[Beowulf] Cluster newbie, power recommendations

Andrew Piskorski atp at piskorski.com
Wed Mar 22 07:44:33 EST 2006


On Sun, Mar 19, 2006 at 07:09:42PM -0600, Eric Geater at Home wrote:

> My greatest question, though, revolves around power distribution.  It seems
> kinda weak to simply use one PSU per motherboard, especially if I take the
> time to devise a cabinet in which to operate the goodies.  Is it possible to
> run maybe two or three motherboards off a single power supply, given that
> the amount of known power committed to run a mobo is light, compared to the
> total workload of the average 350w PSU?

Others have powered multiple motherboards from a single power supply,
so it probably can be made to work with your hardware too, but the
only way to know for sure is to try it.  I myself did some initial
experimentation along those lines, but I never got around to actually
installing and using Linux on the nodes in that configuration:

  http://www.scyld.com/pipermail/beowulf/2004-September/010766.html
  http://www.scyld.com/pipermail/beowulf/2004-October/010974.html
  http://www.scyld.com/pipermail/beowulf/2004-October/010981.html

This cluster used multiple nodes per power supply:

  http://www.abo.fi/~physcomp/cluster/celeron.html
  http://physics.bu.edu/~sandvik/clusters.html

These clusters did not, but are also "box of bare boards" designs, so
might be relevent to you:

  http://jessen.ch/ammonite/
  http://www.phys.utb.edu/beowulf/
  http://krone.physik.unizh.ch/~stadel/zBox/story.html
  http://krone.physik.unizh.ch/~stadel/zBox/
  http://mini-itx.com/projects/cluster/

> This is a power-saving concept... if I could run 16 mobo's on 8 (or even 6)
> power supplies, it might be more beneficial to my health and well-being when
> the electric bill comes in.

Might be, I guess, especially if those power supplies were more
efficient models.  Since this is a home hobbyist cluster however,
you're likely to save a lot more by automatically turning the nodes
off whenever you're not actually using them, and then booting them up
fast with Wake-on-LAN and PXE - if they support that.

-- 
Andrew Piskorski <atp at piskorski.com>
http://www.piskorski.com/
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