[Beowulf] cheap PCs this christmas

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Nov 23 06:54:54 PST 2005

On Wed, Nov 23, 2005 at 09:33:34AM -0500, Mark Hahn wrote:

> I had the impression that the $745 list for that computer was pretty
> much a barebones price.  does it even include a CPU?  (CPUs are opteron
> 1xx's, which start at $200 just by themselves.)  but any s939 should 
> support ECC, I believe.

My quote here is ~600 EUR (excl VAT) for 1 x 2.0 GHz Opteron, and
512 MB ECC DDR, no drives (Hitachi SATA is reasonably cheap), as 
the barebone. DVD drive, slide rail kits and IPMI do add more to the
expense, pushing it close to 1 kEUR. Most computing nodes would
do fine with a net-booted barebone on aluminum slides.
> well, I just looked at pricewatch dimms, and for 1G, the difference
> is 105 vs 59 (recognizable brand).  I have lost touch with how damn cheap

Okay, my sources have obviously way overpriced non-ECC DDR RAM.
Where do you EU cluster people buy your memory?

> this stuff is!  so, omitting ECC from a $300 PC only saves $45, which is 
> still enough to think about.  obviously, desktops use less ram, therefore 
> have fewer failures to detect, making ECC less valuable.  desktops also
> usually do not run 24x7, again reducing the value of ECC.  I seem to 
> recall that there is a term of memory corruptions that depends on how 
> "hard" you use it, as well.  and as others pointed out, altitude,
> temperature, etc.

My usage pattern will be lots of zones/vservers, with a very long uptime.
> error rates (at my altitude) seem low enough that I see ECC's main value
> in burnin and health-monitoring.  I suspect that if a dimm's bad, you'll
> notice it through other means, but an increasing trend of ECC events can 
> tip you off earlier (and more specifically).

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.leitl.org
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE
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