[Beowulf] File server dual opteron suggestions?

David Mathog mathog at caltech.edu
Thu Aug 3 16:44:11 PDT 2006

There are 12 dual opteron server class motherboards just on Tyan's
site, not counting minor variants, plus some from SuperMicro, Sun,
and etc.  Half a dozen chipsets are used on these boards.  Too
much choice and very little time  - I have to buy something early
next week and just started looking today.  So please pipe up if you
have a dual opteron motherboard and/or server that you're happy
with and that has been reliable as a file server/head node.

We'll probably go with midrange Ultra320 SCSI internal disks again
(10K 74Gb drives from Maxtor or Seagate) since the high end SATA
drives cost nearly as much for the same capacity.  For this particular
cluster huge amounts of disk space are not required, and I suppose
if we ever need it we could stuff in a couple of 500Gb SATA drives.
(At which point the DLT320 would have to be replaced too.)

General specs for this server are:

dual opteron (around 246, speed isn't critical, dual core per socket
   not required)
socket 940   (or is that a mistake these days?)
512M-1Gb ECC memory per socket (enough for a file server, no
   serious computing on this node.)
4 x 74 Gb disks Ultra320 (or make an argument for a particular SATA)
dual 10/100/1000 ethernet on the mobo
at least 1 serial port (2 ideally, since the UPS is controlled through
   one port.  I suppose we could add a USB->serial port converter,
   or a serial port card if this is a problem.)
Dual Ultra320 controller on board or on a card, one channel brought
   out to the rear of the case for backup.
Graphics - whatever is on the motherboard, probably will only ever
   be used to set up the BIOS and maybe for the OS install. 
Disk storage slots >4, hot swap isn't required.
CD/DVD - for OS install diagnostics only
floppy - probably not
case - 2U (big enough for adequate ventilation, right?)


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

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