[Beowulf] Ethernet break through?

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Tue Apr 3 14:16:51 PDT 2007

>       you say that, but don't PS2 and PS3 make ideal compute nodes for some
>       applications like rendering and 3D and 4D (time as the 4th) ?

I doubt it.  while gaming consoles are admirably commoditized (actually 
sold at a loss in some cases), they're designed with constraints different
from a cluster.  for instance, looking pretty, or working well in a
livingroom environment.  or playing music, or reading hd-dvd's, etc.

as render nodes, I don't think they're all that good, though perhaps
effective for the price.  I would guess that for rendering, you would do 
the very best to use last-gen cards in the $150 range.  should be able to 
put two in a machine - sli support not necessary.  such cards have probably
had a respin to give them smaller/cooler chips, as well.

I'd guess that the ethernet in gaming consoles is also not great.

>       Xboxes make good web servers for small scale. and use less energy than a
>       equivalent Piii or P4 system :-)

gross.  webserving is so easy that tiny embedded chips to a good job, 
and something like a via low-power would do a great job.  95% of a game 
console would be wasted as a webserver.

>       end desktop. it's just risen in the gaming market because people want games
>       which need greater computational power. likewise with gaming computers, they

unclear.  the gaming market is driven by eyecandy, and I sometimes wonder
whether, for instance, humans can even see jaggies at 60 fps.  so much of 
the gamer market is driven by what game-geek sites say about blowups of 
stills of particular frames.

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