To an internet based company, server infrastructure is the secret sauce that can really help a company pull ahead of its competitors. It determines the quality of service its customers will receive, and their cost and efficiency will have a huge impact on the bottom line of the company. To Google this secret was a carefully guarded one, with few outside of the company having any real details. The only thing that we knew for sure is that they were built in house using parts that are generally available to every PC builder. This all changed last week when Google decided to lift the veil of secrecy to a group of IT professionals.
Each server measures about 3.5 inches thick, and is designed in a custom rack for easy stacking. Each unit sports two x86 processors either from Intel or AMD, contains two hard drives (presumably configured as a raid 1), and eight memory slots. These components are mounted on a Gigabyte motherboard, and protected by built in 12-volt battery that also serves as a UPS.
The built in battery was perhaps the biggest secret that was revealed and is a slap in the face to traditional thinking when it comes to large scale battery backup. Typically, server farms employ massive uninterruptable power supplies in the event of a power failure. The biggest problem with this approach according to Chris Malone from Google is the ability to scale it perfectly for the number of servers, and inefficiencies inherent with the technology. “Large UPSs can reach 92 to 95 percent efficiency, meaning that a large amount of power is squandered. The server-mounted batteries do better, Jai said: "We were able to measure our actual usage to greater than 99.9 percent efficiency."
Google’s approach to server infrastructure is defiantly unique, and it’s use of low cost customer grade hardware defiantly helped them survive the early years on razor sharp margins.
Welcome to Maximum PC's 100th Podcast Spectacular! This week, we visit with a ton of old friends, talk about Nathan's new PC, Pallette-Swap Ninja, and listen to a reader question. This week's show features the talents of: Dan Amrich, Kat Auch, Captain Spaulding, Norman Chan, Nathan Edwards, Gordon Mah Ung, Will Smith, Jeremy Williams--and we have a very special guest appearance by Tekzilla's Veronica Belmont! We sincerely apologize for the wait, but we hope it's been worth it! Enjoy the show!
We also have come into posession of a ton of SteelSeries keyboards and headsets, speaker systems, and even more t-shirts to give away in our weekly Twitter contest. Be sure to sign up for @willsmith's feed to get in on the action.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by
For some time now Intel has been working on a Linux-based operating system (now in its alpha stage of testing), named Moblin. The goal of Moblin is to provide the Atom CPU a light and fast OS that is far less demanding than a full version of Windows.
According to those in the alpha test, Moblin can offer two second boot times (with some optimization). If all this were true, then it would give us the fastest booting OS available. Intel’s Open Source Technology Center director Imhad Sousou is very much on board as well, stating, “We think that two second boot is possible.”
A two second boot would provide an ideal platform for mobile systems (such as netbooks and MIDs) to operate on. For many, having a system in sleep mode (which drains the battery) is preferable to booting the system each and every time they want to use it. The concept of a two second boot would eliminate the need for this.
So, given the concept of a two second boot, would you be willing to ditch Windows and give Moblin a try? Let us know in the comments!
If you spot a good deal on an LCD monitor, you may consider pouncing. Putting off that purchase could be rolling the dice at higher prices, according to data by iSuppli. The market research company notes that an increase in demand from China, driven by the impact of China's rural consumer stimulus program, has led to rising prices for LCD monitor panels. Also to blame are an increase of orders from brands and retailers, iSuppli says.
"These brand and retail orders mostly stem from demand for inventory replenishment because channels have kept their stockpiles at lower-than-normal levels since the end of 2008," iSupply noted. "With many panel prices for monitors having been drastically slashed to less than cash-cost levels, panel buyers in February started purchasing in droves in order to build a supply of cheap panels."
Increases thus far haven't been anything to warrant hitting the panic button. According to iSuppli, average pricing for most LCDs and small-sized TV panels increased anywhere from $2 to $3 in March compared to February. And while prices are expected to rise some more in the short-term, iSuppli warns that it's too early to say that a recovery is taking place in the LCD industry, as the influx of orders are not expected to be sustained.
More and more custom cooling solutions are starting to appear for Nvidia's GeForce GTX 285 videocards, with one of the more intriguing options belonging to MSI. The company has taken traditional heatpipe designs, fattened them up, and slapped them on its N285GTX SuperPipe OC graphics card.
"Today, MSI is pleased to announce the N285GTX SuperPipe graphics card, which not only brings to bear the powerful NVIDIA GPU - GeForce GTX 285, but, via the revolutionary ‘SuperPipe’ and Twin Frozr thermal design, offers a high performance and thermal efficiency graphics card," MSI wrote in a press release.
The aptly named SuperPipes consiste of 8mm thick heatpipes, which are up to 60 percent thicker than traditional heatpipes. According to MSI, the wider design leads to 90 percent better cooling performance. The N285GTX has been outfitted with five heatpipes in all, two of which are SuperPipes, on an all-metal heatsink with dual fans.
Engineers working together from Fusion-io and Hewlett Packard were able to achieve about 1 million IOPS (input/output per second) and 8GB/s sustained throughput in a custom-built HP ProLiant DL785 G5 server with four quad-core AMD Opteron processors. To reach the high level of IOPS, the server included five 320GB ioDrive Duos and six 160GB ioDrives.
"The ioDrive and ioDrive Duo are to supply the extreme storage performance (for data centers) at a fraction of the power, cooling, and per unit-of-processing-power price compared to traditional solutions," said David Flynn, chief technology officer of Fusion-io, in a statement.
The ioDrive and ioDrive Duos used consist of single level cell (SLC) flash memory and come rated for 48 years with the company's wear leveling algorithm. Both drives also utilize the PCI-E interface.
According to the company, it was left with no other choice after two years of licensing talks didn’t bear any fruit. “We couldn’t find a common viewpoint with Apple, so we decided we had to take action,” a spokesperson for the company told The NYT.
Elan has accused Apple of violating two off its patents related to touchscreen technology. It maintains that the MacBook and iPhone/iPod Touch violate its patent rights.
While several companies have announced 512GB SSDs, Super Talent is living up to their name and shipping out the first of their massive SSDs starting today.
Super Talent is now offering a new series of MasterDrive RX SSDs, three of the models featuring Multi-Level Cell (MLC) chips, and two models with faster, and more reliable Single-Level Cell (SLC) chips. The one we’re worried about (the 512GB) comes with the MLC chips, and sports a sequential read speed of 230 MB/sec and a sequential write speed of 160MB/sec.
If you’ve got some money to spend on storage, you can pick up one of these drives now for a cool $1,500! Just be ready to explain to your wife why you sold her car.
We've already posted one of the coolest case mods you'll ever see (check it out here), and moving to the complete opposite end of the spectrum (who are we kidding, this one's not even on the spectrum), is the tackiest mouse you'll never own. Or at least we hope you never do.
The Gold Bullion Wireless Mouse has so much wrong with it, it's tough knowing where to start. Should we point out that it's not real gold? How about we start by talking about the horrific rectangular design which, while meant to resemble a gold bullion, screams in the face of ergonomics and usability? Maybe we should point out the lack of additional buttons beyond the standard right and left click. Or we could go for the obvious and discuss how absurdly tacky it is, right down to its description as a "great big bling thing!" Screw it, you're on your own in deciding where to start faulting this peripheral.
Of absolutely no interest to anyone, anywhere, the Gold Bullion Wireless Mouse is available for pre-order through www.iwantoneofthose.com (how's that for irony?) for around $35.
We’ve never—ever—seen a PC like Hardcore Computer’s Reactor. Who the hell, after all, would dunk a CPU, GPUs, SSDs, a proprietary motherboard, and a power supply in non-conductive oil? We’ve seen submerged PC projects since as early as 1998, but they’ve always looked like a PC that ran Titanic-style into an iceberg, with half the components sinking to the bottom of the tank.
The Reactor, however, feels solid. It’s made of fabricated heavy-duty aluminum and is so stunningly gorgeous that it could easily be dropped onto a movie set as a nuclear-powered PC from 2112.
Heck, there are even some hardware exclusives here. The Reactor is the first machine to have a full, real EAX5-capable X-Fi chip in it. And in another first, Hardcore somehow managed to use three of Samsung’s new 256GB SSD drives—that’s 768GB of fast solid state storage, kiddies. In graphics, we didn’t get Nvidia’s latest GTX 295s, but Hardcore does manage to stuff in three GTX 280 cards. All this was fitted to the custom nForce 790i SLI board with Intel’s pre-viously top-of-the-line 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme Edition at 4GHz. And, of course, almost all of it was sunk in heat-conductive oil.