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Old 2003-10-26, 19:01   #1
Lumly
 
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Default Theoretical dream farm

So, let's start a fun thread.

Suppose you had $25K to blow on a GIMPS farm and assuming you budgeted some cash to pay an electrician to rewire a room in your house, what hardware would you get and how would you set it up?

Let's get specific and technical.
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Old 2003-10-26, 19:26   #2
TauCeti
 
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... but do not forget to consider the cost for the power. I do not think you will need an electician, because even if you only draw about 2000 W total (roughly 20 P4-CPU-systems), that sums up to about 70.000 kWh in four years (projected lifetyme of the hardware).

And with about 0.11$/kWh (that is the rate here in germany), that alone accounts for about 8000 $.

Or do you want to build the farm without taking power costs into account? That would make some decisions easier because that way you could use cheap single-cpu systems with the cheapest PSUs regardless of their efficiency.

I will have a look for the 'cheapest possible' P4-system later today - just for fun :)
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Old 2003-10-26, 20:15   #3
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Well, if you use plain "normal" PCs (no diskless boot setups or 'caseless' constructions), a P4-System (with P4C 2.4, Asus P4PE, 256 DDR400 CL3, CD-ROM, HD, cheap case with 300W PSU, ATI Xpert 98) should cost below 400$ (without software).

So buying 30 of them add up to 12.000$. You need the other 12.000$ for the power bill (they need about 3000 W), and the remaining 1000$ to buy spares after the first systems fail *g*

I think 100W per system is even a low estimate. The P-4 will need about 65-70W (slighlty overclocked) and at that power draw the cheap PSU will waste quite a lot power for itself.

An Athlon XP 2200+ system should be at a pricepoint below 250$, but it is clear, that concerning the power-bill and the bad GIMPS performance of the Athlon, it makes no sense here.
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Old 2003-10-26, 20:58   #4
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Well of course, this is totally hypothetical. I mean really it is, I have no such cash :)

Living in Quebec, Canada as I do the electrical rates are about $0.045 USD at their most of residential. Assuming 150W per computer at 30 for the farm, then that's roughly $1800 USD per year or $5400 for the 3 year lifetime of the farm. This is all assuming that the power company doesn't change the rate in the meatime or put you into a small business biling rate.

As for me, I would go with a cased/HD system, 30 units sounds good but I would want them all in one room. So there's AC costs involved on top of that, such as buying the AC, installing it, etc. But I know where I currently live there is no way I could power all that from the circuits I currently have in my spare room, so I'd have to get them upgraded.

And given this setup comes interesting choices. For instance, assuming all new hardware I'd end up with 30 40GB HDs, which turn out to be about 37MB with 1MB for the OS/APPS. So I'd have just over 1TB of HD storage just aching to be used and no effecient way of linking them together that I know of, but there must be a way.

Musings.
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Old 2003-10-27, 01:37   #5
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The latest and greatest may not be the most economical. $25k on some slightly older hardware might give more bang for the buck.
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Old 2003-10-27, 02:51   #6
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I'd go headless and diskless with a bunch of Celerons. Wouldn't bother spending extra money for P4s since I don't do LL tests. With $25,000, not budgeting electricity, just the hardware, I could get a farm of 135 (!) 2.4G Celerons based on my current estimate. Wow, wouldn't that be nice...
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Old 2003-10-27, 05:29   #7
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I'd get a 2.4C and a Ducati...
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Old 2003-10-27, 06:27   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by PrimeCruncher
I'd go headless and diskless with a bunch of Celerons. Wouldn't bother spending extra money for P4s since I don't do LL tests. With $25,000, not budgeting electricity, just the hardware, I could get a farm of 135 (!) 2.4G Celerons based on my current estimate. Wow, wouldn't that be nice...
I'm sitting here trying to imagine administering 135 boards... still trying... heretic's ASUSTek IPanel solution springs to mind.

Imagine ordering 135 boards... how many would you have to RMA due to DOA? It just boggles the mind, I tell you.

Of course, simply ordering 30 would have a few of those, not to mention HD failure after the first month of operation. I'm sure we have sysadmins who can give us stories about that.

battlemax:

The thing about buying one large farm at once, or at least the advantage of it, is getting identical hardware. For instance, if I went the 30x2.4C OC to 2.8 route (which is not the latest and greatest by any means) it would be way easier to set up than trying to get 30 used systems (the only way to get cheaper than new 2.4C) in the first place since they will not be the same hardware.

Bang for buck is all well and nice, but you don't want to turn it into a part-time job either. You'd expect to eventually be able to set & forget for at least a few days at a time. Too many different boxes might be real hard to keep track of, or it might not. My meagre farm just doesn't give me the experience to say for sure.

Xy:

LOL, gotta keep up with the lil one :)

Last fiddled with by Lumly on 2003-10-27 at 06:28
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Old 2003-10-27, 20:34   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lumly
Of course, simply ordering 30 would have a few of those, not to mention HD failure after the first month of operation. I'm sure we have sysadmins who can give us stories about that.
That's why I'd go diskless. Then again, with the amount of writes to one HDD going on...

Quote:

The thing about buying one large farm at once, or at least the advantage of it, is getting identical hardware. For instance, if I went the 30x2.4C OC to 2.8 route (which is not the latest and greatest by any means) it would be way easier to set up than trying to get 30 used systems (the only way to get cheaper than new 2.4C) in the first place since they will not be the same hardware.
Only 2.8? I've heard stories about people who've gotten it up to 3.2! Still, you've got a LOT of processing power there. That's, let's see... (whips out calculator and does the math since I don't want to waste CPU cycles ) 84 GHz!! I surrender! I surrender!

Last fiddled with by PrimeCruncher on 2003-10-27 at 20:35
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Old 2003-10-27, 22:19   #10
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Last time I crunched the pricing, the P4 1.8Ghz 512K cache (oc to at least 2.2 reliably) or the Athlon Thoroughbred XP1800 (oc to at least 1800Mhz reliably) were the best "bang for the buck" - slight advantage to the Athlon 'till you factor in power cost, then it depends on the cost of electric where you live - and the P4 wins if space is tight, as you only end up with a bit more than half as many systems.

Pricing has dropped since then, though - I suspect that the "most bang for the buck" point has moved up to around the P4 2200 and the XP2200 Thoroughbred, possibly the XP2500 Barton.

Power draw is somewhat more than 100 watts either way (I own a Brand 1850 power meter - NO guessing) - my Shuttle SS51G or my KT7A each eat 140-145 watts (pretty much dead even), though the KT7A system is decked out with more "stuff".

I DO recommend an electrician when rewiring for more than 10 or so systems in a room - most rooms have all the outlets wired on 1 or if you're *lucky* 2 circuits, and most low-end power supplies (in the US anyway) do NOT have power factor correction, so a 150 Watt system is actually going to need enough wiring capasity to handle a bit MORE than 2 Amps (my Brand meter does VA and Power Factor and several other such functions too).

Dualy systems are NOT cost effective - they don't save a significant amount of power IF any at all (my Thunder s2462 uses almost exactly DOUBLE the power of my KT7A with 2 of the same CPUs as the KT7A uses, even though they're NOT overclocked in the Tyan). The only real advantage they have is SPACE saving - but that's mitigated when you note that most *reliable* dualy motherboards are EATX (huge) form factor and need a bigger case than most standard single CPU motherboards, especially the micro-ATX ones.


Now, we're talking dream systems here - so I'd probably go for either a buncha 2U rack mount dualy Xeons, find a source for some cheap s2462 Thunder or Epox 762A motherboards and go 2u rack mount on those, or more likely start accumulating more SS51G boxes - that model has gotten fairly inexpensive of late, since it's "only" 533 FSB. I figure with $25,000 I could easily build up 50ish SS51G 1.7 or 1.8 (oc to 2.2) boxes, add the needfull wiring outlets, aquire enough more LAN and UPS hardware to support them all, and still have enough funding to handle the electric bill for a year or two....

P.S. - and that would be at least 110 Ghz worth of P4, given the overclocking....

8-)

Last fiddled with by QuintLeo on 2003-10-27 at 22:21
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Old 2003-10-28, 00:17   #11
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Update: With the Intel price cuts, a Celeron 2.4 is now about $10 cheaper and I can thus afford to buy 8 more Celerons (135+8=143!!). Let's see, that's 343.2 GHz (!) at stock speed. Assuming an overclock to 2.8 (which sounds reasonable from what I've heard) that's just over 400GHz. Boy do I wish I had that $25K. With that much CPU power I could probably pass Team Prime Rib in a year or two!
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