[Beowulf] Mobos for portable use

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Thu Jan 19 08:57:36 PST 2017

The lunchtime thinking was - if I don’t need a screen and keyboard, can I get a more compact/convenient/lower power package  (leaving aside the whole issue that MAKING such a compact convenient package is a challenge, it’s not a consumer item).

>From a personal standpoint, a high performance cluster that fits under a plane seat has always been intriguing.  The tray table is small, so plonking my macbook air on the tray table, and having the box under the seat do the grinding. These days, there’s often an AC outlet too.. so you could be blowing hot air on the feet of the person sitting in front of you, and giving them a literal “hot seat”… 8 nodes, 50 W per node, 400W..

James Lux, P.E.
Task Manager, DHFR Space Testbed
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive, MS 161-213
Pasadena CA 91109
+1(818)395-2714 (cell)

From: Andrew Latham <lathama at gmail.com<mailto:lathama at gmail.com>>
Date: Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 7:28 AM
To: Jim Lux <james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov<mailto:james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov>>
Cc: "beowulf at beowulf.org<mailto:beowulf at beowulf.org>" <beowulf at beowulf.org<mailto:beowulf at beowulf.org>>
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Mobos for portable use

Some peeps have found the P50 to be ideal for mobile workstation: http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/p-series/p50/

Xeon with 64GB of ram in laptop form.

In the diy car computer and some other markets there are backpacks made to match up to common systems like the NUC to offer power.
Generic example http://www.fit-pc.com/web/products/fit-uptime/

On Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 8:36 AM, Lux, Jim (337C) <james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov<mailto:james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov>> wrote:
This comes up every few years..
Someone at work was complaining at lunch that the latest laptops have nice screens but don’t have much memory, largely because they want to keep the battery size reasonable ("thin is in”).. my suggestion was “well, why don’t you just use your laptop as the user interface to a bigger more powerful compute node/nodes”
That devolved into a “but what I really want is the horsepower of my desktop machine”..

Leaving aside the “use the network to connect to a CPU somewhere else”

We then started discussing whether anyone makes motherboards with high performance processors, lots of RAM, maybe a GPU for computation (but no display hooked up), but none of the other stuff, and then run off batteries..
Like a battery powered Intel NUC, but with way more horsepower
The top of the line NUC seems to have a 19V, 65W power supply..  arstechnica says they burn about 50W running full out.   Let’s say you want to run for 4 hours, so you need 200 Whr.

A 18650 Li battery is 3.4 Ah @ 3.6V, that’s about 23 Wh, so you’d need 9 of them.  That’s not all that big a package.. Arranged in a row, they’d be 65mm by 162 mm..

Prismatic (brick shaped) batteries are 350 Wh/Liter, 135Wh/kg.. so 200 Wh is going to be about half a liter (50x100x100 mm) and 1.5 kg

James Lux, P.E.
Task Manager, DHFR Space Testbed
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive, MS 161-213
Pasadena CA 91109
+1(818)395-2714<tel:(818)%20395-2714> (cell)

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