07 January 2018

Summer scorcher

Farm status
Intel GPUs
All off

Nvidia GPUs
All off

Raspberry Pi’s
All running Einstein BRP work

Meltdown and Spectre bugs
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week you could not fail to hear about the two bugs dubbed Meltdown and Spectre. Meltdown is caused by the CPU doing speculative execution and effects all Intel processors made in the last 10 years as well as some recent ARM processors. The speculative execution is a feature the chip designers add to prevent the CPU waiting to load instructions, however it also has this nasty side effect.

Yesterday we got patched kernels for the Meltdown bug, both Linux and Windows. The Raspberry Pi’s don’t use the effected ARM processors so they didn’t need kernel updates. I spent some time applying it to all computers.

There have already been some lawsuits filed against Intel. There could be some performance impact caused by the patch but I have not been able to tell how much yet. Spectre has not been patched as its much harder to counter. It effects AMD, ARM and Intel (and possibly other) CPU brands.

I haven’t seen patches for the Drobo and I expect a number of mobile phones and tablets will need patching, a lot of them use the effected ARM processors.

Other farm news
Speaking of meltdown is was like that today with the temperature getting up to 38 degrees C here so I had everything off until things cooled down. Even now the only computers I have running are the Raspberry Pi’s.

I do, when its cool enough, run the main crunchers overnight. I am still trying to get Asteroids and Einstein up to the 50 million credits that Seti has accumulated.

25 December 2017

Christmas Day 2017

Farm Status
Intel GPUs
All running Einstein Gamma Ray search

Nvidia GPUs
Off but did a burst of Asteroids work during the week.

Raspberry Pis
Six with fans are running non-stop. The others have been off during the week

Pi to the Power of 4 case
I did another version of my Pi Case - The Mark I. Currently waiting on parts so I can assemble them. I had 3 printed off in one go which dropped the unit price to $177 AUD. Once I have one assembled I will put up photos. One project finished this year.

Other Projects
One of the projects for next year is to sort out an air conditioned computer room so we can crunch 24/7. I’ll probably leave the Raspberry Pis at home but the rest of the farm can be relocated.

Another half-started project is the storage server. Its sitting in its box in the lounge. As its quite heavy it hasn’t made it upstairs yet. I have drives for it. I will probably put a mix of fast HDD’s and slower but larger capacity HDD’s. The idea is it will run ZFS which has the concept of drive pools.

A third project to look at is improved network speeds. I added a 10Gbe network card to the storage server. I probably need another one for the proxy server. I need a 10Gbe switch. The number crunchers can use a gigabit switch with 10Gbe uplinks. I haven’t done anything with this so far as it depends a lot on projects one and two.

09 December 2017

Pi ^4 Case Prototype

Here is a prototype Raspberry Pi case that I designed and had 3D printed. I already have some ideas for further refinement.

Update: Changed the name to save confusion with other products.

Top piece/Top view

Top piece/Front view

Top and bottom/Front view

Top and bottom

Top and bottom/Top view

Top piece with one fan mounted

Top piece with all four fans mounted

Bottom section with 4 Pis and power cables

Powered up and running

9th of December

Farm status
Intel GPUs
Running Einstein gravity wave work overnight

Nvidia GPUs

Raspberry Pis
Running Einstein BRP4 work

Other news
Seti had a fund raiser to cover the cost of a server to store data from the Parkes radio telescope (approx. $34,000) and for a GPU development system (approx. $10,000). What was different about this one, apart from being for data from here in Australia, there were three donors who were matching/doubling any donations so only 1/6th of the amount needed to be reached. They hit the required target within 24 hours. I made a donation of course.

Einstein gravity wave work was split into Hi and Lo work units. The Hi ones use a fair bit of memory and were sent to fast hosts like my i7-6700's and the Lo went to slower hosts and use less memory. My Ryzen 1700's were considered as a slower hosts. Einstein finished processing all their Hi work so have now opened up the remaining Lo work units to all hosts. I've been crunching these overnight as my i7's can do them in 6-8 hours when running on all cores.