20 August 2016

20th of August

Farm status
Intel GPUs
Half running Seti and the other half running both CPDN and Seti

Nvidia GPUs
Two off at the shop

Raspberry Pis
All running Einstein BRP4 work

Farm updates
The two new dedicated GPU crunchers are in the shop. They are going from a Fractal Designs ARC Mini (mATX) case to an ARC Midi (ATX) case. That should allow me to use the bottom PCIe slot in them without hitting the power supply. I looked at getting the Asus Z170 Pro motherboard but only the gaming version seems to be available so I took the cheaper option and went with moving the existing mATX motherboards into a bigger case.

While dropping the two GPU crunchers off at the shop this morning I picked up the remaining i7-6700 which has now been setup. Its running a bit of each project to get some numbers up. I will switch it over to Seti once it finishes off its Einstein work. This brings the Intel GPU part of the cluster up to 8 machines.

While this is going on there are a bunch of updates for the Raspberry Pi's so I am backing them up and then updating. The updates don't take too long but backing up the SD card takes a while.

Future upgrades
As I mentioned in my last post I am awaiting some movement in the GPU crunching space and for AMD to see what they've got available, A couple of interesting messages threads I've been reading lately regarding a 40 core CPU cruncher using dual Xeon v4 processors. It looks like it could be a replacement for my two i7-5860K machines. All I can do at the moment is wait.

One thing I am looking at doing is replacing the disks in the various crunchers. Some of them have an Intel SSD plus a hard disk and the remainder have hard disks of varying sizes. I prefer to have things standardised. The hard disks that went into the dedicated GPU crunchers are 320Gb drives manufactured in 2008 that I have reused from previous machines. They work fine but are rather slow.

14 August 2016

14th of August

Farm Status
Intel GPUs
Half (3) running Seti and the other half running CPDN plus Seti

Nvidia GPUs
One running GPUgrid overnight.

Raspberry Pis
All running Einstein BRP4 work

Project update - Einstein
They were off for the week while upgrading their web site. Its still got a few issues but its running and the backend BOINC components are also running. In fact the Raspberry Pi's didn't run out of work so I have reduced their cache settings back to a more reasonable level.

Hardware upgrades
I got the two GPU crunchers last weekend. They are both i3 based systems who's purpose is to run a graphics card or two. I'm not happy with them. Sure they work okay, well one does. One has a faulty case fan so until its replaced I can't run the GPU in it. The problem is they are mATX boards in a Fractal Designs ARC Mini case and there isn't enough room to put a 2nd GPU in. Its designed for motherboards up to the mATX size. The motherboard has a 2nd PCIe slot, but its so close to the edge of the board a double-slot card won't fit because the power supply is in the way.

I have ordered a couple more ARC Midi cases and Z170 Pro motherboards (they're ATX size) and will cannibalise the mATX machines for parts.

I picked up one of the two i7-6700's on the weekend. Its up and running. It did some Einstein and some Asteroids work to get a burn-in and is now running Seti work. This brings the Intel GPU part of the farm up to 7 machines.

Wish list
I am waiting on a Pascal-based replacement for the GTX750Ti to be announced by Nvidia. I have no idea if they'll call it a GTX1050Ti or not or if they'll be as good as the 750Ti.

I am also waiting for AMD Zen to be released. They sound like they'll make good multi-core CPU crunchers, but we'll have to wait and see. The teasers we've been given by AMD indicate they'll have a 8 core/16 thread CPU that uses a maximum of 95 watts. What their performance is like we don't know yet.

31 July 2016

31st of July

Farm status
Intel GPUs
All running Seti work

Nvidia GPUs
The two remaining ones are running Seti work

Raspberry Pis
All running Einstein BRP4 work

Other news
As mentioned in my last post Einstein are taking their web site off-line from the 1st to the 5th of August so they can upgrade it. The work unit processing hopefully won't be off-line for as long, but just in case I have increased the cache settings on the Raspberry Pis.

I have transitioned all the machines from Asteroids work onto Seti. Asteroids reached, and now has passed, my Einstein credit of 35.6 million which was my target. The switch to Seti is to bring its credit up to the same level.

As of Friday (the 28th) the computer shop still didn't have the motherboards needed to build the 4 machines on order. That is two more Intel GPU machines (mainly used for CPU work) and two GPU crunchers. I've dropped off various bits that are getting reused from the older machines such as power supplies, hard disks and a pair of GTX970's to go into them. I'll probably get all 4 next weekend now.

Microsoft pushed the Intel beta graphics driver 4474 for the HD Graphics 530 out via Windows update in the last week as a required update. All my Intel GPU machines now have it. It contains a fix for people having issues with 1080p versus 1080i screen modes which didn't effect me. It doesn't fix their OpenCL issue.

24 July 2016

24th of July

Farm Status
Intel GPUs
All six crunching Asteroids

Nvidia GPUs
Two remaining are running Asteroids

Raspberry Pis
All nine crunching Einstein

Project news - Einstein
They are going to be taking the project off-line from the 1st of August to the 5th of August. This is so they can convert to their new format website that they have been running on Albert for quite some time. They probably won't need the back-end servers off-line for so long.

Farm news
Given the length of time Einstein will be off-line I have already increased the cache on the Raspberry Pis so they have enough work to ride out the outage. I also took the opportunity to update all of them to the latest version of Raspbian.

I am number 10 in Asteroids top participant list (by recent average credit). This is despite being down two machines that were retired last week. I am waiting for the replacement machines to be assembled by the computer shop. Hopefully they'll be ready for next weekend. I also need to chase the shop as to what is happening with the replacement GPU crunchers.

My internet speed is rather slow these days. I had a service call with the phone company last week. They found two faults, one on the incoming line and one between the incoming line and a second communications cupboard. They swapped the lines over but that doesn't seem to have helped.

I am considering swapping internet provider to one that offers ADSL 2+ annex M support, thus improving upload speed but sacrificing some download speed. I have ordered a new ADSL router for this but it has yet to arrive.