Hardware Cost

From: Dani Eder (danielravennest@yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Apr 25 2001 - 10:53:19 MDT

One year ago, the KLAT2 Linux cluster
set a new record low cost of $643/GFLOPS for a
supercomputer-class machine. It cost $41,200 and
cranked 64 GFLOPS for an optimized problem running
on sixty four 700 MHz Athlon CPUs.

I've been keeping track of the component costs,
and a current version can produce 122 GFLOPS
for $32,400 in parts, or $266/GFLOPS.

I'm curious how this type of Linux cluster compares
to the processor requirements for a Web-Brain
implementation or an estimated size for a seed AI
(if anyone has taken a stab at that yet).

Another factor of 10 reduction in cost would put
a one-human neuron-model type machine (3000 TFlops)
within reach of the amounts being spent on the
largest government supercomputers.

The cost breakdown is as follows. Note the cluster
has 64 compute nodes + 2 supervisory nodes. Costs
are current ones from pricewatch.com:

1.33 GHz Athlon CPU: $227 x 66 units
256 MB PC133 SDRAM: $51 x 66 units
300W ATX Mid Tower Case: $40 x 66 units
3.5 in Floppy Drive: $10 x 66 units
Athlon Motherboards: $80 x 66 units
24 port x 100 MB/s ethernet hubs: $210 x 15 units
LAN cards : $5 x 66 units
Misc cables, power strips, & shelf units: $2000

Total: $32,400

Note: console monitor & hard disk storage not


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