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Windows 7: Windows 7 on a Personal Supercomputer

16 Feb 2010   #1

Windows XP Professional
Windows 7 on a Personal Supercomputer

Straightforward question. Will Windows 7 run on a personal cluster like the Cray CX1? I'm assuming yes, but it would only use one blade and ignore the rest, but I'm not sure.

Any insights?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2010   #2

Win7 Home Premium 64x

Hmmm I was hoping to see that in your system specs. Please post WEI if you do.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2010   #3

Windows XP Professional

I read this on a different forum. This guy wanted to know about using windows seven with a cluster system or something like that.

I'll be purchasing a new high-performance computer within the year and I am deciding on the final configuration I want to go with. One of the biggest issues for me is the operating system I want to install on it. I know Linux would be the logical choice for a cluster like the Cray CX1, but I really dislike Linux. Windows offers so much more in terms of aesthetics, compatibility, practicality, and so on.

I realized that Windows 7 64-bit would be my best bet for such a system because it is most likely able to recognize many cores, utilize the most RAM, and take most advantage of the capabilities the CX1 has to offer. This leaves many questions to answer, including the most obvious one, which I'll answer first.

I utilize computers for a wide array of tasks including (but not limited to) science research applications, personal to professional high-def media production, architecture and CAD applications, etc. You get the idea.

I configured a CX1 on the Cray website, but this may not be my final configuration depending on what I find out here. The CX1 has a "blade" architecture in which multiple nodes create a cluster operating as a whole. Each node has its own processor, RAM, hard drive, and special hardware (depending on its type). This architecture allows for a very powerful system and lets you divide processes amongst the blades (or nodes).

This is the configuration I have right now:

Head Node (Storage)
Processor- Xeon QC X5570 2.93GHz 8M 6.4 GT/sec [2]
Memory- 8GB DDR3 1333MHz ECC/Reg [12]
Fixed Hard Drive- 500GB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps 2.5"
RAID Controller- RAID controller LSI SAS/SATA 8704EM2 4 ports, 3GB/s
Battery Backup RAID Controller- Battery Backup LSI 8704/08EM2
Hard Drives- 1TB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps 3.5" [4]
Infiniband Hybrid Cable
Cluster Node (GPU)
Processor- Xeon QC X5570 2.93GHz 8M 6.4 GT/sec [2]
Memory- 8GB DDR3 1333MHz ECC/Reg [12]
Hard Drive- 500GB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps 2.5"
InfiniBand Hybrid Cable
Cluster Nodes (Visualization) [2]
Processor- Xeon QC X5570 2.93GHz 8M 6.4 GT/sec [2]
Memory- 8GB DDR3 1333MHz ECC/Reg [12]
Hard Drive- 500GB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps 2.5"
NVIDIA QuadroFX 5800
InfiniBand Hybrid Cable
Total Memory- 384GB
Total Space- 6TB (Approx.) on 8 Hard Drives
Processors- 8
Cores- 32
As you may guess, the capabilities of this machine are way up there. This brings me to these following questions:
First off, would the Windows 7 64-bit operating system even be compatible with a system of this architecture? I imagine it is, but would it recognize and be able to use all the other blades in the chassis, or would it require special configuration on the hardware or OS?
According to the memory limits for Windows, Windows 7 64-bit is only capable of recognizing 192GB of memory. The 384GB that the CX1 has is twice that. Is there some way to circumvent this and be able to take advantage of 384GB of memory, or would I have to tone down on the memory?
Hard drives; will it read them all? I believe it will, but I need confirmation.
Does Windows 7 have the capability to use the Tesla GPU at all? Is there software to use it on a Windows OS?
This is a basic question, but would Windows 7 be able to recognize, and fully utilize two (or more) video cards? Or would it be able to take advantage of the monitor capabilities only and not be able to use their full processing power?
If both video cards are recognized, what would I have to do to install a multi-monitor setup of seven monitors?
I've no clue why someone would need all that horsepower from a personal computer, but it did pique my interest.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 Feb 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)

This announcement provides some details, but basically yes, they use Windows 7 on clusters, although in combination with the HPC server. Now, they sell these "personal" clusters (on the Dell website) for roughly 50 grand - why would you spend that much money on a "home" computer, unless you are really into some heavy high-def video, although even there I am not aware of any consumer-grade products that can use parallel computing even on a quad-core. But, there is the info.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2010   #5
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

It would be interesting to know why you would want to use such a cluster rather than a high end PC. Must be a very particular application. My son just bought an OC'd quad I7 running at 3.6GHz with SSDs and all the other adornments. He now does not really know how to use it to it's fullest potential (he is no gamer). The applications for such a beast have to still be invented.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2010   #6

Windows XP Professional

I just took a look at this guy's configuration. Do you have any idea how much this runs for? $170 grand for the computer itself. Add a few more grand for monitors and speakers

As for the announcement, the only question left is, can Seven run 100% by itself, or does it need HPC. I'm not IT, so excuse me if I just asked something unintelligent.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows 7 on a Personal Supercomputer

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