PowerEdge 840 - Any help appreciated.


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Questions and Answers : GPU applications : PowerEdge 840 - Any help appreciated.

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Profile ApertureScience
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Message 931162 - Posted: 5 Sep 2009, 7:00:30 UTC

Hello fellow searchers,

I have a Dell PowerEdge 840 here. The motherboard has pci express slots, but none that are 16 lane. I bought a 1 lane Quadro NVS 295 which fits into the small pci express slot. Only problem is that with the card inserted, the computer cannot boot. Remove the card and the system works like normal.

I poked around through the BIOS settings and there doesn't appear to be any obvious way to disable the onboard video card (an ATI ES1000). I called Dell and they said it can't be done, but the technician left me with a glimmer of hope, saying that he has heard of some people who have gotten dedicated graphics cards to work in these systems. I'm hoping my fellow SETIrs are among that mix.

Anyone with advice? I'm a little let down that this very difficult to find CUDA-capable graphics card might not work.

Chuck Gorish
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Message 931171 - Posted: 5 Sep 2009, 9:18:14 UTC - in response to Message 931162.

Hello fellow searchers,

I have a Dell PowerEdge 840 here. The motherboard has pci express slots, but none that are 16 lane. I bought a 1 lane Quadro NVS 295 which fits into the small pci express slot. Only problem is that with the card inserted, the computer cannot boot. Remove the card and the system works like normal.

I poked around through the BIOS settings and there doesn't appear to be any obvious way to disable the onboard video card (an ATI ES1000). I called Dell and they said it can't be done, but the technician left me with a glimmer of hope, saying that he has heard of some people who have gotten dedicated graphics cards to work in these systems. I'm hoping my fellow SETIrs are among that mix.

Anyone with advice? I'm a little let down that this very difficult to find CUDA-capable graphics card might not work.



we had the same problem with our old 6350 servers. we gave up and eventually sold them and moved away from Dell as a server specification but i have heard there are dell 'modding' forums out there that have various feature replacement bios that are patched to init and use other video like normal cmos are. maybe google modding dell or modify dell might bring some light. someone on these forums may have the answer as well. Dell servers in general are not GPU friendly at all.

my suggestion is one you probably will not like.. give up on it and place the card in a workstation where it can be easily used and just use the dell as a 'cpu cruncher'. you will spend enough man-hours trying to get this to work that if you were paid for them, you could build a 'supercomputing desktop' and still have $ left over.
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Profile ApertureScience
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Message 931208 - Posted: 5 Sep 2009, 15:49:39 UTC - in response to Message 931171.

Thanks for the quick reply.

Obviously not what I was hoping to hear, but thanks for saving me all that time!

I poked around Google a bit, couldn't seem to find anything for this particular model. Though I love SETI@home, risking the primary function of this computer just isn't something I want to do.

Thanks again. :)

Chuck Gorish
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Message 931300 - Posted: 6 Sep 2009, 1:28:17 UTC - in response to Message 931208.

Thanks for the quick reply.

Obviously not what I was hoping to hear, but thanks for saving me all that time!

I poked around Google a bit, couldn't seem to find anything for this particular model. Though I love SETI@home, risking the primary function of this computer just isn't something I want to do.

Thanks again. :)


seti cpu crunching does well on the dell servers and once set up you get reasonable rac and the server performance is not affected that can be noticed... i would bet that some workstation has a 1x pci-e slot that would just love that vid card. every credit score helps, even those under 300. we have a number of older servers we have taken out of production that for now just do cpu boinc but every one of our production servers run cpu boinc too and performance is not hit at all. the only gpu/cpu crunchers we have are mine and a co-worker's workstations.



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Profile ApertureScience
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Message 931364 - Posted: 6 Sep 2009, 6:10:57 UTC - in response to Message 931300.

So far, it's been good. Cross-project RAC has fluttered around 1200, which doesn't seem to be bad, though I've heard the CUDA cards do wonders. The server's always on, so it might as well do something productive and you're right if it weren't for the CPU chart on my sidebar I wouldn't even notice the machine was doing anything (I'm actually really impressed by the quad-core xeon so far, though I'm sure the extra ram doesn't hurt). Modded BIOSes are just beyond my comfort level since SETI is still secondary to file backup and security.

If I had a workstation I'd absolutely throw the card in it, but alas all my other machines still only have AGP. When time comes for a new workstation, I'm sure the CUDA cards will be that much better, so no sense in holding on to this card in particular. Lessons learned: make sure the computer has a 16 lane pci express slot next time, and specifically ask sales whether the integrated graphics can be disabled. Now I know.

Thanks for the help. It really is a testament to this community that people respond not only promptly, but so nicely.

Happy crunching and good luck finding those aliens.

Chuck Gorish
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Message 931375 - Posted: 6 Sep 2009, 9:20:39 UTC - in response to Message 931364.

So far, it's been good. Cross-project RAC has fluttered around 1200, which doesn't seem to be bad, though I've heard the CUDA cards do wonders. The server's always on, so it might as well do something productive and you're right if it weren't for the CPU chart on my sidebar I wouldn't even notice the machine was doing anything (I'm actually really impressed by the quad-core xeon so far, though I'm sure the extra ram doesn't hurt). Modded BIOSes are just beyond my comfort level since SETI is still secondary to file backup and security.

If I had a workstation I'd absolutely throw the card in it, but alas all my other machines still only have AGP. When time comes for a new workstation, I'm sure the CUDA cards will be that much better, so no sense in holding on to this card in particular. Lessons learned: make sure the computer has a 16 lane pci express slot next time, and specifically ask sales whether the integrated graphics can be disabled. Now I know.

Thanks for the help. It really is a testament to this community that people respond not only promptly, but so nicely.

Happy crunching and good luck finding those aliens.


good luck to you too! and you are right.. by the end of first quarter next year the next generation of nvidia chips will be available and from what i hear they are supposed to make the current ones seem like 'grannydriving' :)


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Questions and Answers : GPU applications : PowerEdge 840 - Any help appreciated.

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