"Networking" solution.

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Note the quotes, since this isn't much of a "networking" solution.

I'm just wondering. Say you have one recent, up-to-date computer and you have five or six 486's you're ready to throw out. They're all in working condition, but you don't feel the need to use the older computers; neither will anyone take them. Trash heap, right?

Well, say you get this "brilliant" idea. How about if you somehow hooked up all of them so that they could act as one computer?

I recently thought about that scenario and I'm wondering if there is such a solution that will allow you to connect them so that their hard drives act as one, CPU's act as one big CPU, et cetera. Is it possible? Just wondering here.

Also, how would you instruct the computers to do that? Would you need to write some new protocols or something?

--Long Live the Female Messiah.
I guess SETI is using a form of WAN distributed computing so one could do it with some on a LAN too. Of course, a LAN allows sharing of drive space but not like it was one drive, not any current software I am aware of allows that as far as I know.

Realize that the CPUs of today are magnitudes more efficient than the CPUs of only a couple short years ago. I think old machines should be out fitted with decent word processors and given to the elderly, the poor, or used as a separate learning and experimenting machine for kids. Think of the time you could save not having to maintain multiple operating systems or hardware. You also save space and electrical power. Put those savings into a recent CPU based machine.

Gee, those 64 bit AMD devices running at top current speeds probably best my recent 2.6 gHz P4 system. Any one know by how much?
It is possible to get a number of machines working together, it's known as Parallel Processing and for it to truly work you'd probably need to run a linux build on all of them.

However they would all keep their seperate motherboards, processors and peripherals, although they could process things similar to how RAID works with drives. Where a workload is distributed amongst your "Cluster" or "Farm".

It is possible that such systems could be used to look for life in space, or it could be put to use for gene sequencing to find cures for certain illnesses, or a bunch of other things that people have been working on.

You can even run the older systems as webservers, for instance a P1 100Mhz can house a limited number of websites, and other machines could increase what a website can offer, like a newsgroup server, irc server, e-mail server etc.
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