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Old 2012-11-29, 14:58   #1
fivemack
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Feb 2006
Cambridge, England

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Default Upgrading a 1U server

I have a friend who runs a small ISP. His machines are in Telehouse in London, where the rental fees are somewhat astronomical, so machines become uneconomical to operate rather more quickly then they do elsewhere.

Specifically, he's offering me a dual-quad-L5320 (1.86GHz Core2-equivalent Xeon) with 56GB of FBDIMM memory 'on loan until it's fully depreciated'. This is a reasonably fancy machine, and I expect the sale of some of the fully-depreciated fully-buffered memory on ebay to pay for at least some of the electricity that it uses while crunching aliquot sequences as it heads toward depreciation.

On the other hand, part of me also thinks of it as an opportunity to save several hundred pounds on a 1U dual-octo-IVB-xeon machine next year by not having to pay for a new 1U case and a system-integration premium.

Is a motherboard transplant on a 1U case even feasible? Has anyone here done it?
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Old 2012-11-29, 16:19   #2
ig1
 
Oct 2012
Houston, TX

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I have some older dual Quad core towers that I attempted to run Prime95 on for a while. But the power consumption and heat generation became too much for the amount of work it could do. If I ran them in un-airconditioned space I still don't think the power consumption is tolerable for the puny amount of work it can do.

The AVX instruction set seems to have made too large an impact to not have on any Prime 95 workers. And somehow CPU's have been becoming more green/power friendly.

I am currently thinking some type of Ivybridge i5-3570k setup with a USB boot disk and no hard drive mounted to the wall in my garage or attic may give me the best power consumption to Prime 95 work ratio. By the time I implement this experiment it may be done with some Haswell CPU that is not yet out.

What do you plan to do with the server?
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Old 2012-11-29, 17:20   #3
fivemack
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I plan to run lots of parallel GNFS jobs on small (115-120 digit) numbers from aliquot sequences.

A free computer which uses 300W is cheaper over two years than a £450 100W computer (which is about the price and power consumption of the IVB machine you're mentioning).
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Old 2012-11-29, 20:00   #4
ig1
 
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Houston, TX

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True. Someone here runs a bunch of old servers they got for free outside in a shed. Free may be the cheapest way to go. I suppose I need to do some math and figure out a GHz days / $ spent over a 4-5 year span.

I want to run as many as possible and the old servers I have I think will cost more per GHz days to run over a 4-5 year period then the equivalent % cost of one of the new worker PC's(Cost being setup + power used over life of worker). I am assuming this without any data to back it up but I think its close.

These old servers I have draw a lot of juice and have redundant non green power supplies.

I was planning on building 1 or 2 machines per month as cheaply as possible. I think using UNIX, no hard drive, no case and booting off a USB stick I can get the cost down to about $350 per i5-3570k worker PC.

I still need to calculate the kilowatts used and I plan to mount them in the garage or attic so heat exhausted should be irrelevant.

Let them run for 4+ years or until I think it would be time to upgrade them to newer technology.

Build a farm of as many workers as I am willing to pay for power is the goal.
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Old 2012-12-01, 17:44   #5
tServo
 
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It's probably difficult, at best, if not impossible to change the motherboard
since those things are usually quite proprietary. From what I noticed at work,
here are other considerations:

They are usually REALLY LOUD.
The power they require might not be what you can provide due to
voltage, the physical plug that goes into the power supply, or the amperage
required.
Is there standard video (VGA, etc ) provided? I have noticed the newer ones
have omitted video and mouse and keyboard connections for KVM over IP.

Just my $.02.
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