.0
[     1.000003] ehci1: 1 companion controller, 2 ports: ohci1
[     1.000003] usb3 at ehci1: USB revision 2.0
[     1.000003] rdcide0 at pci0 dev 12 function 0: RDC R1011 IDE controller (rev. 0x01)
[     1.000003] rdcide0: bus-master DMA support present
[     1.000003] rdcide0: primary channel configured to compatibility mode
[     1.000003] rdcide0: primary channel interrupting at irq 14
[     1.000003] atabus0 at rdcide0 channel 0
[     1.000003] rdcide0: secondary channel configured to compatibility mode
[     1.000003] rdcide0: secondary channel interrupting at irq 15
[     1.000003] atabus1 at rdcide0 channel 1
[     1.000003] isa0 at rdcpcib0
[     1.000003] pckbc0 at isa0 port 0x60-0x64
[     1.000003] attimer0 at isa0 port 0x40-0x43
[     1.000003] pcppi0 at isa0 port 0x61
[     1.000003] midi0 at pcppi0: PC speaker
[     1.000003] sysbeep0 at pcppi0
[     1.000003] isapnp0 at isa0 port 0x279
[     1.000003] attimer0: attached to pcppi0
[     1.000003] isapnp0: no ISA Plug 'n Play devices found
[     1.000003] timecounter: Timecounter "clockinterrupt" frequency 100 Hz quality 0
[     1.064509] uhub0 at usb1: NetBSD (0000) EHCI root hub (0000), class 9/0, rev 2.00/1.00, addr 1
[     1.064509] uhub0: 2 ports with 2 removable, self powered
[     1.064509] uhub1 at usb2: NetBSD (0000) OHCI root hub (0000), class 9/0, rev 1.00/1.00, addr 1
[     1.064509] uhub1: 2 ports with 2 removable, self powered
[     1.064509] uhub2 at usb3: NetBSD (0000) EHCI root hub (0000), class 9/0, rev 2.00/1.00, addr 1
[     1.064509] uhub2: 2 ports with 2 removable, self powered
[     1.064509] uhub3 at usb0: NetBSD (0000) OHCI root hub (0000), class 9/0, rev 1.00/1.00, addr 1
[     1.064509] uhub3: 2 ports with 2 removable, self powered
[     1.064509] IPsec: Initialized Security Association Processing.
[     3.914550] uaudio0 at uhub3 port 2 configuration 1 interface 0
[     3.914550] uaudio0: vendor 0d8c (0xd8c) C-Media USB Audio Device (0x08), rev 1.10/1.00, addr 2
[     3.934546] uaudio0: audio rev 1.00
[     3.934546] audio0 at uaudio0: playback, capture, full duplex, independent
[     3.934546] audio0: slinear_le:16 2ch 48000Hz, blk 11520 bytes (60ms) for playback
[     3.934546] audio0: slinear_le:16 1ch 48000Hz, blk 6000 bytes (62.5ms) for recording
[     3.934546] uhidev0 at uhub3 port 2 configuration 1 interface 3
[     3.934546] uhidev0: vendor 0d8c (0xd8c) C-Media USB Audio Device (0x08), rev 1.10/1.00, addr 2, iclass 3/0
[     3.944550] uhid0 at uhidev0: input=4, output=4, feature=0
[     4.054550] wd0 at atabus1 drive 0
[     4.054550] wd0: <Hitachi XX.V.3.5.0.0>
[     4.054550] wd0: drive supports 1-sector PIO transfers, LBA addressing
[     4.054550] wd0: 977 MB, 1987 cyl, 16 head, 63 sec, 512 bytes/sect x 2002896 sectors
[     4.064551] wd0: 32-bit data port
[     4.064551] wd0: drive supports PIO mode 4
[     4.064551] wd0(rdcide0:1:0): using PIO mode 4
[     4.084559] WARNING: 1 error while detecting hardware; check system log.
[     4.084559] boot device: wd0
[     4.084559] root on wd0a dumps on wd0b
[     4.094550] root file system type: ffs
[     4.094550] kern.module.path=/stand/i386/9.2/modules
[    20.764808] wsdisplay0: screen 1 added (80x25, vt100 emulation)
[    20.784809] wsdisplay0: screen 2 added (80x25, vt100 emulation)
[    20.794810] wsdisplay0: screen 3 added (80x25, vt100 emulation)
[    20.804812] wsdisplay0: screen 4 added (80x25, vt100 emulation)