is the era of crunching farms over?

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nemesis
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Message 1009170 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 11:06:03 UTC

being one of the perpetrators of crunching farms,
i've been thinking that with summer heat and increased power bills that mega farms are a thing of the past.
are we moving to one mega crunching computer out of necessity or because of the GPU revolution?
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Profile Bill Walker
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Message 1009174 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 11:20:36 UTC

As an outside observer, I think we may see a shift away from farms, but there will always be a few die hard enthusiasts who don't care about heat and power bills. They will continue to amaze us with their RAC.

If I win the lottery, high on my list of things to do is to set up a farm of half a dozen multiple GPU machines, just to see what could happen.

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Profile James Sotherden
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Message 1009184 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 12:11:26 UTC

Well I think you will see a cut back to a more modest number of computers in farms. My so called is weak compared to others, I run a intel mac with stock apps and an old P4 with Opp apps. My best machine is my i7 with A gpu running Opp apps.

If the p4 dies, I will get another i7 with a cuda card though.
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Message 1009190 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 12:39:06 UTC

I think you are broadly correct.

But, it will start to accelerate the demise of the older slower less productive rigs. This is where the reduction of rigs in farms will mainly be, as well as a move to more modern high performance lower power usage rigs.
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Message 1009201 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 12:55:11 UTC - in response to Message 1009174.  

As an outside observer, I think we may see a shift away from farms, but there will always be a few die hard enthusiasts who don't care about heat and power bills. They will continue to amaze us with their RAC.

If I win the lottery, high on my list of things to do is to set up a farm of half a dozen multiple GPU machines, just to see what could happen.

But a few of us business owners that have a few machines may still try and run them...Wonder why anyone that has a few machines is considered a farmer? Should seti push business help out? Might lose a few donations there....Just how I feel after reading many posts, many so called farmers here are business owners.
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Message 1009205 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 13:07:05 UTC

The Question for me is - how many Rigs do you need to be a Farmer. :D
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Message 1009208 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 13:12:33 UTC - in response to Message 1009205.  

Ask farmers from Facebook. :-D ;-)
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Message 1009211 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 13:25:14 UTC

I'd see that more as a question of attitude:

Would the rigs be running anyway? (e.g. the business owners hiamps mentions)
Do you keep something running you no longer really use?
Do you build dedicated rigs?

I wouldn't consider the first one a farmer. As for the last one - probably depends on how much crunching power you accumulate.

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Message 1009212 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 13:25:42 UTC - in response to Message 1009205.  

The Question for me is - how many Rigs do you need to be a Farmer. :D

I think to be a farm they would be dedicated to the task. Not simply a case where someone has 5 computers in their home and runs S@H on all of them. Much like growing vegetables in your back yard does not make it a farm.
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Message 1009220 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 13:49:13 UTC - in response to Message 1009212.  

The Question for me is - how many Rigs do you need to be a Farmer. :D

I think to be a farm they would be dedicated to the task. Not simply a case where someone has 5 computers in their home and runs S@H on all of them. Much like growing vegetables in your back yard does not make it a farm.

I think a farm would be having a bunch of computers that do nothing but Seti, all of mine have other purpose and boinc manager is available even if there is no work. I guess when I had the machine on the wall that would have been farming but actually it was curiosity...Now Phud, he was a farmer....
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Message 1009229 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 14:06:44 UTC
Last modified: 28 Jun 2010, 14:15:52 UTC

To paraphrase (and plagiarize) our old buddy, The Hag...

Are we rollin' downhill like a snowball headed for Hell?
With no kind of chance for the farms whose RAC's sharply fell.
I wish a maximum cache would still last 10 days like it should.
Are the best of the crunch days behind us now?
Are the good times really over for good?
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Message 1009237 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 14:18:19 UTC

It could be the farm might be in a single case instead of all over the place like so: Motherboard PC Build & Specs(Classified).
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Message 1009240 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 14:23:15 UTC - in response to Message 1009237.  

It could be the farm might be in a single case instead of all over the place like so: Motherboard PC Build & Specs(Classified).

By time you get it built, there will be many faster, as we get into the busy season my employees are already wanting my old video cards.....We are starting to do more graphic art.
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Message 1009247 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 14:31:44 UTC - in response to Message 1009240.  

It could be the farm might be in a single case instead of all over the place like so: Motherboard PC Build & Specs(Classified).

By time you get it built, there will be many faster, as we get into the busy season my employees are already wanting my old video cards.....We are starting to do more graphic art.

Maybe, But 5 GTX295 cards and a quad core cpu is still nothing to be sneezed at. :D
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Message 1009257 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 14:44:51 UTC - in response to Message 1009170.  

being one of the perpetrators of crunching farms,
i've been thinking that with summer heat and increased power bills that mega farms are a thing of the past.
are we moving to one mega crunching computer out of necessity or because of the GPU revolution?


I suspect that many, including myself, have asked that question for years and through several hardware generations. My random thoughts include:
* It is always going to be more efficient to host applications on a supercomputer (w or w/o gpu's). The power costs go up for everyone, in principle assuming a free-market mechanism more or less.
* It is possible that adding gpu's to our boxes would be more efficient than adding more boxes, so the incremental power costs per unit of compute power is actually lower.
* It is up to boinc and the seti app to improve the use of those resources; I'm not too optimistic about that. For example, why is anyone using 'stock' applications anymore?
* Distributed computing is a klutzy way to get work done. Projects do so because they can't justify/compete for the extant supercomputer resources versus other projects. So klutz works.
* DC's value is, indeed, that we hobbyists are attractive to off the wall projects, like seti, that nobody else can justify funding. I personally don't think that seti/berkeley/ourselves respect the amount of personal funds allocated to this project.
* To that point, I think any project should have a roadmap that moves from the hobbyist DC vehicle to a focused supercomputer app at a SC center or the like. In other words, use 'us' to bootstrap to a more competitive project, instead of growing some sort of permanent SC center themselves.
* Independent of all that, I would like us to enable scientists to attack even more aggressive challenges and do so continuously. Take a bigger gamble. Etc. Spending 10 years on more of the same project is pretty uncompetitive, unless you are a tenured hack.

So I disagree that crunching farms are over for hobbyists. Having more of them will enable most of the points above and therefore has value.

(Anybody got any spare GPU cards? I haven't scratched enough scratch to get one yet.)
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Message 1009326 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 16:13:40 UTC

Now Phud, he was a farmer



was...past tense...sniff

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Message 1009335 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 16:17:02 UTC - in response to Message 1009326.  

Now Phud, he was a farmer



was...past tense...sniff

Well you are just... a winter farmer?
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Message 1009336 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 16:17:25 UTC - in response to Message 1009326.  

Now Phud, he was a farmer



was...past tense...sniff

I have a feeling the fields will look fertile again this fall....
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Message 1009409 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 18:16:01 UTC
Last modified: 28 Jun 2010, 18:16:40 UTC

Electricity in Holland is now about 0.22 euro (0.26 US$) for a kWh.

So my 300Watt consuming rig (24/7) costs me about 48 euro's (57 US$) a month.

How much is it in other countries, like the US, Russia, etc?
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Message 1009420 - Posted: 28 Jun 2010, 18:41:09 UTC - in response to Message 1009409.  

Electricity in Holland is now about 0.22 euro (0.26 US$) for a kWh.

So my 300Watt consuming rig (24/7) costs me about 48 euro's (57 US$) a month.

How much is it in other countries, like the US, Russia, etc?


Here in Masachusetts, it runs me $0.145/kwh - that's based on my total bill, not on the "price per hour" since the per hour rate doesn't include all the charges. My main system uses 343W not including the screen or speakers, so maybe 400W including those, so that's roughly $42 per month.

-Dave
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Message boards : Number crunching : is the era of crunching farms over?


 
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