Opinions needed on new system

Jack Wathey wathey at salk.edu
Thu Jul 20 10:49:07 PDT 2000

I'm no hardware guru, so I won't comment on your specific configuration,
but I do have a general suggestion.  If you have not yet written the
parallel application that you intend to run on the cluster, then consider
buying only 2 nodes, or just scrounge up two old PC's and connect them
with a crossover cable.  Do as much designing and coding of your
application software as possible on that minicluster.  This could easily
take weeks or months, depending on the complexity of your problem.  It
will give you time to learn whatever message-passing software you plan
to use.  During that time, prices will probably fall, and better hardware
will probably come on the market.  When your code is fully up and running
on your minicluster, then go out and buy the real thing.

Best wishes,

On Wed, 19 Jul 2000, Jeromy Hollenshead wrote:

> We are thinking of setting up a cluster of computers and I have spec'd out
> the following to be sent out for bids.  Is there anything obviously wrong
> with my setup. We already have a 19inch rack and 48 port HP switch that we
> are going to use.
> Does anyone have any suggestions on the type of network card to ask for?
> Specific chipsets that work well under linux.  I have seen the How-to and it
> seemed any of the 100 Mbit PCI cards should work.
> We are planning to write our application in FORTRAN.  Are the Portland Group
> compiler/profiler/debugger  suitable for this, or, are there better options.
> Does anyone have any experience with the new Thunderbird Processors?
> Any suggestions?  We are only able to spend around $22,000 USD.
> Thanks,
> Jeromy
> Host System
> -----------------
> AMD Athlon 750 Thunderbird Processor
> 512M ECC SDRAM (PC133)
> ATX Motherboard (KT133 chipset)
> (2) x 10/100 Ethernet adapter
> Matrox G400 AGP graphics card
> RAID 5, 4x 9 GB SCSI hard drive, 10,000 rpm
> 19 inch monitor (1280x1024)
> keyboard, mouse ( logitech or microsoft), CDROM ( > 32X)
> 3.5" floppy drive
> 19" rack mount enclosure with hot-swapable drives for RAID
> Chasis Slides
> Cables TP Networking Cat 5  7'
> Cables to connect floppy, hardrives, and cdrom
> Eight Nodes - Each includes
> ---------------------------------
> AMD Athlon 750 Thunderbird Processor
> ATX Motherboard  (KT133 chipset)
> 512M ECC SDRAM (PC133)
> 10/100 Ethernet adapter
> (open pci slot for future ethernet card)
> EIDE hardrive - (10-20 gig)  DMA/66
> 3.5" floppy drive, graphics card
> 19" rack mount enclosure
> Chasis slides
> Cables TP Networking Cat 5  7'
> Cables to connect floppy,  and hardrives
> Software/System ( pre-loaded)
> ---------------------------------------
> Red Hat Linux 
> PVM and MPI installed
> Integration of Host system with Nodes
> Portland Group Compilers
> (PGHPF) parallel FORTRAN for clusters
> (PGDBG) symbolic debugger
> (PGPROF) performance profiler
> Batch system (such as PBS)
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