[Beowulf] Quiet *and* powerful

Bill Broadley bill at cse.ucdavis.edu
Fri Dec 12 12:42:24 EST 2003

On Fri, Dec 12, 2003 at 12:24:39PM -0500, Nicholas Henke wrote:
> > 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)?
> They are not 1U, but the Dell 650N I have is just about silent. At most
> I hear a faint harddrive noise, but most times I hear nothing at all. 
> FYI, this is a dual processor machine as well.

I'd recommend trying the 360N, I've seen the single p4 substantially
outperform the dual (even with 2 jobs running).

Basically the memory bus is substantially better on the 360N, and it's
even quieter then the 650N.  Of course this depends on the worldload.

I've never heard a quiet 1 or 2U.  Even the apple xserv's are pretty

If building yourself I recommend a case with rubber grommets, and
slow RPM 120mm fans similarly mounted.  The Antec Sonnata is an example.

Other possibilities include placing the servers elsewhere and using
a small quiet machine with an LCD/keyboard/mouse.
Bill Broadley
Information Architect
Computational Science and Engineering
UC Davis
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