Coffeehouse Thread

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I've found my next desktop

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  • User profile image
    blowdart

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1589


    Microsoft and Cray are set to unveil on September 16 the Cray CX1, a compact supercomputer running Windows HPC Server 2008.

    The pair is expected to tout the new offering as “the most affordable supercomputer Cray has ever offered,” with pricing starting at $25,000.




  • User profile image
    intelman

    I want one, but I will only be able to afford it 10 years from now. By then hopefully it would depreciate to cheap, and hopefully I'll be out of college.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    intelman said:
    I want one, but I will only be able to afford it 10 years from now. By then hopefully it would depreciate to cheap, and hopefully I'll be out of college.
    Wouldn't it just be cheaper, faster, and quicker just to build your own Beowulf cluster?

    BTW, what's the point of Windows HPC Server anyway? What's the market?

  • User profile image
    Yggdrasil

    W3bbo said:
    intelman said:
    *snip*
    Wouldn't it just be cheaper, faster, and quicker just to build your own Beowulf cluster?

    BTW, what's the point of Windows HPC Server anyway? What's the market?
    Cheaper? Probably. But the cost of a Windows HPC server license seems a bit marginal when you're talking about the expense of setting up large computing clusters. Just grabbing a handful of PCs and beowulfing together is not particularly cost-, space- and energy efficient. You want high-performance machines with low heat emission that can be stuffed into racks, not chunky PCs under every desk.

    Once you're talking about the same set of machines, the question of using an open-source system vs. HPC server becomes not one of cost, but of convenience. Is HPC server easier to configure than a Beowulf alternative? Possibly. Does it work better with the specific application you want to run? Excellent.

  • User profile image
    dahat

    For a product that hasn't officially been released yet it's worth noting that there are 2 Windows HPC Server 2008 powered servers listed in the top 100 servers back in June 2008 over on top500.org.

    On a side note I'm forced to wonder when looking at that list... servers listed with 100k+ cores... what do they do with that hardware when they decide to upgrade?

    Assuming a whole mess of quad-core processors, a 100k core farm would have some 25k physical CPU's and let's assume each is a 4 way motherboard... that's still 6250 separate motherboards and/or cpu daughter cards.

    With the exception of the federal government... most places can't exactly afford to upgrade one of these bad boys every 6-12 months, but when old hardware is brought offline... do you think there is much of a secondary market for 1-5 year old supercomputer clusters?

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    dahat said:
    For a product that hasn't officially been released yet it's worth noting that there are 2 Windows HPC Server 2008 powered servers listed in the top 100 servers back in June 2008 over on top500.org.

    On a side note I'm forced to wonder when looking at that list... servers listed with 100k+ cores... what do they do with that hardware when they decide to upgrade?

    Assuming a whole mess of quad-core processors, a 100k core farm would have some 25k physical CPU's and let's assume each is a 4 way motherboard... that's still 6250 separate motherboards and/or cpu daughter cards.

    With the exception of the federal government... most places can't exactly afford to upgrade one of these bad boys every 6-12 months, but when old hardware is brought offline... do you think there is much of a secondary market for 1-5 year old supercomputer clusters?

    The top item uses PowerXcell8i and they have 9 cores per chip, BlueGene/L packs something like 64 cores into 1.5U 

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Yggdrasil said:
    W3bbo said:
    *snip*
    Cheaper? Probably. But the cost of a Windows HPC server license seems a bit marginal when you're talking about the expense of setting up large computing clusters. Just grabbing a handful of PCs and beowulfing together is not particularly cost-, space- and energy efficient. You want high-performance machines with low heat emission that can be stuffed into racks, not chunky PCs under every desk.

    Once you're talking about the same set of machines, the question of using an open-source system vs. HPC server becomes not one of cost, but of convenience. Is HPC server easier to configure than a Beowulf alternative? Possibly. Does it work better with the specific application you want to run? Excellent.
    Configure? Maybe, but why would a supercomputer need to be configured with a GUI?

    And why would scientific or financial number-crunching processes need a UI thread? How does access to Win32 help these programs?

    .NET and Java both run fine on Linux and BSD, I just fail to see why Windows needs be sold for this market.

  • User profile image
    dahat

    W3bbo said:
    Yggdrasil said:
    *snip*
    Configure? Maybe, but why would a supercomputer need to be configured with a GUI?

    And why would scientific or financial number-crunching processes need a UI thread? How does access to Win32 help these programs?

    .NET and Java both run fine on Linux and BSD, I just fail to see why Windows needs be sold for this market.
    I just fail to see why Windows needs be sold for this market.

    Because it exists Smiley

    ... and because (I'm guessing) it is part of a long running "Windows Everywhere" strategy.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    dahat said:
    W3bbo said:
    *snip*
    I just fail to see why Windows needs be sold for this market.

    Because it exists Smiley

    ... and because (I'm guessing) it is part of a long running "Windows Everywhere" strategy.
    So that's how Windows Vista got into my yogurt. Sad

  • User profile image
    cheong

    The WTF is that, the company's website won't let me choose country and currency in IE7.

    Apparently the don't want anyone with IE7 to "customize and buy"... (Okay, I can just use "tab" to evade the crappy javascript, but you just won't expect a customer to find that workaround, will you?) Tongue Out

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  • User profile image
    Yggdrasil

    W3bbo said:
    Yggdrasil said:
    *snip*
    Configure? Maybe, but why would a supercomputer need to be configured with a GUI?

    And why would scientific or financial number-crunching processes need a UI thread? How does access to Win32 help these programs?

    .NET and Java both run fine on Linux and BSD, I just fail to see why Windows needs be sold for this market.
    What does a GUI or Win32 have to do with it? It's an operating system for dealing with the low-level memory, HDD and other physical resoueces, and an application-hosting environment for dealing with the MPI and other app-level protocols. Just like any massively parallel environment. What makes a linux-based cluster any better than a Windows based one? Both are operating systems for running applications.

    Why run Windows rather than Linux/BSD? Maybe because the Microsoft HPC software is better than the alternatives. High-complexity applications like an MPI framework aren't commodities - one software package might be considerably better than another. I'm not saying MS HPC necessarily is, but it might be, and that might be a good enough reason to choose it.

  • User profile image
    TommyCarlier

    Yggdrasil said:
    W3bbo said:
    *snip*
    What does a GUI or Win32 have to do with it? It's an operating system for dealing with the low-level memory, HDD and other physical resoueces, and an application-hosting environment for dealing with the MPI and other app-level protocols. Just like any massively parallel environment. What makes a linux-based cluster any better than a Windows based one? Both are operating systems for running applications.

    Why run Windows rather than Linux/BSD? Maybe because the Microsoft HPC software is better than the alternatives. High-complexity applications like an MPI framework aren't commodities - one software package might be considerably better than another. I'm not saying MS HPC necessarily is, but it might be, and that might be a good enough reason to choose it.

    Does Windows HPC Server 2008 come with Solitaire and Minesweeper? Wouldn't it be awesome to play Minesweeper on a Cray? Just for the fun of it.

    A: "Yeah, I got myself a Cray supercomputer."
    B: "So, what you're using it for?"
    A: "Minesweeper."

  • User profile image
    Lloyd_Humph

    But can it play Crysis? Tongue Out

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