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Old 03-08-2010, 03:34 PM
Eduardo Grosclaude
 
Default Motherboards for HPC applications

Hello,
Can somebody recommend CentOS-OK, dual socket motherboards for compute
elements? A quick look up at Intel pages suggests they are thinking of
them as "server boards", but then they recommend them as "for SMB",
I'm somewhat puzzled about it.
It would be nice to know what MBs you are using, pros and cons.
Thank you in advance

--
Eduardo Grosclaude
Universidad Nacional del Comahue
Neuquen, Argentina
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Old 03-08-2010, 03:44 PM
Gordon McLellan
 
Default Motherboards for HPC applications

On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:34 AM, Eduardo Grosclaude
<eduardo.grosclaude@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello,
> Can somebody recommend CentOS-OK, dual socket motherboards for compute
> elements? A quick look up at Intel pages suggests they are thinking of
> them as "server boards", but then they recommend them as "for SMB",
> I'm somewhat puzzled about it.
> It would be nice to know what MBs you are using, pros and cons.
> Thank you in advance


Hello!

We need more details... what's your budget, what processor are you looking at?

SMB just means Small / Medium Business ... as opposed to a huge
enterprise server that might have four or eight sockets...

Name a vendor, I've probably had some sort of trouble with them... of
the "Big Names", Intel is probably the least troublesome. I just
returned a bad Tyan board, and late last year returned two Supermicro
servers that were shipped with out of date hardware (not supporting
5400 series CPU). I have an Asus board that runs Linux and
Opensolaris just fine, but will not allow any version of Windows to
install.

I hope this is some help to you.

Gordon
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Old 03-08-2010, 03:58 PM
Robert C Wittig
 
Default Motherboards for HPC applications

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Eduardo Grosclaude wrote:
> Hello,
> Can somebody recommend CentOS-OK, dual socket motherboards for compute
> elements? A quick look up at Intel pages suggests they are thinking of
> them as "server boards", but then they recommend them as "for SMB",
> I'm somewhat puzzled about it.
> It would be nice to know what MBs you are using, pros and cons.
> Thank you in advance
>

I'm running a really old mainboard, an MSI 694D Pro (MS-6321).

It is a dual socket, running two Intel PIII Cpppermine CPU's with an
upper limit of 933MHz.

It is classified as a server board.

The board was new in 2000. The board was installed new, in 2004 (it laid
around new in box for a long time), and ran RHEL3 from 2004 until I
upgraded to CentOS 5.4 a couple months ago.

With 2 gig RAM, it runs well for a Desktop machine.

I figure I can squeeze another five years out of it, if I'm lucky.

- --
- -wittig
http://www.robertwittig.com/
http://robertwittig.net/
http://robertwittig.org/
.
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:49 PM
Eduardo Grosclaude
 
Default Motherboards for HPC applications

On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 1:44 PM, Gordon McLellan <gordonthree@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:34 AM, Eduardo Grosclaude
> <eduardo.grosclaude@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hello,
>> Can somebody recommend CentOS-OK, dual socket motherboards for compute
>> elements? A quick look up at Intel pages suggests they are thinking of
>> them as "server boards", but then they recommend them as "for SMB",
>> I'm somewhat puzzled about it.
>> It would be nice to know what MBs you are using, pros and cons.
>> Thank you in advance
>
>
> Hello!
>
> We need more details... what's your budget, what processor are you looking at?

I'm targeting E5520. I'll buy in Argentina, with a high stack of all
sort of costs threw upon the product, so budget may not mean much to
foreigners.

> SMB just means Small / Medium Business ... as opposed to a huge
> enterprise server that might have four or eight sockets...

Yes, my point is, judging from Intel's own recommended applications,
there seems to be no HPC market for servers... So I'm looking for
hints as to which is the proper process for selecting an HPC MB...

> Name a vendor, I've probably had some sort of trouble with them... of
> the "Big Names", Intel is probably the least troublesome. *I just
> returned a bad Tyan board, and late last year returned two Supermicro
> servers that were shipped with out of date hardware (not supporting
> 5400 series CPU). *I have an Asus board that runs Linux and
> Opensolaris just fine, but will not allow any version of Windows to
> install.
>
> I hope this is some help to you.

Thank you very much for your responses, Gordon and Robert

--
Eduardo Grosclaude
Universidad Nacional del Comahue
Neuquen, Argentina
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:33 PM
Peter Kjellstrom
 
Default Motherboards for HPC applications

On Monday 08 March 2010, Eduardo Grosclaude wrote:
> Hello,
> Can somebody recommend CentOS-OK, dual socket motherboards for compute
> elements? A quick look up at Intel pages suggests they are thinking of
> them as "server boards", but then they recommend them as "for SMB",

There are no perticular HPC considerations. You typically want bang for the
buck. Depending on how many servers you're aiming for you'll have to consider
different factors.

You may want to look into buying complete servers from say Dell/HP (depending
on your situation...).

Things you may be interested in:
* Suitable pci-express connectors (Infiniband cards, GPUs, ...)
* Lots of memory slots
* Low price and good stability (reputation/experience)
* IPMI management (if you're buying lots of servers)
* Packaging (which box will this format of board fit in etc.)

YMMV etc. ...

/Peter

> I'm somewhat puzzled about it.
> It would be nice to know what MBs you are using, pros and cons.
> Thank you in advance
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:43 PM
Michel van Deventer
 
Default Motherboards for HPC applications

Hi,

> 5400 series CPU). I have an Asus board that runs Linux and
> Opensolaris just fine, but will not allow any version of Windows to
> install.
I want one of those

Regards,

Michel


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Old 03-09-2010, 02:35 AM
Gordon McLellan
 
Default Motherboards for HPC applications

On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 12:49 PM, Eduardo Grosclaude
<eduardo.grosclaude@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> I'm targeting E5520. I'll buy in Argentina, with a high stack of all
> sort of costs threw upon the product, so budget may not mean much to
> foreigners.
>

Eduardo,

Are you going to be writing your own HPC software, or using some
pre-written cluster aware OS? Check around to see if Supermicro has a
regional sales center for your local. They have a new line of servers
setup for GPU based HPC applications... I have no need for such
horsepower, but reading the specs makes me envious none the less:

http://www.supermicro.com/products/system/4U/7046/SYS-7046GT-TRF.cfm?GPU=TC4

Dual 5500 series cpu (four core each) plus four nVidia Tesla GPU based
supercomputing engines (included).

If your application can't support GPU based processing, I think
Peter's suggestion is most fitting. Load up a rack of dual socket
5520 servers from Dell or HP and then save some money by building your
own shared-storage to feed the cluster. The big vendors crank out
very inexpensive dual socket xeon servers, the only area they really
seem to be price gouging in right now is storage.

Gordon
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:49 AM
Christopher Chan
 
Default Motherboards for HPC applications

On Tuesday, March 09, 2010 12:34 AM, Eduardo Grosclaude wrote:
> Hello,
> Can somebody recommend CentOS-OK, dual socket motherboards for compute
> elements? A quick look up at Intel pages suggests they are thinking of
> them as "server boards", but then they recommend them as "for SMB",
> I'm somewhat puzzled about it.
> It would be nice to know what MBs you are using, pros and cons.
> Thank you in advance
>

Could you give us a bit more information on the HPC part? Is this
clustering or computing? Do you have high i/o needs?
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:08 AM
John R Pierce
 
Default Motherboards for HPC applications

Eduardo Grosclaude wrote:
> Hello,
> Can somebody recommend CentOS-OK, dual socket motherboards for compute
> elements?


for real numeric stuff (as opposed to things like video processing that
utilizes sse3), the AMD processors often outperform Intel. current AMD
dual socket server processors have SIX cores each, but I dunno who's on
top of the performance curve this year. The Intel I7 family, including
the E5500 server chips, are screamers. what really counts in large HPC
clusters is gigaflop/$$$

a number of vendors make 1U chassis designed to hold TWO compact dual
processor server boards so you can get 2 nodes per U, but if you go this
route, you really have to watch your cooling and power (50 or 60 of
these in a rack means you'll have a REALLY high power/thermal load per
rack). An example such board is
http://www.intel.com/products/server/motherboards/S5500HV/S5500HV-overview.htm
with the Intel E55xx series, you want to populate your memory 6 dimms at
a time (assuming two CPUs), using 2gb or 4gb dimms, for max performance
(each processor has 3 memory channels)

for a high performance compute cluster, you'll probably want to use
management software like Oscar, which integrates system management with
MPI based distributed computing such that you can manage a cluster of
100s of servers like its a single big system


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Old 03-09-2010, 03:09 AM
"nate"
 
Default Motherboards for HPC applications

Gordon McLellan wrote:

> If your application can't support GPU based processing, I think
> Peter's suggestion is most fitting. Load up a rack of dual socket
> 5520 servers from Dell or HP and then save some money by building your
> own shared-storage to feed the cluster. The big vendors crank out
> very inexpensive dual socket xeon servers, the only area they really
> seem to be price gouging in right now is storage.

For me I have been working on spec'ing out a "HPC" cluster to run
Hadoop on large amounts of data and fell in love with the SGI
Cloud Rack C2.

I managed to come up with a configuration that had roughly 600
CPU cores, 1.2TB of memory and 300 1TB SATA disks in a single rack
and consumes ~16,000 watts of power with 99% efficient rack level
power supplies and N+1 power redundancy, rack level cooling as well.
Very cost effective as well at least for larger scale deployments,
assuming you have a data center that can support such density.

http://www.sgi.com/products/servers/cloudrack/cloudrackc2.html

My current data center does not support such density so I came up
with a configuration of 320 CPU cores, 640GB memory, and 160x1TB
disks that fit in a single 24U rack, and consumes roughly 8,000
watts(208V 30A 3-phase) and weighs in at just under 1,200 pounds
(everything included).

Systems come fully racked, cabled & ready to plug in. Systems
are built with commodity components wherever possible(MB/ram/CPU/HD),
only custom stuff is the enclosure, cooling, and power distribution,
which is how they achieve the extreme densities and power
efficiency.

nate

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