Another IKEA linux cluster

In a bit of serendipity, reader [Tim Molter] had decided on the IKEA Helmer cabinet for his new cluster right before seeing the previous IKEA cluster we covered. He and his coding partner recently completed building their own version of the IKEA Linux cluster. The cabinet was $30 and holds six headless boxes. Each board has a quad-core AMD processor for a total of 24 cores. They also feature 1GB of RAM and an 80GB laptop SATA drive. The latter was chosen because of space limitations in the case. [Tim] describes the Helmer cabinet as being almost perfect. The power supply lines up with the top edge of the drawer and the motherboard fits with a millimeter to spare. Power buttons were added to the front plus slots for airflow. It looks like a really clean installation and at $2550, incredibly cheap for the processing power.

Comments

  1. Edward Nardella says:

    Why people keep putting in a hard drive for each node is something that baffles me.

    Otherwise nice build. Off to look at the details.

  2. Ian says:

    Looks really cool. I would have chosen Intel quad cores but thats just me. There is a vid on youtube where an AMD and an Intel Quad core race to render some video. Same specs except processors, and the Intel was much faster.

  3. andrew says:

    ian: i agree, i went with intel quad core because it outperformed amd in all the benchmarks i could find. hopefully the amd choice was financially-based.

  4. pal says:

    Would this be faster than a commodore 64?

    are there reasonable dual processor motherboards available, so you could get eight cores per unit?

  5. aoeu says:

    @pal
    cheap dual socket botherboards don’t support quadcore processors.

  6. Kyle says:

    I don’t get the use of hard disks on the nodes either, PXE/NFS boot works. Though it does add to the network load.

    Several years ago I built a cluster with some surplus gear and it was very easy to saturate the network. I always wished I had a gig switch for it.

    Another thing to not forget is power usage, it adds up fast and the “Boss” told me to shut it down after the first months power bill was $100 higher. :)

  7. mbean says:

    This cluster was designed with a specific task in mind. The use of hard drives on each node was because each node is processing a *large* chunk of data (cant be broken in to smaller chunks without massive headaches) and the network could not support the increase in load as the cluster scaled. We are not rendering. As far as Intel versus AMD, maybe the next Helmer will be Intel inside. The take-away message is that an IKEA Helmer fits the goods like a glove with minimal mods and doesn’t look like a rats-nest(see previous Helmer mod).

    ~guy that helped build it

  8. Heimwerken says:

    Schreiber einer Rezession nicht verstehen, die behaupten er kann keine festen Schrauben loesen… also den, den ich habe kann das.
    Erstes Einsatzgebiet nach dem Kauf war das abnehmen einer Unterkonstruktion einer Holzdecke. Hat voll durchgehalten und mir die Arbeit sehr erleichtert.

    Andy

  9. uii, sehr interessant, wusste ich noch nicht!

  10. Woojay Jeon says:

    I was inspired by Tim’s awesome work and tried building my own system, right here. Not as nice and neat as Tim’s system with the customized drawer panels, but it is red! :)

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