Compute Cluster Hardware Requirements

Updated: June 6, 2006

Applies To: Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003

System hardware requirements for Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 are the same as those required by Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition. For these requirements, see Overview of Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition (

Minimum hardware requirements



x64 architecture computer with Intel Pentium or Xeon family processors with Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T) processor architecture; AMD Opteron family processors; AMD Athlon family processors; compatible processor(s).


512 MB

Multiprocessor support

Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 Standard x64 Edition support up to four processors per server. Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition supports up to eight processors per server.


Ensure that the server BIOS is the latest offered by the hardware manufacturer.

Minimum disk space for Setup

4 GB

Disk volumes

Head nodes:

Configure two volumes (C:\ and D:\) on the head node if you plan to add nodes using the Automated Addition method. One volume will be the system partition, and another partition will be used to store Remote Installation Services (RIS) images to support the Automated Addition method.

The partition that stores RIS images should be a minimum of 2 GB. It must be formatted NTFS.

You should install sufficient disk space on the head node to store any input and output files associated with applications and scripts that will be used by cluster users.

RAID 0,1,5 may be used as appropriate, although not required.

Compute nodes:

A single disk volume is usually sufficient.

Network adaptor

All nodes require at least one network adaptor. If a private network is planned, the head node requires a minimum of two network adaptors to create a public and private network, depending on the network topology selected. Each node may require additional adaptors as appropriate in case of public network access or in support of an MPI network.

PXE boot support (BIOS and network adaptor)

If you plan to use the Automated Addition method of adding compute nodes, servers that you plan to add as compute nodes must support PXE in the boot sequence. This is usually configured in the BIOS.

In addition, verify that the network adaptor of each compute node that is used on the private network supports PXE boot.

Verify that you have all of the 64-bit drivers that are required for the specific server hardware of the nodes. If you intend to add compute nodes to your cluster using the Automated Addition method, make sure you include the required drivers in the appropriate RIS image.

See Also

Community Additions