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

Ellis Wilson xclski at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 26 15:04:26 EDT 2007


(An aside: sorry Mark for just replying to you initially with this, forgot to hit Reply All...:)
   
  My pennies are invisible, as college students scrapping to stay in school don't have much to spare and aren't very good at convincing administration why they should throw five grand my direction for cluster computing research :).
   
  What exactly does "everything else is up for grabs" mean?  I would kill (well, just about) for a lot of the stuff on that hardware list for my studies, email me if your serious.
   
  Mark is almost absolutely right mentioning the need for a better network.  Most often the network is what is spent most on in a cluster computer, however, it varies depending on the application.  I suppose gigabit ethernet has more or less become the rock-bottom solution however :).  Attempting to whittle down exactly what you are planning to do I did a quick google on Nathan Moore and University, however, right off the top I got a Physicist, a Chemical Engineer, and a Geologist!  Apparently your name is quite the doctor type.
   
  Don't get the tyan, you will see no price to performance increase with the budget and components you have.  I had a bit of trouble with ATI and Linux previously, but that was for a Video Card, not the chipset, but all the same because of their stance on releasing linux capable drivers closed source and very, very late, I stray away from them.
   
  I would, next time you get a new motherboard, take a first precaution with temperatures.  It's very inelegant and nothing so nice as the suggestions Mark made, but it seems to work for me.  In almost all modern BIOS' you can look inside and find a shut-off temperature setting.  This doesn't do anything nice like throttle up the fans so processing can continue or kill the computer if the fan dies, but it works when the heat starts to build up.  Worse comes to worse, instead of burning up your motherboard if you lose a fan all that will happen is your node will go offline.  If your checkpointing, this way won't waste too much time, and you'll save the computer.
   
  Regards,
   
  Ellis

       
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