Sony Vaio with Pentium B950

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Sony Vaio with Pentium B950

Postby mgn210 » 2017-05-08 21:26

Hi Folks,

Few questions for the hardware gurus. I have searched hi and low to no avail. I have noticed that jessie kernel sees 8 cpus with 6 hotplug (2 enabled) the question is who is being "misled"? Intel says that cpu has 2 cores, debian sees 8. I can't see the bios advanced settings (infamous Insyde bios). Did any of you experienced something similar? The kernel says "I see 8 but only 2 enabled" the vendor says "you have only two"...
How to hotplug the available ones (if they truly exist)? I have tried the "probe" method but naturally /sys is restricted so I can't add any files there to experiment.

This is what I see:

root@glider2:/sys/devices/system/cpu# cat possible online offline
0-7
0-1
2-7

root@glider2:/sys/devices/system/cpu# cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep processor
processor : 0
processor : 1

root@glider2:/sys/devices/system/cpu# dmesg | grep -i cpu
[ 0.000000] Initializing cgroup subsys cpuset
[ 0.000000] Initializing cgroup subsys cpu
[ 0.000000] Initializing cgroup subsys cpuacct
[ 0.000000] x86 PAT enabled: cpu 0, old 0x7040600070406, new 0x7010600070106
[ 0.000000] smpboot: Allowing 8 CPUs, 6 hotplug CPUs
[ 0.000000] setup_percpu: NR_CPUS:512 nr_cpumask_bits:512 nr_cpu_ids:8 nr_node_ids:1
[ 0.000000] PERCPU: Embedded 27 pages/cpu @ffff88013fa00000 s80960 r8192 d21440 u262144
...
[ 0.000000] RCU restricting CPUs from NR_CPUS=512 to nr_cpu_ids=8.
[ 0.000000] RCU: Adjusting geometry for rcu_fanout_leaf=16, nr_cpu_ids=8
[ 0.009057] CPU: Physical Processor ID: 0
[ 0.009058] CPU: Processor Core ID: 0
[ 0.009065] mce: CPU supports 7 MCE banks
[ 0.009076] CPU0: Thermal monitoring handled by SMI
[ 0.073946] smpboot: CPU0: Intel(R) Pentium(R) CPU B950 @ 2.10GHz (fam: 06, model: 2a, stepping: 07)
[ 0.074002] perf_event_intel: PEBS disabled due to CPU errata, please upgrade microcode
[ 0.075695] .... node #0, CPUs: #1
[ 0.086653] CPU1: Thermal monitoring handled by SMI
[ 0.088753] x86: Booted up 1 node, 2 CPUs
[ 0.088871] NMI watchdog: enabled on all CPUs, permanently consumes one hw-PMU counter.
[ 0.094433] cpuidle: using governor ladder
[ 0.094437] cpuidle: using governor menu
[ 0.095100] mtrr: your CPUs had inconsistent variable MTRR settings
[ 0.095101] mtrr: probably your BIOS does not setup all CPUs.
[ 0.121319] ACPI: SSDT 0xFFFF88013AE8C000 00067C (v01 PmRef Cpu0Cst 00003001 INTL 20100121)
[ 0.577085] microcode: CPU0 sig=0x206a7, pf=0x10, revision=0x14
[ 0.577091] microcode: CPU1 sig=0x206a7, pf=0x10, revision=0x14
[ 0.582516] Intel pstate controlling: cpu 0
[ 0.582536] Intel pstate controlling: cpu 1
[ 0.582613] ledtrig-cpu: registered to indicate activity on CPUs
[ 4790.195916] SUPR0GipMap: fGetGipCpu=0xb

root@glider2:~# lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Debian
Description: Debian GNU/Linux 9.0 (n/a)
Release: 9.0
Codename: n/a

Installed jessie but upgrades got me to stretch somehow with no code name, weird....

I'm ready to flush or change that bios if I have to, just wondering if there is a softer approach and ask it politely to give me my all cpus what I already paid for :-)
Any tips on good bios backup/recovery/flush tool on linux, I have some on windows but I would hate to install the win OS just to flush/change the bios

Any wisdom is appreciated.
Thanks
Mark
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Re: Sony Vaio with Pentium B950

Postby stevepusser » 2017-05-08 21:39

Intel says that CPU has two cores, with no hyperthreading. Two is all you get. I'm guessing that eight is what your other hardware supports, not what it actually has, but the kernel isn't cheating you out of any possible threads.
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Re: Sony Vaio with Pentium B950

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-05-08 22:39

by mgn210 »Any tips on good bios backup/recovery/flush tool on linux, I have some on windows but I would hate to install the win OS just to flush/change the bios


I wouldn't trust anything on Windows to do this sort of thing.
Do you mean "flash" ? I don't know about "flushing tools",(sounds like a plumbing tool of some sort)
FreeDos is dependable, and very good for this kind of thing, if what you meant
is "flash" the bios.

There are many so called "flash" tools, but you need to be careful on that as well, some don't work and will trash the motherboard :
Any tips on good bios backup/recovery/flush tool on linux It probably should be "flash", and not flush.

One of many hits. I have found the information at "archlinux" to be reliable,
if and when one reads it carefully.
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Flashing_BIOS_from_Linux
There is also this on the Debian wiki:
https://wiki.debian.org/FlashBIOS

by mgn210 »I'm ready to flush or change that bios if I have to, just wondering if there is a softer approach and ask it politely to give me my all cpus what I already paid for

Are you sure ?
Have you ever do that before ? Does not sound like it, or you would not need to ask.
Besides that, there is no reason or need to do that.

In the link above, you will see this warning:
Warning: Flashing motherboard BIOS is a dangerous activity that can render your motherboard inoperable!

And it is true.
If everything else is working fine, there is no real reason to try this,....
by mgn210 »Any wisdom is appreciated.


If you happen to have some extra "junk" computers, that you don't use and want to learn how to flash the bios, and also back it up, that would be the best way to experiment and learn how, first.
Take Stevepussers word :

Post by stevepusser » 2017-05-08 15:39
Intel says that CPU has two cores, with no hyperthreading. Two is all you get. I'm guessing that eight is what your other hardware supports, not what it actually has, but the kernel isn't cheating you out of any possible threads.

There is no reason to even be thinking about "flashing the bios", and if something is not broken, don't try to fix it.
That does not mean it is bad to try to improve something, but don't do that until you are sure you are capable of it, and that it can be done.
Last edited by GarryRicketson on 2017-05-08 23:02, edited 1 time in total.
"What we expect you have already Done"

Before doing anything, read the Debian documentation:
Debian Documentation
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Re: Sony Vaio with Pentium B950

Postby mgn210 » 2017-05-08 22:48

Thanks Steve, the misleading part is when the kernel reported "they are there but sleeping" while there was nothing there (allegedly). I tend to trust the maker of the chip but you never know what deal they could struck with the OEM reseller ("tell people this car has 3 wheels" :-)). I guess it's the wording from hardware programmer saying "allowing 8" what does it really mean? If I remember correctly from previous playing time with this hardware Ubuntu once reported "present 8, active 2". Oh well, the fun continues and I will dig deeper and report if anything changes, for some reason it just doesn't sound kosher.
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Re: Sony Vaio with Pentium B950

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-05-08 22:53

Additional, kind of "off topic",
but for example in the search results,..
http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-linux-rescue-tools-for-recovering-linux-windows-or-mac-machines/
It is just a "blog", and the writer does not even mention "FreeDos",
but they do mention "knoppix", which happens to be the first Linux distro I tried,
and it is OK, but the point being,.. I had really wrecked a very new laptop, that
came with Windows XP, on it,... and I did not want any MS windows, any way
to make a long story short, "knoppix" could NOT boot the computer, until after
I used FreeDos, first, to format the entire drive, after that, knoppix would boot.
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Re: Sony Vaio with Pentium B950

Postby mgn210 » 2017-05-08 23:22

Thanks Garry, and yes I meant flash the bios. This is some old hardware that I can play with so not afraid to rend it dead. I did wipe and restore few eproms in my past life on some industrial machines and game boards not a big deal really if you have the right tools. I will try the tools you mentioned. I spoke to Sony guy and they had only windows based bios tools (I know I hate that too).
It is not farfetched that Intel produced a chip yet limit its use due to the industry standards of what "normal" use was at the time. Well, "at the time" was 6-7 years ago and now I could use more cores especially if they are already there. IBM used to do the microcode upgrade all the time on mainframes, produced a humongous die for room to grow, not a new concept. Again, this is not a production system or anything like that it's more of a sandbox that can be wrecked. Just trying to squeeze everything I can from the hardware that I have and maybe learn something in the process. The question I'm trying to answer for myself is who is correct in this case, the kernel programmer saying "there are more cores than you can see" or Intel saying "this is all you got" (at least officially). What would the reason/use be to report what hardware "could" support"? Someone is smoking something, don't know, maybe it's me... lol
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Re: Sony Vaio with Pentium B950

Postby Thorny » 2017-05-09 10:59

I don't have a definitive answer for you mgn210 but I can't help but wonder if this is relevant.

mgn210 wrote:Installed jessie but upgrades got me to stretch somehow with no code name, weird....

I agree that mysterious upgrading without your intervention would be weird. In your quest to get as much as possible out of that computer did you perhaps add any non-Jessie repositories?

What kernel did you end up with?

Stretch hasn't been released yet, so there certainly could still be unidentified bugs.

I wonder if anything would be different if you tried a different kernel or had your system just as a clean Jessie. And/or updated the microcode as suggested in dmesg.

That's all I have.

Edit: If you are smoking something you should probably not do that while troubleshooting.
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Re: Sony Vaio with Pentium B950

Postby mgn210 » 2017-05-09 13:53

@Thorny, end up with standard jessie kernel (3.16.0-4-amd64) but yes, I could have mixed repos there at some point like testing or non-free. I was trying several things and I think I got Ubuntu there at some point (Yakkety?)
That would explain the mix, everything is cleaned up now except of what lsb reports. I did run different kernel on that hardware before and like I said earlier except for wording (allowing vs. present) the things looked the same, with "...I see dead cpus..." syndrome still present. I have the new (well, the latest from Intel dated 11/2016) microcode so I will try that next and see what happens.
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Re: Sony Vaio with Pentium B950

Postby mgn210 » 2017-05-09 14:32

After microcode upgrade, not much changed except the complaint about microcode is gone, old question still stands...

root@glider2:~# dmesg | grep -i cpu
...
[ 0.086170] CPU1 microcode updated early to revision 0x29, date = 2013-06-12
[ 0.086631] CPU1: Thermal monitoring handled by SMI
[ 0.088736] x86: Booted up 1 node, 2 CPUs
[ 0.088854] NMI watchdog: enabled on all CPUs, permanently consumes one hw-PMU counter.
[ 0.094420] cpuidle: using governor ladder
[ 0.094424] cpuidle: using governor menu
[ 0.095087] mtrr: your CPUs had inconsistent variable MTRR settings
[ 0.095088] mtrr: probably your BIOS does not setup all CPUs.
...

InsydeH20 you are next, just need to find that VSS register offset.... the plot thickens..
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