From: Dani Eder (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Mar 27 2002 - 08:12:08 MST
Prices updated to 27 Mar 2002.
Another 10% cost drop in the past 2 months
> The cost of processing power continues to drop like
> a rock. I've been tracking the cost of a node in
> a Beowulf-type cluster of commodity computers, where
> the memory is kept at a ratio of 1 byte/flop/sec,
> and storage is 100 bytes/flop/sec. The current
> best price/performance I can come up with is
> $397/Gflop/s. This compares to $600/Gflop/s
> calculated 4 months ago and $437 two months ago.
> Component prices are as follows (obtained from
> pricewatch.com, including shipping but not sales
> Case: $30 Generic Mid-ATX w/ 300W power
> Motherboard: 58 Aopen AK73
> CPU: 81 AMD Duron 1.3GHz
> Memory: 227 3x512MB PC133 SDRAM
> Storage: 214 2x80GB EIDE internal Hard Disk
> Networking: 100 4 NICs/node, wiring, hubs
> Total $710/node
> AMD processors when used efficiently perform 1.375
> Flop/Hz (3 FPUs @ 2 cycles per calculation -
> which makes the calculation:
> $722 / (1.3 GHz * 1.375 Flop/Hz) = $397/Gflop/s
> If optimistic estimates of the required computer
> power for human-level AI are correct at 100 TFlop/s,
> it presently costs $39.7M to buy a human's worth
> of computers. I have estimated an 'economic
> crossover' of $3M when computer intelligence
> becomes cheaper than human intelligence. This is
> based on a computer being able to put in 5x as
> many productive hours as an average human, a 5 year
> payback time on the hardware, and $120K as the total
> cost per year of a technical professional. We are
> therefore about 3.5 doublings in performance/$
> away from economic crossover.
> Planned improvements in chip manufacturing should
> us to that point within 4 years. AMD plans to be
> producing chips with 65nm feature size by 2006,
> which should lead to a 20x reduction in cost.
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