[OSM-talk] donated boxes

Nick Hill nick at nickhill.co.uk
Sun Apr 2 14:15:54 BST 2006

Hello Nick

Great idea, and I have looked into this.

The machines use 100Mhz FSB, BX chipset and the 250Mb/sec memory 
bandwidth is rather limited between 2 CPUs. The very fastest CPUs the 
motherboards will take are 700Mhz with 100Mhz FSB which are very rare. 
Most P3 >550Mhz are 133Mhz FSB, so are of no use.

In terms of memory, the motherboards will take a maximum of 1Gb memory. 
They are currently populated with 4x128Mb. The large capacity PC100 
memory we would need to upgrade is actually more expensive than the 
faster DDR memory. Therefore, if we were to buy either CPUs or memory to 
squeeze more performance from these boards, we would be wasting money.

For the price of 2 700Mhz 100FSB P3 CPUs, we could probably buy a 
sempron 2800+, which will give the performance of four P3/700 CPUs. We 
could then marry that with 1-2G of fast memory. The potential is 

I will try to explain what I mean by multiplicative in this sense;

Imagine we had a 2Gb data set, perhaps a database. Then imagine we had 
to run SQL queries on that data set. Ideally, that data set should be 
held in ram, which has 1000x faster random access than a hard drive. If 
we were to use two machines each with 700Mhz CPU, we would need 4Gb of 
memory in total (2Gb per machine) to perform the task efficiently. If, 
however, we could put all that processing on one motherboard (eg a 
single sempron 2800+), we would only need 2Gb of memory to perform the 
same task.

Money permitting, I would much rather spend the money on new 
motherboards, CPU and memory. I would not spend a penny on hardware for 
existing slot 1 motherboards.

Alternatively, please ask around friends, neighbours, work colleagues 
for any computers made in 2002 or later, working or not. They are likely 
to contain hardware we can use. Perhaps people could bring such hardware 
to IOW where it can be collected together and brought to London.

Nick Burch wrote:
> Nick Hill <nick at nickhill.co.uk> wrote:
>> And if anyone has some better hardware, maybe 1+Ghz motherboards and 
>> CPUs, we can use them. Even if the motherboards have leaky/blowing 
>> capacitors, we'll fix them and use them. Or broken 1+ GHZ computers, 
>> we'll find useful parts.
> It seems to me that some more memory might be good for these boxes. 
> Memory for p3s isn't usually all that expensive, would you be interested 
> in people chipping in for some / buying some of ebay and sending it to 
> you? (If so, could you just confirm what they take)
> Also, pairs of P3 processors aren't too bad on ebay. Do the machines 
> take slot1 processors, or socket 370s? What FSB speed are the machines?
> Nick

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