Author Topic: Linux upgrade for 8200  (Read 63 times)

jlmaner87

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Linux upgrade for 8200
« on: June 27, 2018, 05:46:35 pm »
Greetings all,

I'm not sure that this deserves a new topic... but after a quick search of the forum, I couldn't find anything related to the Linux-based computers connected to JEOL probes (8200s only?).

I was recently notified by JEOL that the UNIX computer controlling the 8200 at UT-Austin can be upgrade to a Linux-based computer. Have any of you ugraded from the UNIX to Linux systems? I'm interested in hearing pros/cons.

Thanks and looking forward to your comments.

James Maner

Owen Neill

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Re: Linux upgrade for 8200
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2018, 10:18:21 am »
Hi James,

I looked into this for the WSU 8500 in 2016, and was put off by the price tag, but that price may have come down since then. I think the PNNL folks bought the upgrade for their 8200 - I don't know if Ben Garcia posts here, but it might be worth pinging him and asking.

FWIW, you can find relatively cheap UNIX boxes on eBay. The WSU machine used a Sun Ultra45 workstation, and there were always a few floating around for $500-1500, so I just invested in spare parts rather than upgrading.

Good luck,
OKN

Paul Carpenter

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Re: Linux upgrade for 8200
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2018, 11:51:17 am »
We asked for a quote on the Linux system upgrade. It is expensive, ~ $40K. I have observed the Linux system at another 8200 lab during PFE installation and these comments are based on about 6 days of operations.

Pros: New PC technology with current hardware availability. The Jeol software in my observation is a fairly exact duplication of the 8x00 software running on the Sun OS. Supports JEOL EDS.
Cons: Price tag. Software has no new capabilities that I am aware of. Restricted to JEOL EDS.

The Sun ultra 45 on our 8200 is a very fast RISC computer and is very capable. It is faster than the Linux PC from what I recall, or at least it is not slower. There were hangups with the Linux system that required OP power recycle so it is not necessarily free of comm interruptions.

Our 8200 setup uses a second PC for the frame grabber reflected light and the pulse processing board for the SDD-EDS system as these are not handled by the unix computer.  As far as I can tell, the Sun is being used to run the Jeol software which communicates with the SC board on the 8200/8500 via the ethernet interface, and ours also uses a serial connection to the EDS rack to handle the EDS calls. There are no hardware components on the Sun that are customized for the Jeol interface. In other words, a normal ultra 45 with the Jeol software installed and IP addresses configured is ready to be used.

The Sun blade computer installed on many 8200s is obsolete and a poor performer (Blade is the gray and purple computer case). The frame grabber board for reflected light is also inferior to that used for the PC-based setup we have.

We use the Sun ultra 45 to run Jeol OS processes, EDS, and guide-net image acquisition. All images are then transferred to PCs for further processing. Having a Samba share on the Sun really improves the utility of these actions.

IF the  Linux system price was more like $4K it would be an option in my opinion.

Cheers,

Paul
Paul Carpenter
Washington University St. Louis

jlmaner87

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Re: Linux upgrade for 8200
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2018, 09:46:29 am »
Hi Owen and Paul,

Thanks for your comments. I contacted JEOL asking for more details regarding the upgraded software, but have heard nothing yet. We currently have a SunBlade 2000... and it glitches/crashes at least once a week. Very frustrating for me and the users. Fortunately, we can use PfE for most tasks (thanks Probe Software team!!!). Sounds to me like switching to a SunUltra45 may be the ticket. JEOL is wanting ~$24K for the new PC (including installation and new monitors).

James