[Beowulf] Vector coprocessors

Jonathan J Smith jsmith at smithbox.com
Thu Mar 16 10:19:31 PST 2006

-----Original Message-----
From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On
Behalf Of Daniel Pfenniger
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 12:43 PM
To: Craig Tierney
Cc: beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Vector coprocessors

Craig Tierney wrote:
> Do you have pricing on the Cell blades or co-processor boards?  I doubt
> they will be $8k, but I doubt they will be $100-$500.

For the Cell my guess is that if it fits in a game station it cannot cost
well over $500.-

Last time I asked Clearspeed they would not disclose a price since the
cards were not ready for shipping.  Asking for a cost order of magnitude
(will it be in the 1'000, 10'000, or 100'000 range?) somewhat below 10k
appeared a reasonable estimate.
For my applications this is not competitive with commodity multicore
processors because I don't expect this card bringing more than a
factor 2-3 speedup (not much of the code would use long vectors


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I would think that this is a misunderstanding here.  You have two things
going on with game console systems.  First is a HUGE volume,  The second is
that oftentimes the consoles are sold at or BELOW cost, they make the money
on the titles (much more than the systems).  Which makes some sense when you
think of it.  If you have a game console, you have 5,10,15, or in most cases
25+ titles per game console.

There is another thing here, the CPU (cell processor) available for
commodity usage will probably NOT be the same as available for the game
console.  Add to that the cost of the system and components around the

I would suspect that blade modules with one cell would probably show up in
the 3-4k range at start and eventually drop to 2500 or so.  While Dual
processor systems will probably have a premium of 1200-2000 on top of that.
Then you must add the cost for the networking/power distribution shelves
etc.  I don't think that 6-8k is unrealistic for awhile.

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