Building A Better SETI@Home: Hardware Donations


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Profile Slavac
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Message 1205407 - Posted: 13 Mar 2012, 9:18:06 UTC - in response to Message 1205289.

Matt's update for yesterday (Monday)

I'm about to run out the door, but just FYI we did start turning these machines on today, and I finally got the JBOD wired internally to our liking - and we're seeing all the drives etc. via the external SATA. Looking good! I'll post a more thorough update once we get these in the closet, OS's installed, etc.


I think they're having fun with the new shiny.
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Message 1205441 - Posted: 13 Mar 2012, 13:43:08 UTC - in response to Message 1205407.

Matt's update for yesterday (Monday)

I'm about to run out the door, but just FYI we did start turning these machines on today, and I finally got the JBOD wired internally to our liking - and we're seeing all the drives etc. via the external SATA. Looking good! I'll post a more thorough update once we get these in the closet, OS's installed, etc.

I think they're having fun with the new shiny.

:-)

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Message 1205515 - Posted: 13 Mar 2012, 21:59:21 UTC - in response to Message 1205441.

Quick note:

We'll be building SETI a few new workstations once we can nail down specifics. Also Bane won't be replaced for now, the new servers will be handling Bane's tasks as I understand it.
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Message 1205520 - Posted: 13 Mar 2012, 22:13:21 UTC - in response to Message 1205515.

We'll be building SETI a few new workstations once we can nail down specifics.

Being a GPUUG donation the workstations should be outfitted with decent GPU crunchers. :)
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Message 1205533 - Posted: 13 Mar 2012, 22:24:28 UTC - in response to Message 1205520.
Last modified: 13 Mar 2012, 22:25:03 UTC

We'll be building SETI a few new workstations once we can nail down specifics.

Being a GPUUG donation the workstations should be outfitted with decent GPU crunchers. :)

You may jest, but it's actually a very good point. AFAIK, they don't even have in-house hardware suitable for developing - or even testing - GPU apps. Even if they haven't got the spare manpower hours to develop CUDA, OpenCL, or any other flavour of coprocessor apps, they need to be able to test/verify contributed code, and to reproduce reported problems.

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Message 1205544 - Posted: 13 Mar 2012, 22:43:15 UTC - in response to Message 1205533.

We'll be building SETI a few new workstations once we can nail down specifics.

Being a GPUUG donation the workstations should be outfitted with decent GPU crunchers. :)

You may jest, but it's actually a very good point. AFAIK, they don't even have in-house hardware suitable for developing - or even testing - GPU apps. Even if they haven't got the spare manpower hours to develop CUDA, OpenCL, or any other flavour of coprocessor apps, they need to be able to test/verify contributed code, and to reproduce reported problems.

I'm quite serious actually. Mandatory GPU should be a condition for getting the donations. The trademark of the GPUUG if you will. A funny and nice gesture at the same time. And if they actually have a use for them in their work other than crunching, that's great.

Obviously I'm not in a position to make the rules, but that's my suggestion to the GPUUG.
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Message 1205566 - Posted: 13 Mar 2012, 23:08:37 UTC - in response to Message 1205544.

We'll be building SETI a few new workstations once we can nail down specifics.

Being a GPUUG donation the workstations should be outfitted with decent GPU crunchers. :)


You may jest, but it's actually a very good point. AFAIK, they don't even have in-house hardware suitable for developing - or even testing - GPU apps. Even if they haven't got the spare manpower hours to develop CUDA, OpenCL, or any other flavour of coprocessor apps, they need to be able to test/verify contributed code, and to reproduce reported problems.

I'm quite serious actually. Mandatory GPU should be a condition for getting the donations. The trademark of the GPUUG if you will. A funny and nice gesture at the same time. And if they actually have a use for them in their work other than crunching, that's great.

Obviously I'm not in a position to make the rules, but that's my suggestion to the GPUUG.


Except, of course where the GPUUG project is to supply a server, where it would be inappropriate to expect that system to provide crunch resource for the S@H work as well as the database, networking or other task it is expected to do.

In my experience, trying to get a database server to also to crunching-type work leads to considerable issues with tuning and server set-up such that it tends to do neither task well.

Let us supply the servers that S@H need, not a system that has hardware that cannot be sensibly used.

Of course, if we are supplying a workstation for a project staff member to use for their day-to-day work, then a GPU would make sense, and if it can be used for S@H crunch as well, then all the better.

Just my 2 pennyworth.

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Message 1205568 - Posted: 13 Mar 2012, 23:14:52 UTC - in response to Message 1205566.

Except, of course where the GPUUG project is to supply a server, where it would be inappropriate to expect that system to provide crunch resource for the S@H work as well as the database, networking or other task it is expected to do.

Agree. I was only making that suggestion in regards to the workstations. Servers should feed crunchers, not be the crunchers they are feeding.
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Message 1205581 - Posted: 13 Mar 2012, 23:36:25 UTC - in response to Message 1205568.

We provide the SAH guys with exactly what they ask for. They've asked for basic workstations this round so that's what we will provide. I'd rather get them simple work stations and use the remainder for future projects vs getting them equipment that isn't needed.

This practice helps us stretch our donors funds. If down the road they ask us for a machine that would make member Speedbump blush, we will provide that as well. Until then we will continue to donate items that match their exact specs.
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Message 1205601 - Posted: 14 Mar 2012, 0:19:38 UTC - in response to Message 1205566.

We'll be building SETI a few new workstations once we can nail down specifics.

Being a GPUUG donation the workstations should be outfitted with decent GPU crunchers. :)


You may jest, but it's actually a very good point. AFAIK, they don't even have in-house hardware suitable for developing - or even testing - GPU apps. Even if they haven't got the spare manpower hours to develop CUDA, OpenCL, or any other flavour of coprocessor apps, they need to be able to test/verify contributed code, and to reproduce reported problems.

I'm quite serious actually. Mandatory GPU should be a condition for getting the donations. The trademark of the GPUUG if you will. A funny and nice gesture at the same time. And if they actually have a use for them in their work other than crunching, that's great.

Obviously I'm not in a position to make the rules, but that's my suggestion to the GPUUG.


Except, of course where the GPUUG project is to supply a server, where it would be inappropriate to expect that system to provide crunch resource for the S@H work as well as the database, networking or other task it is expected to do.

In my experience, trying to get a database server to also to crunching-type work leads to considerable issues with tuning and server set-up such that it tends to do neither task well.

Let us supply the servers that S@H need, not a system that has hardware that cannot be sensibly used.

Of course, if we are supplying a workstation for a project staff member to use for their day-to-day work, then a GPU would make sense, and if it can be used for S@H crunch as well, then all the better.

Just my 2 pennyworth.

+1

Steve
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Message 1205619 - Posted: 14 Mar 2012, 1:01:55 UTC - in response to Message 1205581.

We provide the SAH guys with exactly what they ask for. They've asked for basic workstations this round so that's what we will provide. I'd rather get them simple work stations and use the remainder for future projects vs getting them equipment that isn't needed.

This practice helps us stretch our donors funds. If down the road they ask us for a machine that would make member Speedbump blush, we will provide that as well. Until then we will continue to donate items that match their exact specs.

With people upgrading to the latest and greatest hardware perhaps some would donate their old GPU's for test/dev resources. While last years hardware might not be the best performer. It can be invaluable for test/dev purposes.

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Message 1205620 - Posted: 14 Mar 2012, 1:04:51 UTC

When the original CUDA applications were being developed at nVidia the project did get at least one GPU for testing, IIRC a Quadro FX 3700. I haven't heard of more recent acquisitions, but note that the GPUUG member named Eric Korpela has a system with a 2GB GTX 560 Ti.

I fully agree that the staff should not be constrained by lack of equipment to test with, but they are already severely constrained by lack of time to do non-essentials. Encouraging them to consider asking for a top end GPU makes sense, requiring them to have a physically large enough box to give it decent air flow may not. 4 years ago or so they did have workstations for Matt and Jeff on the requested hardware list, with an indication they wanted small and nearly silent systems. Somebody did donate Shuttle systems to fulfill that, but the time may be approaching when upgrades will be needed.

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Message 1205722 - Posted: 14 Mar 2012, 10:08:00 UTC - in response to Message 1205620.

Lads there's no need in the office at present for a high end GPU or high end system. I tried to get them to agree to both, but they said such systems weren't needed.

The focus is on small, quiet and efficient work stations currently. So, that's what we'll provide.

Hopefully one day they'll ask us for a beast of a machine, that'd be fun to build.
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Message 1205725 - Posted: 14 Mar 2012, 10:11:51 UTC - in response to Message 1205722.

Lads there's no need in the office at present for a high end GPU or high end system. I tried to get them to agree to both, but they said such systems weren't needed.

The focus is on small, quiet and efficient work stations currently. So, that's what we'll provide.

Hopefully one day they'll ask us for a beast of a machine, that'd be fun to build.

Fair enough, but I would still suggest that they might consider the usefulness of a test/development machine with a more modern - Fermi or Kepler class, but low end - GPU, or the ATI equivalent.

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Message 1205774 - Posted: 14 Mar 2012, 14:15:49 UTC - in response to Message 1205722.

Lads there's no need in the office at present for a high end GPU or high end system. I tried to get them to agree to both, but they said such systems weren't needed.

The focus is on small, quiet and efficient work stations currently. So, that's what we'll provide.

In other words, Everybody shut up about it! (Right?)

(BTW, I was right about GPUUG being able to do workstations with funds on hand and not having to start a new campaign.)

Hopefully one day they'll ask us for a beast of a machine, that'd be fun to build.

At least you sympathize. :-)

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Message 1205800 - Posted: 14 Mar 2012, 15:59:45 UTC - in response to Message 1205581.

We provide the SAH guys with exactly what they ask for. They've asked for basic workstations this round so that's what we will provide. I'd rather get them simple work stations and use the remainder for future projects vs getting them equipment that isn't needed.

This practice helps us stretch our donors funds. If down the road they ask us for a machine that would make member Speedbump blush, we will provide that as well. Until then we will continue to donate items that match their exact specs.


Thank you Slavac . . . for doing so much where needed Sir!

with Respect,

joanne & richard
[ps - joined gpuug - Thanks again my friend]

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Message 1205824 - Posted: 14 Mar 2012, 16:43:45 UTC - in response to Message 1205774.
Last modified: 14 Mar 2012, 16:45:03 UTC

Lads there's no need in the office at present for a high end GPU or high end system. I tried to get them to agree to both, but they said such systems weren't needed.

The focus is on small, quiet and efficient work stations currently. So, that's what we'll provide.

In other words, Everybody shut up about it! (Right?)

(BTW, I was right about GPUUG being able to do workstations with funds on hand and not having to start a new campaign.)

Hopefully one day they'll ask us for a beast of a machine, that'd be fun to build.

At least you sympathize. :-)


I'm all for discussion, this is a discussion forum after all but in the end we strive to provide components to their specs, not our ideal specs. Can you imagine the heat in the lab if all of the scientists had massive crunching towers? Nevermind the noise.

Right now we're supplying 2 units. We may be providing more depending on how many they ultimately want. Pending this we may or may not have to start a new fundraiser. I'll be sure to let everyone know something as soon as I know something.

ETA thanks again for the kind words everyone :)
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Message 1205959 - Posted: 14 Mar 2012, 23:26:27 UTC

I would love them to get one Mac Mini class Mac so they can do some dev work for that undervalued platform. No CUDA,CAL,Open CL support for GPUs on the project. No AP CPU support on the project for OSX never mind AP for for GPU.
The reason I suggest the Mac mini is it is the cheapest way to get a discreet GPU in a Mac in this case a AMD Radeon HD 6630. I just checked this GPU has Open CL support built in to the OS so they could do some Open CL app dev for ATI GPUs. the entry price would be $799. The 2011 system uses a Max of 85 watts all up and running so It would be small and quite for the office.
Also the Mac system makes it easy to use a triple boot dev box as Win7 and Linux booting are supported officially by Apple out of the box with Boot Camp software. This is a set of drive tools to none destructively repartition the HD and has all the drivers to support Windows and Most common Linux distros on the System installer for OSX. So the team could do development for all three OS types on one machine a useful thing to consider.
Apples Tech spec page for all 2011 Mac Minis http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html

I have the 2010 edition with a Nvidia GPU and even under max load the system is almost silent and also uses a max of 85W.
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Message 1205996 - Posted: 15 Mar 2012, 1:59:33 UTC

One of the things I've always liked about S@H, and BOINC projects in general, is the sharing of knowledge and tasks between an assortment of people. Let the Berkley science guys do the science stuff, with the machines they need. If we need cutting edge new hardware implementations, I though that was what the Lunatics (and others) were for.

Just a wild-a$$ed idea - should GPUUG be talking to Lunatics (and others) about their hardware needs?
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