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How do you make a Computer Farm? Answered

I have several old computers that I don't use anymore. Would it be possible to link them up so that I could use all of their resources at the same time?


First off, hoe the land, then plant your computers..... Oh sorry, I see what you mean. Basically, you can link them up and use the hard-drive space, but RAM and processor speed is effectively confined to the one computer.

You will want to look into Beowulf clusters. As Uzi said, you need a specific task that can be run in parallel to make good use of it. (you can't just make a faster single computer from it) You will also want to be decent with setting up & dealing with Linux.

. If you just want to share printers and HDD space, that's built into most OSs. Install a network and away you go.

I meant more sharing processor speed, RAM, and hard drives.

. As UziMonkey hints at, communications speed becomes a big problem when trying to share CPU/RAM. Any gain you get from multiple computers is quickly lost to moving data around, co-coordinating the processors, &c.; . It would make a cool proof-of-concept project, but, as UM points out, you can get a modern computer for less than what it would take to hook your old computers together - and you'll probably get better performance. . Old computers usually make great file servers. I'm using one on my LAN - two 500GB HDDs in RAID1 configuration. One of these days I'm gonna upgrade to 3-4 RAID5 drives.

You can't just combine multiple computers and have them acts as a single, faster computer. There are clustering libraries and stuff like OpenMOSIX that will migrate processes to other computers transparently, but it's not what you're looking for. The problem is, the communication between the computers ends up being more expensive for interactive applications than you'll gain from the extra resources. Clustering is only really useful if you have something that needs clustering, such as ray tracing. Also, the electricity needed to run a number of older machines quickly becomes prohibitive. Why run 5 older computers when you can get a newer computer that's faster than all of them combined for $200?

How do you make a Computer Farm? Well, first, you need to get yourself forty acres and a mule. Then you plant row upon row of little 555 chips, and fertilize them. In about six months, you'll have great stands of Intel QuadCores growing as high as an elephant's eye.