Opinion/experience with Intel 845E nodes?

David Mathog mathog at mendel.bio.caltech.edu
Thu Aug 1 11:20:57 PDT 2002

The Intel 845E motherboards seem pretty attractive right now - assuming
they work reliably under Linux.  Have any of you tried these in a
or on a standalone Linux machine?

The 845E chipset accepts ECC DDR266 memory and talks to it
through the 533Mhz FSB.  Starting with an 845E based motherboard
one can assemble for about $1000 a compute node with:
a P4 2.26Ghz (~best price/performance ratio), 1GB ECC, 40Gb disk,
LAN, case, CD,floppy.  I have not been able to find SPEC numbers
for any 845E machines but Anandtech indicates that they're about
10% slower on most tests than the RDRAM Intel850 boards (like
a Dell 340 workstation).

The AMD 760MPX systems use the same memory chips and
I suppose one could run one with just a single processor and
come out pretty close on price.  (More for the motherboard, more for
the cooling, less for the processor). My impression is that a single
processor 760MPX board will be about 10-20% slower than the
845E P4 for the memory intensive programs we run.  I don't
have either or I'd run the test and say something definitive.

The VIA KT333 boards seem to be faster than either of these options
but since these boards don't support ECC they aren't really an option
with 1Gb in each of 20 nodes.  (Assuming the ballpark number of 1 soft
per 1000 hours per GB memory one would expect roughly 1 soft error
every other day on one of the nodes.)


David Mathog
mathog at caltech.edu
Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech

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