28 November 2015

28th of November

Farm status
We had a hot day again this week so the entire farm was off.

Parallella's and Raspberry Pi's currently doing Einstein work.

Intel GPU machines running overnight doing Seti work.

Nvidia GPU machines are off.

Intel-GPU machine upgrades
So far 4 out of 6 machines have been upgraded. Two more are in the shop awaiting CPU's to arrive. I should be picking them up next weekend.

It seems the Intel HD Graphics 530 drivers give invalid results. I've tried the original one supplied, the current release one and the prior version without any success. There is a beta which I have yet to try, however the release notes don't make any mention of OpenCL so I doubt it will make any difference.

I mentioned in my last post that I did try Linux Mint on one machine however it was corrupting the video display. Since then I've downloaded the latest BIOS version and updated all four machines. When the other machines come in I may try Debian on them. Linux usually doesn't get updated graphics drivers so it may be that I can't use the GPU if I run Linux on them which is about the only reason why I run Windows.

Further upgrades
The Nvidia GPU part of the farm has a couple of 5th generation 6 core/12 thread machines with dual GTX750Ti's and there are also a couple of i7-3770's with GTX970's that I use for GPUgrid work.

My current thinking is to replace the i7-3770's with the same motherboard that I've been using recently (Asus H170-Pro) with an i5-6600 CPU. This way the CPU is basically there to run the GPU and not much else.

22 November 2015

22nd of November

Farm status
Intel GPU machines are running Asteroids@home tasks.

Nvidia GPU machines off.

Raspberry Pi's and Parallella's are running Einstein@home tasks.

We had a couple of hot days during the week where it got up to 41 degrees C. Everything was off that day.

Hardware upgrades
Three (out of six) i7-3770 machines that make up the Intel GPU part of the farm have been updated to i7-6700's. The other three are planned for next weekend.

Intel GPU drivers for the HD Graphics 530 produce invalid results. I've tried 3 different drivers so far without any success. I have suspended crunching on the built-in GPU for the moment.

Due to Win10 rebooting machines at 3:30am (after it installs updates) I have gone back to Win7 on the new machines.

I tried Linux Mint 7.2 on one machine but it corrupts the video display and that was just trying to get it installed. I could put Debian or Ubuntu on them but then I would lose the ability to use the GPU - not a great loss at the moment because they don't work anyway. However I expect Intel will correct their drivers eventually.

BOINC testing
We got 7.6.15 this week. The main tweaks are around the task CPU and I/O priorities under windows. There have been reports of increased task failures, BOINC manager not updating and the client taking a long time to start up. A number of us have suggested backing the changes out. I've gone back to an earlier build (7.6.9).

Pi woes
I have also been battling with the Raspberry Pi's. The B+ refused to upgrade to Debian Stretch. I managed to brick it a couple of times and had to go back to the official Raspbian Jessie image.

Meanwhile the Pi2's have got onto Debian Stretch but are refusing to put the latest BOINC client on, complaining about unmet dependancies, even though they've got everything on the list installed.

07 November 2015

7th of November

Farm news
Crunching continues mostly overnight for Asteroids and Seti on the Intel-GPU machines

Raspberry Pi's and Parallella's are running Einstein work.

The B+ Raspberry Pi is playing up. Its probably worn out the micro-SD card, so I will get a new one and copy across the image from the current card.

The Nvidia GPU machines are off.

I upgraded one of the Intel GPU machines this morning. I'm running some work on it now to get an idea how much faster (or slower) it is from the i7-3770 that it replaced. The BOINC benchmarks indicate lower floating point but greater integer performance. The GPU is noticeably faster than the i7-3770.

I've replaced the power supply with a lower wattage (450w) gold-rated unit. I also replaced the motherboard (ASUS H170), CPU (i7-6700), memory (8Gb DDR4 at 2133Mhz) and CPU cooler. Its in the original case using the original DVD-ROM and hard disk.

Windows decided it was no longer activated. I called Microsoft to get an activation code and after going round in the phone queue 3 times providing my Win7 product code I get told that I have to reinstall Win7 activate it and then upgrade to Win10. That was my afternoon written off.

I will order the parts for the remaining Intel-GPU machines (5 of them) next week and probably be in the computer shop doing them a pair at a time for the next few weeks.

BOINC news
The BOINC 7.6.12 from the Debian Stretch repository seems to have an issue. It no longer writes out to the log files. The stderrdae and stdoutdae are no longer created and the std*gpu files are empty. We think this may be caused by other Debian updates. The Parallella version which runs under Ubuntu doesn't have this problem.

We got 7.6.14 today, so I have that installed on 1 of the Intel-GPU machines at the moment. It has some tweaks to reduce the I/O priority of itself and the tasks (not to be confused with the CPU priority) for windows only. There is some further refinement around number and time displays in the manager and tweaks for showing multi-GPU tasks.

ClimatePrediction went off the air a fortnight ago. They had a problem with their storage sub-system controller that required a firmware update and then they had to restore/rebuild their 200Tb storage array. They came up partially last week and then took most services off the air. They seem to be back online now although its very slow, probably due to large numbers of climate models being returned.

01 November 2015

1st of November

Farm status
Currently everything except the Pi's and Parallella's are off. I have been crunching overnight, one week doing Asteroids and another week on Seti. Its usually too hot in the afternoon and evening to crunch.

New builds
No progress on the new builds yet. I did ask the shop if they could come up with a decent power supply around 360w but the nearest they have is a 450w. The i7-6700 that I plan on using only has a 65w TDP so no point in having too big a power supply when I'm trying to reduce the power consumption. I will have to chase the shop up and see if I can get things moving.

For sale
I still have the old i7-970 machines for sale if anyone wants them. I have two. They've been decommissioned from the crunching farm and are sitting around gathering dust. They are in CM Storm Sniper cases which are pretty big so you'd have to be willing to collect from Sydney's eastern suburbs.

The SuperMicro X8STi-F motherboard is also available. It came out of the file server when it got upgraded. It has an i7-920 CPU, Intel heat sink, 6Gb of memory and driver disc. Currently in an anti-static bag.

And lastly I have a collection of various graphics cards from GTS250 (happy to give them away), GTS450SP, two GTX570 and one GTX670.

If you're interested in any of these make an offer.