Virginia Tech PowerMac G5 to Xserve G5 Upgrade

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001
    Virginia Tech officially announced that they will be migrating their G5 Supercomputer from PowerMac G5s to Xserves.

    According to the article, the Xserve G5s will reduce power consumption, heat production and decrease the system size by a factor of three. The pricing of the upgrade is still being determined, and according to Srinidhi Varadarajan, they are working on getting "very good homes" for the PowerMac G5s which will be replaced.

    A Page 2 MacRumors report first mentioned the Xserve upgrade, with subsequent confirmation from ThinkSecret.
  2. macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2003
    San Francisco
    Very cool.

    It's like a low-fat BigMac!

    --Sorry, I couldn't help myself :p
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2003
    Very nice i have to say i have room for a spare g5 if they want to chuck one my way lol :)
  4. macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2003
    Re: Virginia Tech PowerMac G5 to Xserve G5 Upgrade

    I wonder if that means they'll be having a big Virginia Tech garage sale or that the PowerMacs will be going to other departments. That would be kind of cool owning one of them- saying that you had part of the third fastest computer in the world.

  5. macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2003
    Good home right here!

    I have a perfect place for one (or a few) of their used G5s. I guarantee it will be put toward good use in an educational setting (ie my school work). I promise to put it gently to sleep every night, say hello to it every morning, and make sure it gets everything it needs.

  6. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 26, 2003
    Seattle, WA USA
    Re: Re: Virginia Tech PowerMac G5 to Xserve G5 Upgrade

    I want one, and heck I'll come by a lab flunky for them if they want, I'm gonna need a job soon enough...
  7. Sol
    macrumors 68000


    Jan 14, 2003
    Network cards

    The G5 XServes feature dual ethernet interfaces. Since the G5 PowerMacs in VA Tech's Big Mac utilise PCI ethernet cards I wonder if those cards will be transfered to the XServes or if they are needed at all.
  8. macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    (picks up phone, calls Virginia Tech, asks favor)
  9. macrumors 601


    Feb 17, 2002
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    Is it possible that this change could increase performance?

    It seems that if the components are smaller and closer together, that the overall performance might get a bit closer to it's theoretical maximum speed.
  10. macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2003
    Charlotte, NC
    Dear Virginia Tech,

    Could you please send me one of those PowerMacs?
    I promise to give it a really good home

  11. macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2002
    Re: Network cards

    VAtech is using infiniband. It's faster/lower latency than ethernet. Likely they'll just move the cards over.

    But why not keep 2/3's of the towers, replace 1/3 with xServe G5's and end up with like 1700 boxen. Mmm.
  12. macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Cool--now Apple has a big testbed proving TWO products, first the towers and now the servers... and VT has room to grow Big Mac much faster later (mixing in much faster Macs than now exist) in the same racks :)

    And really, Xserve clusters are the solution other organizations need to see in action. This is good for Apple and VT alike.

    BTW if anyone still thinks the initial project was a waste... remember that VT had a deadline with big bucks riding on it. Xserves weren't available, and NOTHING but PowerMac G5s could give them the power they got for the price. They made a good move--and now they are making another one.

    (I would have thought the upgrade was part of the original deal, but I see the price of the Xserves is still being negotiated.)
  13. macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Re: Virginia Tech PowerMac G5 to Xserve G5 Upgrade

    Hey that's MY name!
  14. macrumors 68030


    May 7, 2002
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    wha? you got a room for a spare g5, too? ;)
  15. macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
  16. macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2002
    619 SD CA
    I'm just wondering why VT is deciding to upgrade now, when the G5 is scheduled for a 50% speed upgrade within the next 6-9 months. Won't this just be wasted $$$ in the long run? Sure it would be nice to cut the cooling costs for a few months, but when they upgrade to 3GHz XServe G5s they will have a much more ass-kicking Mac monster at their disposal.
  17. Sol
    macrumors 68000


    Jan 14, 2003
    Re: Re: Network cards

    I thought the cards used by VA Tech were a faster version of Ethernet but apparently they are not.
    I stand corrected.

    On your thought about keeping some PowerMacs, I say that it would be a waste. All those racks can be used to house even more G5 XServes than the intitial 1100 units. Before too long I expect this Big Mac to be even more capable than it is today.

    Of course we have yet to see what if anything competing universities will do with Linux and Dell or HP hardware.
  18. acj
    macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2003
    isn't this a ridiculously short lifespan for a supercomputer, and a ridiculously small upgrade? I suppose the power savings will shortly pay for the (small?) cost of upgrade.
  19. macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2003
    Melbourne Australia
    I can just see the Wintel crowed ..

    I can just see the Wintel crowed pointing to how the Big Mac was a waste of time and more baseless claims. Just wait and see, claims that Virginia Tech made a mistake, Apple sucks, Apple lied, Windows rules, and they monkey's will lap it up.

    So this move worries me a little. As for what happens to old G5 towers the I heard that Apple had agreed long ago to trade in the G5 Tower for XServes.
  20. macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2003
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    i'm thinking they'll keep a good number of them to use around campus. if they sold them, they'd have to be marked down a LOT before i'd buy one. keep in mind, they've been running 24/7 since the end of last summer. even if it is an apple, that shortens the life of the parts. i also wonder how much the electricity costs to power and cool them. the xserve will definitly help that.
  21. macrumors 68000


    May 18, 2003
    That's what I think too.

    I know they mentioned how much power they will save and how much space... but the Xserves might be noisier :p (from what I've heard)
  22. macrumors 6502

    Dec 25, 2001
    It's so easy to spend money when it isn't yours...

    Anyway, i hope that the xServe form factor and the proven Super-success of the platform will push someone to go after #1. Oh and the damn good pricing.
  23. macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2003
    Phoenix AZ USA
    G5 migration to Xserve @ VT

    Notice that the new DP Xserves are exactly the same speed as the dual processor 2GHz G5s, only using the new, smaller chip.
    I do not know if it is absolutely true, but I have heard (can't remember where or when) that any replacement of a G5 within the cluster must be a Dual running at the SAME SPEED as the unit being replaced. Therefore, as the Xserves migrate, say 48 at a time, and replace 48 G5s, is this the reason for the 2.0 speed and not a higher clock speed?

    I remember in September 2003 asking if they could add 100 2.4GHz G5s when they came out, then 100 3.0GHz, but was told that all the computers had to be the same speed and duals.

    With that limitation, VT has no incentive to wait for faster chips.
    And, remember, the SuperComputer certification happens every 6 months, not just once a year.

    So now, has VT's goal changed?

    HP and Dell are not going to sit around and do nothing, they have probably been feverishly looking to partner with some other Computer Tech College willing to invest in their own cluster. Note that even if some gave a college 1,100 free computers, the school was still have to make a substantial investment in providing a unique facility for the cluster.

    Apple has to have made an absolute killing in essentially FREE advertising and increased product recognition, especially among corporate, government, and higher education institutions. Not to mention VT has impressed all us onesie twosie Mac buyers too.

    Every one of us wants to provide a "good home" for a piece of the Big Mac cluster.
  24. Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
  25. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2003
    Shanghai, China
    Unlikely. Depending on the application, vector computers (such as the current #1) are much, much faster compared to clusters than just the factor 3.5 or so that is currently separating #1 from #3.

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