undergrad senior project idea, help

Jim Meyer purp at acm.org
Thu Sep 5 13:23:54 PDT 2002


On Tue, 2002-09-03 at 21:50, Matt Osborne wrote:
> Thank you all for the input! Another question though.. is there any kind
> of minimum requirement level for hardware? I picked up a copy of the MIT
> Press Beowulf Cluster Comp. w/Linux which uses an example node of
> Athlon 1GHz. Well with me coming from a small private school w/very
> limited budget I think I'm looking at Pent. 2's at best.. but then again
> I could always include it somewhere in my cost analysis that this is what
> you get with P2's and this is what you might get if you used PC's with
> more expensive processors..

If I were doing this for a school, I'd probably start by spec'g out the
coolest small cluster I could, then write a short letter requesting a
grant of hardware with multiple versions: based around AMD processors to
send to AMD, based around Intel processors to send to Intel, based
around IBM hardware to send to IBM ... you get the idea. HP and Sun
might also be interested.

If that didn't work, I might design for dual-proc Athlon MP motherboards
with only a single 2GHz proc installed to reduce the cost without
foreclosing future expansion options. I might also consider smaller
disks in the nodes and a simple Linux software RAID array for storage.
If you're aggressive on your shopping, get a few education discounts,
and are generally frugal, I'd guess you could set up an 8-node system
including the data server with RAID array for ~$7-8K. 

Good luck!

Jim Meyer, Geek At Large                                    purp at acm.org

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