[RC5] Re: rc5-digest V1 #255

Jamie Town gwar at silcom.com
Mon Jan 11 17:58:43 EST 1999

>Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 16:02:26 -0600
>From: "Zypher" <zypher at clanusr.com>
>Subject: Re: [RC5] Slower, low end machines
>I'm new to this list, but already I've seen a lot of talk about using low
>end machines, maybe even a larger number of them. Has anyone stopped to
>consider the cost in power? 100 386s or whatever contribute very little in
>terms of blocks, but they still draw a good bit a current, which ends up
>costing someone somewhere something. This money would better be spent on new
>machine, or not spent at all.
>If someone wants to do a large collection of "cheap" computers, I also
>recommend the C300A setups. (mine is a 464 as well) At around $3-400 for
>bare bones (cpu, mobo, ram, case, use the 386s HD and maybe video card, get
>a monitor swicther ;) instead that money for electric could be spent on
>them, as only one or two or X would be needed to compare with 100 or Y of
>Also for the non-intel cpus, am I wrong or isn't their mmx unit only do half
>as many instructions per second or something to that effect?

I've got a 486DX4/100 and an AMD 586/133 running clients.  I certainly
wouldn't leave them running 24/7 just to participate in this effort but,
since one's the company firewall (don't knock it!  We've only got ISDN so
even a crappy machine can keep up with that overhead when it's not bogged
with with a MacroSquash OS) and the other is my home internet gateway/ftp
server/web server/mail server/firewall/proxy server/dns/etc. they're
running 24/7 anyway doing tasks that don't require the expense of a P2.  A
P2/450 would be nice but it ain't gonna make my 56k line at home go any
faster and the money could be better spend elsewhere...like memory cards
for my digital camera.  "What?  They only go up to 48 megs?!?  Then I guess
I'd better get two."  :)

Heck, my RC5 client at home has gobbled up 115 days worth of CPU time on a
machine that's been up 119 days.  That means, in all that time, all of the
other crap that my AMD is doing (ftp, http, firewall, smtp, nntp, dns,
proxy, etc.) has only consumed ~3.4% of the CPU's available cycles.  Yet it
has to be running 24/7 to do what it does.  So the other ~96.6% of the
processor's time gets spent cracking RC5 & DES.  There's only one reason I
didn't use a 386 for my internet server.  I didn't have a hard drive
smaller than 540 megs and the 386 I have won't deal with a 540 meg drive.
If it would have worked, I'd be cracking keys in a 386DX/40 instead of a
586/133.  Heck, if Linux ran on a 286 I probably would have pulled the ol'
286/12 out of the closet and revved it up with 4 megs of RAM!.  :)

I've got real computers running as well but only a handful that are on
24/7.  The most powerful machine I've got set up is the one that's run and
connected the least simply because I don't need it all that often and I'm
certainly not going to add $15-20 to my electric bill just to crunch keys.
When one of my home PCs is on, it's crunching keys but they don't stay on
specifically for that purpose.  I'll leave them running during the DES
contest but not for the long haul.

Jamie Town
gwar at silcom.com

"Three monkeys, ten minutes."
   - Dogbert

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