Alternative Options (was: Re: [HARDWARE] my $0.02 re: dedicated crack boxes)

Jim C. Nasby jim at
Mon Sep 20 02:48:59 EDT 1999

I don't see much need for a coordinated project for this kind of thing,
unless someone wants to put the software into a nice easy to install
format. I'd venture that most of us on this list are very capable of
putting a bunch of motherboards into a rack.

If you want to get really creative, see if you can figure out some way
to eliminate as much of the extra hardware as possible... use PPP via
the serial ports for example (especially usefull, since it gets rid of
the big NICs).

As for some of the other options presented, they should be looked at,
but I know that we'll never get anywhere if a line isn't drawn somewhere
as to what the features will be. Yes, we'd obviously like fast, cheap,
and good, but you can only have 2 of the 3.

There's already a lot of work done on the FPGA concept, and as complex
as it is, it's still _FAR_ simpler than trying another approach, such as
designing boards that would use some kind of regular micro running at a
high clock speed (where layout becomes *critical*).

Just inserting my own $0.02 worth of reality.

Paul Everett wrote:
> In my oppinion, I think that its still a better idea to just use some
> basic PC based machines for rc5 cracking.
> I'm all for building some kind of "rack of motherboards" as suggested
> somewhere here before.
> each unit would be:
> 2x celeron 400  106.00
> abit BP6 mobo    80.00
> 32mb dimm        41.00
> nic              12.00
> floppy            8.00
> (prices in pounds, excluding VAT, current from
> this works out to about 185 US dollars.
> this would crack at about 2.2MKeys/second.
> You would need one PSU between 2 or 3 boards, adding about $10/board to
> the cost. So you have about $200/unit, including PSU and any oddments. You
> could also probably overclock the celerons a bit. If you managed to run
> then at (say) 500mhz, that would be about 2.75Mkeys/second, which works
> out to $73 per MKey/sec. Even without overclocking you have $91/MKey/sec.
> You could save a bit by getting rid of the floppy drive and using boot
> ROMs in the network cards. If you can overclock more than 500mhz (may be
> possible, i'm not an expert on this) then its even better value.
> This setup has several advantages over a FPGA/whatever solution:
> 1. The one off cost is low, there is no minimum order
> 2. the development costs are zero, as the hardware and software is
>    readily available.
> 3. as the machines are standard PC's, they could be used for other things
>    as well as rc5 - as rc5 runs with a low priority you could, say, use
>    them for rendering or compiling, but rc5 would use all the cpu when
>    you weren't doing anything else.
> 4. as the machines are standard PC's, you can sell them easily if you need
>    the cash or get bored of the project.
> And, as the prices of celeron processors drops (which it is doing) this
> becomes more and more preferable over other solutions.
> Whats more, I've actually done this. Well, not quite. About a year ago a
> built a rack pretty much as specified, but using 386 motherboards instead
> of dual celerons. I could easily just chuck some different motherboards in
> there though.
> Take a look at if you want. Its got info on
> my rack, including some detail about exactly -how- i did it. There are
> photos too, and also details of a rack of Pentium 2 machines belonging to
> another member.
> (p.s. if anyone else has done something similar, please send me info so i
> can add it)
> (p.p.s. if anyone from is watching, and i know you are, i
> wouldn't say no to a link from the main site)
> Regards,
> Paul
> --
> Paul Everett                                 Microsoft is not the answer.
> repton at repton dot org                       Microsoft is the question.
>                                 "No" is the answer.
>    "God, root, what is the difference?" - Pitr,
> --
> To unsubscribe, send 'unsubscribe hardware' to majordomo at

Jim C. Nasby (aka Decibel!)                                  /^\ 
jim at                                               /___\
Freelance lighting designer and database developer         /  |  \
Member: Triangle Fraternity, Sports Car Club of America   /___|___\

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