[Beowulf] Ethernet break through?

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Wed Apr 4 08:42:49 EDT 2007

> You seam to be making an awful lot of assumptions about what a game
> console can or can't do. Let's have some facts rather than vague
> guesswork.

you misinterpret generalities for ignorance.

> As I understand it the PS3 has a decent GigE port, it runs a standard

gigabit is marginal for anything but low-communication clusters.
for parallel rendering (the topic), it would certainly have issues
keeping up with the rather large scene descriptions you find in,
for instance, movies.

> Linux OS, YDL, and it has both a general purpose CPU, (Power5) and 6 (I

the main core is indeed GP, but not very fast - intended mainly to 
supervise the SPU's.

> think) cell processors.

8 SPU's, though for yield reasons, shipped with 7 enabled.  these things 
are not that much better than a single shader on something like a G80.

> I would have thought a repetitive application
> like rendering would be ideal for a cell based system.

it's pretty good, given cost tradeoffs, for its intended purpose of playing
games.  I don't think it would do that well for, say, big CFD, MD, etc,
or even rendering things which are quite different from games (ie movies).

> I do not understand your reference to SLI cards.

you can operate two GPUs in most any dual 8x PCIE board; SLI is not
necessary, since you don't need both cards to work on the same frame.

in short, creating a beowulf-like cluster of PS3s has high hack factor,
always a good thing, but is not going to make much of a dent, since the 
hardware is, of necessity, somewhat specialized.
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