Virginia Tech Cluster Moving to Xserve G5s

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    ThinkSecret provides some confirmation on earlier rumors that Virginia Tech will be migrating from PowerMac G5s to Xserve G5s in their recently assembled Supercomputer cluster.

    MacRumors has also received multiple confirmations of the planned upgrade, but varying reports as to the fate of the original PowerMacs used in the cluster. According to ThinkSecret, Apple will be providing a one-to-one tradein for the PowerMacs with Xserves.

    As one reader (suzerain) noted, Srinidhi Varadarajan had stated in October that "We are planning on moving to ECC systems in the future", suggesting that the upgrade has been planned for some time. Apple's recently released Xserve G5s support ECC memory, while the PowerMac G5s do not.
     
  2. macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #2
    will they resell them?

    Does this mean we're going to suddenly see an onslaught of refurbished G5's on the Apple store? :)
     
  3. macrumors 65816

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    Connecticut
    #3
    Understandable. I guess this was part of the original deal: hurry them out so they get ranked and boost Apple, then build the *real* cluster.
     
  4. macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #4
    This is probably how Apple "worked with them" to give them a deal. Instead of volume pricing, they paid full price with a trade-in plan. Makes sense all around.

    It may be sad to see Big Mac 1 go, but "Big Mac 2" will have real estate to keep growing!

    Meanwhile, it's good PR for Apple that VT was forced to use desktops: they're the big sellers, and people like the idea that their tower is the same one used in a famous supercluster.

    And now Apple will have a proven LARGE-SCALE Xserve G5 installation. Very comforting to future buyers.

    (Personally I'd have waited for a G6 or higher GHz... but that probably wasn't the deal.)
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #5
    Sorry I don't know much about how these things work. Is the main advantage to doing this a space and heating issue? Or is there something that makes a Xserve faster in this then a normal dual G5 would be?
     
  6. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #6
    Perhaps a small onslaught

    Maybe a few, but remember that Apple sold over 200,000 PMG5's last quarter. Having another 1,000 isn't going to change things much.
     
  7. acj
    macrumors 6502

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    #7
    That was a short lived supercomputer
     
  8. macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #8
    True. But those 1,100 PM's aren't going to be resold as new (one would think)... and while I haven't really flipped through all of the refurbished gear on sale at Apple.com, I would expect that adding 1,100 used dual G5's is going to be at least somewhat significant.

    Wish I could afford one of them, in any case.
     
  9. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Tampa FL
    #9
    1100 refurb G5s for sale, I could get in on that deal.
     
  10. macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

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    Location:
    London, UK
    #10
    Didn't they build a whole new building and heatflow system especifically for the G5s? Wouldn't that have been one huge waste if they were just going to swap to the smaller and more compact Xserves?
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #11
    I bet they could make a profit...

    ...if they sold the old machines on eBay. Engrave a number somewhere, slap a Certificate of Authenticity in the box, and sell the G5s as "a piece of computing history, a fully-functional component of the third-fastest supercomputer in the world! Only 1100 available!"

    I'm sure there are some Mac fanatics who'd pony up the bucks to own one. :)

    ~Philly
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    #12
    The lack of error correcting code ram is a big issue depending on what you're doing. Varadarajan mentions offhandedly in the article that "They may have to run things twice for a bit." This is to make sure they got the right answer.

    So for benchmarks, where they already know what the answer should be, they probably aren't getting much improvement (we've yet to see if the Xserves are faster than the desktops for other reasons) but for some (many?) types of real-world use ECC is a huge benefit.
     
  13. arn
    macrumors god

    arn

    Staff Member

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    Apr 9, 2001
    #13
    according to the article, the xserves will swap in fine.

    arn
     
  14. macrumors newbie

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    Dec 30, 2003
    #14
    Rumor

    I gave this story a negaive review. I hate when a story title states something as facts. Then goes ahead and quote "rumor" sites as legitimate news source.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Nor Cal
    #15
    makes sense

    Now I know why my BRAND NEW G5 had VT Rules! carved into the side. They should put them in student labs and chuck out 1100 window's machines!!!!!!! Donate those Wintel boxes to charity for a nice tax write off!

    Kidding.. but while a cheaper referb would be nice - I still think a new dual 3 gig would be better... ok 2.8 gig... oh okay 2.4 gig... oh all right... a new dual 2.05 gig the real upgrade next week. 50 more mhz per processor. Cross your fingers!


    Seriously though, What is EEC memory and why is it not part of the G5 Powermac?
     
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    #16
    What a tremendous waste of time. They spend countless days and sleepless nights to get this thing together, spend weeks if not months to finally get it running at top efficiency, just to tear it all down and start again? I would be pretty angry if I were one of the students who volunteered their time to assemble this thing when the administration knew full well it was only going to be around for a few months for the sole purpose of getting them on the supercomputer list this year simply to satisfy their own ego's.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Foxer

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    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #17
    Re: Rumor

    The site, as you can read at the top of your page, is called MacRumors.com - FYI.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    geerlingguy

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    Feb 11, 2003
    Location:
    The Midwest, USA
    #18
    If they already had knowledge of the trade-in, I am sure they designed the building with adaptability for the Xserves. Plus, if you look at the video on Apple's website, it looks like the racks are open on both front and back, and the InifiniBand routers have space above for two or three more routers, so you could have 42 Xserves per rack instead of the 12 G5s and still have enough Infiniband interconnects...

    What I think is most awesome about this rumor (if true - :rolleyes: ) is the option of VT to just buy an extra 10, 20, 100, or 500 in a heartbeat to increase speed by whatever factor they want. Also, when the faster G5s are announced, they can just stick 'em in the rack and all will be fine! :D
     
  19. macrumors member

    El Tritoma

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    Albuquerque, NM
    #19
    I'll bet you are an English major with a writing assignment in which you must attempt to use irony and sarcasm. At least I hope you are.
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #20
    used to make new revision of G5

    think about it like this maybe.

    apple's rumored to be revamping the entire line soon...with some people guessing the base line is 2.0ghz.

    what are the chances they use these machines for "parts" to make those new low-end machines. while this isnt the same chip as the 90nm G5 that's in the xServe, it could be the chip that apple decides to use in the low end system to save cost.

    single 2.0 using 130nm G5 and NON-EEC memory
    dual 2.2 and 2.4 using 90nm G5s and EEC memory for the 2 higher end machines.

    would justify higher costs of higher-end machines and allow apple to re-use these "old" parts.

    id say this idea is unlikely but i guess it's a thought. and someone already pointed out, apple shipped over 200k machines this quarter, so 1100 really is a drop in the bucket now that the dual 2.0 is in full production and quick availability.
     
  21. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    #21
    Actually, I try to refrain from using sarcasm as I find it is lost on all but those who equal your obviously superior intellect.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Sabbath

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    London
    #22
    I dont think Apple could use these used units to make up ones, surely they would be forced to state them as at least partly refurbished for legal reasons. It would make more sense if they already had some places to take them, ie maybe a few eductaion, government or business orders.

    On another hand if we're expecting a powermac update soon, how will these extra rev. A products affect this. I expect it means we will definitely not see a dual low end, as that would lower the price of these products too much. Apple could likely sell them as refurbs at a price above the new base model if its a single 2GHz. I hope it doesnt mean they restrict the low end G5 too much, although common sense would say theres only 1,100 of these so too much importance shouldnt be assigned to them. Especially after the amount of good publicity they have generated for Apple.

    One final option give me 1 :D or 10!
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2003
    Location:
    New York, New York
    #23
    I hope they inscribe some special Virginia Tech logo on the side and sell them as special editions!

    "Your very own supercomputer."

    MMmmm.
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Rincewind42

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #24
    I wouldn't call it a waste of time by any measure. If they hadn't built the cluster for the Oct deadline, then they wouldn't be able to get funding for it for at least 6 months. And if they hadn't built the cluster at all, then they wouldn't have the experience and software to support the cluster now. So while the physical labor may become wasted, such labor tends to be wasted in the long term anyway (just think of how much is destroyed/rebuilt in any city over the centuries).

    And if I was a student at VT I would like at this as a chance to get more free pizza :D
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Rincewind42

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #25
    They did build up a certain amount of heatflow for the PowerMacs, however they same technology would still be needed for Xserves, because while each unit produces less heat, there are a LOT more units per unit area with Xserves than with PowerMacs, so the cooling system would actually need to be more powerful (although over a smaller area) for the Xserves. Although overall the power usage would be less.
     

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