Xbox clusters?

Brian LaMere blamere at
Wed Dec 5 15:40:01 PST 2001

I spent less than $100,000 on a 48 node dual-1ghz p3 cluster with 2gb ram
each, and hot-swappable 18gb 15krpm drives (all in a 1-U rackmounted
footprint!).  Of course, I cheated at the time (VA linux firesale)...but I
could do the same thing again for about $125,000 in today's prices with
systems that someone else builds, and has a year warranty., for instance.  For $2537, you get dual p3- 1ghz cpu,
18gb 10krpm hotswap scsi, and 2 gb ram.  All in a 1-U package, all with a 1
year warranty.  Extended warranties available.

Why the hell use HP/IBM/Compaq?  Cost almost 3 times as much.  If I put
together at 100 node advancedclustering cluster, for the same HP price
you'll make a ~40 node cluster.  So...I can have half of my systems be dead
at any one point and be waiting for replacement, and /still/ have far more
systems online.

And as has been stated...I could build the darn things myself even cheaper.
Xbox's have a small footprint - that's in their favor.  Not much else in
their favor though.  People spend $250,000 on 40-node clusters cause
well...their goofy.  That simple, really.  And footprint is very important.
I have 48 nodes in one rack (extended height).  Rent for the floorspace I
suse is low, and I can still get to them all easy.  You don't want a
medium-sized or larger cluster with regular cases, I wouldn't think.


-----Original Message-----
From: Velocet [mailto:math at]
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2001 11:40 AM
To: beowulf at
Subject: Re: Xbox clusters?

On Wed, Nov 28, 2001 at 02:04:55PM -0500, Velocet's all...
> On Wed, Nov 28, 2001 at 12:50:46PM -0500, Josip Loncaric's all...
> > Microsoft's Xbox packages a 733 MHz Pentium III, 64 megabytes of memory,
> > a DVD drive, 100 Mbps Ethernet, and an 8-gigabyte hard disk for about
> > $300.  This would make it a reasonably powerful cluster node with an
> > excellent price/performance ratio.  Of course, the thing runs a
> > slimmed-down variant of Windows 2000 instead of Linux, but has anyone
> > discussed making an Xbox cluster?
> Why bother when for about $300 USD you can put together a
> cluster node with a 1.333GHz athlon with 256Mb of DDR ram?
> Sides, who brought 'price/performance' onto this list? Dont know thats
never a
> factor on the beowulf list? :)

So, the question is, with these numbers, how do people end up spending
$250K on 40 or even 60-CPU clusters?

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