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ahtlon, p4, xeon dual cpu...best bang for buck

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February 8, 2003 7:48:30 PM

Hey all,

I need to put together a beowulf. We've got about $20,000 to spend on it. I'm just wondering what would give us the most cpu power for the money. Dual athlons? Dual Xeon? Dual P4 (are there even dual P4 boards out there besides xeons?)

We also are strongly interested in support and warranty, which means we will probably wind up buying from one of the major companies like dell. Although if we can save a substantial amount and still get the cpu power we need, we'll consider going with a smaller company or building it myself.

So which cpu/mb combo would people suggest as giving us the most cpu power for the dollar?
February 8, 2003 7:54:07 PM

you cannot use dual p4s.Looks like dual xeons are your best option-the 3.06GHz ones should be out soon.AMD Opterons are on their way though (April i think) and they could be better.They will be expensive but well within your price range-i can't imagine how you will be able to spend that much money but i am sure others have some ideas.

no matter how hard you try, you can't polish a turd. :]
February 8, 2003 8:08:44 PM

We're building a beowulf...a bunch of computers working in parallel. So we'll basically be buying as many computers as we can and hooking them all together. I'm NOT going to get a 3.Xghz. The price difference between a 2.4ghz and 3ghz cpu just isnt worth spending all the extra money. I would probably go with a 2.4ghz xeon, or if i went with athlon, then a mp2600.

I'm just not sure which one actually gives me the best cpu power for the dollar. FYI, a dual 2.4xeon system from dell with 1gig of ram costs about $2200. If i made it a dual 3ghz machine it would cost about $3500 a machine.

So at $2200 a machine i can get about 10 of them. At $3500 i'd only be able to get 5 ot 6 machines. So its definitely not worth getting 3ghz since i'd be paying almost double, but only getting a cpu thats -% faster.

So right now I guess its just a question of if i go with dual Athlons or duel Xeons. And if i should build it myself, go with dell, or go with a smaller company.

thanks
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February 8, 2003 8:20:24 PM

sorry...i didn't know what a beowulf was.
now that i do, i am not going to suggest anything except that, if you know how to, you should definitely build yourself because it's so much cheaper.beyond that i don't know because i am totally out of my depth when it comes to what you are building.obviously i knew about such things but i didn't know that was what they were called.
Out of interest, do you know why they are called beowulfs?

no matter how hard you try, you can't polish a turd. :]<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by ad_rach on 02/08/03 05:23 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
February 8, 2003 9:46:03 PM

Post deleted by JCLW (double post)<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by JCLW on 02/09/03 09:15 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
February 8, 2003 11:55:57 PM

its really not any different from building a regular desktop machine except i'm building a bunch of them. If you were going to get a new desktop machine, and all you were concerned about was raw cpu speed, what would you get? i.e. what gives you the best speed for your money? Thats basically what i need here.

And i'll post this at 2cpu as well, thanks.
February 9, 2003 4:06:25 AM

Wel if you are only willing to get a 2.4gig maximum xeon then your only reasonable option is a 2600 MP. It will easily outperform the xeon and it has much better FPU capability to boot. Plus it will be much cheaper than the xeon. I assume you have seen the prices of xeon motherboards. Talk about expoensive compared to the Athlon MP boards. I dont know how much difference in price the CPU`s are though. Though I assume that like the desktop compared to the p4`s the MP`s are way cheaper than the xeons to. A Tyan MPX chipset dual board should do you. Make sure you get te MPX chipset not the older MP version. Both are genuine AMD chipsets though.
AREA_51

PS.
When it comes down to it the Athlon MP`s easily get the best bang for buck compared to the xeons when you take into account the cost of the motherboards.

'It's only when you look at an ant through a magnifying glass on a sunny day that you realise how often they burst into flames'<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by vk2amv on 02/09/03 01:07 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
February 9, 2003 4:21:28 AM

yeah thats what its looking like. I had assumed that for the huge price difference, there would be some signifcant advantage to xeon's, but it doesnt seem that way.

The place we bought our last set of computers for the beowulf from (about 3 years ago i think) offers xeon, but on their website they even state they dont recommend them.

So it looks like i'm going to go with athlons. Now I just have to find someplace that sells them, or decide if I want to put them together myself.

ian
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February 9, 2003 4:57:44 AM

You mean you're not doing it like the kids at the uni? 110 Pentium 133-200 boxes? LOL, for that kind of cash, you could buy 400 PII 400 boxes at a state auction.

OK, there is the cost of operating things to consider. How many units can you run? I mean, 2000MHz systems can be had inexpensively, around $600 each for quality basic units (onboard video, audio, because you don't need video or audio anyway)

My suggestion is...figure out how many you want to use first, then get the fastest ones that fit within that budget.

XEONS aren't really faster than P4's. Both come with the same amount of cache. But if dual XEONS would serve you as effectively as two P4 systems and cost less, it's a good deal.

It would help to know how much you can spend per system! So divide the $20k by the number of systems you want to use!

<font color=blue>There are no stupid questions, only stupid people doling out faulty information based upon rumors, myths, and poor logic!</font color=blue>
February 9, 2003 5:30:19 AM

Its not the number of systems we want to use, but rather the systems that when combined together give us the most number crunching power. We dont have room for 100 PII systems so thats not an option...and i'm not going to sit and maintain 100 boxes anyhow :) 

I'm going to suggest to them that they go with dual athlon systems. Micropro.com seems to have good prices on them. $1700w/3 year on site warranty, or about $1200 if i buy the parts and build it myself, per system.

What would the minimum power supply be for the tyan s2466 motherboard with (2) 2600 athlon cpus? I'm thinking 350 should be good. There isnt going to be much in there besides the mb and cpus. Single hard drive, low end cheap video card, no sound card.
a b à CPUs
February 9, 2003 7:20:03 AM

Yes, 350W should be fine. And dual athlon systems sounds like an ideal solution. The warranty sounds good too. Make sure you use high quality power supplies.

If you want to save space, I suggest 3U Rackmount cases (a little hard to find). 4U would be nice also. 2U would work as well, since you don't need a lot of cards.

It looks like MicroPro only offers 4U and 1U, I don't recommend 1U for any high speed system. The Evercase 4U units are nice for the price.

<font color=blue>There are no stupid questions, only stupid people doling out faulty information based upon rumors, myths, and poor logic!</font color=blue>
February 9, 2003 7:35:39 AM

i havent decided on midtower or rackmount. So far all the rackmount systems were more money then i think they are worth. Especially since rackmount or midtower would take about about the same amount of room, so it doest matter much. Plus at least with the mid-tower they can always used them as a desktop system if they wanted to.
February 9, 2003 8:44:24 AM

i suggest you go for a MP2400+ cluster... they are just so much more affordable for your beowulf cluster.

The place where i work has 8 MP2000+ boards and they run sweet indeed... really hot on the heavy Floating point software.

<b>My Computer is so powerful Sauron Desires it and mortal men Covet it, <i>My Precioussssssss</i></b>
a b à CPUs
February 9, 2003 9:17:37 AM

True, I've seen rows of storage racks filled end to end with midtowers.

<font color=blue>There are no stupid questions, only stupid people doling out faulty information based upon rumors, myths, and poor logic!</font color=blue>
February 9, 2003 5:04:45 PM

cheers.it is a very good article.i don't think i would ever want to take on such a mammoth task-i wouldn't know how to anyway.

no matter how hard you try, you can't polish a turd. :]
February 9, 2003 5:21:22 PM

Actually, I've pondered the idea because everytime I build a computer for someone, they always give their old one to me. I've got about 4 P200s on ASUS boards and a couple of 486s. My only problem is getting the necessary cables and cards to network them. I need to make sure they're running first but that shouldn't be a problem. My biggest and foremost is TIME. I just can't get enough time to do this.

This would even shorten the time it takes to finish a WU at my SETI@home.

If Einstein had a computer, I don't think he would've ever left it. :lol: 



<b><font color=blue>veni,vidi, and ended up in THGC<font color=blue></b>
February 9, 2003 5:44:01 PM

Einstein did have a computer- it was an Amiga 500! :lol: 

no matter how hard you try, you can't polish a turd. :]
February 9, 2003 5:52:11 PM

when you have about 500 million sequences of (i think thats how many we have right now) DNA that you have to analyze, then you need something like a beowulf, unless you want to wait a few months for the results :) 
February 9, 2003 5:57:34 PM

Interesting, very interesting!

If it ain't broke, take it apart & see why not!
February 9, 2003 6:04:07 PM

You're kidding!

<b><font color=blue>veni,vidi, and ended up in THGC<font color=blue></b>
February 9, 2003 6:12:38 PM

he used to love nothing more than playing robocod and...(quickly dredging up childhood memories)...moonstone!LOL :lol: 

no matter how hard you try, you can't polish a turd. :]
February 9, 2003 6:13:47 PM

Sorry, opened my mouth too soon.

In the article I read, the techies have developed an algorithm that will force more workload on the faster nodes so that they would all finish at the same time. Is there access somewhere for this program or is it limited to companies like yours and the unis?

<b><font color=blue>veni,vidi, and ended up in THGC<font color=blue></b>
February 9, 2003 6:21:15 PM

nope not kidding. And i dont know if that software would be of use to us or not. Right now, it probably wouldnt. We have our own software that we wrote that does what we need. Its not quite so sophisticated as to do load balancing. But since all the nodes will be the same that should really be an issue anyhow. Its been working fine as it is for about 2 or 3 years now, we just need better hardware now.

however, i might give this a try:
<A HREF="http://neshat.scripps.edu/emetwall/ramses.html" target="_new">http://neshat.scripps.edu/emetwall/ramses.html&lt;/A>
February 9, 2003 6:24:16 PM

A little bit off subject, but do you work for a bio-chem research lab Merk? The reason I ask is, I do....hehe
If you do, please send me a private message. Would like to chat some...
February 9, 2003 6:28:30 PM

I work for a bio lab working on genomic data
February 9, 2003 6:31:26 PM

Interesting...we're doing specialized work on nerve regeneration. It falls under genetic research, for we are analyzing the proteins and protein structures that compose these tissues.
Is your lab doing generalized genome work?...just data compiling?
February 9, 2003 7:31:24 PM

Thanks for the link,

definitely interesting subject. Genomics.

The game Resident Evil is based on something like this.



<b><font color=blue>veni,vidi, and ended up in THGC<font color=blue></b>
February 9, 2003 8:16:15 PM

lol yeah except we work with sea urchins, not people or doberman dogs :)  So if the sea-uchins become undead, we're not in much danger. Takes them about 10 minutes to move a foot :) 
February 10, 2003 1:50:14 AM

watch out !!!! the crazy urchins are comming at us for vengence!
February 10, 2003 5:48:26 AM

Glad I don't live on an island or by the coast *whew* :lol: 



<b><font color=blue>veni,vidi, and ended up in THGC<font color=blue></b>
!