Small PCs cluster

Daniel Fernandez daniel at
Fri Jul 4 12:08:31 EDT 2003

Hi there,

I just started how to mantain a cluster, I mean monitoring
activity/temperature, finding/replacing damaged components and user
control. Recently we are planning here to add more nodes... but there's
a great problem, space. 

So we bought recently a Small Form Factor PC to test it, It's a Shuttle
SN41G2 equipped with a nForce2 chipset, It was a bit tricky at install
process because our older PCs were equipped with 3Com cards and
installed via BOOTP but that damn nVidia integrated ethernet only boots
via PXE, well, that's relatively easy to solve. And after installing
nVidia drivers seemed to work flawlessly.

It's obvious that we'll gain space but on the other hand heat
dissipation will be more difficult because will be more dissipated watts
per cubic-meter, that small PC case has a nice Heat-pipe for cooling the
main cpu though.

¿ Are there experiences ( successful or not ) about installing and
managing clusters with Small Form Factor PCs ? I'm not talking only
about heat but instability problems with integrated ethernet ( under
high activity ) as well.

Daniel Fernandez <daniel at>
Laboratori de Termotècnia i Energia - CTTC
( Heat and Mass Transfer Center )
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

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