DUAL CPU board vs 2 Single CPU boards: bang for buck?

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Thu Mar 7 16:19:24 EST 2002

At 02:03 PM 3/7/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>On Thu, 7 Mar 2002, Jim Fraser wrote:
>Looking at the pictures in the cited website.. Since Beowulfs have often 
>been built as commodity boxes on bakery rack shelving.. Why not take it a 
>step further and just mount the stuff flat on a cookie sheet or eclair 
>pan, high density racks for which are readily available.

There is significant advantage in actually having a real chassis (mounting 
holes, etc.), but, for the low budget approach, "gang drilling" a bunch of 
cookie sheets seems a real possibility, and/or, the strategic use of double 
stick foam tape, glue, or hook/loop fasteners(Velcro).

Sure, if you glue the boards/diskdrives/etc down to the sheet it makes 
servicing hard, but on the other hand, these things are almost cheap enough 
that you could just throw it away if it breaks.. (I could make a good case 
for gluing down the power supply... $15-20 power supply and $2 cookie sheet....

> > I like this arrangement
> > http://www.massiveparallel.com/air/aircooled.html
> > I don't know the cost (or much about the system other then what's on the
> > website) but it seems to me like a more cost effective approach as the
> > investment is directed at buying compute cycles not heavy heat-trapping
> > steel cases.
> >
> > I am headed down to home depot to look into what draw-slides go for... ;-)
>We use a similar custom built system to house our mother boards. Very
>cheap and just as effective at saving space.
>One additional point to support the dual side of the argument: Many
>programmers don't know how to write good parallel code. Many new compilers
>are doing better at automatic parallelization for SMP's. This makes the
>dual's more attractive in that sense. I agree that (in general) it is
>basically a wash between the two paradigms.
>Kevin Van Workum
> >

Jim Lux
Spacecraft Telecommunications Equipment Section
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Road, Mail Stop 161-213
Pasadena CA 91109

818/354-2075, fax 818/393-6875

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