I’m looking at building a small “home” test cluster, for cheap, but where I can still extract the most performance.
I’m looking at the ASRock Deskmini A300 (once they are available around here) as a good candidate: cheap, can fit a 4c/8t Ryzen 2400G, up to 32GB of RAM, and even has 2 x M.2 slots.
With a basic spec of 16 GB of RAM and a single Samsung 970 PRO, it can cost less than 500€ per node (probably cheaper in $). Only issue is that it only has a 1Gbps network adapter so about 100-120 MB/s of exploitable throughput while the ssd can easily handle 1-2 GB/sec.
On the other hand, I can also easily build a mini-ITX system for about 700-800€ which would include something like an Intel x550-T2 giving me 2 x 10 Gbps ports for something around 2 GB/sec of network throughput (though I’m a bit unsure if the cpu could handle this), getting it in line with the SSD bandwidth.
Does anyone have any thoughts on what is best:
- More cheaper nodes with 1Gbps that don’t require a fast ssd (even SATA would be enough)
- Fewer but higher priced nodes with 10Gbps (or more) that could fully utilize a single NVME drive ?
Requiring an extra PCIe card for the x550-T2 makes the build for the cluster more complex and take more volume, and monopolize the single PCIe slot of mini-ITX boards. This makes it difficult to use Ryzen cpus like the 2600X or 2700X that don’t have an APU (headless linux works, but is a pain if I need to troubleshoot something).
But at the same time they are more efficient in term of disk utilization…