[Beowulf] Network considerations for new generation cheap beowulf cluster

Jess Cannata jac67 at georgetown.edu
Fri May 18 13:44:29 PDT 2007

While I can't foresee the future, I do think that we are going to a lot 
more low latency 10 Gb/s cards that use standard 10 Gb switches and 
cables such as Myricom's 10 Gb Myrinet/Ethernet card and NetEffect's 10 
Gb Ethernet card.



Vincent Diepeveen wrote:
> hi All of you,
> Now that developments go fast in CPU land, by 22 july or so, intel 
> drops price of its quad core to $266 more or less.
> Hopefully AMD's quadcore chip releases soon too for a decent price.
> As intels memory subsystem is real weak, not to mention the extra 
> price that AMD and intel ask for dual socket/quad socket capable 
> chips, the optimal node is a single socket node.
> 4 cores is already a lot anyway for 1 highend network card.
> That means in short that you can produce for quite little money, far 
> under $500, a node with 4 cores,
> or considering the far higher taxrates in Europe, far under 500 euro 
> in Europe.
> Basically what a node needs is a mainboard, a bit of RAM, and a cpu 
> with cooler. That keeps a node tiny and it's easier coolable. With 
> some wood then you can build a great case that holds many nodes. 
> Booting of course diskless over the gigabit network. Of course 
> interesting to know secondly is whether putting in ECC-reg ram is 
> interesting, considering its scandaleous high price always.
> What are opinions here?
> Of course now the question is how to get a reasonable low latency 
> highend network with a reasonable bandwidth (latency bigger priority 
> than bandwidth of course) and of course being capable of reading in 
> memory without writing. Of course the switch/routing prices + cable 
> prices need to be included in those price considerations.
> Perhaps some bit older generation card gets sold very cheap now. What 
> are the options the coming years there, any manufacturer keeping up 
> with the dropped price of a single quad core node?
> Gigabit ethernet is not an option of course, that just works for 
> embarrassingly parallel software, it's usually interrupting bigtime 
> the cpu and has an ugly one-way pingpong latency, especially when 
> there is several threads simultaneously shipping messages.
> What are the options for the network in the future?
> Vincent
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