[Beowulf] motherboards for diskless nodes

Alpay Kasal eno at dorsai.org
Thu Feb 24 21:39:31 EST 2005


Jamie, I went with Pentium4 with my recent purchases and I assumed any new
motherboards would be able to boot off the network without issue. I was
wrong - bigtime. I was buying for small footprint & low cost and I went
through about 5 motherboards before I found one that hit the server properly
everytime (the time wasted in finding hardware really hurt). I am using the
Gigabyte 81845gvm now (but beware of bios revs 4, 5 , or 6. they break Pxe,
only rev3 works everytime). I did not test EVERY version bios with all the
mobo's I tested but learned the same chipset and bios on different mobo's
are not all created equal.

Do your research, then buy one for evaluation from a vendor who will take
the hardware back. That's the only way to know for sure that your entire
setup will work. Then come back here and report your findings :)

PS: PXE is not the only embedded method of bootnic. I forget the other
method but it's often paired with onboard realtek8139's, an old intel
standard (?) which is useless these days but still found on some new
motherboards. Maybe someone else here knows what I'm referring too.

Pps: I'm a Beowulf newb and I am using XP Embedded in my setup.

Alpay


-----Original Message-----
From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On
Behalf Of Jamie Rollins
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 6:20 PM
To: beowulf at beowulf.org
Cc: debian-beowulf at lists.debian.org
Subject: [Beowulf] motherboards for diskless nodes

How netboot-capable are modern motherboards with on-board nics?  I
have experience with a couple that support PXE.  However, I have
been having a hard time finding information on-line stating expicitly that
a given motherboard and/or bios supports netbooting.  The only thing I've
been able to find so far is the Tyan K8SR that uses the AMI BIOS 8.0.  I
get the impression that most MB's that have gigabit probably support PXE
booting, but I was curious what other's impressions are.

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