31 December 2016

New Years Eve 2016

My last post for 2016.

Its hot here in Sydney so everything is off apart from the Raspberry Pi's that don't seem to mind the hot weather. I need to find somewhere else to put the computers. Somewhere air conditioned.

To recap this year, the farm has grown a bit in size and therefore the compute capability. I have a lot of old hardware to sell off to make some room and fund future upgrades. The farm at the end of this year consists of:
2 x i7-5820k (6 core/12 thread) machines with a GTX1060 each
8 x i7-6700 (4 core/8 thread) machines
2 x i3-6100T with a GTX970 each
9 x Raspberry Pi3's

I am also looking at moving away from Windows due to on-going issues with windows update and Microsoft's insistence in maintaining my computers for me.  I will probably move the Intel GPU part of the farm across to Linux initially.

I also want to get the Alphaserver going. I have had it running before but got caught by the hobbyist license running out each year. I have renewed it twice. There is a move to port OpenVMS onto the x86 architecture that could offer another alternative to Windows.

Next years "to do" list:
1. Get air conditioned location for computers
2. Sell off old hardware
3. Move away from Windows
4. Probable multi-core CPU upgrades (Ryzen)
5. Probable networking upgrades
6. Get BOINC-MPI going
7. Get AlphaServer going
8. More GPU upgrades

As you can see quite a few things to get done next year. All the best for 2017.

23 December 2016

Add jessie-backports repository for Rpi

The Raspberry Pi running Raspbian is as I write this on the Jessie release. This is what is known as a long-term release so while there will be some security and bug fixes no new versions of software are added. If you want to get later versions of software you can compile your own, use a testing/unstable release or add the jessie-backports repository.

Unfortunately the Raspberry Pi foundation don't have a jessie-backports repository. Debian however maintain one. Debian support the ARMv7 and later so this will work for the Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3. Don't use this on the Pi Zero, B+ or older (ARMv6) Raspberry Pi.

I use the command line for accessing my Pi's so these commands are done in a terminal window.

Add to sources.list
The first step is to add the jessie-backports to our sources.list file so that apt can include it. To do this we need to edit the file and add an extra entry. Type following commands:

cd /etc/apt
sudo nano sources.list

We need to add the following line after the Jessie entry
deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie-backports main contrib non-free

Save the file by doing Ctrl-O and when prompted for the filename press the Enter key. To exit do a Ctrl-X. That is hold the Control key down and press the letter.

The httpredir entry is a special entry that tells it to get the files from the fastest available Debian mirror. The jessie-backports part tells it which release.

Add gpg keys
Now we've added jessie-backports we need to get the latest list of program versions. Type the following command:

sudo apt-get update

This will give 2 error messages about missing gpg keys. We'll need to add them with the following commands. Check the keys given in the error message match the ones below and if not replace the key values with the ones from the error message.

gpg --keyserver pgpkeys.mit.edu --recv-key  8B48AD6246925553     
gpg -a --export 8B48AD6246925553 | sudo apt-key add -
gpg --keyserver pgpkeys.mit.edu --recv-key  7638D0442B90D010     
gpg -a --export 7638D0442B90D010 | sudo apt-key add -

Don't forget the hyphen on the end of the apt-key add lines. Now lets try that again.

sudo apt-get update

Which should work this time and will check more repositories. I have received some errors where apt is unable to get the files but retrying the command a few minutes later works fine.

To tell apt we want a version from the jessie-backports repository we need to include -t jessie-backports to the install command, otherwise it simply picks the version from the jessie repository. For example:

sudo apt-get install –t jessie-backports boinc-client

This tells apt we want to install the boinc-client package from jessie-backports.

18 December 2016

18th of December

Farm Status
Intel GPU's
Finishing off a burst of Einstein gravity wave work

Nvidia GPUs
Two running Seti work

Raspberry Pis
Running Einstein BRP4 work

Other news
The two GTX1060's I ordered arrived. Unfortunately they don't have DVI-I output so I can't use my normal DVI to VGA adaptors. I bought a pair of Display Port to VGA adaptors from my usual PC shop. They turned out to have a mini-Display Port plug and the graphics cards have full-sized display port sockets. I've ordered a couple of adaptors off eBay while I take the other ones back to the shop for a refund.

AMD gave an update on the Zen CPU which is now being called a Ryzen (pronounced Rye-Zen). There are expecting to release them in Q1 2017.

I have also ordered a bunch of Cat5e network cables for the Pi cluster. I will add the Pi2's which are gathering dust, into the Pi cluster. They seem happy to run even when its 38 degrees.

09 December 2016

9th of December

Farm status
Intel GPUs
All running Einstein gravity wave work

Nvidia GPUs
Two running Einstein gravity wave work

Raspberry Pis
All running Einstein BRP4 work

Other news
As mentioned above just about everything is running Einstein gravity wave work. Its a CPU only application. Tasks take from 12 to 16 hours depending on the frequency of the work unit. The weather has been mostly hot and then we get a a cooler day or two when I have the entire farm going. The Intel GPU machines currently have 64 tasks and the Nvidia GPU machines have 24 running.

I've been watching the EVGA 6Gb GTX1060's (as replacement for both GTX750Ti's and GTX970's). Nobody seems to have any in stock. Even EVGA is out of stock. Once they become available I will try and get some to replace the existing GPU's.

There's supposed to be an official launch of AMD's Zen CPU in the middle of December. I will look at replacing my existing 6 core/12 thread machines (which use 140 watts) with the Zen 6 core/12 thread part that is said to only use 95 watts and is faster.