20 September 2014

20th of September

Farm news
Still crunching for Seti. We had a few warm days during the week so the Nvidia crunchers were off during the day. Credit is currently around 23.8 million with a daily output (RAC) around 71,000. It looks like its going to take a while to get to the 25 million target.

The oldest Raspberry Pi has locked up a few times today for no apparent reason. Given all the SD cards were replaced a couple of weeks ago I don't think its the SD card this time.

Yesterday Nvidia announced the GTX980 and GTX970 cards based upon the Maxwell architecture. Looking at the specs of the GTX970 they look like a good replacement for my GTX670's. Depending on pricing I may just get a pair. They have more CUDA cores and use less power.

Nvidia are dropping CUDA support on the older cards that are Pre-Fermi (ie Pre-GTX460). If you've got one and you use CUDA then don't upgrade to the latest drivers.

Nvidia also seem to be moving to 64 bit for CUDA with the latest Apple Mac drivers only being available in 64 bit.

13 September 2014

13th of September

Farm news
Still crunching for Seti. Total credits are now above 23 million however daily output has taken a hit. We had a few warm days this week so I have had to stop two of the Nvidia GPU machines and limit the other one to running overnight.

BOINC testing
We got 7.4.21 during the week. Not much change from .18 which I had on all the windows machines. A couple of tweaks with the manager and some more work on the installer. This version is a release candidate so its getting close to being released.

Raspberry Pi news
The case for the B+ arrived so I have now got it running. That takes the Pi part of the farm up to 6 of them. 5 are the B version and one B+ version. Speed-wise its identical to the others as they use the same SoC (System on a Chip).

I had a fair bit of trouble getting it going. It seems my image that I run on all the B versions wouldn't work so I had to download the latest from raspberrypi.org and then plug in a screen, keyboard and mouse. I then upgraded it to Debian Jessie (the release version is still Debian Wheezy) and then cull off most of the junk they give you with it. They seem to be bundling the Wolfram Engine which was quite large.

As an experiment I tried to get rid of x11 completely, which also took out BOINC. I then went to reinstall BOINC which decided it wanted to bring back a number of x11 libraries as dependancies. Given I don't use the manager I don't need a GUI and x11 takes up a lot of space.

Having got the B+ up and running I noticed it managed to get a kernel update to 3.12.28+ #709, a firmware update and BOINC 7.4.18, so I then ran around updating all the B versions. The dist-upgrade takes around an hour and a half for each Pi. These later versions seem to be a bit more stable.

Oh and that is little something I put together to try and organise the Pi's. Its just a piece of wood with a bunch of screws to clip the Pi's onto. The white Pi with the fan isn't on here because the case doesn't have any mounting holes. I still need to organise the cables but its better than hanging them by their network cables.

06 September 2014

6th of September

Farm news
Crunching for Seti continues. Recent average credit is up to 90,000 and total credits around 22.9 million.Currently using 5 x Intel GPU machines and 3 x Nvidia GPU machines.

There was a fund-raiser going for Seti so I gave some money towards that. We're trying to encourage the many people who use the project to give $10 each to help pay for the staff and equipment. Those that donate represent 0.1% of all users.

Pi news
As mentioned last week I got new SD cards. I have replaced all the SD cards on all 5 of the Raspberry Pi's. For each one I upgrade Debian, then take an image of the old SD card and write that to the new SD card.

The Raspberry Pi B+ I ordered last week arrived sans case. The case was shipped yesterday so I expect to see it early next week. I will set it up once the case arrives.

I am also trying to organise a better (tidier) location for the Pis rather than having them hang via their network cables. The white Pi case that I added the fan to doesn't have any screw holes in the base so its going to be difficult to mount. Lego anyone?

30 August 2014

30th of August

Farm news
The farm is continuing its Seti crunching. I am aiming for 25 million credits and its currently above 22 million. The farm is doing around 88,000 per day at the moment. The weather has been cool and wet so I have added another one of the Nvidia GPU machines to the task. That takes the current effort to be 3  Nvidia GPU machines and 5 Intel iGPU machines.

SD card woes
As you would have gathered from the last couple of blog posts I have been having some issues with the SD cards on the Raspberry Pi's. This week I purchased 5 new ones and will start replacing them all. I have already thrown 2 cards in the bin.

SD cards are not designed for computers running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week writing data constantly. They simply wear out the memory cells. There is a Linux file system called F2FS (Flash Friendly File System) that would be better suited than the ext4 file system that I am currently using, however its not mature enough yet.

Raspberry Pi B+
While researching Linux file systems I noted that the Raspberry Pi B+ version has replaced the B version that I have. I have ordered one. Its still based upon the same SoC (System on a Chip) but has more USB ports, a lower power consumption, uses a MicroSD card instead of the standard SD card and has a redesigned layout. The connectors are on two edges now.