I'd like to start a little computation project I've been milling over for a while. Initially I had tried running it on my computer (after increasing the Windows swap file size to 4GB), but this proved a bit silly as it was constantly swapping pages to go through the massive table I had generated. After nearly two full weeks of listening to constant grinding I called it off.
So, I decided that what I would do is modify the design of the program to work on a parallel processing basis, in that my computer would dole out chunks of work to a cluster of machines that would do as asked, return the results and check out another chunk.
The thing is, how can I put together a cluster on a budget? I want about eight machines and they don't need hard drives or sound cards or anything like that, just 128MB or so and a network adapter. Can I get a rack or something like this?
I've thought about just getting several old PCs off eBay or wherever but those would all be big things that could possibly go bang at an innappropriate time. Laptops were also an idea but even the older ones are relatively expensive.