[Beowulf] hardware question: building a cluster node/ student workstation

John Bushnell bushnell at chem.ucsb.edu
Mon Jul 30 19:44:04 EDT 2007


Have you tried putting in any old NIC you can find and
disabling the onboard NIC in the BIOS?  Possibly a real
quick and dirty test if you haven't already tried that.
And a basically free fix if it works (surely you can
scavenge on old Fast Ethernet card).

     - John

On Tue, 24 Jul 2007, Nathan Moore wrote:
> About a year ago I put together a small cluster of linux workstations for
> students in our department.  At the time, I was conservative with spending
> money and outfitted each node with something like:
>
> Scientific Linux (RHEL 4)
> AMD 4400+ x2 Athlon 64 (dual core, 2MB L2)
> Abit nf-95 motherboard (cheapest socket 939 board at the time)
> 2GB RAM, DDR 400
> 200GB SATA hard drive
> integrated graphics, sound, 10/100 LAN
>
> The machines ran with NIS logins, NFS shared home directories, MPICH, an
> apache-hosted wiki, etc.  For the purpose of student work the hardware setup
> seemed appropriate.
>
> Earlier this summer, the case fan on one of the machines failed, and the
> result seems like a cooked motherboard (erratic errors with the integrated
> NIC).  The question I'm asking the list is the following:  In a university
> setting I can't just ebay off the old parts and buy a new node.  Thus I'm
> limited presently to looking for a motherboard with AMD's socket 939 and a
> few SATA2 ports - everything else is up for grabs.  Is it worth my time (and
> funds) to buy a motherboard in the $200 range (ie something like a tyan
> s2866g3nr), or should I again go with the cheapest thing there is (something
> like an Asus a8v-xe in the $50 range).
>
> I don't really understand the distinction between these two groups of
> hardware.  The tyan is probably a bad example because it has 3 network
> ports, but aside from this, they seem like basically the same board.  I'd
> appreciate advice on putting together a decent machine.
>
> regards,
>
> Nathan Moore
>
>
>
> -- 
> - - - - - - -   - - - - - - -   - - - - - - -
> Nathan Moore
> Assistant Professor, Physics
> Winona State University
> AIM: nmoorewsu
> - - - - - - -   - - - - - - -   - - - - - - -
>
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