Setting up a multiseat system

Panorama view of our multiseat Computer Center

Multiseat Computer Center

On Saturday, I described the new multiseat systems that we’re using at the school here. A number of people asked for some more details, so here they are.

First, the hardware for a multiseat system (and the price at time of order from our local supplier):

  • 1 x Intel G2020 – 2.90 GHz – $65
  • 1 x Kingston DDR3-1600 8G – $65
  • 1 x MSI Z77A-G45 motherboard – $155
    OR
    1 x Asus P8Z77-V LK motherboard – $160
  • 1 x Kingston SSDNow V300 60GB – $70
  • 3 x Sapphire Radeon HD6450 – $50
  • 1 x Generic case – $20
  • 4 x 4 Port USB hub – $5
  • Tax – 10%

The final price is somewhere between $600 and $610, depending on the motherboard.

Once you have the hardware built, make sure the onboard video is enabled in the BIOS and is set to be the primary display. Plug the USB hubs into the computer. Make sure you don’t swap ports after they’ve been plugged in. Then, install the standard Fedora 19 GNOME desktop and install the latest version of the lesbg-multiseat package from the school’s repositories. Enable the multiseat service (systemctl enable prepare-multiseat).

Make sure GDM is installed and that you’re using it as your display manager. You can use any desktop environment you’d like but you must use GDM (or LightDM with some patches) as other display managers don’t recognize systemd’s seat management. Reboot the computer.

When the computer comes up, there should be a login screen on each monitor. Each USB hub should automatically match a monitor, but you may have to swap ports so the hubs match the right monitor. lesbg-multiseat will always try to match the USB hubs to the video cards in order, so the first usb port will match the first video card, and so on.

Congratulations, you now have a multiseat system. Note that the configuration is designed to be minimal. We use the same OS image for single-seat or multiseat systems.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Setting up a multiseat system

    1. jdieter Post author

      Mainly because our supplier doesn’t carry AMD processors any more (there’s a single AMD processor listed, but with no price, meaning it’s out of stock), and I don’t really care enough to try to find a different supplier. We don’t exactly have a huge selection here in Lebanon.

      Reply
  1. Noah Beach

    Curious if you are using the open source driver for those cards or the proprietary. I am currently using F17 with a hacked version of systemd to support the proprietary drivers (my project requires hardware enabled decoding) and was curious if the latest version of systemd no longer require modifying the source?

    Reply
    1. jdieter Post author

      I’m using the open drivers. I’m not a fan of the closed drivers as they’ve proven to be pretty buggy. I think Fedora 19 has UVD support, so you should be able to use hardware-enabled decoding using the open drivers. I’ve also been playing around with mesa-10.0 and it has very buggy OpenCL support with the open drivers.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s