high physical density cluster design - power/heat/rf questions

William Park parkw at better.net
Tue Mar 6 11:24:56 PST 2001

On Tue, Mar 06, 2001 at 10:28:59AM -0500, Velocet wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 06, 2001 at 02:30:10AM -0500, William Park's all...
> > Wouldn't regular computer cases be cheaper?  You wouldn't save that much
> > space anyways.

> Welding will take more time and be more expensive. If we use the copper
> pipe we're looking to just solder the t joints.  Not sure yet, we may
> use sheet metal.

Oh... wood.  You can screw the motherboards onto the plywood or panel;
then, these can be shelved like in bookcases or nailed to long beam or

> > I'm putting together a Linux cluster using ABit VP6 dual-cpu
> > motherboard.  But, 64-cpu is outside my price. ;-)
> For the density and price, 64 cpus is within range with only $30000 CDN
> that we have to play with. My mainboard is $130. The VP6 is about
> $190 or $200 CDN IIRC, then you gotta add a NIC ($20 minimum). Already
> a cost savings there (one limitation of the M810 we're using however
> is its only got 2 DIMM slots and 512Mb ram is expensive. So we're
> maxing at 512Mb of ram per node for this config.)

All my nodes are fully loaded machines (ie.  floppy, disk, ethernet,
video).  I chose SMP because
    - adding another CPU is cheaper than adding another node
    - my electrical wiring is standard 15A circuit
    - I don't have dedicated Air Conditioner.

Your electrical and a/c problem is big.  Assuming 100W per motherboard,
you need 7kW just to power the boards.  Can your circuit handle that?

Is PC-Chip a good motherboard?  I don't have personal experience, but
I've heard it's crap.  I am assuming that you're in graduate level, so
your time is free.  But, if you factor in time, effort, and lost sleep,
then perhaps a quality brand might be better choice.

---William Park, Open Geometry Consulting, Linux/Python, 8 CPUs.

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