"Build a super cheap cruncher" game

dmike
dmike
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Topic 196594

I'm always looking at ways to add boxes. I've tried to theoretically put together inexpensive builds with decent GPUs for the purpose of crunching only.

I'm thinking at this point that buying older systems off of CL or from pawn shops that have a PCIe 2.0 slot and then just adding a card is going to be the cheapest way to go by far.

But absent of that, I'd like to see some ideas/prices from you guys with regard to buying components to put together for a cruncher. I'm sure this has been done before, but with prices and parts constantly changing, revisiting example builds may bring forth some new ideas.

So first, a few rules.

1. The system must have at least one pcie 2.0 or 3.0 slot.

2.A computer case is not necessary. Items at home or open systems may increase the number of builds possible for an individual by saving a few bucks.

3. The system must be capable of running 24/7 and not be expected to overheat. Example; An ivy bridge (too expensive anyway) on a stock cooler under 100% load 24/7 is not going to work.

4. Do not include a graphics card (the system is for the purpose of supporting the card which could be just about anything), unless there is an onboard card which can crunch E@H.

5. If certain common components are to be missing to save on costs, please explain how the system will operate without them.

6. The components should be named specifically and their price listed. "An AMD mobo" is not adequate, which brand and chipset?

The goal is to build the cheapest platform possible.

Considering these things, I'd be very interested in seeing what you guys come up with.

tullio
tullio
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"Build a super cheap cruncher" game

I recently bought a HP 635 laptop for 265 euro, with 2 GB DDR3 RAM.230 GB hard disk at 5400 rpm, and SuSE SLES 11 sp.1. I bought 2 4 GB RAM modules for 70 euro, a 120 GB SSD for 90 euro and loaded OpenSuSE 12.2, VirtualBox 4.2.2 and BOINC 6.10.58, the latest BOINC client which runs on SuSE. It has an AMD APU E-450 with Radeon 6320 capabilities which burns only 18 W. It works 24/7 running Einstein@home, SETI@home and Test4Theory@home, which requires VirtualBox.
Tullio

SJC_Steve
SJC_Steve
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You didn't say new or used

You didn't say new or used systems, obviously a used system would be cheaper. I'm in the process of a new cruncher build and this is what I have looked at so far.

OS; Ubuntu $0

Motherboard; MSI Z77MA-G45 - (Supports two PCIe 2.0/3.0 X 16 GPUs running at X8 $95

Intel BX80637I33220T Core i3-3220T Processor - Dual Core, 3MB L3 Cache, 2.80GHz, Socket H2 (LGA1155) 35W $124

Kingston HyperX Blu KHX1600C9AD3B1/2G Desktop Memory - 2GB, PC12800, DDR3-1600MHz, 240-Pin SDRAM, 9-9-9-27 CAS Latency x2 at $10 each = $20

SanDisk Extreme 16 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive SDCZ80-016G-X46 $26

I'm taking the approach of enabling two GPUs in a mATX case. I spent more money on a low power Ivy Bridge processor since I'm trying to minimize power consumption where possible. With this approach, I'm in essence dividing the common equipment in two as I'm splitting it up between the 2 GPUs.

($95 + $124 + $20 + $26)/2 = $133 per GPU cruncher.

I should have this machine up in a week or two to see how the idea works out.

Steve

Bikeman (Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein)
Bikeman (Heinz-...
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Define "cheap": cheap to buy

Define "cheap": cheap to buy and/or cheap to operate (over which time of use)?

Depending on electricity costs (e.g. in Germany we consumers pay 0.25 EUR per kWh and more), the cost for running a PC with one or two GPUs 24/7 can easily exceed the cost of a used rig (356*24h*200 W ~= 1700 kWh ~= 430 EUR per year).

Cheers
HB

dmike
dmike
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cheap as in to build the

cheap as in to build the machine. Electric costs not included.

MAGIC Quantum Mechanic
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Well this year I just did

Well this year I just did rebuilds on 3 of mine adding Ram and new PSU's and nVidia GeForce cards.

I have 2 other hosts that I plan on doing pretty much the same and one of them is a duplicate to the one I just added the 2GB 550Ti overclocked to.

It is a DDR2 so I would only add a little Ram if I find some in my stash.

So just a PSU and another 550Ti and it will be the 2GB if I get a price closer to $100 which I should be able to do since the 1GB 550Ti's are dropping below $100 (this is the other AMD Phenom II X3 720 I have running)

And then I have a quad with DDR3 so I can add Ram and I would add another 550Ti and new PSU

The problem with this one is it is a Acer in that tiny box that has no room for anything so I can buy the new parts but I may have to remove the entire system and use one of the large box's I have in my stash and I have a couple nice ones with lots of room.

I may also have to mess around with the board just to make room for the video card and I may look through my stash of coolers for that processor.

As far as the cost of power......well I will just quit leaving something else on all day for no reason (only need one bigscreen on at a time)

I live where we have lots of hydroelectric power so the price here seems ok.

And I never have any of the pc monitors on unless I want to check tasks and temps.

I am in the middle of building a new room for my computers and other things so I have to finish that first.

 

dmike
dmike
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I'm thinking that having

I'm thinking that having boards with multiple pcie slots is the way to go (with new components for example).

So let me do a hypothetical build here;

ASRock A75 EXTREME6 FM1 AMD A75 $94.99 (has 3x pcie 2.0 slots)

AMD A4-3300 Llano 2.5GHz Socket FM1 65W Dual-Core Desktop APU $49.99

COOLER MASTER Silent Pro RS850-AMBAJ3-US 850W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.92 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply $139.99

Pareema 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 $18.99

SanDisk Extreme 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive $26.99

With that I get $330.95 which would be $110 for each card. Not sure if that's best or not. Getting a decent used system on CL will run about $100 for anything worth having which doesn't save much, but it does add more cpu crunching.

MAGIC Quantum Mechanic
MAGIC Quantum M...
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Yeah I agree about the MB and

Yeah I agree about the MB and as far as the Ram since DDR3 is so cheap I like to get 8-12 GB since I see the 2X4's pretty cheap where I get my parts.

And one thing I also like to do is when I buy new parts is register things like the PSU and video cards since the video cards I have are 3 year warranty and they give you the lifetime for the PSU and I have used that to get replacements before and learned long ago to always save my receipts!

(btw I just sent you a pm since I am just sitting here watching the football game and have the laptop in front of me........with my wireless mouse and keyboard so I can leave it sitting on a fan since it is running cuda X2 and LHC X5 and T4T X2 all at the same time)

 

dunx
dunx
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My two year old rig was

My two year old rig was bought as 2nd hand parts, Asus P6T7WS Revolution, i7 960 quad core / 8 thread CPU & 6 Gb DDR3 (New !) old 320Mb HDD and - GTX 480 - HD 5870 - 8800GTS 320Mb

This allows any project to be supported but isn't the most energy efficient.

A further double slot GPU could be added, but using three allows a "slot" between cards for ventilation. Apart from a 1250W PSU - 2nd hand - these parts were easily sourced.

HTH

dunx

SJC_Steve
SJC_Steve
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RE: I'm thinking that

Quote:

I'm thinking that having boards with multiple pcie slots is the way to go (with new components for example).

So let me do a hypothetical build here;

ASRock A75 EXTREME6 FM1 AMD A75 $94.99 (has 3x pcie 2.0 slots)

This motherboards as you say has 3 x PCIex16 slots, looking at the spacing, it has two double and one single width slots, so you'd have to be careful and choose a single width card for the bottom slot.

Here's a more expensive board but with 4 x PCIex16 slots, 3 double width and one single width;
ASRock A75 EXTREME6 FM1 AMD A75 $190

I suppose you'd have to be careful with cooling on a four GPU ATX case but I've noticed that GPUs don't run at their thermal limits doing BPR4 crunching. This gets the cost per GPU down a little more and power wise you'd be sharing one CPU with four GPUs.

Steve

dmike
dmike
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