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Power Databases Hardware

Atom Processors Set New Record For Power-Efficient Sorting 92

schliz writes "German researchers have set a new record for energy efficient data sorting with a system based on netbook processors and Solid State Disks. The system, dubbed EcoSort, more than tripled the power efficiency of former record holders, leading one of its developers to claim: 'In the long run, many small, power-efficient and cooperating systems are going to replace the so far used, heavy weighted ones.' Records were defined by 'Sort Benchmark,' which was created by missing Microsoft scientist Jim Gray and was now managed by representatives of companies like Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft."
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Atom Processors Set New Record For Power-Efficient Sorting

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  • by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:54AM (#31654774) Journal

    The Via C7/Nano seems to be a great chip for a home/small office server, what with its built-in AES encryption making it faster than even a high end Xeon without hardware acceleration. My current setup consists of 2*WD SE16 hard drives, APC UPS, 80+ Corsair PSU, PC2500e Nano mobo with 1GB, and a couple of 80mm case fans, together running under 50W idle, and only 7W more at full CPU load. If I were to replace the Corsair with a fanless PSU good up to 80-120W I might get an extra 5-10% efficiency; I could wipe out the case fans probably with no problem (2-3W, say), especially if I replaced hard with spinning solid state storage, and that of course would shave off around 15W. Substitute a large fanless heatsink for another W (or just get a fanless motherboard/CPU in the first place). But even as-is, it's a good improvement on my previous regular desktop CPU-based setup.

    For something which is on 24 hours a day, going several months between reboots and stressed only in the IO and encryption departments, I see no reason to use a full-power desktop processor. So, what problems have you guys encountered which has meant you haven't ended up with this option?

  • by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @06:17AM (#31654880)
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't SSDs somewhat limited in the number of read/write actions they can perform? Specifically, the ability to adequately make a distinction between a 1 and a 0 diminishes with the number of overwrites of a particular section of disk.

    I'm sure I could phrase this better... I've got to admit I don't know much about low-level hard disk theory. But I do recall seeing something regarding researchers trying to extend the life of SSDs, since their life is not nearly as long as spinning platters.

    If that's the case, even if researchers have made some progress, wouldn't something like sorting be exactly the WRONG application for SSDs? I mean, unless you want to spend tons of time and money (and indirectly "energy") replacing SSDs.
  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted@slashdot ... minus physicist> on Monday March 29, 2010 @06:26AM (#31654910)

    Of course you set records, when most of your CPU actually sits in your north bridge. Yes. That thing with the large heat sink and fan, is the north bridge. Not the CPU. The CPU is that smaller chip that you thought were the NB.

    It’s a fraud. Nothing else. A trick to hide their failure to get even in the same magnitude as ARM.

  • by VulpesFoxnik ( 1493687 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @06:32AM (#31654934)

    Here here!

    If any one attempted this test with a Arm Cortex 9A with the full 4 cores, this would be blown out of the water easily.

  • by SpzToid ( 869795 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @06:35AM (#31654952)

    What are you using AES encryption for, hard disk encryption? If so, this is a little unusual for a server, which are normally found in secure facilities, but make sense for a home perhaps.

    I'm thinking a home NAS isn't something one would want a common house-thief to walk away with. But TFA article talks about sorting, and not NAS work, hence my request for clarity. I'm curious what your application, and OS is. Your setup is certainly interesting.

  • by CarbonShell ( 1313583 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:19AM (#31656784)

    True, though the space used by an ITX is smaller then those for your typical blade.
    You can get about 2-3 in per u.

    I also think you have to calculate the power needed. Some of the systems I have seen are designed for the worst-case, yet that hardly ever happens. But the system has to have all the bling and whatnot.

    Or, if you need the power, the system has been nerfed because each node costs so much.

    Also not to dismiss is the cooling requirements.
    I have seen nodes you could use to keep your coffee/tea warm (on the outside!).

    Naturally moving the datacenters around will benefit you to a certain degree. But those are often just short term solutions. Like any other 'outsourcing' they often depend on lower wages and/or subsidies which, once they are depleted, forces the datacenter to move.

    But I agree with you, we need more data and experience.

  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @11:14AM (#31657582)
    If you have low CPU needs why not virtualize? You can fit one heck of a lot of ITX sized VM's on a blade chassis full of modern equipment. If fact it would be on the order of 1500 in a 10U C7000 using 8GB dimm's if your VM's were 1GB and you had no memory overcommit. One c7000 is going to be a heck of a lot more power efficient than 1500 ITX boards, cheaper and more reliable besides.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer