[Beowulf] ECC support on motherboards?

Perry E. Metzger perry at piermont.com
Tue May 13 10:17:37 PDT 2008

Håkon Bugge <Hakon.Bugge at scali.com> writes:
> Its even worse. On one mtbd; the BIOS had a menu for enabling ECC; I
> did. But reading the register from the chipset revealed nothing was
> actually enabled in the hardware. You have to be paranoid in this
> business. This was a "bleeding edge" mtbd, with a low revision BIOS of
> course. The fu being that a car manufacturer ran a cluster of these
> for several months doing crash worthiness simulations ...

So another question is, how can you reliably test any of this stuff?
It isn't like you can reliably induce single bit errors and see if the
hardware catches them. (A special memory module that let you test
would be a wonderful thing, but I've never even heard of such a thing.)

I'm doing the planning for a new cluster and the whole thing is
remarkably bothersome. You can't easily figure out what motherboards
will even pretend to do ECC that easily, you can't easily check once
you have a sample motherboard in hand. It isn't even easy to get ECC
memory for more modern standards. I'm starting to wonder if doing all
calculations twice, once on each of two machines, isn't easier, but it
seems utterly wrong to do that...


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