top500 list (was: opteron VS Itanium 2)

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Mon Nov 17 12:18:32 EST 2003

On Mon, 17 Nov 2003, Jeff Layton wrote:
> 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).

Don't leave out the wiring and chillers if you're going to include the
racks and cisco stuff -- 1100 nodes burning (at an as you say humorous
but generous guess) 250 Watts apiece is, um, 275,000 watts.  As in
forgetting the capital costs of the chillers and wiring, just buying the
power to run this puppy for a year will cost around $275K/year (more
than the racks themselves).  The cost for the chillers, blowers,
transformers, and primary wiring infrastructure to actually move this
power in and waste heat out of their space will likely add a pretty big
chunk to the total.  Perhaps 180 20 amp circuits?  A chiller the size of
a small destroyer?  Their own nuclear power plant (just kidding:-)?

So add another seven digit number to the above, at a guess...;-)

The pizza I agree is free...


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