back to the issue of cooling

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Tue Apr 22 17:47:36 EDT 2003

On Tue, 22 Apr 2003, Eray Ozkural wrote:

> Has anybody calculated if the operation of a low-power cluster can amortize 
> the actual price of the system in a couple of years? I'm thinking something 
> like an apple cluster or something, might actually be viable! What about 
> total cost/processing power of the cluster ?

This is the relevant measure, to be sure.  Total cost of ownership with
a vengeance, per unit of work done, amortized over the life of a
cluster.  $1 per watt per year for heating and cooling, add cost of
systems themselves, correct for SPEED of systems (ideally including your
Amdahl's law scaling hit for using more slower processors!).  I predict
that the sweet spot is probably Athlon 2400's or possibly 2.4 GHz P4's
(depending on your code), with fine grained people shifted toward the
even higher end processors and with some room for Celerons or Durons on
the low end.  I think the main reason to get transmetas is likely to be
to get the processing densities, not to save power or money.

For things like apples, you may have to factor in increased sysadmin
costs, if you're not careful.  Intel or Athlon clusters are pretty much
plug'n'play with multiple distributions and techniques, if you shop your
hardware at all carefully.


> Cheers,
> -- 
> Eray Ozkural (exa) <erayo at>
> Comp. Sci. Dept., Bilkent University, Ankara  KDE Project:
> www:  Malfunction:
> GPG public key fingerprint: 360C 852F 88B0 A745 F31B  EA0F 7C07 AE16 874D 539C
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Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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