[Beowulf] Vector coprocessors AND CILK

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Tue Mar 21 21:00:48 PST 2006

At 07:18 PM 3/21/2006, Vincent Diepeveen wrote:

>----- Original Message ----- From: "Daniel Pfenniger" 
><daniel.pfenniger at obs.unige.ch>
>To: "Jim Lux" <James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov>
>Cc: <beowulf at beowulf.org>
>Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 6:32 PM
>Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Vector coprocessors
>If you produce such cards in low quantity you lose roughly 100 dollar to 
>the pci card to
>royalties basically then add chip production price. 2 big chips, well i do 
>not know what price
>they are. Sound expensive to me. I talked about 1 big chip for some other 
>That chip had a price, when mass produced, of 50 dollar a chip.

If it's a full custom chip, figure a "first chip" cost of $2M. (layout, a 
couple spins, etc., but assuming you know basically what the chip is 
supposed to do and how to do it)

I work with a fair number of very low volume but fairly complex chips 
(intended for space applications, but not in Class S quality grade) and 
they all seem to run about $5K to $10K each, which must be a sort of basic 
price for them to build small runs where there's not a huge NRE.  Things 
like MOSIS (http://www.mosis.org/) (or Atmel's equivalent, the name of 
which I forget) can be less expensive, but probably not for something of 
this scale.  $5K probably covers the cost of running the wafer, dicing, 
testing, and putting it in a package, in quantities of <100.

So, to get the $50/chip cost, you need an order of 40,000-50,000 pieces.

>So bare production price of this card i estimate at around 250 dollar. You 
>don't want to lose bigtime
>on such a card of course.
>That means an importer price of 500 and a consumer price is a minimum of 
>1000 dollar.
When I was working for a developer of retail products, we'd figure retail 
selling price is 10x material cost.  For products with high integration 
(i.e. an ASIC) you'd probably go down to 5x.

>Now you skip the importer of course with such types of cards.
>According to my economy book then a company can then follow 2 approaches. 
>You can try to
>flood the market and sell 50 million of them, which means that the card 
>will be priced 1000 dollar.

Don't need to sell that many.. a hundred thousand would probably do <grin>

>If you're serious and you want to buy 200 of their cards, then you're a 
>big customer.
>Propose them a secret deal in this sense that you don't publicly reveal 
>the price paid,
>and you sign for it that first 3 years you won't resell their cards nor 
>lend them nor hire them
>to other persons. Under that condition you offer $200k for 200 cards.

But they're not going to even be able to cover a fraction of 
the  development cost for that.  But, perhaps, if they are thinking about 
"buying market share" with OPM (other people's money). It's been done, more 
than once.


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