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MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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With Dual G5 2.0GHz machines being potentially pushed back a few weeks, ThinkSecret had claimed that Virginia Tech was the likely candidate to receive the first batch of PowerMac G5 2.0GHz machines... after placing a "significant order".

ThinkSecret now gives a number to this order-- with report of 1100 units being ordered. The goal of this would be to create a G5 cluster that would become one of the top five fastest supercomputers in the world.

These machines are expected to ship by next week.
 

King Cobra

macrumors 603
Mar 2, 2002
5,403
0
-->In related news, Virginia Tech University reportedly placed a significant order of maxed-out dual-2GHz G5s, supposedly to form a large cluster boasting remarkable speed and storage. Apple reportedly bumped this order to the front of the line, in front of first-day orders, to get them out the door all at once. Representatives for Virginia Tech agreed to look into the report but didn't respond to follow-up requests for comment.


I remember hearing/reading about the first G4 supercluster about two years ago, and I found that incredible. Imagine the technology + clusters we'll have in about a year.

Dual 3.xGHz clusters on 980 chips sound unremarkably impressive now, but in two years it will seems just plain "fast".
 

BigJayhawk

macrumors regular
Jan 8, 2003
227
152
New Jersey
4.4 TERAHERTZ?!?!?!

Let's see . . .

1100 G5's x 2 Processors = 2200 Processors

2200 Processors x 2 Ghz EACH = 4400 Ghz

As I recall, this would equal 4.4 TeraHertz!!!


Uh, how many Frames Per Second could you get on Quake with that? How about rendering the entire Finding Nemo II Movie in about ten seconds???

OK, WOW!
 

Freg3000

macrumors 68000
Sep 22, 2002
1,914
0
New York
This is really strange, but I am incredibly overjoyed about this story.

I have no knowledge of Virginia Tech's history with Macs, but this is amazing. TS says that if they get it all up in running so it can qualify for the Linpack Supercomputer list, it could be in the top 5.

I am sorry that this is screwing up people's orders, but I think this is worth it (it might not be if I had a G5 on order....). This is really cool. :)
 

asim

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2003
46
15
charlottesville, va
holy sh... um...

does anyone know how efficient is os-x in clustering vs other operating systems? for instance, if one unit (2 cpus) performs at x gigaflops, what percentage of 10x would 10 units perform? and is the limiting factor here going to be the os, how well the software is written, or will it be the communication between the units (gigabit ethernet? fw800?)?

so they are getting 2200 2ghz g5 processors... i could encode aac files pretty quickly with that kind of power

afc
 

york2600

Cancelled
Jul 24, 2002
274
288
Portland, OR
Who said they were using OS X? They could just load Linux on it and use it just for the 970s, but then again they could have just bought them from IBM then. Who knows.
 

tex210

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2003
303
82
I was hoping someone wwould do this...

My local news kept showing these pc clusters and all I could think was... what a waste of money... if only they had bought G5's.
 

zon7

macrumors newbie
Jun 13, 2001
18
0
G5 Fans

Remember that the G5 fans are Software controled and that no Linux dist now (not Yellow Dog not other) support that feature.
If the cluster is true they must be using OS X
 

Dahl

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2002
639
24
L.A.
Originally posted by Freg3000
I am sorry that this is screwing up people's orders, but I think this is worth it (it might not be if I had a G5 on order....). This is really cool. :)

Wow! It's the G 5500. :)

I agree with you, from a marketing point of view, it may be a good move by Apple to ship to them first, it may be a good news story here and there and the bragging rights are nice too. I hope the people waiting for their own G 5's will understand why Apple shipped to Virginia Tech first and feel that's it's good for the Apple platform and their users in the end.
 

Alexander

macrumors member
Jun 19, 2003
96
0
Palo Alto, CA
Originally posted by FelixDerKater
Mmmm. Budget cuts... Raise my tuition and cut more classes, but buy one of the fastest computing clusters in the world... Finances make no sense around here.

I wouldn't be surprised if they had a donation that was specifically to be used for this purpose. Happens all the time. I agree that it's kind of backwards, but remember the golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.

I think this is pretty damn spiffy, though. Nice PR, for sure. I wonder if Apple is making a profit on these 1100, and if so, how much.

If was was just some profs thinking they need 4GHz to run Word (well...maybe they do; it's Word ;) ), I'd be pissed, but I don't mind my order being delayed a little bit for some pro-Apple cause. (Ok, it helps that this particular machine's going to be running Panther, and the later the build the better...)

asim, the limiting factor is almost always the algorithm that's being used. Massively parallel computing is a whole different ballgame; you can't just fire up iTunes and get 2200x the encoding speed, you have to run specialized programs that know how to split their work into 2200 separate processes on different machines. (Think SETI@Home, Folding, etc.) Some algorithms also rely heavily on the bandwidth used to connect machines, though all but the craziest should be fine with Gigabit Ethernet.

Yay! G5s are now in the same class as PS2s! ;)
 

ImAlwaysRight

macrumors 6502a
So why in the world can't VT wait a month to receive their 1100 computers and instead the masses who ordered first receive their computers first? What is the rush? Like one month will make a difference to them. I'm sure it makes more of a difference to the 1100 or so individuals who are waiting on their PowerMacs because of this order. And you can't tell me VT placed their huge order the day these G5's were announced. It takes more than a few hours to receive approval for a purchase of that size. :mad:

ADDITION: What will win more people to Mac platform, actually SEEING friends, professionals, etc. using PowerMac G5's, or hearing news about 1100 G5's being used in a cluster? How many people are actually going to cluster 1100 computers? Probably none.

So to me it is better for Apple to get G5's in the hands of everyday people and make the cluster wait their turn. Also, Apple can still benefit from ANNOUNCING that VT has a huge order which would be fulfilled later in Sept. for a supercluster. So I don't understand why this is such a great move on Apple's part.

I would imagine this order was placed late July when Apple changed their shipping time from "August" to "7-10 weeks". As I said before, a purchase this size would not have been decided overnight.
 

Somebody

macrumors member
Oct 17, 2002
43
0
NYC
Re: G5 Fans

Originally posted by zon7
Remember that the G5 fans are Software controled and that no Linux dist now (not Yellow Dog not other) support that feature.
If the cluster is true they must be using OS X


Why? They may just be setting the fans to run all the time. Sure, it would waste some power (but not much as a percentage of what the boxes are drawing anyways).


Further, how do you know that the software to control the fans is actually part of OS/X? Maybe it's some small, cheap embedded controller on the MB that handles it, in which case the OS doesn't need to think about it at all?
 

shadowfax

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,849
0
Houston, TX
Originally posted by FelixDerKater
Mmmm. Budget cuts... Raise my tuition and cut more classes, but buy one of the fastest computing clusters in the world... Finances make no sense around here.
it has to be worth it though, if they let you just go into the room where they all are once. what surprises me is why they didn't wait for xServes. those would look considerably cooler together, take up less space, and so on. another perplexing thing is, if apple can get such corporate orders, why aren't they focusing more on systems like the xServe?
 

shadowfax

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,849
0
Houston, TX
Re: Re: G5 Fans

Originally posted by Somebody
Why? They may just be setting the fans to run all the time. Sure, it would waste some power (but not much as a percentage of what the boxes are drawing anyways).


Further, how do you know that the software to control the fans is actually part of OS/X? Maybe it's some small, cheap embedded controller on the MB that handles it, in which case the OS doesn't need to think about it at all?
no, it's software controlled. that's why the G5s are running on 10.2.7 (partly). just like the light sensors on the 17 inch powerbook.

you comment about setting them to run all the time is funny too. how do you do that in linux, if you can't control them?
 

etoiles

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2002
834
44
Where the air is crisp
Re: 4.4 TERAHERTZ?!?!?!

Originally posted by BigJayhawk

How about rendering the entire Finding Nemo II Movie in about ten seconds???


The renderfarm used to render Finding Nemo had over 2000 processors (Sun UltraSparc of some sort), and it took an average of 8 hours to render a single frame (not sure how many frames were being rendered at the same time, though).

just to put computing power into perspective ;)

btw, Pixar's new renderfarm has 1024 2.8Ghz Xeons...
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,667
4,676
The Peninsula
Finally - real TFLOPs, not APPLE TFLOPs

ThinkSecret said that the rush was to get this cluster into the fall "Top 500" list.

Since the "Top 500" is ranked by *measured* LINPACKD performance, we'll finally see some GFLOP measurements for a Power Mac that can be compared to other machines.

This will be much better than the GFLOP statements made by Apple marketing folks, those are ridiculous theoretical instantaneous peak numbers.

(And, by the way, AltiVec cannot be used on LINPACKD....)
 

asim

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2003
46
15
charlottesville, va
Originally posted by ImAlwaysRight
...And you can't tell me VT placed their huge order the day these G5's were announced. It takes more than a few hours to receive approval for a purchase of that size. :mad:

a project this size is usually a part of a huge government or foundation grant that is planned out long ahead of time. they may have also been working with apple behind the scenes and have made their commitment PRIOR to the g5 announcement. just as it wouldn't come about in a day or so, you can't get a group to invest millions (1100 x ~5000 = 5.5million) in a new technology even in the two months since it has been announced.

this must have been in the works before june.

afc
 

vouder17

macrumors 6502a
Apr 30, 2003
828
4
Home
Well i went to applestore and did a order of 1100 Powermac dual 2ghz G5's, just for the fun of it to see the price..........

It came to
$9 651 400.00


This is considering the powermac has 8GB memory, 2x250 GB hard drives and ATI 9800 pro video cards

I did not include any discounts but i am pretty sure that apple must have given them some kind of discount or something that would lower that price!!!
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,667
4,676
The Peninsula
computers just part of the cost

Originally posted by vouder17

It came to $9 651 400.00


Did you calculate the cost of wirung up a 2500 amp electrical service?

How about the air conditioning for this 300,000 watt heater?

Is the 1100 port GigaBit Ethernet switch included?

Or 1100 InfiniBand cards (about $2M) and the 1100 port InfiniBand fabric (out of this world)?

And the 1100 Cat5e or Cat6 network cables (probably $25K or so). InfiniBand cables, power cables, ....

So, $10M for the computers is probably less than half the cost (and they probably don't need the 2x250GB disks - they need the CPUs).
 

trog

macrumors member
Jan 23, 2003
45
0
Originally posted by vouder17
Well i went to applestore and did a order of 1100 Powermac dual 2ghz G5's, just for the fun of it to see the price..........
Wow! And the estimated shipping was tomorrow! ;)
 

trog

macrumors member
Jan 23, 2003
45
0
If you were to charge that to Discover Card you would get approximately $97,000 cash back. Not bad. :)
 
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