Friday, June 11, 2010

[From Robert] Installing the hardware

Our super computer hardware set-up has proved to be more challenging step than what we originally planned for.
Custom build for high performance, each computer consists of:
1 Thermaltake VH6000BWS tower case
1 Asus P6T7 WS Supercomputer motherboard
1 Intel i7 930 2.8GHz processor
6 OCZ 2GB DDR3-1333MHz Triple Channel memory giving us 12GB in total
1 Western Digital 2TB Green Caviar
3 EVGA Nvidia GTX 480 with 1.5GB Video memory
1 LG GH22N S50 DVD Writer
1 Silverstone Strider ST1500 1.5kW power supply
1 Infiniband InfiniHost III Lx Single-Port MHGS18 20Gb/s card

There were numerous challenges when putting the parts together.
Our first speed bump happened when our newly built system would not recognize more than 8GB RAM, and at other times, no more than 2GB. It was a very peculiar error, as it randomly changed how much the computer saw. It did not help when moving the RAM sticks around, as it sometimes would not even start up. After confirming that it was not the memory modules that was bringing down the machine (by verifying it with the other computer), it was determined that it was the motherboard.
An repair was placed for it, but unfortunately, the repair was said to take 1 - 2 weeks, which we could not afford, and hence, another motherboard was purchased.
Our second speed bump occurred when the replacement motherboard arrived. After configuring the system, the computer would not turn on. After diagnosing and checking everything over numerous times, it was decided, that this new motherboard was also defective. This too was sent in for repair, though fortunately, our first motherboard had been 'fixed' and returned to us.
After receiving back the motherboard, the system was built again, and fortunately this time, everything worked flawlessly.

More updates to come...

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