[Beowulf] Re: Intro question

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Wed Dec 3 15:46:57 EST 2008


>> if office, I'd certainly just get minitowers.
>
> For office, I would recommend barebones in SFF (small form factor) cases, 
> like those commonly advertised for HTPC (Home theater PC). I have built a

well, SFF shoeboxes would be a good idea, but they tend to be somewhat 
specialized.  for instance, they normally only have a single cpu socket.
but they're good because the PSU is often sized modestly (the sweet spot
for PSU efficiency is somewhere around 75% load.)  I don't know whether 
there would be any problem putting a real interconnect card (10G, IB, etc)
into one of these - some are designed for GPU cards, so would have 8 or 16x 
pcie slots.  if you're only using gigabit, an SFF shoebox might be quite a 
good fit, including low-power integrated video.  there are "book" format
SFF's that might do well for the gigabit/integrated approach too.

I wouldn't mention HTPC, though - in stores around here at least that 
term implies a box specialized to look like AV components, often with 
milled aluminum bezel, fancy displays, etc.

> cluster of 80 of those (Shuttle SB75G2) in 2004, you can see a rather bad 
> picture in the "IWR Cluster 4 part a" section of:
> http://www.iwr.uni-heidelberg.de/services/equipment/parallel/

nice.

I think SFF's would be very nice, though probably would mean giving up any
pretense of server-ish-ness, such as dual sockets or IPMI, and probably
sticking to onboard gigabit.  for an office, though, a stack of 10 of them 
would still probably be a problem in total dissipation.
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