[Beowulf] A suitable motherboard for newbie

Geoff Jacobs gdjacobs at gmail.com
Wed Dec 6 08:30:56 PST 2006

Krugger wrote:
> I would like to contribute  that going quad core is a really bad idea
> at the moment, as linux support for the new boards is not very good at
> the moment. Even some Core Duo 2 ready boards have trouble, either it
> is the SATA controller or some other new stuff that they put in it. So
> before you buy check your hardware against known hardware problems in
> google: like some Tyan models that happen to have erratic behavior and
> need BIOS upgrades or SATA controller that don't work or RAID boards
> that break under heavy load. This is especially true if your are
> buying in a small amount and don't have a maintainance contract with a
> supplier.
> Now to get the most out of your money you should be really considering
> how much you get for your money. For example going rack mounted is
> only an option if you intent to expand and have a cooled room.
> Another thing is not to buy the latest tecnology available but go for
> the reliable and cheaper computers. Why? Because you get more
> computers which in the end will get you more overall computing power.
> For example for 20.000 dolares you can get almost twice as many
> opterons if you had dropped the dual core option, which means twice
> the total memory, which allows you to run bigger simulations.
> Basically you get the same number of tasks, 5(machines) * 2(cpus) *
> 2(cores) = 10(machines) * 2(cpus), but you get more memory 20Gb RAM
> compared to 40Gb. This considering if you had chosen the top of the
> line dual core opteron, which costed three times the cost of top of
> the line cpu without dual core, which really isn't considered top of
> the line.
For such a low density application, you might consider dual core Athlon
X2 cpus. Couple these with an entry level enthusiast motherboard
(possibly an MSI k9nu?), ECC ram, and possibly a high performance GigE
nic depending on what's on the motherboard. Intel and Broadcom based
nics are nice because they're fast, well supported by standard Linux
kernel drivers, and work with low-latency stacks like gamma.

Opteron carries a hefty price premium, and is only necessary when you
want to run 2+ socket motherboards.

Geoffrey D. Jacobs

Go to the Chinese Restaurant,
Order the Special

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