[Beowulf] specific motherboard???

Bill Broadley bill at cse.ucdavis.edu
Fri Dec 7 10:40:07 PST 2007

amjad ali wrote:
>  Hello all,
> I want to bulid a beowulf cluster of 16+1 nodes with each node having one
> Intel Core2Duo (2.66 GHz, FSB 1333MHz, 4MB L2) processor and GiGE as the
> interconnect. On this cluster, I would run my PETSc based CFD/FEM codes
> (REQURING VERY FAST MEMORY/high memory bandwidth). Please help me out to
> select out any one of the following boards:

Keep in mind that the Petsc faq mentions:
 A fast, low-latency interconnect; any ethernet, even 10 gigE cannot provide
 the needed performance.

I wouldn't assume that your workload will scale with gigE to 16 nodes.

> 1) Intel Server board S3200SH, System Bus 1333MHz, supprting 240-pin DDR2
> 800 MHz RAM
> 2) Intel Desktop board DX38BT, System Bus 1333MHz, supprting 240-pin DDR3
> 1333 MHz RAM

The application performance difference should be minimal to nil.  2 800 MHz
64-bit dimms can easily saturate the 64 bit 1333 MHz FSB.  I've not personally
tested DDR3, but all the tests I've seen show minimal performance improvements
at substantial price increases.

> See that RAM speed difference. Given that keeping up running the cluster all
> the time and loging on of many user simultaneously is not the concern. The
> cluster may be dedicated to be used by one user whenever required. But it
> may be the case that running a code for several days will be required.
> Would the desktop board DX38BT be suitable to run the cluster for several
> hours/days?
> Which Board you recommend for this scenario?

Either, you didn't mention the budget, but I'd at least consider a faster network.

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