[Beowulf] cpu/mobo recommendations

Bill Comisky bcomisky at pobox.com
Fri Sep 24 10:36:57 EDT 2004

It's time to upgrade the cluster, and I'm trying to determine the 
best hardware configuration for our purposes.  It's been a while since I 
went through this exercise and there seem to be more choices now (the last 
time I added nodes, people were just starting to use AMD clusters).

Specifically, the nodes will be diskless, and running coarsely grained 
parallel problems distributed by Sun's Grid Engine.  So fast ethernet 
works fine for networking.  Also the distributed jobs are Fortran77/90 and 
C codes, which I can recompile for 64bit processors if need be.  My main 
criteria are:

- best price/performance ratio:  our simulations are essentially
   independent, so overall runtime for a set of jobs will scale almost
   linearly with number of processors.  So the best solution is likely not
   the cutting edge fastest, but a step back from the fastest where we can
   buy more nodes for the same $$.

- hardware reliability

- rack form factor

I'm assuming 2 way SMP motherboards are still the way to go.  If anyone 
has gone through the same process recently, I'd appreciate any 
recommendations or pointers to good info.


Bill Comisky
bcomisky at pobox.com
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