Budget Dedicated BOINC PC Build

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JAMC
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Message 506620 - Posted: 21 Jan 2007, 17:51:58 UTC

I'm thinking about building a PC as inexpensively as possible for BOINC use only to run 24/7.
So the focus would be on the CPU and memory, small-ish HD with a MB with integrated sound and graphics (if they still make those).
Again the focus is no frills/ cheap unless it impacts crunching power.
Ideas?
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Message 506648 - Posted: 21 Jan 2007, 18:51:24 UTC
Last modified: 21 Jan 2007, 18:58:57 UTC

In general, get atleast 512M ram(per core), and as high of L2 cache as possible. I buy uATX boards ASUS K8V-MX (939), A8V-VM (939), M2NPV-VM (AM2) all have S3 integrated video for AMD, and cost mid $80. Don't skimp on the power supply, 80%+ eff w/switching is good, I use Enermax "Noise taker" ($80).

NOTE: these Mobos are NOT great at OCing, but you can alittle. To get good OCing you have to get the mid to upper $100 boards , require a Video card ($50 minimum), and high end ram. You could put that extra money into another cheap system and get more work throughput than you could with the OCing anyway (this is my opinion).
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Message 506719 - Posted: 21 Jan 2007, 20:56:56 UTC - in response to Message 506648.  

donate to seti

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Message 506799 - Posted: 21 Jan 2007, 23:27:00 UTC - in response to Message 506719.  

donate to seti

LOL - can't disagree with that sentiment, but Astro is bang on with his recommendations. I've been looking at adding more rigs cheaply and came up with a very similar spec.

But we should consider ading to the coffers at Berkeley, else there may be nothing to crunch!

Steve.
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Message 506834 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 0:35:53 UTC

The only change I would make to this would be graphics. Integrated graphics slow down your processor and consume your memory bandwidth. Not a lot, but some. A graphics card, plenty good enough for a dedicated cruncher, can be bought for less than $35.
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Message 507185 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 20:04:21 UTC
Last modified: 22 Jan 2007, 20:10:04 UTC

1) The cheapest motherboard that will support Intel E6600 (~70 dollars).
2) Intel E6600
3) 256-512 MB of RAM (I am in favor of 512 though).
4) Windows XP Home Edition (at the least, XP Pro at max.)

Since this machine is for SETI only, the sound does not matter, the integrated video is fine to have too, I have a couple of old ISA and PCI video cards I might reuse, maybe you have some too.

No overclocking is projected, but it is still possible.

The hard drive does not matter as long as OS fits on it. (I wonder if basic XP will fit on old WD Caviar :)) SETI is not hard drive intensive.

The power supply does not matter since all you have is hard drive, CPU and a fans getting all the "juice". 300 watts probably is more then enough.

Case does not matter since the machine will be sitting somewhere in the corner crunching and nothing else.
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Message 507232 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 22:06:39 UTC - in response to Message 507185.  

1) The cheapest motherboard that will support Intel E6600 (~70 dollars).
2) Intel E6600
3) 256-512 MB of RAM (I am in favor of 512 though).
4) Windows XP Home Edition (at the least, XP Pro at max.)
Since this machine is for SETI only, the sound does not matter, the integrated video is fine to have too, I have a couple of old ISA and PCI video cards I might reuse, maybe you have some too.
No overclocking is projected, but it is still possible.
The hard drive does not matter as long as OS fits on it. (I wonder if basic XP will fit on old WD Caviar :)) SETI is not hard drive intensive.
The power supply does not matter since all you have is hard drive, CPU and a fans getting all the "juice". 300 watts probably is more then enough.
Case does not matter since the machine will be sitting somewhere in the corner crunching and nothing else.

You could get away with Win2k if you really wanted to go cheaper. The hard drive can be as small as 10gig. You CAN use as small as a 2gig but you won't cache many units, and CPD units may be waaaay to big.
Windows only uses about 1 1/2 gig for itself, but you will need some space for the workunits. And you will need a cd at least initially to load the OS.

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Message 507244 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 22:28:44 UTC - in response to Message 507232.  

You could get away with Win2k if you really wanted to go cheaper. The hard drive can be as small as 10gig. You CAN use as small as a 2gig but you won't cache many units, and CPD units may be waaaay to big.
Windows only uses about 1 1/2 gig for itself, but you will need some space for the workunits. And you will need a cd at least initially to load the OS.

With DSL Linux, you can go down to just 50 MBytes. It also comes for "free".

Even the main distros will operate well with less than 2 GBytes of HDD space. You can even go diskless.

Take a look at the Kubuntu or Ubuntu liveCD.

Happy crunchin',
Martin
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Take a look for yourself: Linux Format
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Message 507345 - Posted: 23 Jan 2007, 3:07:32 UTC - in response to Message 506799.  

donate to seti

LOL - can't disagree with that sentiment, but Astro is bang on with his recommendations. I've been looking at adding more rigs cheaply and came up with a very similar spec.

But we should consider ading to the coffers at Berkeley, else there may be nothing to crunch!

Steve.

there is a person in a thread i started that said they would be willing to give a server to seti and eric is looking into it. it is on page 2 under donate hardware
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JAMC
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Message 507356 - Posted: 23 Jan 2007, 3:43:26 UTC

I have laying around- (1) 7200 RPM 80GB WD hard drive, and an orphaned full copy of 2000 PRO
Looking at the following items new:
CPU- Core2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4 GHz >$315 ... Ok, not so much a cheap item but I am putting some savings from the above items back in
MB- GA-965P-S3 > $105
RAM- (2) x 512 MB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800> $152
Case- Antec SLK 3000-B >$60
PS- Enermax 420W >$79
Video Card- cheap PCI-E TBD
So putting the money into CPU, Ram and MB with high efficiency PS, cheap case and video card...
How does this look so far?
Assume a SETI donation in the budget :)
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Message 507495 - Posted: 23 Jan 2007, 12:54:48 UTC - in response to Message 507356.  
Last modified: 23 Jan 2007, 12:56:17 UTC

I have laying around- (1) 7200 RPM 80GB WD hard drive, and an orphaned full copy of 2000 PRO
Looking at the following items new:
CPU- Core2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4 GHz >$315 ... Ok, not so much a cheap item but I am putting some savings from the above items back in
MB- GA-965P-S3 > $105
RAM- (2) x 512 MB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800> $152
Case- Antec SLK 3000-B >$60
PS- Enermax 420W >$79
Video Card- cheap PCI-E TBD
So putting the money into CPU, Ram and MB with high efficiency PS, cheap case and video card...
How does this look so far?
Assume a SETI donation in the budget :)

If this is a Seti only machine go with only 512 meg of ram, but you could still need 2 sticks to do the dual channel. Seti does not need 1 gig of ram.
And don't forget the fans for the case and cpu.

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Message 507538 - Posted: 23 Jan 2007, 13:36:10 UTC - in response to Message 507495.  
Last modified: 23 Jan 2007, 14:35:29 UTC

OK, I've done a decent amount of research on this. This build would be more expensive PER MACHINE, but less expensive per credit (or per processor power).

You could build a 8-Core, dual four-core Xeon 1.6 GHz machine for $1300 +case +HD +PSU. My guess is that it would be around 2.66 the power of a E6600 build at less than 2.66 the cost (if you bought 2.66 E6600 builds to each E5310 build).

($696) 2 Intel Xeon Quad-Core E5310 1066 MHz 8MB L2 cache CPU
($298) Gigabyte GA-7VCSV Dual Xeon Server Motherboard
($288) 2 GBs Kingston FB-DIMM RAM. (must get FB-DIMM RAM with this mobo)

SETI doesn't use much RAM. Even with something like Rosetta@Home which uses around 120k per instance, you would still have enough.


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Message 507559 - Posted: 23 Jan 2007, 14:01:44 UTC - in response to Message 507538.  

I'm building another one myself. Had a PSU, a mobo, 80 gig HDD, a gig of ram, and a dvd drive laying around. Just ordered a case, video card and a KVM from newegg for $149.00 and an AMD 4400 X2 cpu from ebay for $175.00. Will install SimplyMepis (linux) to get away from Bill's nonsense...p
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Message 507590 - Posted: 23 Jan 2007, 15:05:53 UTC - in response to Message 507538.  

($288) 2 GBs Kingston FB-DIMM RAM. (must get FB-DIMM RAM with this mobo)

Make sure you get this as 4 x 512MB (Kingston KVR667D2S8F5/512) - $86 each at Newegg. May be slightly more expensive than 2 x 1GB, but well worth it.
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Message 507599 - Posted: 23 Jan 2007, 15:14:57 UTC - in response to Message 507590.  

($288) 2 GBs Kingston FB-DIMM RAM. (must get FB-DIMM RAM with this mobo)

Make sure you get this as 4 x 512MB (Kingston KVR667D2S8F5/512) - $86 each at Newegg. May be slightly more expensive than 2 x 1GB, but well worth it.


Richard, can you point me to some benchmarks that have 4x512MB vs 2x1GB of RAM in a two or more processor machine? I've been looking for that!

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Message 507616 - Posted: 23 Jan 2007, 15:38:43 UTC - in response to Message 507599.  

($288) 2 GBs Kingston FB-DIMM RAM. (must get FB-DIMM RAM with this mobo)

Make sure you get this as 4 x 512MB (Kingston KVR667D2S8F5/512) - $86 each at Newegg. May be slightly more expensive than 2 x 1GB, but well worth it.


Richard, can you point me to some benchmarks that have 4x512MB vs 2x1GB of RAM in a two or more processor machine? I've been looking for that!

I can't do exactly that, but I can give you the difference between 2x1GB and 4x1GB. My host 2901600 is a dual Xeon 5320: it started life with 2 x 1GB @ 667MHz, but I was so disappointed that I upgraded to 4 x 1GB.

We've discussed it in a couple of threads: here are links to the before'n'after comparison, but have a browse through the full threads for discussion of e.g. SiSoft benchmarks.

Core 2 comparison - Xeon E5320 vs E6300

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Message 507895 - Posted: 24 Jan 2007, 5:54:47 UTC - in response to Message 507356.  

I have laying around- (1) 7200 RPM 80GB WD hard drive, and an orphaned full copy of 2000 PRO
Looking at the following items new:
CPU- Core2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4 GHz >$315 ... Ok, not so much a cheap item but I am putting some savings from the above items back in
MB- GA-965P-S3 > $105
RAM- (2) x 512 MB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800> $152
Case- Antec SLK 3000-B >$60
PS- Enermax 420W >$79
Video Card- cheap PCI-E TBD
So putting the money into CPU, Ram and MB with high efficiency PS, cheap case and video card...
How does this look so far?
Assume a SETI donation in the budget :)

Lets review:

1) Hard drive is free :)

2) OS is free :)

3) Intel E6600, yes.

4) 105 for motherboard? What the heck for? On the other hand, it is your money, do what you like.

5) 152 dollars for RAM? Waste of money. All you need is the two stick kit for like 90-100 dollars, Corsair makes some of those too, I would just get the cheapest possible. My Mobile Semprone with 512 MB of RAM is spanking my P3 with 1 GB of RAM. SETI is not RAM intensive, you do not need expansive RAM at all and you only need enough RAM to run the OS well, one gig sounds good so I am not going to try to talk you out of doing that, but don't buy the expansive kind, you just wasting money.

6) 60 dollars for a case? Are you OK buddy? All you need is the 10 dollar special from the local PC store.

7) I was going to critic your power supply too, but then I thought better. The machine will be on 27/7, so a quality PS is important, might as well put some money into it.

8) You do not need a PCI-E card at all. Just get some pci card for 5 bucks or something and you are ready to go. Or you motherboard might have on-board video too.

The only thing you Really need to put money in are: the CPU and the PS. If you skip all the fancy crap, you might want to buy the E6700 instead of the 6600. Now that! Will be worth your while.

In conclusion. Run the Chicken's optimized app.
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Message 507908 - Posted: 24 Jan 2007, 6:55:25 UTC - in response to Message 507895.  

Lets review:


All good points. However, your point about mobo ad memory...all depends on if he intends to OC. If not, you're spot on. If he want's to OC, mobo and memory matter.

In conclusion. Run the Chicken's optimized app.


Actually the best advice of all. It's not only free, but it will have the biggest impact as well.
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Message 507922 - Posted: 24 Jan 2007, 7:48:06 UTC - in response to Message 507908.  

Lets review:


All good points. However, your point about mobo ad memory...all depends on if he intends to OC. If not, you're spot on. If he want's to OC, mobo and memory matter.

In conclusion. Run the Chicken's optimized app.


Actually the best advice of all. It's not only free, but it will have the biggest impact as well.

You will not hear an argument from me, but as you have pointed out and as I think I have read from the original poster, the overclocking was not planned, that is why I have applied my strictest money saving criteria.
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Message 508802 - Posted: 26 Jan 2007, 4:49:03 UTC - in response to Message 507922.  

Why not consider the e4300? (200/800FSB, 2mb, C2D, 1.8ghz)

Put it with a mobo that supports 1066 FSB (eg, p5l-vm) and crank the fsb from default (200) to 266 (1066). Get yourself a 2.4ghz processor for about 1/2 the cost of the 6600, but with half the cache (you're still probably ahead). All reports indicate this is easily done on stock cooling, mostly without even a voltage bump.

Throw in 512mb ddr2/667 (same price as 533 these days) and a hdd, and a decent PSU and you're set hardware wise.

Grab ubuntu or any other linux distro and you're good to go. Donate to SETI the savings from not paying for another WinXP licence or e6600. : )

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