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Muahaha... it's ALIVE! :D

Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:24 pm

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Cooler weather can mean only one thing: the return of the Crate Farm! :D

After much putzing around, I've gotten the beginnings of Diskless Crate Farm Mark II up and running. That's a diskless Athlon64 2800+ dedicated F@h node in the above pic. The server is already running stashed away in the crawlspace.

I decided to start over from scratch, using more current software (LTSP 4.1.1 running on Fedora Core 4, instead of LTSP 3.x on Redhat 9). I'm also completely redoing the motherboard mounting as well, using a slightly different arrangement (though milk crates will still be used). While getting LTSP set up for folding is still a bit of a pain, it was better than the first time; and adding more nodes should be a piece of cake (just a few extra lines in the dhcpd.conf file for each node, and we should be good to go).

Unlike prior versions of LTSP, ssh (secure shell) is now used instead of rsh to remotely launch commands on the diskless nodes. This, and the need to get the NIS service properly configured, were probably the two biggest sources of confusion. Running an interactive remote shell does not seem to work properly with this new approach; fortunately, the ability ro run an interactive shell on the diskless nodes isn't really required. Since all of the files reside on the LTSP server anyway, the Folding@home client can be configured from there.

Many of you probably recall the Crate Farm Mark I, a rather unwieldy mess with 4 motherboards strapped into a crate and a pile of ATX PSUs sitting around it on the floor. The plan for the new farm is to have 2 nodes, with their associated PSUs mounted in each crate, to keep things neater. I'll be using compact Micro-ATX PSUs (like the one pictured running the A64). Packing the motherboards less densely should also eliminate the need for the extra fans blowing on the crate.

I also intend to work on some better scripts for managing the farm. I'll post additional details at some point... maybe even that full-blown article I've been talking about doing for over a year. :lol:

I will not relinquish my place in the TR Top 20 without a fight! :lol:

Cheers... and fold on, everyone! :D
Last edited by just brew it! on Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The years just pass like trains. I wave, but they don't slow down.
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Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:33 pm

Welcome back good sir! Hopefully your refit goes smoothly.
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Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:42 pm

we gonna see some redness brew?
 
Deathright
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Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:51 pm

lol, that cpu has a massive heat sink, other than that great, but how do you ground the motherboard???
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Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:57 pm

leor wrote:
we gonna see some redness brew?

That's a definite possibility! With the server for the crate farm (which has been up for a few days), plus my desktop at work added to the mix, I'm already approaching 1000 ppd. I figure the diskless A64 should put me right about at the 1000 ppd mark.

I've still got the 4 original Crate Farm Mark I diskless nodes to bring over... they're just older AXPs (no A64s), but I think that'll put me pretty close to the red zone. If I can just add another A64 to the mix, I think that could clinch it.
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Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:10 pm

Deathright wrote:
lol, that cpu has a massive heat sink, other than that great,

It's just a cheap-ass aluminum A64 HSF from the TigerDirect Outlet Store... looks really similar to the AMD retail coolers (but noisier). It doesn't even get warm under 100% load. Gotta love those power efficient A64s! :D

but how do you ground the motherboard???

The grounding thru the PSU is sufficient. Been running systems like this for a couple of years now, and haven't had a grounding problem yet.
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Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:15 am

Whats cooking in the carboy?
 
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Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:14 am

Sling wrote:
Whats cooking in the carboy?

5 gallons of India Pale Ale. :D
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Thu Sep 22, 2005 10:49 am

I'm just rebuilding my farm at the moment too. Trying to avoid LTSP this time and do it all by hand. Well it almost works at the moment, the machines all boot up they just don't start folding or start sshd :evil:

BTW that place in the top 20 is MINE, I just borged a Celeron 366 and I'm sure it will make all the difference.
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Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:41 am

Welcome back to power folding JBI!! I look forward to seeing CRATE FARM II! :D :D
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Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:48 am

cheesyking wrote:
I'm just rebuilding my farm at the moment too. Trying to avoid LTSP this time and do it all by hand.

:o

There's a word for people like you: "masochist". :lol:

BTW that place in the top 20 is MINE, I just borged a Celeron 366 and I'm sure it will make all the difference.

Bring it on!! :D
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Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:54 am

jeffry55 wrote:

And while I'm here, I'll ask you to join UnitedGerbilNation. 35 Ghz of folding power would catapult the Nation into the #2 position on Team TR. :P That would be fun. :wink:


I dont think he would be joining before we finish our top 50 race haha, if KingFish thought he had it pretty much guaranteed i think retro is gonna give him a run for the money...and i am not through yet either ;p
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Thu Sep 22, 2005 12:55 pm

just brew it! wrote:
cheesyking wrote:
I'm just rebuilding my farm at the moment too. Trying to avoid LTSP this time and do it all by hand.

:o

There's a word for people like you: "masochist". :lol:


Actually getting a node up and giving you a shell is pretty easy, though I suspect having done it with ltsp first helped me a lot (at least I knew what most of the jargon meant).

<a href="http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/diskless-howto.xml">Here</a> is the guide I used. From a running install on the server it took about 3 hours so yeah it would have been quicker to use LTSP but I'd already done that!

** Edit by mod: Removed the part of this post which went with the piece of this thread which was split. **
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Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:05 pm

Somebody want to split this?
 
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Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:19 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Somebody want to split this?

Yeah, I was just thinking that I should do that. Just a sec...

Crap. Looks like we just got "had" by a phpBB bug. Looks like a new post came in while I was doing the split, and hosed things. The split off posts now seem to be missing. :evil:

Edit: Oops, never mind, I think I am going nuts.

Here is the split thread: viewtopic.php?t=33798
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Fri Sep 23, 2005 1:50 am

Just upped 2 of the AXP nodes from the original (Mark I) milk crate farm, in a rebuilt (Mark II) crate. Some pics:

Image
Rebuilt crate... only 2 nodes per crate now instead of 4, but it's much neater (PSUs are mounted right in the crate with the nodes)

Image
A closer view

Image
Unused PSU leads tied out of the way in the corners of the crate

Image
I'm not particularly pleased with the PSU mounting... but it seems secure enough, as long as the crate is kept horizontal

Image
Closeup of the motherboard mounting method... cable ties rock! :D

Image
Power and network cables all tied up to keep things tidy

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Up and running

I plan to build at least one more of these, to house the other 2 nodes from the original crate farm... maybe a 3rd one with a pair of A64s in it as well.

With the rebirth of the crate farm, I've also started updating my "live status" page again, here.
The years just pass like trains. I wave, but they don't slow down.
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Fri Sep 23, 2005 1:59 am

Wow, looks like you took some classes in making-it-look-like-more-than-a-bunch-of-parts-thrown-in-a-crate-in-a-closet 101 8)
 
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Fri Sep 23, 2005 2:02 am

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Wow, looks like you took some classes in making-it-look-like-more-than-a-bunch-of-parts-thrown-in-a-crate-in-a-closet 101 8)

Yeah, looks nice 8) . Ive some parts here around. Ill buy the 'missing' components over a time and set it up for F@H too :P
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Mon Sep 26, 2005 12:57 am

The fall F@h farm ramp-up proceeds...

Image
on the left is a diskless MSI KM2M and Athlon XP 2100+ which has just been brought back online this evening; next to it is the A64 system from the first post on this thread

Image
replacing the A64 system on the test bench (OK, I confess, it's actually a test tray table) is a DFI KM400-MLV with a Sempron 2200; this board is a bit of an oddity in that it has onboard NIC but no built-in network boot capability; I've got it set up to load Etherboot from a USB flash drive; Etherboot in turn loads LTSP over the network

I'll get these things crated up over the next week or two...

Warp speed, Mr. Sulu! :D
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Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:50 am

Nice pictures JBI! :D The Crate Farm Mod '2' looks very nice. Lots of room for air flow and very tidy. :wink:

P.S. I concur, cable ties rock!! :P
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Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:45 am

Last night I figured out a way to add PPD info and estimated time remaining for each WU, on my "live status" page here. Makes it really easy to keep an eye on things remotely! :wink:
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Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:07 am

Wow. I am inspired to bring some of my idel assets on line. but where will they go.
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Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:21 am

dragongoddess wrote:
Wow. I am inspired to bring some of my idel assets on line. but where will they go.

Wherever there's space, and a circuit you can put 'em on without popping a circuit breaker! :lol:
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Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:09 pm

Update:

Haven't had a chance to build any more crates yet, but I have managed to bring nearly all of my spare hardware back on-line over the past few weeks. I discovered that one of the light sockets towards the back of the crawlspace has a 3-wire outlet in the side of it. Power and space for 3 more nodes!!! :D They're just running on the bare floor (like the two shown a few posts back), with machine screws through the mobo mounting holes for legs.

I'm solidly in the red now, averaging around 1800 PPD.
The years just pass like trains. I wave, but they don't slow down.
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