jackdotwa continues: "Removing them means we can fit two machines into 4U (as opposed to 5U). The cabinet has extractor fans at the top and the PSUs and motherboard fans (which pull air off the CPU and remove it laterally — (see images) face in the same direction. Would it be best to orient the shelves (and thus the fans) in the same direction throughout the cabinet, or to alternate the fan orientations on a shelf-by-shelf basis? Would there be electrical interference with the motherboards and CPUs exposed in this manner? We have a 2 ton (24000 BTU) air-conditioner which will be able to maintain a cool room temperature (the lab is quite small), judging by the guide in the first link. However, I've been asked to place UPSs in the bottom of the cabinet (they will likely be non-rackmount UPSs as they are considerably cheaper). Would this be, in anyone's experience, a realistic request (I'm concerned about the additional heating in the cabinet itself)? The nodes in the cabinet will be diskless and connected via a rack-mountable gigabit ethernet switch to a master server. We are looking to purchase rack-mountable power distribution units to clean up the wiring a little. If anyone has any experience in this regard, suggestions would be most appreciated."
New submitter jackdotwa writes "Machines in our computer lab are periodically retired, and we have decided to recycle them and put them to work on combinatorial problems. I've spent some time trawling the web (this Beowulf cluster link proved very instructive) but have a few reservations regarding the basic design and air-flow. Our goal is to do this cheaply but also to do it in a space-conserving fashion. We have 14 E8000 Core2 Duo machines that we wish to remove from their cases and place side-by-side, along with their power supply units, on rackmount trays within a 42U (19", 1000mm deep) cabinet."
Read on for more details on the project, including some helpful pictures and specific questions.