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I was thinking of building a small cluster (due to the small price) but i want to know if i can get a gui (like xfce or lxde) to run o the master/ host or whatever.

  • Sure. There is no problem to install GUI if you run some OS. – Huczu May 17 '16 at 8:33
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It seems like you may not really understand what a cluster is or how it operates. There's nothing magic about a cluster. You don't get to just plug multiple RPis together and get Voltron.

Clusters are a group of computers working together through software. Generally speaking, the master takes very large task, splits it into multiple smaller tasks and distributes it to each machine. This can give you a huge performance gain in specific circumstances, but there are requirements for such a thing to be worthwhile.

  1. You're going to need tasks that benefit from being paralyzed. Many jobs are serial by nature and simply can't be parallelized.

  2. You're going to need large tasks for this to be worthwhile. When dealing with multiple processors, there's going to be an overhead introduced by adding parallelism. When you introduce multiple machines, that overhead is going to increase much more. You have network IO, managing software, and a few other things to contend with.

  3. You need software that can manage your tasks. An off the shelf solution may work for you, but you may need to write your own.

Since all this is done via software, there is no reason that you can't use a GUI on the master device. Your RPi is capable of running many pieces of software simultaneously.

If you're just trying to learn about clusters, the RPi is great for that, but highly impractical for real life scenarios. If you have some legitimate, highly parallel tasks, I'd suggest either using a full computer (a standard i5 will destroy a small cluster of RPis) or look into abusing graphics shaders with openGL (The RPi has an awesome GPU, even if Broadcam infuriatingly refuses to support openCL).

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