clusters v SMP

William Park opengeometry at
Mon Jan 28 13:26:56 PST 2002

On Mon, Jan 28, 2002 at 08:11:51PM +0000, Ricky Rankin wrote:
> At Queen's we hope to have abot £300K to spend on a new facility. We
> currently have a Sun 3500 with 6 processors and 6GB of memory and a 48
> Node IBM SP.
> At one stage we had thought that the budget would be around £150K and
> had been looking for a Linux Cluster, however with more money
> potentially available and having had presentations from IBM and SGI
> with Sun and Compaq to follow we are now completely confused.

Hehe... know the feeling.

> The 4GB memory restriction of an Intel node would be too restrictive
> for some of our users. The majority I suspect are still running single
> processor jobs while we have several users who can exploit parallel
> architectures.
> Some advice on the pros and cons of the different architectures would
> be appreciated - we are looking for a central production system and
> not one that is owned by a department.
> Thanks Ricky

SMP is always better than clusters, but you can add more CPUs to your
clusters.  Why not get a quad (or few duals) with globs of RAM?  That
would satisfy both the single-cpu users and multi-cpu users.  Last time
I checked, anything more than 4-way was too expensive.  But, then, I
didn't have someone else to pay for it. :-)

William Park, Open Geometry Consulting, <opengeometry at>
8 CPU cluster, NAS, (Slackware) Linux, Python, LaTeX, Vim, Mutt, Tin

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