Miniature Beowulf

Zach Lowry zlowry at
Fri Mar 15 08:29:09 PST 2002

Hash: SHA1

> Zach - 
> A lot of people have talked about this over the Beowulf list 
> over the last 4
> years - Better check out the archive once you subscribe.
Should of done that. I dug around a bit, but I'm impatient. <g>

> Generally compactness is coming with blade servers (16 
> CPU/5U) and deep
> boxes with 2 smaller motherboards per rack unit (2cpu/1RU).
> almost everything else is way slow as you point out - 
> There is also a tradeoff - a fewer faster nodes will 
> outperform the many
> slower ones with relationship based on Ahmdals law and 
> scalaing on CPU clock
> with a fudge factor, and those few CPUs will generally be 
> cheaper vs. the
> older ones - 
Yeah, I know that 166MHz Alpha won't really **do** anything. But,
this isn't mission critical. This does make me wonder, though, if I
were to get some decent hardware, miniATX boards with PIII's or
something, would the Compaq be able to keep up? I figured it'd be
good since it would handle the multiple processes better, but now I

> A cheap Beowulf is a very useful learning exercise - but not fast -
>  A few fast nodes are generally bettter than many more small 
> cheap ones (and
> less effort) - 
> We looked into playstation-2s a while back - that is easier 
> now because of
> their linux support - but even so they are slower than 
> average pentiums
> unless you code in microcode (yech! - how much is your time 
> worth?  Hopw
> portable do you want the software?) So we discarded that.
I had an idea about PS2, too. But then I'd have to wait for the
ethernet adapter. Now, the XBox.... <g>

> And with compactness comes heat issues - the dense server 
> stack is very hard
> to keep cool - 
> So there is no easy solution and maybe no value in the 
> investment in this as
> to hardware - 
> If you have time and interest beowulfs in general have a lot 
> of software
> challenges - 
> but the hardware solutions are hard to impact or innovate in 
> (many bright
> people are trying now without a lot of luck)
> Good Luck in whatever you try to do though - 
> Dave Lechner.

Thanks a lot!

Zach Lowry

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