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Re: low-MHz server

On Mon, Feb 04, 2008 at 11:18:50AM +0800, Bob wrote:
> I'd get a modern ish server and underclock it, that way you'll be able 
> to get more RAM and bigger hard drives, the Athlon XP was fairly easy to 
> get down to 300 MHz with the FSB still @ 133, I never tried lower but I 
> don't see why not, for comedy value see if you can get the CPU clocking 
> lower than the RAM.

Thanks Bob,

I've been looking at all this.  There are many "desktop" or
"workstation" boxes around but they don't have lots of room.  This will
be important in the future.  100 MHz boxes aren't going to have a
magical come-back so whatever box I get will have to last well itself,
but also be able to be extended.  Consider that 8 years ago, having 9 GB
was huge, which a workstation would have while a server would have 12 of
those 9 GB drives.  Now, you need a 9 GB drive just to have room for
stuff and still be able to compile patches.  

I want a box into which I can plunk new hard drives without the BIOS
complaining.  I think this means SCSI which is more likely to mean a
server; as long as one can change the interface on the back-plane to
hook up to a faster scsi card to match the new drives.  Oye.

Right now there's nothing on eBay like this.  There are Proliant 2500
and 5000 workstations and IBM PC 300s, but nothing with lots of upgrade

I would _like_ (but not _need) the box to have PCI so that I could add,
e.g. a USB card if it didn't have it built-in.  Ditto faster SCSI (or
maybe SATA if it could connect, ditto multi-serial ports).

I was also wondering, re RF/EMF shielding, if a rack-mount server in a
half-height rack with front and back doors may be a good way to go.
With the doors closed, there's a lot fewer openings large enough for the
EMF to get out.  

I'm not sure, at the hardware level, how underclocking works.  Does it
slow down all electrical activity or does it just divide the clock down.
I know that this would reduce the bulk of the EMF frequency, but the
clock could still be going full-tilt.  300 MHz is still too fast.  I
want to stay under 200 and closer to 100 MHz.  

Looking on the OpenBSD platforms page, the hppa lists lots of
workstations but not servers under the PA-7100 and PA-7150 processors
(the rest run too fast).  HP's documentation on old servers is

I know that the problem is that there was a narrow time-slot when
servers were in the 100-200 MHz range which had the capabilities I need
today and into the future, which are still available and supported on
current OpenBSD.

I'll keep my eye on eBay, my ear on misc@, and wait to hear from J.C.
Roberts to see what he has in his lab.

Thanks Bob.


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