[Beowulf] The Walmart Compute Node?

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Thu Nov 8 15:12:00 EST 2007


On Thu, 8 Nov 2007, Peter St. John wrote:

> Vincent,
> That's tough for me to answer, presumably the 1.5 is cheaper per hertz
> in power than a 3 GHz, but because of the other issues it may not be
> cheaper in GFLOPS per power. No hablo EE.

As I said in my longer reply, total system power costs per IP or FLOP
are probably going to be much higher for the smaller system.  Desktop systems
typically draw 80-120 watts per CPU almost independent of clock speed,
varying according to load.  I haven't measured the AMD-64 and don't know
what CPU is involved in the WalMart box, but I'm guestimating 100W each,
with the AMD as noted 3-4x faster, so there IS a considerable cost
differential in the power per useable instruction.  Unless, of course,
I'm wrong.  Kill-a-watt time.  A measurement is worth a thousand
estimates.

    rgb

> Peter
>
> On Nov 8, 2007 1:58 PM, Vincent Diepeveen <diep at xs4all.nl> wrote:
>> For a compute cluster wouldn't it be a thought to also consider the
>> cost of 3 years of nonstop electricity for the amount of gflops it
>> delivers?
>>
>> Vincent
>>
>>
>> On Nov 8, 2007, at 6:36 PM, Peter St. John wrote:
>>
>>> Recently, probably you noticed, Walmart began selling a $200 linux PC.
>>> (Apparently the OS is just Ubuntu 7.10 with a small xindow manager
>>> instead of Gnome or KDE). Now Slashdot points to
>>> http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS5305482907.html, the MB being sold
>>> separately for $60 ("development board"). It has 1.5GHz CPU,
>>> unpopulated memory (slots for 2GB), one 10/100 connection. Does this
>>> look to y'all like fair FLOPS/$ for a kitchen project? I'm thinking 6
>>> of them as compute nodes per 8 port router, with a bigger head node
>>> for fileserving. (actually I'll use a spare room but you know what I
>>> mean). An arrangement like this might be faster RAM access per core,
>>> compared to multicore, since each core has no competition for is't own
>>> memory, right?
>>> Thanks,
>>> Peter
>>
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>>
>>
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-- 
Robert G. Brown
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
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Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
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