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can a cluster build from cheap & free do more "work" per unit of time than a modern pc?

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i got a bunch of old'ish workstations for cheap. other people routinely gift "broken" pc's to me. time to play dr. flozenstein

Update:

This project fell off my list some time ago.  I've had to move to a new home, and chose not to lug ~200lbs of additional hardware with me.

I'll post a more thorough inventory from a real computer soon. what i have is half a dozen machines, each athlon 1.somethings, most with era nvidia graphics and WinXP. lulz commence. so far, im deciding on what platform to build with and arranging the pile. more to come!

  • life sucks sometimes...

    Floz06/07/2015 at 03:37 0 comments

    ...but we hack on.

    my life and psychological health have taken a bit of a beating very recently. sadly, it has gotten to the point that it's affected my ability to focus on any projects outside of my 9-5.

    Fear not, my fellow benders-of-wrenches... I will rebound, probably pretty quickly.

    But today, just today (well, and part of yesterday) is f***ed up in my reality.

  • update

    Floz06/05/2015 at 02:57 0 comments

    digging into specs, i'm going to shuffle ram around to make a couple of 512mb ram nodes.

    256mb of ram barely installs ubuntu server and opensshd.

    it runs great, install was SLOW.

    At this point, I'm going with https://www.mpich.org/static/downloads/3.1.4/mpich-3.1.4-installguide.pdf something along these lines. https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MpichCluster looks like something i might be able to pull off.

    I'm going to work with just ubuntu server and mpich as a start. following that, once it's confirmed that I have a working cluster, we need to benchmark it.

    this batch of machines were in various states of runs or doesn't... so I'm going to monkey around with them until I get at least 3 working nodes. I may ditch doubling the ram per node in the end, we'll see...

    BONUS! several of these have halfway decent ethernet cards in them.

    LINPACK? what is this...? *staggers off into the night*

  • busy busy

    Floz06/05/2015 at 00:04 0 comments

    development on so many things at once, and that's not including my day job.

    as i type this, I'm installing ubuntu server on the first of these boxes.

    let's see how it goes! (updates to come through the evening)

    also, let's see if I can find a long enough cat5 cable for this machine so I don't have to move it.

  • building a better list of what i have

    Floz05/15/2015 at 01:21 0 comments

    athlon xp 1800+256mbnvidiaUnknownwinxp sp3 - untested
    athlon xp 2200+512mbnvidia geforce2mx40040gb IDE, CD, CDRWwinxp pro sp3 - cluttered but runs
    athlon xp ?256mb???
    athlon xp ?256mb???
    athlon xp ?256mb???
    athlon xp ?256mb???

    Six machines, I've powered one up and tried to boot from usb, and the bios was just a tad bit too old to support that. So I'm looking at bios flashing or burning a cd... which I know i have a blank cd around here... somewhere.

    Shortly after, I powered up the slightly more impressive cased machine, to find it had twice the ram. For those not paying attention, no... I'm not checking inside these before i plug them in, I'm brave like that. Again, no dice on the USB boot.

    more to come!

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James MacNeil wrote 06/05/2015 at 20:24 point

Good to see this project is still going! I still have my old Athlon 2200+ (the processor from the first ever self-build!) attached to my keyring :D

Good luck!

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esot.eric wrote 05/19/2015 at 12:44 point

"I know I have a blank cd around here... somewhere" 

My how times have changed... My ancient PC collection led me to the same problem, apparently blank DVDs wouldn't cut it ;)

And would you believe I just dug out the ol' boot-floppies a couple weeks ago!

Gotta see where this project goes!

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