[Beowulf] Max flops to watts hardware for a cluster

William Dieter dieter at engr.uky.edu
Tue Feb 17 18:18:20 EST 2004

Try the cluster design tool at 
<http://cgi.aggregate.org/cgi-bin/cdr.cgi>.  You can enter your basic 
memory, memory bandwidth, etc requirements, then set the metric 
weighting to choose designs with the least power consumption first.

For example, for the default requirements (minimal memory, disk, and 
network requirements, at least 50 GFLOPS, and a $10,000 budget), and 
weighting power consumption first then memory bandwidth, followed by 
GFLOPS I get the following as the best design:

23 	Generic Fast Ethernet NIC 			  $8.00 	$184.00
23 	Cat5 Cable for Fast Ethernet 			  $2.00 	$46.00
1 	Generic 24 Port Fast Ethernet Switch 	$76.00 	$76.00
23 	Pentium 4 2.4GHz 					$166.00 	$3818.00
23 	Generic Socket 478 					$56.00 	$1288.00
69 	Generic PC3200 256MB DDR 			$44.00 	$3036.00
23 	Generic Mid-Tower Case 				$50.00 	$1150.00
3 	Generic 2x2 Shelving Unit with Wheels 	$50.00 	$150.00
									Total 	$9748.00

The above design gets you 50 GFLOPS and 2.67 bytes/FLOP for about 30 
Amps (you get to convert Amps to Watts.)  Everything else in the design 
is pretty minimal, but you can adjust the requirements on the form to 
get what you need (or if you can't let me know why not :-)

The CGI tries all designs with the parts in its database to find the 
ones that meet your requirements and metric weighting.  The model 
includes current consumption for switches and compute nodes based on 
the power supply.  The parts database is a bit out of date right now...

let me know what you think.

Bill Dieter.
dieter at engr.uky.edu

On Tuesday, February 17, 2004, at 12:01 PM, Camm Maguire wrote:
> Greetings, and thanks for the fascinating discussion!
> I'm mostly interested in dram flops, and also not the absolute
> maximum, mars-rover level technology, but say within 10% of the best
> available options on a more or less commodity basis.
> Take care,
> Mark Hahn <hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca> writes:
>>> Greetings!  The subject line says it all -- where can one get the 
>>> most
>>> bang per watt among systems currently available?
>> depends on which kind of flops: cache-friendly or dram-oriented?

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