Questions on Design

Haluk Topcuoglu haluk at
Mon Apr 9 02:50:40 PDT 2001

I am going to setup a small cluster for my department and I have a few
questions on the design.  If you have time, please comment on the design.

The planned budget is limited  (around $ 22K).  I do understand that a
successful beowulf depends on the nature of the applications. Since our
cluster will execute applications provided by other departments (may be with
different characteristics), we  need a general-purpose high-performance
cluster that we can afford. In addition to these applications, we will work
on determining killer applications of e-commerce  and check their
performance on the cluster, in the second phase. I have examined most of the
related postings to this newsgroup and Prof. Brown's decision tree which
were very helpful.

Here is my design. I need your comments and suggestions  on it.

8-Node cluster (16-CPUs total)
Supermicro 370DLE ,  2xPIII 800EB Mhz (133)
256 MB. ECC SDRAM (133 MHZ),  10 Gb. HDD

Master Node
Supermicro 370DLE,   2xPIII 800EB Mhz. (133)
512 MB. ECC SDRAM (133 MHZ),  50 Gb. SCSI HDD

Since the cluster size is small, we will  afford  gigabit networking.
3Com Superstack 3 Switch 4900 (12-port) (on copper wire) (it is one of the
cheapest gigabit switch which is around $5000; is there any other
alternative around this price?)
3Com Gigabit NICs (is there another brand which is more cost-effective?.)

Here are some other questions.
* Can any ECC SDRAM fit in  370DLE mobo?.  I do remember that someone
mentioned that  high quality memory chips should be used. For 370DLE, what
can be the best choice of memory chips?. Any brand?
* Does it worth to increase CPU speed from 800EB Mhz. to 866Mhz or 933Mhz?
(cost will change slightly). (is it true that after 800Mhz, all ıntel CPUs
come with 133Mhz FSb so they do not put "EB" terms?).
* Is there any research group that work on implementing E-commerce
applications on Beowulf-like clusters?

Thank you very much for your time.
Best Regards,
Asst. Prof. Haluk Topcuoglu   (o)  (90) 216 348 0292 ext 245
Computer Engineering Dept.
Marmara University,             email: haluk at
81040, Istanbul - TURKEY

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