[Beowulf] Reccomendations For Beowulf Cluster SMP Motherboards?

EKC webmaster at generalsynthesis.com
Wed Jun 14 00:12:53 EDT 2006


> Tri-bonded?  Have you tried this?  What MPI stack and/or other
> interconnect software do you plan to use?
My understanding is that kernel support for bonding has been vastly
improved. This is only through anectodtal accounts of others. I have
not yet tried it myself.

Instead of using MPI, I am writing my own message-passing protocol
based on UDP Multicast with Forward Error Correction. I will be using
the cluster to run a semantic web-crawler with some of the features
found in IBM's WebFountain. So, the entire cluster will be
rack-mounted in a data center.

> However, the older non-PCI-Express versions of that MSI K8N
> Master2-Far board all connected only ONE of the two Opterons to the
> DIMMs.  Thus the 2nd Opteron has to do all its memory access via the
> 1st Opterons HT link, so the 2nd Opteron sees more memory latency, and
> probably more important for you, the total aggregate memory bandwith
> is only 1/2 what you'd get with a real server-grade dual Opteron
> board.
>
> I've no idea whether or not that is still the case with the current
> MSI K8N Master2-Far or not, but it's something you'll want to check
> carefully when considering those sorts of motherboards...

I wasn't aware of the memory bandwidth issues with the MSI K8N
Master2-Far. This is good to know. Thanks for the tip. I am interested
in dual-opteron boards such as the Asus K8N-DL primarily for the
cost-savings they offer over higher-end boards. I am using 4U
rackmount chasis', so form-factor is not a concern.

I've also been looking at the MSI Master3-FA4R because it has 12 x DDR
slots. However, I have read reports about boards shipped with
innoperative DDR slots.
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