ideal motherboard for diskless beowulf

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Wed Jun 11 09:57:39 EDT 2003

On Wed, 11 Jun 2003, kolokoutsas konstantinos wrote:

> Hello,
> I am in the process of designing a 12-node diskless
> cluster. I am going with AMD CPUs, but not quite
> confident which mobo to use, for serving the following
> with a limited budget:
> - (must)  onboard LAN
> - (must)  proven Linux (RH7.2) compatibility
> - (ideal) micro-atx 
> - (ideal) wide range of CPU support, i.e. from Duron
> sub-GHz up to XP 2600+
> - (bonus) some overclocking capabilities

UP or MP?  MP can be a hair cheaper per CPU, if your tasks aren't
resource bound.  They won't fit in a micro-atx, they won't do Duron
CPUs, but on AVERAGE they will take up even less than two micro-atx's,
especially in a 1U form factor.

I've used a variety of MSI boards and (except for the taiwan capacitor
fiasco) been generally satisfied with them.  I use Tyan's (e.g. Tyan
2466 or better) for duals -- they have onboard 100BT or better (current
motherboards have dual GigE NICs onboard, as well as video).

Just about any of these boards will work fine with any version of RHL
from 7-9.  Beware motherboards with onboard RTL 8139 NICs -- they are
cheap, common, and suck.  I'd plan on adding a decent NIC a la carte if
I "had" to pick a motherboard with an onboard RTL.

Finally, I'd recommend using RH 9, not 7.2, and 7.3 over 7.2 if it came
to that.  Linux really does get better, and an essential part of
installing ANYTHING is arranging for regular updates to fix security
problems and bugs.  The older versions tend to get frozen out and no
longer be aggressively updated, meaning that any vulnerabilities or bugs
in the setup won't get fixed.


Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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