Published on October 10th, 2008 | by Jules Yap


What’s with Helmer, the 24 core Linux cluster?

When it first came out a shipload of people [thank you! you know who you are] tipped me on this hack – a Linux cluster Janne ingeniously built into a Helmer drawer cabinet to help with 3D rendering. [via Hack a day] It’s not pretty but I’ve been told that it works wonderfully.

Click here to read the story of Helmer, a Linux cluster in a cabinet.

If you liked that you’re gonna love his ideas for Helmer II and III (though I don’t think it’s a Helmer anymore).

Tim’s version (updated 12 January 2009)
When Tim came up with the idea himself, and selected the Helmer cabinet as the ideal case for a cluster, 5 minutes later, he saw Janne’s story on Digg.com. Guess great minds really do think alike.

Tim says, “For many applications such as real-time stock prediction algorithms or brain simulations, there is a need for extremely fast and massively parallel computing in the form of a computer cluster. We imagined there existed some kind of cabinet that would be perfect for housing a bunch of hand-built computers, and we found that in Ikea’s Helmer. Each computer in the cluster fit inside a single drawer and consisted of a motherboard, power supply, RAM, quad-core CPU w/ fan, and hard drive. The final product is an inexpensive well-ventilated 24-core supercomputer in an impressive 2.65 cubic feet.

The difference is that my design is cleaner and cheaper. For instance his entire cluster cost around $5000 when I did it for $2550. Also, I kept all the drawers intact, putting one computer in each drawer for a total of six. He had wires hanging out all over the place and actually uses two wire that he has to touch together to start each computer – I added a push button to the front of each drawer. Well, like you said in your story – “it’s not pretty…”, and I took the idea to the next level of elegance. In fact from the front you can barely tell that there’s even a supercomputer in it besides one small button on the front of each drawer.”

Click to view more of Tim’s 24-Core Linux Cluster.

More hacks on IKEAHackers.net

Now you see it, now you don’t kitchen countertop
How about a mini chest tool box?

The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

4 Responses to What’s with Helmer, the 24 core Linux cluster?

  1. woojay says:

    Just wanted to add a little note here that I was truly inspired by these two guys and built my own Helmer cluster too, right here.

  2. CK Computer Solutions says:

    Deadly idea, thanks

  3. Victor says:

    Maybe what you haven’t realised is that Hackaday have recently published a link to a second version of the Helmer cluster, this time made by other people (http://hackaday.com/2008/10/04/another-ikea-linux-cluster/). Your link above was to the original by Janne.

  4. ptay00 says:

    The scary bit – anyone familiar with the Cray-1 and Cray-2 supercomputer designs would recognise the ideas for helmer II and (particularly) helmer III. Seymour Cray reportedly used to say that much of the success of his machines was due to his being a very good plumber!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Back to Top ↑