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2. Hardware

This section covers the hardware choices I've made. Unless noted, assume that everything works really well.

Hardware installation is also fairly straight-forward unless otherwise noted, with most of the details covered by the manuals.

2.1 Node hardware

32 machines have the following setup each:

2.2 Server hardware

1 external server with the following setup:

2.3 Desktop hardware

4 desktops with the following setup:

2 desktops with the following setup:

2 desktops with the following setup:



2.4 Putting-it-all-together hardware

We use KVM switches with a cheap monitor to connect up and "look" at all the machines:

While this is a nice solution, I think it's kind of needless. What we need is a small hand held monitor that can plug into the back of the PC (operated with a stylus, like the Palm). I don't plan to use more monitor switches/KVM cables.

Networking is important:

2.5 Costs

Our vendor is Hard Drives Northwest ( For each compute node in our cluster (containing two processors), we paid about $1500, including taxes. Generally, our goal is to keep each node to below $2000.00 (which is what our desktop machines cost).

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