[Beowulf] MS Cray

Eric Thibodeau kyron at neuralbs.com
Wed Sep 17 07:13:25 PDT 2008

Joe Landman wrote:
> Gus Correa wrote:
>> Otherwise, your "newbie scientist" can put his/her earbuds and pump 
>> up the volume on his Ipod,
>> while he/she navigates through the Vista colorful 3D menus.
> Owie .... I can just imagine the folks squawking about this at SC08 
> "Yes folks, you need a Cray supercomputer to make Vista run at 
> acceptable performance ..."
Maybe they have a "tune options for performance" option ;)
> The machine seems to run w2k8.  My own experience with w2k8 is that, 
> frankly, it doesn't suck.  This is the first time I have seen a 
> windows release that I can say that about.
A few questions (not necessarily expecting a response):

Kernel latency and scheduler control?

These are the real barriers IMHO, without minimally supporting POSIX 
(threads), there is very little incentive to use the machine for 
development unless you're willing to accept the code will _only_ run on 
your "desktop".
> The low end economics probably won't work out for this machine though, 
> unless it is N times faster than some other agglomeration of 
> Intel-like products.  Adding windows will add cost, not performance in 
> any noticeable way.
> The question that Cray (and every other vendor building non-commodity 
> units) is how much better is this than a small cluster someone can 
> build/buy on their own?  Better as in faster, able to leap more tall 
> buildings in a single bound, ... (Superman TV show reference for those 
> not in the know).  And the hard part will be justifying the additional 
> cost.  If the machine isn't 2x the performance, would it be able to 
> justify 2x the price?  Since it appears to be a somewhat well branded 
> cluster, I am not sure that argument will be easy to make.
I just rebuilt a 32 core cluster for ~5k$ (CAD) (8*Q6600 1Gig RAM/node + 
gige netwroking). Bang for the buck? I can't wait to see the CX1's 
performance specs under _both_ windows and Linux.


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