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2. Hardware

This section covers the hardware choices I've made. Unless noted in the known hardware issues section, assume that everything works really well.

Hardware installation is also fairly straight-forward unless otherwise noted, with most of the details covered by the manuals. For each section, the hardware is listed in the order of purchase (most recent is listed first).

2.1 Node hardware

32 machines have the following setup each:

  • 2 XEON 2.66GHZ 533FSB CPUs
  • Supermicro 6013A-T 1u case and motherboard
  • 2 512MB PC2100 DDR REG ECC RAM
  • 1 80GB SEA 7200 SATA HD
  • 1 250GB SEA 7200 SATA HD

32 machines have the following setup each:

  • 2 XEON 2.4GHZ 533FSB CPUs
  • Supermicro X5DPR-1G2 motherboard
  • 2 512MB PC2100 DDR REG ECC RAM
  • 1 40GB SEA 7200 HD
  • 1 120GB SEA 7200 HD
  • Supermicro Slim 24X CDROM
  • CSE-812 400 C/B 1U case

32 machines have the following setup each:

  • 2 AMD Palamino MP XP 2000+ 1.67 GHz CPUs
  • Asus A7M266-D w/LAN Dual DDR motherboard
  • 2 Kingston 512mb PC2100 DDR-266MHz REG ECC RAM
  • 1 41 GB Maxtor 7200rpm ATA100 HD
  • 1 120 GB Maxtor 5400rpm ATA100 HD
  • Asus CD-A520 52x CDROM
  • 1.44mb floppy drive
  • ATI Expert 2000 Rage 128 32mb
  • IN-WIN P4 300ATX Mid Tower case
  • Enermax P4-430ATX power supply

32 machines have the following setup each:

  • 2 AMD Palamino MP XP 1800+ 1.53 GHz CPUs
  • Tyan S2460 Dual Socket-A/MP motherboard
  • Kingston 512mb PC2100 DDR-266MHz REG ECC RAM
  • 1 20 GB Maxtor UDMA/100 7200rpm HD
  • 1 120 GB Maxtor 5400rpm ATA100 HD
  • Asus CD-A520 52x CDROM
  • 1.44mb floppy drive
  • ATI Expert 98 8mb AGP video card
  • IN-WIN P4 300ATX Mid Tower case
  • Intel PCI PRO-100 10/100Mbps network card
  • Enermax P4-430ATX power supply

32 machines have the following setup each:

  • 2 Pentium III 1 GHz Intel CPUs
  • Supermicro 370 DLE Dual PIII-FCPGA motherboard
  • 2 256 MB 168-pin PC133 Registered ECC Micron RAM
  • 1 20 GB Maxtor ATA/66 5400 RPM HD
  • 1 40 GB Maxtor UDMA/100 7200 RPM HD
  • Asus CD-S500 50x CDROM
  • 1.4 MB floppy drive
  • ATI Expert 98 8 MB PCI video card
  • IN-WIN P4 300ATX Mid Tower case

2.2 Server hardware

Two servers for external use (dissemination of information) with the following setups:

  • 2 AMD Opteron 240 1.4 GHz CPUs
  • RIOWORKS HDAMB DUAL OPTERON motherboard
  • 4 KINGSTON 512MB PC3200 REG ECC RAM
  • 80GB MAX 7200 UDMA 133 HD
  • 6 200GB WD 7200 8MB HD
  • ASUS 52X CD-A520 CDROM
  • 1.44mb floppy drive
  • Antec 4U22ATX550EPS 4u case

  • 2 AMD Palamino MP XP 2000+ 1.67 GHz CPUs
  • Asus A7M266-D w/LAN Dual DDR
  • 4 Kingston 512mb PC2100 DDR-266MHz REG ECC RAM
  • Asus CD-A520 52x CDROM
  • 1 41 GB Maxtor 7200rpm ATA100 HD
  • 6 120 GB Maxtor 5400rpm ATA100 HD
  • 1.44mb floppy drive
  • ATI Expert 2000 Rage 128 32mb
  • IN-WIN P4 300ATX mid tower case
  • Enermax P4-430ATX power supply

2.3 Desktop and terminal hardware

We have identified at least two kinds of users of our cluster: those that need (i.e., take advantage of) permanent local processing power and disk space in conjunction with the cluster to speed up processing, and those that just need only the cluster processing power. The former are assigned "desktops" which are essentially high-performance machines, and the latter are assigned dumb "terminals". Our desktops are usually dual or quad processor machines with the current high-end CPU being a 1.6 GHz Opteron, having as much as 10 GB of RAM, and over 1 TB of local disk space. Our terminals are essentially machines where a user can log in and then run jobs on our farm. In this setup, people may also use laptops as dumb terminals.

2.4 Miscellaneous/accessory hardware

We generally use/prefer Viewsonic monitors, Microsoft Intellimouse mice, and Microsoft Natural keyboards. These generally have worked quite reliably for us.

2.5 Putting-it-all-together hardware

For visual access to the nodes, we initially used to use KVM switches with a cheap monitor to connect up and "look" at all the machines. While this was a nice solution, it did not scale. We currently wheel a small monitor around and hook up cables as needed. What we need is a small hand held monitor that can plug into the back of the PC (operated with a stylus, like the Palm).

For networking, we generally use Netgear and Cisco switches.

2.6 Costs

Our vendor is Hard Drives Northwest ( http://www.hdnw.com). For each compute node in our cluster (containing two processors), we paid about $1500-$2000, including taxes. Generally, our goal is to keep the cost of each processor to below $1000 (including housing it).


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