Small PCs cluster

Daniel Fernandez daniel at
Thu Jul 10 08:14:42 EDT 2003

Hi again,

Thanks for the answers, we also checked the Mini-ITX mainboard, but C3 
processors don't offer enough FPU raw speed. On the other hand, the 
integrated nVidia ethernet controller is in fact a Realtek 8201BL, this
is our last trouble before we decide what to purchase. 

Our actual cluster is equipped with 3Com 3c905CX-TX-M ethernet controllers,
our doubt is about that Realtek controller because I suspect that Realtek
ethernet nics put more load onto the main CPU ¿ can anyone confirm this ?

I suppose that the NIC for cluster of choice is 3Com around there, but...
¿ how about Realtek NICs under heavy load? If doesn't work well, we can
 afford an extra 3Com NIC of course.

Daniel Fernandez <daniel at>
Laboratori de Termotècnia i Energia - CTTC

> On Fri, 2003-07-04 at 19:29, Gerry Creager N5JXS wrote:
> Relatively speaking the Shuttle cases, while small for a P4 or Athelon 
> processor class machine, are pretty big compared to the Mini-ITX 
> systems.  However, the heat-pipes seem to do a pretty good job of 
> off-loading heat and making the heat-exchanger available to ambient air.
> I've not built a cluster so far using this sort of case, but I've got a 
> lot of past heat-pipe experience.  I'd be tring to maintain a low inlet 
> temperature to the rack, and a fairly high, and (uncharacteristically) 
> non-laminar airflow through the rack.  The idea is to get as much 
> airflow incident to the heat-pipe heat exchanger as possible.
> We did a fair bit of heat-pipe work while I was at NASA.  We found cood 
> radiative characteristics in heat-pipe heat exchangers (the heat-pipes 
> wouldn't have worked otherwise!) but they work best when they combine 
> both convective and radiative modes and use a cool-air transport.
> I've got a number of isolated small-form-factor PCs now running.  I've 
> seen no instability with the integrated components in any of these.
> gerry

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