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Old 2004-10-26, 05:02   #1
georgekh
 
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Default Personal Supercomputer?

ok guys check this out to make a long story short, i will be getting an inheiratance of around $10 000. i'm well of so i dont need the money for anything else and i want to get a mini supercomputer . i read up a bit on beowulf clusters and my only draw back on them are that it uses linux and i dont know how to use it so i prefer WinXP if possible. also i would need some help on what to get to build it would be very much appreciated.

I would like the main node to be the best since i will be using it for other purposes but the rest of the nodes will be on Prime95 all the time doing LL, DC and Factoring.

PS: space not a problem, will be in large room that is very well ventilated, power bill not a problem althogh any estimate on the monthly cost would be great. and any extra info that will be of use to me that i didnt mention will be greatly appreciated
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Old 2004-10-26, 06:42   #2
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If you will be running projects like GIMPS then there is no need for an actual cluster configuration (as in many machines operating in sync all running identical setups), you can just start with one machine as a file/boot server and then add any old client machines as you wish. Once you have worked out how to set up one client then you can add as many as you like with just a few minutes work for each one.

You can use pretty much any operating system for this, you can even have different machines running differrent operating systems if you like, but the big problem with Windows is that you will be spending money on licences for each machine that could be spend on more hardware. It might be economical to use Windows on one machine and have all the rest running Linux or some other free OS though.

If you are sure you want to specialise for GIMPS then a mix of Northwood P4s and Prescott Celerons would probably be best value, but if it were me I would prefer a mix of different machines including Semperons and A64s. This would let me run a variety of different projects efficiently as interests change.
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Old 2004-10-26, 08:33   #3
xilman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgekh
ok guys check this out to make a long story short, i will be getting an inheiratance of around $10 000. i'm well of so i dont need the money for anything else and i want to get a mini supercomputer . i read up a bit on beowulf clusters and my only draw back on them are that it uses linux and i dont know how to use it so i prefer WinXP if possible. also i would need some help on what to get to build it would be very much appreciated.

I would like the main node to be the best since i will be using it for other purposes but the rest of the nodes will be on Prime95 all the time doing LL, DC and Factoring.

PS: space not a problem, will be in large room that is very well ventilated, power bill not a problem althogh any estimate on the monthly cost would be great. and any extra info that will be of use to me that i didnt mention will be greatly appreciated
Hmm, sounds like you don't want a cluster, as that term is generally used, but a bunch of independent compute nodes. I'd advise you to reconsider. After examining the alternative you may still not want a cluster but, nonetheless, I think you should think seriously about it.

A cluster will allow you to run other types of computation, genuinely parallel code, without stopping you from running LL, DC and factoring. The cost of the extra flexibility, of course, is somewhat greater complexity. If you are prepared to spend time learning how to drive a cluster and write code for it, you will probably find it rewarding in itself.

It's certainly possible to run a cluster under WinXP --- I've done it very successfully --- but you do have to purchase an OS license per node (unless you work for Microsoft, as I did!) so the cost will be higher than a Linux or BSD-based solution. Freeware multiprocessing harnesses are available for WinXP. I can provide details on request.

If you go the cluster route, I'd advise gigabit ethernet for the interconnect. A good number of motherboards come with it included these days. Switches with a moderated number of ports are now quite inexpensive. Other fast interconnects are too expensive in a domestic setting and 100M ethernet is not so low in price that it's worth taking the performance hit.

Have fun designing your system!

Paul
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Old 2004-10-26, 10:35   #4
Mystwalker
 
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As geoff and xilman already pointed out (almost) all I wanted to say (and much more), I can only add one point of discussion:

Is it worth setting up dual-CPU machines instead of single-CPU ones?
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Old 2004-10-26, 12:49   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman
Freeware multiprocessing harnesses are available for WinXP. I can provide details on request.
I'd be interested in learning more about it...
Do you refer to PVM and MPI libraries?

Luigi
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Old 2004-10-26, 17:07   #6
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The impression I get is that, for the next few years, A64's will improve pretty quickly. Although I haven't seen much evidence, my guess is that AMD is going take this opportunity (the wall Intel is approaching) to try to overtake the market by making some appease-the-public improvements. So my prediction is if you go for A64's or other AMD processors in general, you'll get to have a lot of fun upgrading cheaply in a very short time.
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Old 2004-10-26, 19:12   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xilman
It's certainly possible to run a cluster under WinXP --- I've done it very successfully --- but you do have to purchase an OS license per node (unless you work for Microsoft, as I did!) so the cost will be higher than a Linux or BSD-based solution. Freeware multiprocessing harnesses are available for WinXP. I can provide details on request.
I'm interested too. What software to use?
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Old 2004-10-26, 21:05   #8
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custom build the main node use linux then go to ebay buy a lot of cheap p3s from there then what u do is have an electriction come in wire room with like 5 30 amp circuts useing 7 gauge wire just so u dont heat the wires over time. next what you need to do is take the extra cash and build your self a really good machine. cheap p3s can be bought off ebay by pallets.
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Old 2004-10-26, 21:49   #9
georgekh
 
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WOW thanks everyone with all your help!!!
i will be mostly running GIMPS on the machines at least until the 10m Prime is found but i still might continue to run it afterwards too. hell i might even sell some computing time to companies who want to crunch a bunch of munbers heheheh

so my question now is how would my setup be like? how many nodes? also, i will most likely add more nodes or chips or whatever to the system latter on so the system will just grow and grow and grow so much that i will make TPR look like a Pentium Pro LOL
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Old 2004-10-27, 00:23   #10
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I have a small farm of my own. It's just like Prime Monster's: a modded version of LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) running on Red Hat Linux 9. That LTSP server was my first computer running Linux and, following PM's instructions, I managed to get it up and running. I only have one node, but... it's the principle of the thing.

The Prime Monster site, alas, has been down for some time, but I rescued the stuff about building the farm. Reposting it here, once again, in a ZIP file.
Attached Files
File Type: zip PM.zip (51.5 KB, 270 views)
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Old 2004-10-27, 04:56   #11
georgekh
 
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thanks for the file but the files inside dont work
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