23 December 2012

23rd of December

Well the world didn't end as some expected. Just because the Mayan long count calendar ran out doesn't mean the end of the world.

Farm news
As indicated in my last post the UPS died and I ordered another one. Since that post it arrived and has been installed.

I also mentioned the last of the C2Q machines getting replaced. That too has happened so I no longer have any C2Q machines. The entire farm is now i7 based. The farm currently consists of:
  • 2 x i7-970's (12 cores each) with GPU's
  • 3 x i7-3770's (8 cores each) with GPU's
  • 4 x i7-3770's (8 cores each) without GPU

As its summer down here in Sydney its too hot to run most of them without resorting to using the air conditioner so they are mainly off. A few of them (the ones without GPU's) get a burst of activity on the cooler days and then are off when it gets hot again. I am looking at solutions to this so they can be running 24x7.

Raspberry Pi
They had an update dated the 16th of December that seems to have helped a bit. You can now get the BOINC client and manager directly from the repo. I purchased a few 8Gb SD cards (ALDI had SanDisk class 6 ones for $10) so I could re-image them.

There are instructions on the Raspberry Pi download page and links to the latest image.

You need a program called Win32DiskImager to put the image file onto the SD card if you run Windows. Once done put the SD card into your Pi and boot. Run through the setup. Once you've done that simply do the following at a command prompt:
  • sudo apt-get boinc-client
  • sudo apt-get boinc-manager

At this point you will have 7.0.27 and can attached to the projects (not that any of mine currently support the Pi directly). Projects that are looking at supporting the Pi that I know of are:
  • QCN (Quake Catcher Network) - You'll need a sensor
  • Radioactive@home - You'll need a sensor
  • Einstein@home
  • Asteroids@home

The first two both need a sensor and already have an app but don't offer native support for the Pi. Einstein has an app but are looking to reduce the memory required and the size of their work units for the Pi. Asteroids are looking at porting their Linux app to the Pi.

After all this I still haven't seen the first Pi that I ordered. According to the forums on the Raspberry Pi web site Allied/RS Components have filled all back orders and have stock. They have been upgrading people to the revision 2 board which has 512Mb memory. The revision 1 that I have only has 256Mb memory. Hopefully it will arrive soon.

The 256Mb Pi that I have keeps losing its internet connection for some reason. Discussions in the forum suggest it can be caused by using a USB hub and/or a Logitec keyboard (I had both). I have tried using other keyboards and even no hub but that didn't fix anything, so it might be a hardware fault.

BOINC news
We got 7.0.42 last week. It has support for intel HD2500 and HD4000 graphics that are built into the 2nd and 3rd generation i5 and i7 CPU's. Its OpenCL capaable so BOINC should be able to make use of them. Of course its waiting on the projects to add support, but given a number already have OpenCL apps that shouldn't take too long.

They've almost finalised their board layout and will soon be placing manufacturing orders soon. So its looking good for a May delivery. I won't expect it to be that fast as the Epiphany will only have 16 cores. It is another one of things to experiment with to see if its any good at crunching. At least it should be better than the Raspberry Pi.

Surplus hardware
I still have a pile of old graphics cards I need to dispose of. Nothing wrong with them just that they aren't the current generation so I may as well get some money for them and make some room. Its a bit of nusance using eBay due to the fees they charge. If you are interested drop me a line and we can talk price. Starting at the most recent I have:

2 x Palit GTX570 factory overclocked in original box
13 x GTS450SP these are single-slot cards not sold in Australia. Elsa brand from Japan
2 x Palit GTX295 (rev 2 boards) no packaging
4 x Palit GTS250 no packaging
1 x Radeon HD4550 no packaging
2 x EVGA GT240 no packaging

I also have a couple of intel CPU's
i7-920 (8 cores - ie 4 cores with hyper threading) socket 1366 chip only
i5-3550 (4 cores) socket 1155 in box with intel heatsink/fan

Email for the above surplus items is:
augur tbbs [ @ ] yahoo [ dot ] com
Strip out the spaces and brackets and put a dot in to make it a valid address

09 December 2012

9th of December

This week saw another Core 2 Quad replaced by a 3rd generation i7. There is one left to replace next week and that should be the upgrades for a while. The i7's provide more CPU cores, run faster and use less watts. I am using them as fairly lean (on wattage) CPU-only crunchers.

The UPS on the file server died during the week. The loft stinks of ozone as some component inside has obviously blown up. I awoke on Friday morning to a frantic beeping coming from it and a smelly loft. A new one has been ordered already.

Project news - Asteroids@home
This project has been running for a while but until this weekend only had a Linux app. This weekend the released an application for windows users. They try to map the shape of asteroids using a lightcurve method. Their web address is: http://asteroidsathome.net/boinc/index.php

I had Linux running in a virtual machine on one cruncher for the past couple of months, just for this project. Now I can remove it and use the other machines with a native windows app.

Project news - Seti@home
They had a major crash last week as a result of a local power failure in the Space Sciences Lab at UC Berkeley. It took out one of their older machines. Their science database was also compromised. They didn't manage to shut down their main database machine or the replica database machine before the UPS batteries went flat.

It has taken them a week to restore from the last backup and roll forward. They then had to verify the integrity of the database which took a few days due to its size. You can read about it in this message thread if you want to know the details: http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/forum_thread.php?id=70199

We are back to the usual maxxed-out network connection now. Due to the scheduler time-out happening for the last fortnight they have applied hard-limits of 100 tasks per CPU core at any one time. This should mean more people can get work and those more "hungry" computers won't be able to request thousands of tasks at a time.