Posted 2011/07/15

System G Powerpack

We are currently building a new fully instrumented Powerpack node for our System G cluster. System G is a cluster of Apple tower computers and Powerpack allows us to measure how much power a computer is using at the component level. Most people only know how much electricity a computer is drawing at the wall where we can tell you how much is used by the CPU, memory, hard drive etc.

Our Powerpack nodes are extremely popular with collaborators because you can do some really interesting power experiments using them. However, a Powerpack node is hard to build so people tend to want an account on our clusters rather than build their own.

It is time to build another Powerpack node for System G so more people can use it. This gave me a good opportunity to take some pictures of what a System G Powerpack node looks like.

System G
System G is 324 Apple Mac Pro computers with a total of 2592 processing cores.

Empty Mac
To instrument a computer we have to pull out all of the guts, cut the power supply cables and re-wire them with resistors to measure power consumption.

Original System G Powerpack
The original System G Powerpack node is used as a reference for making new ones.