[CentOS] Motherboards for HPC applications

Chan Chung Hang Christopher christopher.chan at bradbury.edu.hk
Tue Mar 9 13:49:46 UTC 2010

Eduardo Grosclaude wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 12:49 AM, Christopher Chan
> <christopher.chan at bradbury.edu.hk> wrote:
>> On Tuesday, March 09, 2010 12:34 AM, Eduardo Grosclaude wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>> Can somebody recommend CentOS-OK, dual socket motherboards for compute
>>> elements? A quick look up at Intel pages suggests they are thinking of
>>> them as "server boards", but then they recommend them as "for SMB",
>>> I'm somewhat puzzled about it.
>>> It would be nice to know what MBs you are using, pros and cons.
>>> Thank you in advance
>> Could you give us a bit more information on the HPC part? Is this
>> clustering or computing?
> I'll be buying a single machine first, building a cluster some time
> later. As this second move may be delayed for an unpredictable amount
> of time, what I am really interested in is understanding the thought
> process a seasoned technician (sysadmin? clusadmin?) may follow when
> selecting hardware.
> Do you have high i/o needs?
> Well, perhaps this is my real problem... Don't have enough info about
> applications. There are several of them but I think I/O is not at
> premium, rather CPU computing is.

If you do not have enough information on the applications, I am afraid 
it is going to be rather hard to make a final decision. Maybe you want 
to overspec on the first box, find out what those apps really do and 
then spec accordingly.

Things to consider can include network bandwidth, disk bandwidth. 'bus' 
bandwidth, memory bandwidth and as John Pierce pointed out, what type of 
processing. Are the apps single threaded or multi threaded? Single 
threaded apps might call for the cpus with the highest possible 
frequencies while multi threaded ones not so much so but how many you 
can pack into whatever space you have.

If cpu processing power is the sole criteria, then why limit to 
dual-socket boards and not go for quad-socket boards?

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