18 February 2018

18th of February

Farm status
Intel GPUs
All off.

Nvidia GPUs
All off

Raspberry Pis
Six with fans running Einstein BRP4 work


Other news
Doing more Einstein Gravity wave O2 tuning run work. This time its the i7-8700 and a couple of the Ryzen’s. The Ryzen’s seem to take quite a long time with them at the higher frequencies, even when running on half the available cores.

I did software updates on all the Pis, however one of them threw seg faults after rebooting. I reimaged the SD card but it was horribly slow. I assumed that meant the SD card was stuffed and reimaged a new one and reinstalled everything. Speeds are much quicker now which seems to confirm my diagnosis.

I had to go over to North Ryde to pickup the parts for the 5 new i7-8700’s. They are currently awaiting assembly. I am hoping my PC assembler will be available soon so I can get them going, especially with the Einstein gravity wave tuning run finishing in a week or so and the actual processing run starting. The hot weather isn’t helping either.

11 February 2018

12th of February

Farm status
Intel GPUs
One i7-8700 running, others off

Nvidia GPUs
One running, the rest off

Raspberry Pis
All running Einstein BRP4 work


Crunching news
The hot humid weather broke for a few days so I had most of the farm running a mix of Asteroids and Einstein work. It got hot again so they’re mostly off now.

Einstein are doing a tuning run for their O2 Gravity wave work so I have been running them on different machines to see how they go. When you look at the times per work unit you can see the i7-8700 is the fastest.

Intel i7-6700 running 8 approx 34,100 sec = 4,262.5 sec/WU
Intel i7-8700 running 12 approx 39,500 sec = 3,291.66 sec/WU
AMD Ryzen 7-1700 running 16 approx 56,000 sec = 3,500 sec/WU


Hardware upgrades
I placed the order for another 5 x i7-8700 machines comprising motherboard (ASUS Prime Z370-P), CPU (i7-8700), cooler (Noctua U9S), memory (Kingston 16GB DDR4 2666MHz kit) and one more case (Fractal Design ARC Midi R2). Unfortunately the coolers are out of stock until the 23rd of February.

I am going to reuse four cases that currently have i7-6700’s. I have already got one new machine in a new case running and there is one on this order. The cases appear to be discontinued.

I had hoped to get 24GB of memory in the new builds but Kingston doesn’t appear to have any 8GB (2 x 4GB) memory kits, only the 16GB kits. I wanted to use a 16GB plus an 8GB kit. The price is also rather high at the moment as 2666GHz memory is relatively new.

It is expected updated Ryzen CPU’s will be released in April so that will be the next major upgrade. I think all it will offer is a higher clock speed while still being able to use the existing motherboards and chipsets. I don’t expect extra cores, but maybe they will tweak the cache as well.

28 January 2018

And now its a sauna

Farm status
Intel GPUs
All off

Nvidia GPUs
All off

Raspberry Pis
6 with fans running Einstein BRP4 work


Sauna
Its hot and humid so nothing much is running. The only difference from last week is the humidity has jumped up, but we haven’t had any rain.


i7-8700 build
I got the i7-8700 and its been partially setup software-wise. I turns out the ASUS Prime Z370-P has a DVI-D and a display port built-in. My KVM’s use VGA for the monitor so I have ordered a bunch of adapters. I have DVI-I and even HDMI adapters. I will work on it some more once the adapters arrive later in the week.

I had an issue with the DDR4-2666 memory not running at 2666 (it only wanted to run at 2400MHz) but a BIOS update seems to have taken care of that.

The built-in UHD 630 graphics are not supported properly until the 4.15 kernel (Debian Stretch are on 4.9). The 4.14 kernel which is in stretch-backports has the UHD 630 as alpha-test so you can set the i915.alpha_support=1 kernel parameter to get it recognised. There are also a few start up errors with it but it starts up anyway. I am not sure if they are BIOS or kernel issues.

21 January 2018

More scorching

Farm status
Intel GPUs
All off

Nvidia GPUs
All off

Raspberry Pis
Six running.


Hardware purchasing
I jumped on the bandwagon and ordered parts for an i7-8700 build. Only one supplier had them and they are limiting them to 1 per customer. Memory is also rather expensive for the 2666Mhz kits so I only got 16GB. Unfortunately two parts are listed as “order only” - The ARC Midi R2 case and the Noctua NH-U9S CPU cooler.

I normally just tell the computer shop what I want and get them to build it, however the usual guy that handles this has left the company. Probably time to find another shop. I couldn’t get my regular power supply (Seasonic G-450) as it appears to be discontinued in favour of higher power models. I settled for Seasonic G-350’s which are not a modular power supply. I expect total power draw to be around 90-100 watts so well within its capabilities (power supplies are most efficient at 50% load).

My main concern with this build is Linux won’t recognise the graphics, at least until they update the kernel.

If it works out, the plan is to replace the eight i7-6700’s with six i7-8700’s. Both CPUs are 65 watt parts. The i7-8700 is a 6 core 12 thread CPU so I will end up with more cores with less machines.


Other news
As you would have noted pretty much everything is off due to the hot weather. The only things crunching are the Pis with fans.

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.