24 core Ikea cluster

[Janne] does freelance animation and wanted something with a bit more CPU to get his rendering jobs done. He picked up an Ikea ‘Helmer’ cabinet and refitted it to hold six Intel quad cores, six Gigabyte motherboards with 8GB of ram each and six 400 watt power supplies. He seems happy with it – I think it just needs some custom power wiring and an integrated Gig-E switch to achieve perfection. What? I’m not jealous at all.


  1. Wolf says:

    The site seams to be running pretty slow, anyone got a recent mirror?

  2. andrew says:

    his server is swamped. other than that it looks like a great project :)

  3. tjhow says:

    plz mirror..

    must.. have.. super cluster..

  4. Joel says:

    Damn his server is slow, Mirror anyone? If it would of loaded for me i could of mirrored it. Does anyone have a copy of the html and pics email me a .zip or .rar if you do. jojo1224_999@hotmail.com

  5. SgtStein says:

    I am working on a mirror of the site right now. Should be up within the hour. Will re-post or edit when completed.

  6. Zachary says:

    mirroring should be standard procedure before all us greedy hackaday users destroy sites bandwidths :D

  7. allen says:

    did he use a single psu for this cluster of machines? i’d really like to try this out with a xen vm cluster…

  8. Jevin says:
  9. Bullwinkle Jones says:

    Go Coral!

  10. ex-parrot says:


    This seems to have the whole page.

  11. ClenchedTeeth says:

    Coral Cache:
    Still slow but better than the direct link.
    Just put .nyud.net at the end of the domain name of any website. Seriously, look it up.

  12. ex-parrot says:

    curses… foiled again ;)

  13. thug says:

    He mounted all 6 psu’s so I’m assuming he used them all.

    The quoted 400W power draw is most likely all 6 comps combined, at idle of course.

  14. Janne says:

    New mirror of site here:

  15. tjhow says:

    i wonder how much power hes sucking down when rendering stuff.

  16. Janne says:

    About 600W when rendering. Fans rev up a bit, but sound level still ok. Sorry for ny slow site. ;)

  17. Jason says:

    Janne, did you consider PXE booting the cluster? It would have reduced money, power and noise and increased the neat factor. Does your rendering app need local scratch?

  18. PacketStorm4 says:

    I want one!!!!
    Is there any possibility that he will go into more detail about it?
    Soooooooo coool

  19. Derek Vance says:

    :O i want one too! thats pretty cool :D

  20. Anonymous Canuck says:

    I second the recommendation for PXE boot. I recently set up a cluster and used PXE boot. It turned out to be much easier then I expected. Google for “linux pxe boot”. It was a simple matter of adding a few lines to the dhcpd config file, start a tftpd server, and putting the pxelinux (from syslinux) files in the right place.

  21. usmarineguy says:

    You know, I wonder how this would compare to the one mini supercomputer that was shown on here before…

    This is the exact one, but it’s close enough – Microwulf

  22. usmarineguy says:

    Sorry about that, user issues…

    microwulf – http://www.calvin.edu/~adams/research/microwulf/

    it isn’t the exact thing i was thinking of, but it’s close…

  23. chupa says:

    “The most amazing is that this machine just costed as a better standard PC”

    I think hes trying to say it cost as much as a top of the line rig. And if thats the case I find that hard to believe. just looking at RAM+CPU+Mobos from newegg i have a total of $2,478. I dont know if he got some better deals from the place he got his stuff from but 2.4K is a LOT of money, even for a top of the line rig.


  24. Mike says:

    That is really cool. Everybody that does clusters like this make it look easy. As soon as I can get my hands on a few spare computers I suppose I will make a project out of it.

  25. dirk says:


    to be fair, a ‘top of the line’ PC might have a CPU that costs $1000 by itself, and another thousand dollars in video cards.

    It’s true you COULD build a pretty solid machine for $1000 (I’ve done it).

    Besides, for the amount of power he’s got, it seems like a solid investment, even at full retail. He mentioned he got a deal on the CPUs, so it’d be even ebtter.

  26. eul)42 says:

    janne – can you provide some more details on the software setup?

    Your use of FreeNAS as a storage space intrigues me, and I am wondering if it might help me with my son’s problem.

    I’m quite new to rendering. My 11 year old has blender installed on our Windows PC. He just recently purhcased an AMD Dual Core system that I installed Ubuntu 7 on and blender 2.44.

    (He’s starting to play with lip syncing animations – http://www.flyinglow.ca/matthew)

  27. Jeremy says:

    So, you say that the cluster was cheap to build. Could we have a better idea on the price? Are we looking at $2000? More? Less?

  28. Dave says:

    How much did it cost? That’s what I’d like to know.

  29. Alex McCown says:

    lol i have the same ram sticks xD this is a nice and usefull device

  30. hb says:

    “Render jobs that took all night, now gets done in 10-12 min.”

    With only 6 computers, how does it get a perfomance boost factor of 40-50X?

    Is it maybe comparing an apple to an orange?

    “Render jobs that took all night (on a 1GHz Celeron), now gets done in 10-12 min.”

  31. dave says:

    Great idea and wonderful coincidence that this fits so smoothly into an Ikea file cabinet. Another issue is the PC-type hardware being used. I found standard-hardware to be not as reliable as it should be. With six of these boards fixing, debugging and administration can be quite a headache. I would spend some extra bucks to invest in server-hardware.

  32. Doug says:

    Does this mean the SouperComputer lives one?
    But I’d have to be certain soupercomputer required much more than 400W of juice. The metal work alone must have taken a week of Sundays to do.

  33. Techyguru says:

    That’s very nice.

    Only a matter of time before we all have computers with 64Gb of ram and 24 cores but I want it now.

  34. I can think of more than a few situations where this could come in handy.

  35. Janne says:

    Regarding PXE booting or any other network booting. I’m no tech guy, I just need cpu speed, and just did helmer the dumb-but-fast-and working way ;) …and a really wanted a local swap space in case a fill the memory.

  36. Janne says:

    Regarding FreenNAS. I used it because it’s so easy to use, and works with PC, mac and linux/unix. ..and free :) For a home server, you can get a fan-less VIA-luke nano itx card, with 2 sata ports. Get 2x 1TB drives and you have a very good, low cost zero noise home server. Intel have just released the atom chip, and Im realy eager to see it in real life.

  37. DigitalMind says:

    Wow that’s kick ass .. I want to make one of those and then mount it on a pedestal that I will pray to every morning and night ! :)

  38. Ryan says:

    I think the question here is…what are they using all that rendering power for?

    Oh – and can anybody say F@H cluster?

  39. Kulawend says:

    29: I’m sure by ‘all night’ he means when he goes to bed it’s going, and when he wakes up it’s all done.

  40. Atlantis says:

    I ask myself what power he might get if he overclocks those babys. I think he uses Intel Q6600 Quat Processors these can take a clockspeed up to 4 ghz. Just think about what calculation power he might get – maybe up to 50 Gflops!!!

  41. BC says:

    Should’ve bought some PS3s

  42. Zayn1000 says:

    OMG DUDE and your only running linux!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wow i congratulate you on that one…. i love your computer……..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Tim M. says:

    A friend and I built another version of a 24-core Linux cluster built into a $29.99 Ikea Helmer cabinet. The total cost is $2550.11. The design and implementation is robust and elegant. On my blog, I show how to build it in pictures, breakdown the component costs, talk about air flow, and discuss idle and full speed temperatures. We think our solution is practical and feasible for other people needing a small cluster for specialty applications.


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