Home, Archive, Stuff, Random thoughts, London, My Rigs, Pictures, Dreams, Links, About, Contact, Search
 

spikegifted - Too Many Rigs!

Server, MainStation, WorkStation, ArtStation, SideStation, GameStation, BlackStation, LANStation, PocketStation, Network

There come a time when you look around your surrounding and realize that things are not they suppose be... For me, that took place around the end of 2004 and the beginning of 2005.

When I was made redundant from my job in 2003, I had this rather wild idea of building up a small render farm to generate a small amount of income. At the time, I figured that even if I manage to find a job quickly, this render farm business will just run itself and I don't really need to input much other resources other than providing the hardware and having the software to complete the rendering. What's more, this is something that I like doing - building computers from the parts and get everything running smoothly.

To cut a long story short, the render farm business is a lot more competitive than I thought - a classic case of not understanding the market thoroughly. Needless to say, having just 5 rigs (all dual-CPU, of various processors, but ended up with 4 dual Xeons and 1 dual AthlonMP), I was in no position to compete. So I had a bunch of fairly powerful rigs crunching SETI@Home and climateprediction.net. Well, at the very least they were contributing to the worldwide scientific community in  their small ways. However, it's all very well that my rigs enabled me to climb up the team ladders, I was consuming a lot of electricity and not exactly earning the income that I'd hope from the render farm business. Moreover, we've been very lucky with the apartment that we've been residing for four years - the room sizes are very generous. What happens if we move to a place that does not have a similar amount of space? With the number of rigs I had, the logistics of moving would be made even more complicated.

No, something has to be done. So I hooked up to one of favorite websites and started disposing some of my rigs.

From the failed render farm, SideStation and ArtStation were sold exactly as they were, but I chose to keep the rest of my duallies. This mean I still have the Server, MainStation and WorkStation. However, I still felt that I have way too many rigs. Looking at the state of my gaming rig (GameStation), I decided that there isn't much of an upgrade path left in it, so I decided to swap some parts with WorkStation to make the duallie into a gaming rig.

The smaller rigs (LANStation and BlackStation) that I've amassed for one reason or another were also sold. Additionally, much of my network was dismantled as there was little need for the additional network hardware without the rigs that require connection. Finally, I went through the older computer hardware that I've picked up over time and discovered that I had motherboards (Abit's BP6 and VP6, MSI's 694D Pro and Gigabyte's GA-6BXDS) that have been sitting around even though the rigs were originally built on had been 'decommissioned' long ago.

So, now that I've rid myself of those rigs and other hardware, I can see the question coming: "Do I miss them?" Well, I can quite honestly tell you that I don't. Three rigs is more than enough for my needs. Naturally, I would like to keep my gaming needs and general computing/work needs apart, but I can say that I probably don't need a server. While the Server is now sitting next to me humming away, there may be a day that I'd decide to sell it also. Now that I've only three rigs to look after, I don't have to spend anywhere near the amount of time I used to spend maintaining and servicing them, like I used to.

In the end, it's about finding a balance. With hindsight, having eight rigs was excessive, render farm or no render farm. However, I could not see it at the time. Do I still need three rigs? Or would just two be sufficient? I don't know now and I guess I won't be able to tell you until a later time. I guess I won't investing in another rig for a long time, other than replacing parts or minor upgrades.


Back to top

Server

CPU Dual Intel Xeon 2.2GHz 'Prestonia' Socket 603 533MHz FSB (SL6EN, clocked at 2.93GHz - 133MHz x 22)
Motherboard Iwill DPI533 Intel E7505 Dual Socket604 Dual Channel DDR E-ATX Motherboard, Award BIOS, 'SoftMenu'
System RAM 1024MB Corsair XMS3200LL PC3200 DDR SDRAM (CAS2)
Graphics Elsa nVidia Quadro2 MXR AGP, 32MB, 1600x1200x32bit @ 85Hz
Network Onboard Intel Gigabit NIC
Hard Disk Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 80GB, 7,200rpm
Maxtor Diamond 7 40GB, 5,400rpm
Seagate Medalist 6.4GB, 5,400rpm
CD-ROM Toshiba DVD-ROM 12x SD-M1402 ATAPI
Monitor Iiyama Vision Master Pro 454 19" (shared with GameStation, via KMV)
Cooling 1 x System Intake (120mm, front panel, bottom)
1 x System Exhaust (120mm, rear panel, top)

2 x Swiftech MCX603 (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing fans)
Input Logitech Cordless Keyboard, Microsoft Mouse 2 - shared via KMV switch
Casing Antec Sonata
PSU Tagan TG480-U01 480W EPS12V
OS Microsoft Windows 2000 Advance Server (Service Pack 4)


Back to top

MainStation

CPU Dual Intel Xeon 3.06GHz 'Prestonia' Socket 603 533MHz FSB (SL6VP, clocked at 3.28GHz - 156MHz x 21)
Motherboard Iwill DH800 Intel i875P Dual Socket604 Dual Channel DDR E-ATX Motherboard, Award BIOS, 'SoftMenu'
System RAM 2.0GB Kingston HyperX PC3500 CL2 DDR SDRAM (CAS 2)
Graphics PNY nVidia Quadro4 900 XGL, 128MB Dual DVI 3200x1200x32bit @ 75Hz
Sound Card Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live! Player 1024 PCI
Speakers Yamaha YST-M15 and YST-MSW10 Sub-Woofer
RAID Controller Adaptec SCSI RAID 3200s 64bit/33MHz Dual Channel PCI RAID Controller, with 80MB cache
SCSI Controller Adaptec 29160 64bit/66MHz Dual Channel PCI Ultra160 SCSI Controller
SATA RAID Controller HighPoint RocketRAID 1542 PCI SATA150 (2 internal and 2 external)
Network Onboard Intel Gigabit NIC
Hard Disks IBM Ultrastar 36LZX 9.1GB SCSI160, 10,000rpm x 3 (RAID 5 array)
Maxtor Atlas 10K III 18GB SCSI160, 10,000rpm x 2 (RAID 1 array)
Maxtor Atlas 10K III 18GB SCSI160, 10,000rpm
IBM Ultrastar 36LZX 36GB SCSI320, 10,000rpm
Seagate Cheetah 10.5 36GB SCSI160, 10,000rpm

Maxtor DiamondMax+ 9 8MB cache, 120GB UATA133, 7,200rpm
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 8MB cache, 200GB SATA150, 7,200rpm x 2 (external HighPoint RocketMate 1110 e.SATA enclosure x 2)
CD-ROMs Plextor UltraPlex 40max Internal UW SCSI
CD-Writer Plextor PlexWriter 12/10/32S Internal UW SCSI
DVD-ROM Toshiba DVD-ROM 10x SD-M1201 UW SCSI
Monitors Sony Trinitron Multiscan E430 19" CRT x 2 @ 3200x1200x32
Input Microsoft Natural Multimedia Keyboard, Logitech Cordless TrackMan Optical
Modem Alcatel Speedtouch DSL Modem USB
Cooling 1 x front intake (80mm Papst low-flow, bottom)
2 x front intakes mounted in HDD drive cages (80mm Papst low-flow)
2 x back exhaust (80mm Papst low-flow, middle)
1 x back exhaust (92mm Papst low-flow, middle)
1 x BlowHole (120mm Panaflow low-flow, side panel)
5.25" drive cooler (2 x 80mm YS-Tech ball-bearing, drive slot)
2 x Swiftech MCX603-V (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing fans)
Casing Chieftec Dragon Full Tower
PSU Tagan TG480-U01 480W EPS12V
UPS American Power Conversion Back-UPS 600
Others Canon CanoScan N650U (USB)
Brother HL-1270N Laser Printer (USB)
MacPower Digital Doctor 5
Generic floppy
OS Microsoft Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 2)


Back to top

WorkStation

CPU Dual Intel Xeon 2.4GHz 'Prestonia' Socket 603 400MHz FSB (SL6EP, clocked at 2.96GHz - 134MHz x 22)
Motherboard Iwill DPI533 Intel E7505 Dual Socket604 Dual Channel DDR E-ATX Motherboard, Award BIOS, 'SoftMenu'
System RAM 1024MB OCZ PC3500 Dual Channel Series EL-DDR SDRAM (CAS2)
Graphics Elsa nVidia Quadro2 MXR AGP, 32MB, 1600x1200x32bit @ 85Hz
Network Onboard Intel Gigabit NIC
Hard Disks Western Digital Raptor 36.7GB S-ATA150, 10,000rpm x 2 (RAID 0 array)
Maxtor DiamondMax+ 10GB 7,200rpm
CD-ROMs Creative Labs 52x ATAPI
Pioneer Super 24x UW SCSI
CD-Writer Yamaha 4/4/16 Internal UW SCSI
SATA RAID Controller HighPoint RocketRAID 1520 PCI SATA150
SCSI Controller Adaptec 19160 PCI Ultra160 SCSI Controller
Monitor Iiyama Vision Master Pro 454 19" (shared with GameStation, via KMV)
Input Logitech Cordless Keyboard, Microsoft Mouse 2 - shared via KMV switch
Cooling 1 x System Intake (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing, front panel, bottom)
1 x System Exhaust (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing, system case back, middle)
2 x Swiftech MCX603 (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing fans)
1 x CardCooler (2 x 80mm, inside)
Casing Antec Performance Plus 1080 AMG
PSU Tagan TG480-U01 480W EPS12V
OS Microsoft Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 2)


Back to top

ArtStation

CPU Dual Intel Xeon 2.4GHz 'Prestonia' Socket 603 400MHz FSB (SL6EP, clocked at 2.4GHz - 100MHz x 24)
Motherboard Supermicro X5DAL-G Intel E7505 Dual Socket604 Dual Channel DDR ATX Motherboard, Phoenix BIOS
System RAM 1024MB Crucial PC2700 Register ECC DDR SDRAM (CAS2)
Graphics PNY nVidia Quadro4 750 AGP, 128MB, 1600x1200x32bit @ 85Hz
Network Onboard Intel Gigabit NIC
Hard Disks IBM UltraStar 9.1GB U2W-SCSI SCA, 7,200rpm x 2
Maxtor DiamondMax+ 20GB 7,200rpm
CD-ROMs AOpen 50x ATAPI
SCSI Controller Adaptec 2940U2W PCI Ultra2 Wide SCSI Controller
Monitor Iiyama Vision Master Pro 454 19" (shared with GameStation, via KMV)
Input Logitech Cordless Keyboard, Microsoft Mouse 2 - shared via KMV switch
Cooling 1 x System Intake (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing, front panel, bottom)
1 x System Exhaust (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing, system case back, middle)
2 x Swiftech MCX603 (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing fans)
1 x CardCooler (2 x 80mm, inside)
Casing Antec Performance Plus 1080 AMG
PSU Antec TruePower520 520W EPS12V
OS Microsoft Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 2)


Back to top

SideStation

CPU Dual AMD Athlon MP 2600+ Socket 462 133MHz FSB (clocked at 2.13GHz - 133MHz x 16)
Motherboard Tyan Tiger MPX AMD-760MPX (S2466-4M)
System RAM 1024MB Crucial PC2700 Register ECC DDR SDRAM (CAS2)
Graphics Hercules Prophet II nVidia GeForce2 Pro AGP, 64MB, 1600x1200x32bit @ 85Hz
Network D-Link DEG-510T Gigabit NIC PCI
Hard Disks Maxtor DiamondMax+ 20GB 7,200rpm
CD-ROMs Asus 50x ATAPI
Monitor Iiyama Vision Master Pro 454 19" (shared with GameStation, via KMV)
Input Logitech Cordless Keyboard, Microsoft Mouse 2 - shared via KMV switch
Cooling 1 x System Intake (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing, front panel, bottom)
1 x System Exhaust (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing, system case back, middle)
2 x Swiftech MCX603 (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing fans)
1 x CardCooler (2 x 80mm, inside)
Casing Antec Performance Plus 1080 AMG
PSU Enermax EG651P-VE 650W ATX PSU
OS Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional (Service Pack 4)


Back to top

GameStation

CPU Intel Pentium 4 'Northwood' 2.4GHz (clocked at 2.92GHz - 166MHz x 18)
Motherboard MSI 845PE Max2-FIR (MS6704) Intel i845PE Socket478 ATX Motherboard, Award BIOS.
System RAM 512MB Cosair XMS2700 DDR SDRAM (memory running at Host, CAS2.5)
Graphics HIS Excalibur Radeon 9500 Pro 128MB
Sound Card Creative Labs Audigy
Speakers VideoLogic Sirocco 2.1 Speaker System
Network Onboard Intel Gigabit NIC
Hard Disk Maxtor DiamondMax+ ATA133 20GB 7,200rpm x 2 (RAID 0 array)
Quantum Fireball lct 10GB 7,200rpm
CD-ROM Asus 50x ATAPI
DVD-ROM Pioneer DVD-106S DVD-ROM Slot-Load
Monitor Iiyama Vision Master Pro 454 19"
Input Logitech Access Keyboard, Microsoft Optical Mouse,
ThrustMaster F-16 FLCS & F-16 TQS
Microsoft Sidewinder GamePad
Microsoft Sidewinder Precision Racing Wheel USB
Microsoft Sidewinder PrecisionPro
Cooling 1 x System Slot Exhaust (Super SlotFan)
1 x System Intake (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing, front panel, bottom)
2 x System Exhaust (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing, system case back, top + middle)
1 x Swiftech MCX4000 (80mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing fan)
Casing Lian Li PC-6083A Aluminum Mid-tower case
PSU Thermaltake 420W ATX2.3
OS Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional (Service Pack 4)


Back to top

BlackStation

CPU Intel Pentium 4 'Northwood' 1.6GHz (clocked at 1.6GHz - 100MHz x 16)
Motherboard BioStar SiS651 Socket478 Custom Motherboard, Award BIOS
System RAM 512MB Generic PC2100 DDR SDRAM (memory running at 133MHz, CAS3) - 32MB shared as graphics memory
Graphics Built-in SiS 651 Integrated Graphics
Sound Card Onboard Realtek AC97 Audio
Network Onboard SiS 900 PCI Fast Ethernet NIC
Hard Disk IBM DeskStar ATA100 20GB, 7,200rpm
CD-ROM Toshiba XM-7002B Laptop 24x CD-ROM ATAPI
Monitor Eizo FlexScan L365 15" TFT-LCD (shared with LANStation)
Input Generic 104-key keyboard, Logitech Optical MouseMan Wheel - shared via KMV switch
Cooling 1 x Heatsink Extractor / System Exhaust (70mm Sunon heat extractor)
1 x Custom Socket478 Copper Heatsink
Casing WSPC Corretto Mini-PC Custom Aluminum casing (black)
PSU WSPC Custom External PSU
OS Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional (Service Pack 4)


Back to top

LANStation

CPU Intel Pentium III 1GHz 'Coppermine' Socket 370 (clocked at 1GHz - 133MHz x 7.5)
Motherboard Shuttle Spacewalker FV-25 Flex-ATX Integrated Motherboard, Award BIOS
System RAM 256MB PC133 SDRAM (memory running at Host, CAS3)
Graphics Inno3D GeForce2 MX400 PCI (nVidia GeForce2 MX), 1024x768x32bit @ 60Hz
Sound Card Built-in
Speakers Creative SoundWorks 2.1 Speakers System
Network Onboard Via Fast Ethernet NIC
Hard Disk Western Digital ATA100 20GB, 7,200rpm
DVD-ROM LG 16x DVD-ROM
Monitor Eizo FlexScan L365 15" TFT-LCD (shared with BlackStation)
Input Generic 104-key keyboard, Logitech Optical MouseMan Wheel - shared via KMV switch
(Generic 84-key mini keyboard, Microsoft Wheel Mouse USB)
Cooling 1 x System Intake (60mm GlobalWin YS-Tech ball bearing, system case back, top)
1 x Akasa Low Profile Socket370 Cooler
Casing Shuttle SFF SV24 Aluminum Mini Bare-bone System
PSU 150W
OS Microsoft Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 2)


Back to top

PocketStation

PDA Toshiba Pocket PC e330
Memory Expansion TwinMOS Secure Digital 256MB SD-Card
Accessory Toshiba Leather Wallet Pro
OS Microsoft PocketPC 2002 (Windows CE)


Back to top

Network & Others

Ethernet Switches Linksys EG008W Gigabit 8-port Workgroup Switch
Unex 10/100 8-port Switch
KMV Switches Master View CS-84 4-port KMV Switch
Rextron KMH2 2-port KMV Switch
Surge Protection Belkin SurgeMaster F9T826uk2M 8-way Surge Protector x 3


Back to top