[Beowulf] Quiet *and* powerful

Joshua Baker-LePain jlb17 at duke.edu
Fri Dec 12 12:08:31 EST 2003

Yes, I know this has been discussed a couple of times, and that my stated 
goals are at odds with each other.  But I really need the best bang for 
the noise for a system that will reside in the same room with patients 
undergoing diagnostic ultrasound scanning.  Our current setup (6 1U dual 
2.4GHz Xeons, with about 11 little fans per node) is ridiculously loud, 
and annoys both the patients and the physicians.  This is Bad.

We're willing to pay for better, but don't want to take too much of a 
speed hit.  Does anybody have a good vendor for quiet but still high 
performing systems?  Is there any hope in the 1U form factor (my Opteron 
nodes are somewhat quieter, since they use squirrel cage fans, but are 
still too loud), or should I look at, e.g., putting Quad Opterons in a 3 
or 4U case?  Or should I look at lashing together some towers (this system 
also needs to be somewhat portable)?

Thanks for any hints, pointers, recommendations, or flames.

Joshua Baker-LePain
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Duke University

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