Tiger Goes Opteron Project

For people who do not already know this, Parsix project has a little build network which builds our customized or back-ported packages. Pretty much all packages you see in our Official APT repository are being built using this build network. It consists of a storage server, a primary and a secondary build server.

We have a set of scripts and a build queue system which is in charge of managing build jobs. Once a package is compiled for both i386 (32 bit) and amd64 (64 bit) architectures, gets added to a local APT repository and then gets uploaded to our online APT repository server.

Last month we decided to upgrade our aging primary build server, Tiger - which was a three year old AMD Phenom X4 2.3GHz based server. Our goal was to obtain more processing power to finish build jobs faster. Some of the build jobs, Iceweasel (Firefox) for instance were simply taking too long to complete.

After doing some research and considering our limited project budget, we decided to go with one of those newly released Opteron 4300 series processors. We chose the 4334 model which has a reasonable price and enough processing power. Its a 6 core processor clocked at 3.1GHz and has 6MB L2 and 8MB L3 cache.

Next step was finding a MicroATX Socket C32 motherboard since we decided to keep the current low-factor case. The only MicroATX Socket C32 motherboard we could find was the Supemicro H8SCM.

The server was recently upgraded to a Dual Intel 330 60GB RAID1 SSD storage and there was no need to upgrade that part. For memory, we decided to get two 4GB DDR3-1866 memory sticks and upgrade it later. 8GB is sufficient for our current build jobs.

As you might know, Opteron processors come without a stock fan. So our next step was fining a proper C32 CPU fan. Decision was to go with a Dynatron F661 2U fan.

After receiving the motherboard, we realized it requires an 8-PIN ATX power connector and will not function with the current regular 4-PIN ATX connector. This is because usually server based processors draw more current which makes an 8-PIN connector a necessity. Since the new Opteron 4334 TDP was same as the old Phenom X4 (95W), we just ordered an adapter converting the existing 4-PIN connector and a classic IDE/SATA 12V connector into an 8-PIN one.

Assembling a new system is always a very exciting thing to do. Once we received all the parts, spent an evening removing the old parts and installing the new ones. CPU, memory and fan get installed outside and then motherboard gets installed inside the case.

Once everything was put together and fully assembled, we started our first build job to test the server. This machine is BLAZING FAST!!! It compiles three kernel packages (i386, i386-pae and amd64) along with four external module packages in less than 50 minutes!!!

Be ready! Tiger is going to build the next Parsix whole lot faster!

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Last modified 5 years ago Last modified on Feb 22, 2013, 6:50:08 PM