25 July 2017

25th of July

Farm status
Intel GPUs
All running Asteroids work

Nvidia GPUs
Two running Asteroids work

Raspberry Pis
All running Einstein BRP4 work


Other news
I have the other two Ryzen systems installed and running. The Nvidia GPU part of the farm is now 4 x Ryzen 1700's with a GTX1060 in each one.

When I started up the last two machines they gave me a "CPU fan error" which turned out to be the shop had plugged the CPU and case fans into the wrong headers on the motherboard. I had to plug them into the correct ones. I also took the opportunity to remove the DVD drive from each machine. In the dim, dark days when I ran windows I needed them to install it, but these days I boot off a USB memory stick and install Linux from it.

I have pretty much reached the power and thermal limits of the farm in its current location so that puts any further expansion on hold until I can find somewhere else to locate equipment. I will look at adding some redundancy (internet, etc).


BOINC news
There are some moves afoot to improve the BOINC client. At the moment its just a list of what we'd like to see. Its may not actually happen but you have to start somewhere. There are also moves to come up with better source/release management of the client

16 July 2017

16th of July

Farm status
Intel GPUs
All running Asteroids work.

Nvidia GPUs
Two AMD Ryzen's running Seti work.

Raspberry Pis
All running Einstein BRP4 work


Other news
The i3's and two new Ryzen's were dropped off at the computer shop last week. They have done the musical cases bit and installed the hardware, but they aren't open on weekends any more so I have to take some time off next week to go and collect them.

Asteroids ran out of work mid-week so I switched the Intel GPU machines to Einstein, except they were doing some server reconfiguring so I couldn't get any work from them either. I ended up running Seti for a day before picking up some Einstein gravity wave work. Since then Asteroids have put more work up. Asteroids is on 39M credits and Einstein is on 40.4M credits at the moment.

I don't currently have any plans for more Ryzen's, however I did have a brief thought of replacing the 8 i7-6700's with 4 x Ryzen 1700's. They'd use half the electricity (due to reduced numbers of machines). They are both rated at 65 watts. The i7's are of course faster than the Ryzen. I would also need to get a graphics card for each of the Ryzen's as they don't have built-in graphics.


Raspberry Pi news
I was contacted by an American user asking about running BOINC on a Raspberry Pi cluster that he had. The short answer was yes it can be done but its not cluster-aware so you have to run an instance of BOINC on each node. If the nodes are Pi2's or Pi3's then it recognises them as a quad-code CPU and will run 4 tasks at a time.

As for projects there is Asteroids, Seti and Einstein that I have run. Asteroids is very slow (they increased work unit size but didn't optimise their app for the Pi2 or Pi3). Seti is also slow but has been optimised to use whatever features the Pi has available and so has the Einstein app. There are others but haven't tried them. I tend to run Einstein on my Pi3's, but you need to select "run beta apps" on your project preferences on the Einstein website to get the optimised app.

On that note there was an article on the Rpi blog about OctaPi and how to create a Pi cluster. See https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/octapi/ for the details. Now if we could get BOINC to run on the head node acting as the scheduler and use MPI (message passing interface) to communicate with the compute nodes...

10 July 2017

9th of July

Farm status
Intel GPUs
Running Einstein gravity waves during the week. All doing Asteroids work now.

Nvidia GPUs
Two Ryzens are running Seti work. Two i3's finishing off Einstein gravity wave work.

Raspberry Pis
All running Einstein BRP4 work.


Other news
The parts for the next two Ryzen builds arrived during the week. I need to drop them off at the computer shop. They will assemble them and move the i3's into Fractal Designs ARC Mini cases that are currently empty. This will bring the farm up to 4 Ryzens with a GTX1060 in each. That's 32 cores/64 threads in the Ryzens and 32 cores/64 threads in the i7's.

I haven't been running Asteroids work recently so I have all the Intel GPU machines currently running it. Asteroids is on 37M credits. I passed 40M credits for Einstein during the week so I am letting Asteroids catch up. Seti is on 42.6M credits.


Debian bugs
I haven't heard anything back regarding the two Debian bugs I have raised.

The Mate desktop doesn't seem to come up after doing a clean-install of Stretch on the Intel GPU machines. I had to go back to Jessie to get it working. I was asked for a list of files that were installed and have provided that.

The second bug is the all_projects_list.xml file is missing from the current boinc-client package which results in being unable to attach to projects. A work around is to copy the file from another computer if you have it. There was some discussion on the boinc-dev mailing list regarding this being a bug in the core client as it is supposed to download it if the file is missing but doesn't. There is some work on a new boinc-client with a couple of bug fixes and a framework for some new features so it may get fixed.

01 July 2017

1st of July

Farm status
Intel GPUs
Two running Seti. One off. Remaining 5 running Einstein gravity wave work.

Nvidia GPUs
Two Ryzen's running Seti. Two i3's running Einstein gravity wave work.

Raspberry Pis
Ten running Einstein BRP4 work.


Other news
I have ordered another pair of Ryzen's, motherboards and memory. These will replace the i3's.

I mentioned last week that I tried upgrading one of the Intel GPU machines from Debian Jessie to Debian Stretch. It won't display the desktop when I log in. I've raised it as a Debian bug. They asked for some more information so I had to reinstall Stretch and give them that. It is switched off but I left Stretch on it in case they ask for further information. If I haven't heard from them by tomorrow I will reinstall Jessie so I can get it crunching again.

The quarterly electricity bill arrived last week. It was $800. The computers are responsible for almost all of it. The higher prices start today.