Hardware Progress: $397 (fwd)

Eugene Leitl Eugene.Leitl at lrz.uni-muenchen.de
Wed Mar 27 11:26:52 EST 2002



-- Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 07:12:08 -0800 (PST)
From: Dani Eder <danielravennest at yahoo.com>
Reply-To: sl4 at sysopmind.com
To: sl4 at sysopmind.com
Subject: Re: Hardware Progress: $397

Prices updated to 27 Mar 2002.
Another 10% cost drop in the past 2 months

> The cost of processing power continues to drop like
> a rock.  I've been tracking the cost of a node in
> a Beowulf-type cluster of commodity computers, where
> the memory is kept at a ratio of 1 byte/flop/sec,
> and storage is 100 bytes/flop/sec.  The current
> best price/performance I can come up with is
> $397/Gflop/s.  This compares to $600/Gflop/s
> calculated 4 months ago and $437 two months ago.
>
> Component prices are as follows (obtained from
> pricewatch.com, including shipping but not sales
> tax):
>
> Case:       $30  Generic Mid-ATX w/ 300W power
> supply
> Motherboard: 58  Aopen AK73
> CPU:         81  AMD Duron 1.3GHz
> Memory:     227  3x512MB PC133 SDRAM
> Storage:    214  2x80GB EIDE internal Hard Disk
> Networking: 100  4 NICs/node, wiring, hubs
>
> Total      $710/node
>
> AMD processors when used efficiently perform 1.375
> Flop/Hz (3 FPUs @ 2 cycles per calculation -
> overhead),
> which makes the calculation:
>
> $722 / (1.3 GHz * 1.375 Flop/Hz) = $397/Gflop/s
>
> If optimistic estimates of the required computer
> power for human-level AI are correct at 100 TFlop/s,
> it presently costs $39.7M to buy a human's worth
> of computers.  I have estimated an 'economic
> crossover' of $3M when computer intelligence
> becomes cheaper than human intelligence.  This is
> based on a computer being able to put in 5x as
> many productive hours as an average human, a 5 year
> payback time on the hardware, and $120K as the total
> cost per year of a technical professional.  We are
> therefore about 3.5 doublings in performance/$
> away from economic crossover.
>
> Planned improvements in chip manufacturing should
> get
> us to that point within 4 years.  AMD plans to be
> producing chips with 65nm feature size by 2006,
> which should lead to a 20x reduction in cost.
>
> Daniel
>
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