Re. XBox clusters

Jonathan Coupe jonathan at
Thu Nov 29 10:27:04 PST 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "Josip Loncaric" <josip at>
To: "Beowulf mailing list" <beowulf at>
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2001 5:50 PM
Subject: Xbox clusters?

> 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?
> Sincerely,
> Josip

I remember people speculating in a similar way re. the Dreamcast. (I did.)
In practice I doubt that a game console will ever be a better bet for
clustering than a PC. Firstly, most of the transistor budget goes into the
3D card, where it's efectively useless for us. Secondly, PC's track the
price of cpu's, etc, much more quickly than consoles. If a console was
*really* heavily subsidised by its maker - consoles usually are subsidised
at luanch time - it could start cheaper than the PC. But in a few months it
would have lost this price advantage.

- Jonathan Coupe

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