Reusing old hardware

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Message 34759 - Posted: 20 Sep 2010, 4:16:11 UTC

Wondering what the best O/S would be for running BOINC on old hardware? A while ago there was mention of running it from a USB drive, but don't know if that included the O/S.
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Professor Ray

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Message 34962 - Posted: 26 Sep 2010, 9:07:29 UTC

The minimum hardware requirements for Windows XP Professional include:

Pentium 233-megahertz (MHz) processor or faster (300 MHz is recommended)
At least 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM (128 MB is recommended)
At least 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available space on the hard disk
CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
Keyboard and a Microsoft Mouse or some other compatible pointing device
Video adapter and monitor with Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution

Vista minimum system requirements:

•800 megahertz (MHz) processor and 512 MB of system memory

•20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space

•Support for Super VGA graphics

•CD-ROM drive

Windows 7 should run on Vista compatible hardware if properly detuned, i.e., disable all non-essential services. The requirements for XP are pretty tight. I'd recommend at least the minimum Vista hardware. Obviously all non-essential services should be disabled for all aforementioned OS on legacy hardware.

The ideal in all cases would be to have 2 GB of RAM onboard. If there's a choice between XP & Vista (or Win 7), go with the latter as the memory management technology is vastly superior to that of Win XP. As far as that goes, forget any of the Win XP predecessors. The difference in memory management technology is akin to night and day.

As far as running off of USB memory sticks, forget it with legacy hardware unless your 'legacy' hardware is USB 2.0 capable. That'll give you at best 40 MB/sec bandwidth (equivalant to poor performance ATA 100 IDE drive).
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Message 34963 - Posted: 26 Sep 2010, 9:37:30 UTC - in response to Message 34759.  

Wondering what the best O/S would be for running BOINC on old hardware? A while ago there was mention of running it from a USB drive, but don't know if that included the O/S.

I'd say Dotsch/UX:

Dotsch/UX - A USB/Diskless/Harddisk BOINC Ubuntu Linux Distribution

Dotsch/UX a Linux distribution, based on Ubuntu Linux.

The purpose is to make a Linux distribution for BOINC which boots as Live CD, easily installs and boot from a USB stick,
hard disk and from diskless clients and also has some interfaces to setup the diskless server and the clients automatically.

Features & Facts :
Small memory usage : The OS requires about 64 MB plus the memory for the BOINC client and BOINC science
application. The graphical GNOME desktop requires about 128 MB more. In general the memory depends strongly
on the project(s) you would like to crunch...
Recommended minimum 128 MB for diskless, HDD and USB Stick based systems and 256 MB for disksless servers.
Strongly recommended >256 MB for text console only, >512 MB with Desktop, and additional 128 MB more for a
diskless server system

• Small disk usage : The distribution fits on a 1 GB USB stick, but 2 GB would be good for multi BOINC project
crunching. The HDD installation requires about 2.5 GB, and the diskless server requires 1.5..1.7 GB per architecture
plus 1.5...1.7 GB for each diskless client you would add.

• Easy installation : The OS could be easily installed by several included tools on a USB stick, hard disk, and
setup as server for diskless clients.

• Server for Diskless clients : The server and diskless clients could easily installed with several included tools. Only
the main configuration parameters must be specified, the diskless server and clients installs automatically.
• Additional proxy server : Preconfigured proxy server, which allows to separate the BOINC USB, diskless and
HDD systems in an isolated network, and communicate through the proxy server with the science project

• Ubuntu based : As Dotsch/UX is based on Ubuntu, you can also install additional Ubuntu packages or update to
your USB/HDD/Diskless systems. Also the Ubuntu documentation, WIKIs and forums are adaptive due the technical
adjacency of Dotsch/UX and Ubuntu.

• BOINC Client : The BOINC client comes pre installed and would be started as daemon and would be monitored
and kept alive from this daemon. Dotsch/UX 1.0 includes the BOINC client 6.2.15. Dotsch/UX 1.1 includes the
BOINC client 6.4.5 for CUDA support and Dotsch/UX 1.2 includes version 6.10.17.
• Graphical Desktop and text console : If you like, you can choose between the text console (for lower memory
requirements) or the graphical GNOME Desktop.

• SSH : ssh login per default preconfigured.

• 32+64 bit distribution : A distribution of 32 bit (386) and 64 bit (x64) is available. Since Dotsch/UX 1.1 it‘s possible
to add mixed 32 and 64 bit diskless clients on the same diskless server.

• CUDA : Since Dotsch/UX 1.2, the NVIDIA CUDA drivers are included and preconfigured by default. A CUDA installer
is also included to reinstall CUDA, if it would been required. A CUDA installation state tools is included, too.
• Integrated Backup : A Client/Server Backup solution to backup all Dotsch/UX systems over a network is included
since release 1.2. Also Backups to a local destination is also possible.

• Performance Monitoring : The HPC/HA Cluster Grid Client/Server performance monitoring tool Ganglia was
introduced in 1.2.
• Live CD persistent home directory : A USB stick or disk can be configured in the Live CD as persistent home
directory. All data in the home directory would been stored on the USB stick

• Reduced energy : A hard disk drive requires about 5 to 10 W energy. Calculated for a permanent running system
(365 days) and 0,20 Euro/KW per hour, each removed HDD saves about 44 KWh..88 KWh per year = 8...17 Euro per
year. A USB stick uses about 0,1..0,9 Watt = 0,8...7 KWh per year => 0,2...1,75 Euro costs per year.
For a diskless installation it depends on the setup. Breakthrough is reached, when more diskless clients are installed,
than hard disks in the diskless server are used.

Available from Dotsch's Site: Dotsch/UX

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Message boards : Questions and problems : Reusing old hardware

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