top500 list

Jeff Layton jeffrey.b.layton at
Mon Nov 17 13:58:54 EST 2003

Sean Dilda wrote:

> On Mon, 17 Nov 2003, Jeff Layton wrote:
> >
> > Of course, I forgot to adjust for the memory difference.
> > According to Mark, the 4G dual boxes on the Apple store
> > are $5349 each.
> >
> > Nodes: 1100 x $5349 = $5.884 million
> >
> > Which brings the total to:  $7.972
> Wow! That's over $2k/node for just a few Gig of RAM.  There's also a
> chance that they didn't buy the RAM from Apple.  If you look at their
> pictures site ( you can see that they in
> fact modified all of the boxes.  I didn't see it say what was modified,
> but lets assume they added RAM.  Now if you go look at crucial
> ( 
> <>)
> you find they can get a 512M stick of ram for $93.99  Even if they
> replaced all th ram that apple sent them with new RAM, that's only
> around $752/node for the RAM, not $2349.

Good point. I forgot they popped the cases and did something
to them (never did bother to figure out what though).

> So, 1100 * $3752 = $4.127 million, and the total up to $6.215 million
> (using your numbers).
> Not as low as your first numbers, but not has high as your new ones.
> And there are some other adjustments that could be made.  Like the racks
> for instance.  I have heard of big name vendors throwing in racks with
> large purchases, especially for repeat customers.  So, its possible that
> the racks and maybe some other stuff were given away by Apple.  They may
> not give the same deal to everyone, but I imagine anyone buying that
> many machines at once can talk the sales rep into wheeling and dealing
> quite a bit.

   The presentations I've seen said that they contacted the Rack
manufacturer directly and that custom racks were designed
and built. I'm sure the rack manufacturer got paid by someone,
just not sure who. :)
   Still, in my quick analysis, you only drop $138k. Still not
close to the $5.2 million that's floating around.
   Let's have some more fun! Let's assume that all the vendors
but Apple got paid what I projected. So the difference between
the quoted (5.2) and the projected (6.215) is $1.015 million.
Divide that by the number of nodes and you get $923 per node.
Furthermore, let's assume that VTech got a volume discount
of $923 per node. Then we get the $5.2 million. So, in fact
VTech paid Apple about $2k per node instead of $3k.


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