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How To Build Your Own Beowulf GPU Cluster

2. Beowulf GPU Cluster - Parts (continued):

6. Power Supplies

You will definitely want to provide your nodes with good power supplies. Find ones that can supply many more watts than your node requires at peak. You can determine this by checking the power specs on the CPU and GPU which are typically about 100 and 200 watts respectively. On top of this you need consider other factors like memory, hard drives, fans, etc. Doubling the combined CPU and GPU wattage should give a good low number for acquiring a power supply. Checking the minimum recomended power supply wattage from the GPU manafacturer and adding 200 is also a good way to do it. Oh, and MAKE SURE THERE ARE ENOUGH PCIe POWER CONNECTORS FOR YOUR GPU!!! Most 'good' GPUs need two six pin connectors.

7. Cases

When choosing boxes you may want to keep in mind that GPUs can get very hot and when many are in close proximity they are prone to bit flip errors which could ruin your calculations. I use big Cooler Master cases with a lot of fans, they take up more space but also keep internal temperatures much cooler. Using a 'custom made' box or server rack can save space. If you are like me, you probably have old computers laying around which can be gutted and filled with new parts, the cheapest way to go here.

8. NICs

You will most likely want to install a gigabit (10/100/1000) network interface card (NIC). The motherboard will most likely have one (or a slower 10/100) but this one is probably controlled by the CPU and could slow down your program during communication. These could be considered a cheap investment that will keep your cluster performance optimal.

9. Gigabit Switch

If you have more than two total nodes, you will need a good gigabit switch. Small ones are relatively inexpensive, so get a good brand name one. I bought a cheap Netgear 5 port switch which worked great for several months until I left it on too 'long' (about 4 days) and fried the AC adapter, so I wouldnt exactly recommend it. I here Linksys 5 ports are very good and only cost $10-20 more.

10. Additional Items

Some other items you may want to include are a new high end power strip with an on/off switch (I use a large Belkin), a disc drive for the headnode for installing certain software (I use a Samsung external DVD drive) and perhaps a wireless card (I use a Linux compatable ASUS USB Wireless N stick, works great with my Fedora OS, highly recomended).

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