top500 list (was: opteron VS Itanium 2)

Jeff Layton jeffrey.b.layton at
Mon Nov 17 12:01:38 EST 2003

Mark Hahn wrote:

> > I'm seeing dual 2.0 G5 boxes with the Superdrive, 512 Megs of
> > memory, and about 80 Gigs of storage for $3k (commercial
> > pricing in single units). So, for laughs, let's assume $3k per box
> > for the 4 Gigs of memory and the storage.
> I did the pricing too.  afaikt, it's actually 8GB per node,
> so the price was just under $5900 list.  I'd guess that the IB
> hardware is at least $1500 list.

   From the pdf at the VTech website, it's 4 GB per node.


> > Node cost: 1100 x $3k = $3.3 million
> around 8M list.
> > Total = $5.388 million
> it's a very good price, no doubt.  it would be nice if Top500
> would require full price disclosures

   It would be interesting. I'm sure a number of the clusters
in there were 'bought' by the vendor. Of course, they make
their money back by screwing you later on with really
high maintenance fees.
   I know people like to get hardware for free (I've had
arguments with people about this), but anytime it looks
like a vendor is offering something or nothing, the little
hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I reach over and
grab my ankles. Of course, management seldoms sees things
the same way. They are very short-term focused. :)

> how much does it help your HPL score to run 4GB/cpu?  I'd guess that most
> clusters are lighter than that.

   It depends. You can process more data per node, so you are
cutting down on communications. But if I remember the rules
correctly, you can pick whatever size problem you want.


Dr. Jeff Layton
Aerodynamics and CFD
Lockheed-Martin Aeronautical Company - Marietta

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