top500 list (was: opteron VS Itanium 2)

Jeff Layton jeffrey.b.layton at
Mon Nov 17 11:28:25 EST 2003

Mark Hahn wrote:

> > Sorry Greg, top500 list came out and you lost!
> sigh. Apple bought a benchmark. does this make Apple products better?
> > BigMac G5 (aka "X") (2200 CPUs) - 10.3 TFlops
> OK, so we already know that their pricing disclosures are ah,
> "optimistic". (nodes probably cost >6k apiece, not half that)
> and their yield is around 59%. not to mention the little bit
> of missing ECC...

I went through a straw-man on pricing at one time. Let me
dig that up....

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.

Node cost: 1100 x $3k = $3.3 million

For the IB network, I've been using $1500-$1600 per node
based on quotes I've gotten from other companies.

IB cost: 1100 x $1500 = $1.65 million

For the Cisco network, I have no idea. Why anybody would
use Cisco crap in a HPC system even for a management
network is beyond me. So, let's just guess, $300k.

Cisco network cost: $300k

Total so far: $5.25 million

Rack cost - again I have no idea. I'll be kind and gentle
and guesstimate about $1500 a rack. It looks like they're
getting about 12 nodes per rack, so assume 92 racks.

Rack cost: $1500 x 92 = $138k

Let's exclude the floor space, windows, pizzas, chillers, etc.
and figure out the total:

Total = $5.388 million

I guess I'm not too far off. Personally I think the big unknown
is the rack cost. That could be very expensive since it's specialized
(although 92 racks in a single sale might be considered a commodity).
Also, the Cisco costs could be high as well (Cisco never does anything
that can't make money off of).

This was just for laughs. I still think there is a sugar daddy
somewhere in there. Be it Cisco, Apple, IBM, etc., there are some
costs not being mentioned.


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

Beowulf mailing list, Beowulf at
To change your subscription (digest mode or unsubscribe) visit

More information about the Beowulf mailing list