23 November 2016

23rd of November

Farm Status
Intel GPUs
Been off for a week, now running Seti

Nvidia GPUs

Raspberry Pis
Running Einstein

Other news
Weather has been hot so everything apart from the Raspberry Pis has been off.

I got a letter from the electricity provider saying they are going to install a "smart meter" sometime between the 28th of November and the 9th of December. That's about as specific as they get. That means the farm will have to be off. This is of course to save them money (they don't need to come out and read the meter) and allows them to charge higher rates depending on the time of day.

I spent a bit of time last week scouting around for a small industrial unit to rent, to put the farm in. Somewhere well out of Sydney to keep the cost down. Unfortunately not too much success apart from one I looked at a few months ago. It would need a fit-out as its just bare walls and concrete floor at the moment. Ideally what I'd like is a cluster of machines in a server room type of setup.

The seven 1Tb SSHD's that I ordered unfortunately couldn't be delivered yesterday because nobody was at home to receive them. I will have to collect them from the post office tomorrow. They are destined to replace the 500Gb hard disks in the Intel GPU machines.

14 November 2016

14th of November

Farm Status
Intel GPUs
Running Seti work

Nvidia GPUs

Raspberry Pis
Running Einstein BRP4 work

Other news
Its been hot for the last few days so the farm has been off apart from the Raspberry Pis. Its forecast to be cool (22-23 degrees C) for the next few days so the Intel GPUs are off and running.

I ordered 7 more SSHD's for the Intel GPU machines. There are 8 machines in the Intel GPU cluster. One has an SSD plus hard disk so I am not upgrading it.

I'm expecting the Einstein project will start to process their Multi Directed Gravity Wave Search soon. They released a few thousand work units as a "tuning" run which we finished off a few weeks ago. There should be the production run of the data starting any day now. Its a CPU only app so I'll probably throw the Intel GPUs at it (which is why I upgraded their memory to 16Gb last month).

I'm still holding off buying GPU replacements given the EVGA cards catching on fire. My current thoughts are a GTX1060 will probably be a good upgrade from the GTX970's. It should be around the same speed but use a lot less electricity.

08 November 2016

Pi Drive

As you can see my Pi Drives arrived.
One thing to be aware of is its just a bare drive. You will also need some form of enclosure to protect the drive  Here is one of the enclosures they also sell for the Pi Drive. They have a few different types but I went for one that sits under the official Rpi case.
You get a miniature torx screwdriver to attach the screws and the rubber grommets to the drive. The other two pieces next to the screwdriver handle are for the LED which is a surface mount on the rear of the drive.
And here is the drive with its USB connector on the back. Its a 2.5" 500Gb drive but has been modified to work with the Rpi (ie slower spin up time and capacity reduced to 314Gb).
And here is a side view after putting it into the case.
And a top view. You can see the plastic ridge that the official case sits within. The dimples are where the rubber feet on the bottom of the Pi case sit.
Here's the cable that connects them all up. It too is an optional extra.
Here is one of my modified Pi cases with a fan on top, sitting on top of the drive enclosure.
You can see the copper heatsink directly under the fan to keep the Pi cool. The cable on the top is part of the fan cabling that connects to the GPIO pins for power.
To move the root partition see http://markjatboinc.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/moving-rpi-root-partition.html that I posted in October. It still boots off the SD card but the root drive is now on the Pi Drive.

It cost me USD 98 for the two drives, enclosures and cables. The freight forwarding added another USD 50 to the price. But then one can't buy them in Australia.

It all worked out of the box. There are small parts such as the screws and the light diffuser for the LED which can be difficult to handle if you have big fingers. My only complaint about it so far is its only 288Gb when formatted as ext4. They have a 1Tb drive available, it costs more of course but I haven't tried it.

07 November 2016

7th of November

Farm Status
Intel GPUs
Half running Seti work overnight

Nvidia GPUs
Two running GPUgrid work overnight

Raspberry Pis
All running Einstein BRP4 work

SSHD install
I installed the SSHD's into the GPUgrid crunchers. The first one I cloned the original disk without problems. The second one however had secure boot enabled thanks to Microsoft. I ended up resetting the BIOS and having to clean install windows onto it. The windows experience rating for them was unchanged from the original hard disks they replaced (manufactured in 2007), however they are noticeably quicker.

The third SSHD went into a Linux machine and I had to reinstall Linux on it. When I first powered it up the disk caused a short circuit. The metal plate the drive mounts on was in contact with the SATA power cable. After rearranging the drive placement it was off and running.

GPU replacements
There are reports of the EVGA GTX1070 and GTX1080 catching fire. EVGA are correcting the issues with a BIOS update and applying thermal pads around the power circuitry. Just as well I haven't replaced my GTX970's yet.

While I had the GPUgrid machines apart I did try swapping the dual GTX750Ti's into one. Unfortunately it seems the i3-6100T CPU doesn't have enough PCIe lanes and will run one card at x16 speed and the other at x4. I swapped them back with the GTX970.

GPUgrid have started testing a Pascal version of their acemd science app. Initial reports say that it works fine. Its using CUDA version 8 so up-to-date drivers are required.

One configuration that I'm thinking of for the GPU crunchers is to have the i3-6100T machines with a single GTX1060 in each. That would replace the GTX970's that are currently in them.