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Projects: Linux NFS Client Performance Project: Client Hardware

This page describes Linux NFS client hardware designed and integrated specially for our project, and includes some directions for how to integrate your own high-performance systems.


Our requirements for these systems include:

  • Low cost
  • Use the high-performance ServerWorks chipset
  • Support for 64-bit/66Mb PCI for high-performance networking
  • Dual processor SMP

Among mainboards, the Tyan Thunder LE and the AsusTek CUR-DLS are the least expensive mainboards that support a version of the ServerWorks chipset. They both have on-board graphics and LAN hardware, and both support on-board SCSI controllers. The Tyan Thunder LE can also be configured without the SCSI controller, and comes with no 32-bit PCI slots. This is ideal for our purpose, which is to construct high-performance NFS client systems.

We are also exploring the performance of a new range of commodity server-quality gigabit Ethernet NICs. Among the NICs we are considering are:

Parts Manifest

Each client system consists of:
Qty Vendor Part Description Purchase Price
1 Tyan Thunder LE S2510UG Dual Socket-370 mainboard with ServerWorks LE III chipset, on-board VGA graphics adapter, two 10/100Mb ethernet controllers, IDE controller, 4 registered PC133 DIMM slots $372
2 Intel 933Mhz FC-PGA Pentium III 16K x2 Level I cache, 256K Level II cache, 133Mhz FSB, Socket 370 933Mhz Coppermine $173/each
2 AlphaNovaTech PAL-15U, 60x60x25mm CPU cooling fan/heatsink combos that fit on Tyan mainboard $29/each
1 Kingston 256Mb registered SDRAM PC133 3.3v DIMM 256Mb DIMM (buffered memory for high performance) $165
1 3Com 3C996-T Gigabit Ethernet NIC with Broadcom chipset $175
1 IBM Deskstar 75GXP 7200RPM IDE 30G 30G IDE hard drive, 7200RPM, ATA/100 $135
1 Enlight 7237-0X3C ATX mid-tower case with 300W pwer supply $55
1 Sony 52X ATAPI CD-ROM CD-ROM drive $35
1 Sony 1.44Mb 3.25" Floppy drive $10.75
- - - Total without shipping $1360


The images here depict various stages in constructing our prototype.

Stage 1 - The parts have arrived

Not shown: ethernet card and CPU fans.
Arrival Mainboard

Stage 2 - Case Assembly

This photo shows the case after the mainboard is installed. Note that the CD-ROM and floppy/hard drive sub-assemblies can be removed from the case itself for easy drive installation. CPUs and memory have yet to be installed.

Stage 3 - Final Assembly

Here's a close-up of the final assembly. We see CPUs, memory, PCI gigabit ethernet card, and cabling all in place. Still missing: CPU fans and heatsinks.

lmbench Results

After installing RedHat Linux 7.0 and the 2.4.3 kernel, we ran lmbench on the prototype system to determine its performance level. You can review the results.

Helpful Guides on the Web

To find the best prices for components, we used these web services:

Integration help is available here:

Last modified: Tue May 8 22:07:37 EDT 2001 projects | techreports | press | lab | location | staff Email address
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