Industrial PC using multiple CPU daughter cards?

mrmagoo_83

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I have some machines acquired from work, they are 2005 models or so. They are considered industrial PCs, or something like that, basically a single motherboard with multiple slots. In each of the four machines only one slot is populated with a processor daughter board. I was hoping I could take the processor boards from the other machines and add them all into one and have a 4 processor machine (all single cores).

Any advice on where to look for information on this type of configuration?
 

sp1te

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What kind of systems are they? Any serial numbers? or other info that can help us a little more? I believe i know what you are talking about but id like to see some picts if possible?
 

Blue Fox

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Is it a backplane (presumably PICMG) with a bunch of SBCs or a single motherboard with a bunch of CPU riser cards?
 

vectravl400

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The backplanes that I've seen were designed to accommodate multiple processor cards. How many you can put in will depend on the slot configuratation. If you picked them up from work, check with whoever looks after your electrical or instrumentation stuff. They should have some documentation for the backplane and processor cards. Otherwise, you may need to look for a brand name on the processor card. I don't think there are that many manufacturers

I picked up an old one from work one time. Had something like a dozen pci slots. I was thinking about plugging in several gb network cards into it to use as a homemade switch or router, but a switch that requires an 800 watt power supply wasn't going to be easy on the power bill.

Just out of curiosity, what would you use this for?
 

jamiee

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Our German made chip card manufacturing machines at work use these type of industrial PC`s. We recently had to replace a PC in one of our machines and the one the manufacture sent over was a P4 3.0Ghz with 2GB RAM and an Enermax 85+ PSU.
Quite an upgrade over the P266MMX with 512MB RAM PC it replaced!

Funny that I`m the one that get`s to swap them out when they break as our mechanics won`t touch them and our IT guy is just as happy to let me do it... Not that I mind :D
 

mrmagoo_83

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So I took some pictures and looked up the main board number, didn't find anything that really helped me out. If I read them right, I can only use two of these daughter cards as they require a PCI slot and an ISA slot. I need to fire one backup and get the details on it. Have to find a monitor around here somewhere, will post details later.

Main Board
Picture%20005.jpg


Daughter Card
Picture%20006.jpg


Overview
Picture%20009.jpg
 

stryder2720

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Here's what I found:
Mainboard PDF

Some daughterboard info:

General
Bus Architecture: 32-bit / 33MHz + HISA (ISA High drive), optional
SBC Size: Full-Length
CPU
CPU Class: Intel Pentium IV / Celeron D
Environment
Operating Temperature: 0 C to 60 C
Storage Temperature: -20 C to 70 C
Form Factor
Depth or Length: 13.3 "
Height: 4.8 "
I/O Connector
I/O Connector (Internal): Floppy (34-pin) x 1, IDE (40-pin) x 2, SCSI 68-pin x 2
 

mrmagoo_83

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Right, I had found that as well, wasn't a great help for me; however, I do think this means it should allow 2 boards to be used, PICMG1 & PICMG2. The daughter cards I have only use the ISA slots for card stability, not anything electrical.

I would have to use an OS that supports multiple processors right? XP would not suffice.
 

Mr. Bluntman

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Windows XP Professional will allow you to use up to a 2S system. For anything beyond that you'd need Server 2003.
 

mrmagoo_83

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I could always just plug them into the motherboard and see what happens, just really didn't want to blow anything up :)
 

mrmagoo_83

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Ok, actually had an online chat with the original manufacturer. He tells me that the board is a '1 segment' board, and in order to handle multiple processors it must be a '2 or more segment' board. So right now I have an email in to the company sales department waiting to see how much a 2 or 4 segment backplane would cost. And at this rate, I have discovered I have three of these machines, which I am sure means I can either run two of them in a new board, or I have to find a fourth, as I probably cant run three. Could be totally wrong though.

So that would be a nice setup right, four 2.8GHz CPUs (each with 2GB of RAM) in a server. I am not big on the multiprocessor world, so wouldn't know if that was better than a single quad-core machine or not.
 
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extide

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Well, being that they are P4's no, a single quad core would be a better/faster solution.
 

mrmagoo_83

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Ok, this project is starting to look like a bust. If I cant get this to be a useful setup for something viable, then there really is no point in putting any money into it, even though most of it is free.
 

vectravl400

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Ok, this project is starting to look like a bust. If I cant get this to be a useful setup for something viable, then there really is no point in putting any money into it, even though most of it is free.

That's exactly the conclusion I came to. Too much effort for a rig that could be bested by a $399 desktop from Dell. But it was fun to tinker with.
 

sp1te

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I wonder if I could get much use out of the clustered together...

I was going to say try turning them into a linux cluster, its a fun project and you will learn a ton, then try to get something to render across them or something. That would be worth your time if you have it to spare.

In the department of defense they use systems like this running virtual machines and clustered, so if one card goes down the machine is still fine.
 

mrmagoo_83

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Not to kick a dead horse here, but this is coming back into my mind.

I have four of these P4 2.8GHz machine, as well as a possibly working Dell PowerEdge 850 server. I am thinking about loading up the PowerEdge as a master, and putting these four as clients in a cluster. Then using them to render BluRays. As I just tried to re-encode Avatar, and my dual core machine wanted like 36 hours for the first pass...so had to stop that. Would a clustered setup be an improvement over 36 hours? lol.
 

Thor

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about the only reason i see to use it would be for virtual machines.. i dont think it would be good to even use as a blu-ray encoder other than the fact that it wouldn't tie up your main pc.. set it to task and walk away.. at that point, who cares how long it takes as long as it its not ungodly on the power bill.
 
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Not to kick a dead horse here, but this is coming back into my mind.

I have four of these P4 2.8GHz machine, as well as a possibly working Dell PowerEdge 850 server. I am thinking about loading up the PowerEdge as a master, and putting these four as clients in a cluster. Then using them to render BluRays. As I just tried to re-encode Avatar, and my dual core machine wanted like 36 hours for the first pass...so had to stop that. Would a clustered setup be an improvement over 36 hours? lol.

I doubt it would be an improvement. P4s are pretty crappy.

If you had ever considered doing PBX work, those backplanes are perfect for a setup of Dialogic equipment.
You end up with Dialogic boards in the PCI slots and they do use the PCI bus, but there is additionally a ribbon cable across the top of all of the cards to provide timing information to the cards.

We had some at a callcenter I worked for. We started out with Dual PIII-600s and later the vendor finally certified PIII Tualatins. That was a very happy install for me. We put in Dual 1.4s :D
 

alienb21

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Back on the hardware side of things, the way these SBCs, (Single Board Computers) usually work is while it may appear to have a PCI/E-ISA slot on the bottom, it's not actually the slot it may appear to be. The chipset, drive controller, NIC, ram, etc is all on that single "card" and usually the "motherboard" is just expansion slots, or can be wired to simply provide power and a NIC interface to the rest of the machines. These are somewhat similar to blade machines, (or can be)

Each "card" in themselves will run an independent and seperate OS, you will not gain an additional processor/ram/etc from adding 2+ of these in a single chassis. It'd be cool to get one of these working with multiple SBCs installed, (if the mainboard/card configuration can indeed do this) and set up a cluster, or a compact-ish server rig, maybe one is DNS, another can be your firewall/whatever.

Anyway I ramble. As it's been said, cool thing to play with, but probably has some pretty limited application for you, and definately dont spend money on it.
 

mrmagoo_83

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If you know anyone who wants to buy one hit me up, they are just sitting in my garage collecting dust for the moment. The cases might could be modded for ATX use.
 
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