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Author Topic: FPGA Cluster using Atom Board  (Read 7974 times)
antirack
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April 06, 2012, 11:36:42 AM
 #1

Is anybody here using Atom boards to run their FPGA cluster?

What is a typical power consumption of Atom boards with minimum specs (CPU + memory + flash drive)?

Can the same ATX PSU be used to power the Atom boards (what input do they use) and the FPGA boards (I've been using an ATX PSU for my Icarus + Ztex setup).

I am totally new to Atom boards. But I guess it's a good approach for running a small to medium cluster, isn't it? What other options (except stuff like Rasperry Pi) are there for off-the-shelf hardware?

I'd like to have one of the smaller form factor Atom board that is still powerful enough to run 30+ FPGA boards (I only have a few now, but hopefully more sooner or later). Any idea which ones I should look at?
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April 06, 2012, 11:46:51 AM
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AFAIK fizzisist is running his cluster on Atom board. Ask him for details.

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April 06, 2012, 12:06:46 PM
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816101262

is what i used (used this mainly because i had a few extra as backups in case one at the datacenter died) but i assume anything similar atom based will work the same

http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/9411/phototvsu.jpg


with the stock psu it was pulling roughly 35 watts at the wall - replaced it with the larger unit to power the boards that are on the way it pulls 42 watts from the wall with the larger psu - i imagine a few watts can be shaved off this using a ssd or flash drive instead of regular hd


now using about 62 watts running the atom, hd, 2gb ram and two ztex boards - connecting to it over vnc


not sure how it will scale yet but with windows 7, p2pool, and bitcoin running cpu usage is mostly under 10% spikes to 30% - will see how it scales as the two other ztex boards and two x6500s arrive then give it the full test after the singles arrive (may actually use this large psu for the singles but run a second atom server on it's own smaller psu to run the singles if cpu usage is to high)


-edit-

the one larger psu is powering the atom board through the standard 20pin connection - the ztex boards through the 8 pin and the usb hub is getting 5 volts from the sata cable along with powering the hd

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April 06, 2012, 04:58:30 PM
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https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=52944.0
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April 06, 2012, 07:14:08 PM
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I'm planning on getting a RaspberryPi to do the same thing they only cost £30 and run on less than 4W.

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April 07, 2012, 03:03:59 AM
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I'm planning on getting a RaspberryPi to do the same thing they only cost £30 and run on less than 4W.

This is my approach.  However there seems to be one hell of a backlog on the Pi's.  If I get impatient I'll hack a HP thin client and use that, the one I've been eyeing pulls (supposedly) 8 W.
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April 08, 2012, 12:48:37 AM
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I'm planning on getting a RaspberryPi to do the same thing they only cost £30 and run on less than 4W.

This is my approach.  However there seems to be one hell of a backlog on the Pi's.  If I get impatient I'll hack a HP thin client and use that, the one I've been eyeing pulls (supposedly) 8 W.

The Rasp Pi's should be coming along soon. According to their website they just finished the [unexpected] EMC testing yesterday so the suppliers should be shipping in huge quantities very soon.
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April 09, 2012, 01:16:56 AM
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I'm planning on getting a RaspberryPi to do the same thing they only cost £30 and run on less than 4W.

This is my approach.  However there seems to be one hell of a backlog on the Pi's.  If I get impatient I'll hack a HP thin client and use that, the one I've been eyeing pulls (supposedly) 8 W.

The Rasp Pi's should be coming along soon. According to their website they just finished the [unexpected] EMC testing yesterday so the suppliers should be shipping in huge quantities very soon.

Last I checked my expected shipping was Aug 16th (ordered Mar 15).  Hopefully this speeds that up a bit.
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April 09, 2012, 04:18:03 PM
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I've got one coming in at the end of January I'm expecting to use with my Icarus boards.

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April 09, 2012, 04:23:24 PM
 #10

I bought a D510 based board today and installed Ubuntu (11.10 and 10.04). The board/computer works fine, but I can't get my Ztex boards to work.

It seems the Ztex USB devices are not recognized properly, but all other USB devices (mouse, keyboards, flash drive) work fine.

Code:
java -cp ZtexBTCMiner-120221.jar BTCMiner -i
Enter RPC user name: <enter>
Enter RPC password: <enter>
0: bus=001  device=0 (`032')  ID=221a:100

1: bus=001  device=0 (`031')  ID=221a:100

2: bus=001  device=0 (`028')  ID=221a:100

On Windows it looks like this:

Code:
java -cp ZtexBTCMiner-120221.jar BTCMiner -i
Enter RPC user name: <enter>
Enter RPC password: <enter>
0: bus=bus-0  device=1 (`\\.\libusb0-0001--0x221a-0x0100')  ID=221a:100
   Manufacturer="ZTEX"  Product="btcminer for ZTEX FPGA Modules"    SerialNumber="04A3469722"
   productID=10.0.1.1  fwVer=0  ifVer=1
1: bus=bus-0  device=2 (`\\.\libusb0-0002--0x221a-0x0100')  ID=221a:100
   Manufacturer="ZTEX"  Product="btcminer for ZTEX FPGA Modules"    SerialNumber="04A346CEC7"
   productID=10.0.1.1  fwVer=0  ifVer=1
2: bus=bus-0  device=3 (`\\.\libusb0-0003--0x221a-0x0100')  ID=221a:100
   Manufacturer="ZTEX"  Product="btcminer for ZTEX FPGA Modules"    SerialNumber="04A32E00E9"
   productID=10.0.1.1  fwVer=0  ifVer=1

That kind of sucks. I don't really want to run Windows 7 on the Atom board. I don't have Icarus or X6500 to test right now.

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April 09, 2012, 06:09:51 PM
 #11

This sounds like it might be a permission problem. You'll probably have to create a udev rule for it:

Create a file /etc/udev/rules.d/90-ztex.rules with this content (will need to be done as root):
Code:
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="221a", ATTR{idProduct}=="0100", MODE="0660", GROUP="plugdev"

After adding that, reconnect the board, and it should hopefully work.

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antirack
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April 10, 2012, 01:53:56 AM
 #12

This sounds like it might be a permission problem. You'll probably have to create a udev rule for it:

Create a file /etc/udev/rules.d/90-ztex.rules with this content (will need to be done as root):
Code:
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="221a", ATTR{idProduct}=="0100", MODE="0660", GROUP="plugdev"

After adding that, reconnect the board, and it should hopefully work.

Thanks a lot. What fixed my problem was much easier than that. Using sudo! The old saying is still true: the biggest source of problems is the one behind the keyboard (or something along those lines). I am a dork.
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April 10, 2012, 02:19:51 AM
 #13

I went out and bought some no name cheap Atom Board and installed Ubuntu on it. I am mining right now with around 27 Watt on the wall (3 Ztex boards) and I have not yet disabled unused devices (Bluetooth, Wifi, audio, etc) and I am still running the GUI.

The good thing is that the brick power supply has a 12V output, so I can hook this up to my ATX power supply that is powering my FPGA boards. It even seems to have the same socket as Ztex or Icarus boards (2.5 or 2.1mm), so I probably just need to plug it in (want to double check first and I am pressed for time right now).

V-Smart V-Mini VNP 510I (really local China Brand, can't even find a web site and I don't have a CD-ROM drive right now to see what's on the CD). Cost me around $150.

D510 Dual Core 1.66GHz
nVIDIA ION 2
HDMI VGA
802.11 b/g/n
USB Ports   USB 2.0 X 5
203 mm (W) x 25 mm (D) x 162 mm (H)

Also bought a SATA2CF Adapter and a 4GB SanDisk CF card. I could have bought a cheapo Kingston SSD instead for $80 or so. Should have probably done that Wink



Here is what I did to get Ubuntu up and running (I use a Windows 7 computer usually).

On PC:

1. Download and install free LinuxLive USB Creator:
http://www.linuxliveusb.com/

2. Plugin blank USB stick.

3. In LiLi USB Creator:
- Choose USB Stick
- Choose Download and select Ubuntu 11.10 (alternatively you can point it at another distribution or at an ISO file etc)
- Leave persistence on 0MB or change if you know what you are doing (ie you want to run FROM the USB stick, which was not my target here)
- Select options (format USB stick if needed etc)
- Click flashy arrow thing to CREATE.

You now have a bootable USB stick with Ubuntu.

On Atom PC:

Make sure memory and HardDrive is installed. Connect power, monitor, keyboard etc. Go through BIOS and make sure it boots from USB sticks (boot order).

1. Plugin USB stick and switch on Atom board.

2. Wait for Ubuntu to start then select "Install".

3. Choose all your options such as user name, password, and install Ubuntu to your "hard drive" (CF card via SATA2CF in my case).

Since I am using a CF card I am using ext2 (without journaling) and no swap. If you use a real hard drive you can probably use the default. With SSD I am not sure. I don't want to use a hard drive because of the power consumption.

4. Once you are up and running you can do the following to enable SSH and telnet to connect from your Windows PC (so you don't need it connected to monitor, keyboard and mouse all the time). For this to work you may need to disable 'halt on error' in the BIOS, otherwise it will just stop on the boot screen if it can't find a keyboard on boot.

Press Control-Alt-T to open the Terminal.

Code:
sudo apt-get install telnetd

And/Or (depending if you want SSH or telnet or both):

Code:
sudo apt-get install openssh-server

If you need Java (ie. ZTEX BTCMiner):

Code:
sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre

If you then fire up your favorite mining software, don't forget to use sudo in front of the command so that you have root privileges.

I used the Desktop version of Ubuntu for now, I didn't get the server version to run since it somehow wanted me to use a CD-ROM/driver when I tried to install it from the USB stick.
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April 10, 2012, 02:49:06 AM
 #14

I used the Desktop version of Ubuntu for now, I didn't get the server version to run since it somehow wanted me to use a CD-ROM/driver when I tried to install it from the USB stick.

I had that exact problem. That's the only reason I installed the desktop version :/

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April 10, 2012, 03:32:27 AM
 #15

This Atom board has a card reader. I am actually thinking of testing it after a while from an external SD card.

This would cut down the cost and _may_ not make a big difference at the end. My thinking was that SD cards are probably not reliable/durable for running the OS from, but a CF is probably not much better anyway and the SATA2CF adapter is overhead + might actually mitigate (if not nullify) the advantage of a CF basically being an IDE interface. Probably a classic case of over-thinking things Wink
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April 10, 2012, 10:39:05 AM
 #16

This sounds like it might be a permission problem. You'll probably have to create a udev rule for it:

Create a file /etc/udev/rules.d/90-ztex.rules with this content (will need to be done as root):
Code:
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="221a", ATTR{idProduct}=="0100", MODE="0660", GROUP="plugdev"

After adding that, reconnect the board, and it should hopefully work.

Thanks a lot. What fixed my problem was much easier than that. Using sudo! The old saying is still true: the biggest source of problems is the one behind the keyboard (or something along those lines). I am a dork.


Sure, sudo has the same effect, but I'd rather not run things as root unless I really need to. Adding that udev rule allows you to run the miner as a regular user.

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April 10, 2012, 10:41:52 AM
 #17

I used the Desktop version of Ubuntu for now, I didn't get the server version to run since it somehow wanted me to use a CD-ROM/driver when I tried to install it from the USB stick.

I had that exact problem. That's the only reason I installed the desktop version :/

Just use the netinstall image and put that on a thumbdrive. I always carry that around with me anyway, it's just a couple MBs, and it will download everything from the internet instead of asking for a CDROM.

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antirack
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April 10, 2012, 12:31:09 PM
 #18

Sure, sudo has the same effect, but I'd rather not run things as root unless I really need to. Adding that udev rule allows you to run the miner as a regular user.

So I listened to you and created the file. It works without sudo now, thanks again.

I also hooked up the board to my ATX power supply. It is indeed using the same socket/plug as Icarus and also has the same polarity.
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April 11, 2012, 12:55:40 AM
 #19

Just use the netinstall image and put that on a thumbdrive. I always carry that around with me anyway, it's just a couple MBs, and it will download everything from the internet instead of asking for a CDROM.
Brilliant!

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April 15, 2012, 08:31:45 AM
 #20

Hi-Jack!

Made a how-to to get mining on a router:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=76685.0
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