top500 list (was: opteron VS Itanium 2)

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at
Mon Nov 17 13:59:21 EST 2003

At 12:01 PM 11/17/2003 -0500, Jeff Layton wrote:
>Mark Hahn wrote:
>> > 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.

Also, bear in mind that the apparent cost of the node, to the manufacturer, 
is somewhat less than it would be to the eventual retail consumer, even for 
volume purchases. Depending on how the mfr does their accounting, the 
actual "cost" (as in, bottom line effect) of the node being provided gratis 
to an educational instutition may be quite low, because it may not have 
things like an apportionment of marketing and distribution costs.  On the 
other hand, the mfr can probably claim a "retail value of $X Million" for 
their tax deduction (subject to some restrictions.. you can't claim costs 
you didn't actually incur).

Also, consider that if a company like Dell or Apple spends, say, 10% of 
their budget on sales and marketing  (Apple, for instance, spent 898M on 
"selling, general, and administrative" costs on $4,492M in sales), that a 
few million dollars in computers isn't a huge advertising expense (compared 
to buying ads... Web portals typically get $20-30/CPM (CPM=cost per 
thousand (views/impressions))  A full page color ad in a Sunday Paper with 
a circulation of several hundred thousand might be $100/CPM
I don't have rate cards in front of me, but I found some information on the 
web (of course!)

Printed PC Magazine, International edition, 4 color ad page for 2 wk period 
($52K) which works out to $56/CPM

Printed Wired Magazine, full page, $51/CPM

Compare this to the "free publicity" from getting your cluster on the list, 
and featured in some articles.  Giving away a million bucks worth of 
computers might actually be a better deal than buying a million bucks worth 
of ads.

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