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Virginia Tech Upgrade: PowerMac G5 to Xserve G5

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the that-didn't-take-long dept.

Apple 314

An anonymous reader writes "Virginia Tech officially announced that they will be migrating their G5 Supercomputer from PowerMac G5s to Xserves. According to the article, the Xserve G5s will reduce power consumption, heat production and decrease the system size by a factor of three. The pricing of the upgrade is still being determined, and according to Srinidhi Varadarajan, they are working on getting "very good homes" for the PowerMac G5s which will be replaced."

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314 comments

Very good homes... (5, Funny)

peterprior (319967) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098606)

*looks under desk*.. I'm sure I could find room for, oooh... a couple of hundred..

Re:Very good homes... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098868)

*looks into pants*.. Plenty of room in here for just about anything that walked or crawled at one time or another.

Re:Very good homes... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8099133)

I just hacked your site. Sorry.

I'll take one... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098607)

It sounds as if someone has a fun budget to play with. Is the PowerMac cluster too slow already or is this just a marketing stunt?

RTFA you SPOS (-1)

Proctal Relapse (467579) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098674)

They moved to Xserve G5s because they're way smaller, use less energy and throw less heat. Even if you didn't read the article, you should be able to figure that out. Go get fucked.

Re:I'll take one... (4, Insightful)

bluekanoodle (672900) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098726)

How is this Insightful? The Lead in stated the reasons as a less power consumption, less room needed, and less heat produced. Last I checked trying to save money on Electricity, Cooling and Floor space was simple good use of students tuition dollars.

Re:I'll take one... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098800)

Silly child. Tuition money isn't used for this. Your momma's hard-earned tax dollars are, though.

The message I get is that VaTech is a good school to attend if you want to learn how to hook up machines.

Re:You'll take one...in the shorts (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098836)

Yeah, too bad they didn't buy something appropriate the first time around.

No matter, taxpayers and students' families won't mind being soaked for "boutique" computers beloved by some interior decorator who found his way into the University's IT dept.

NUT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098608)

TOY!!!

Good home for G5 available (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098609)

I'll take one!

Upgrade cost (5, Insightful)

Kris Thalamus (555841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098612)

Does anyone know what the university got in return for allowing Apple to film the installation and staff for the Xserve promotional videos? A reduced price upgrade may have been part of the initial agreement

Re:Upgrade cost (3, Funny)

TrentC (11023) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098666)

Yes, because having a major hardware manufacturer basically distributing an ad for your university's computing department isn't enough of a perk... :)

Jay (=

Re:Upgrade cost (5, Insightful)

Kris Thalamus (555841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098792)

Still, unless Apple gave a substantial incentive, it seem extravagant to purchase 1100 G5s and the tower accommodating racks to house them, only to upgrade them a few months later.

Also, a savvy Slashdot reader, leaked the plans [slashdot.org] some time before the upgrade was officially announced.

Re:Upgrade cost (3, Insightful)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099159)

all tehy got was an educational discount that is available to every institution.

the reason the college did what they did is so they can get into the top 5 on the super computer list, being there brings in lots of research grant money.

Good homes? (5, Funny)

Dogers (446369) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098613)

they are working on getting "very good homes" for the PowerMac G5s which will be replaced.

Can EBay be slashdotted? I guess we'll find out now!

jgaynor (4, Funny)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098616)

Is it like adopt a G5 day down at VT? Is there a background check or can I just pick up my tower and beat it to death once I walk outside with it?

Where do I sign up... (4, Funny)

shinma (106792) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098619)

To adopt one of those adorable little...

Heh.

Screw it, just gimme a G5!

drop shipment to redmond (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098620)

would be a good home

I can adopt. (1, Redundant)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098622)

I'll volunteer to provide a good home for one of those spare G5s. I know, it's a selfless act, but what can I say? I can't just stand idly by while distributed supercomputer nodes go homeless.

Virginia Tech? (-1, Flamebait)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098623)

That's one of those respected *Tech schools, isn't it?

I'm guessing the *actual* Top 25 school UVA isn't doing such a foolhardy thing as switching their UNIX servers to some Mac eyecandy OS.

Re:Virginia Tech? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098643)

They would need a real comp sci dept to do that in the first place..you go to UVA to get a law or business degree....or if you're some stuck up snob...

All signs point to yes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098665)

I've hired some of these VT CS grads and for the most part they don't know their ass from a typedef. I've hired ITT Tech grads with more understanding of software design and engineering than those morons.

Well duh? (0, Flamebait)

endersdouble (719120) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098629)

I'm really hardly suprised. But my real question is, did Virginia not realize that 1100 full-size G5's might cause problems? There is a reason such things as Xserves exist; they are for large-scale installations such as this one.

Re:Well duh? (3, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098651)

I'm sure VirginiaTech realised that there would be 1U boxen along soon... What they also realised was that they had a tight deadline to get their computer tested for inclusion in the Top500 list - without the P3 rating they would have lost a LOT of jobs.

Bob

Re:Well duh? (2, Funny)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098931)

That and it's about bragging rights....Duhh! Of course now they have the bragging rights, but suits say the meter is spinning a bit to fast for their wallets...so they'll have to upgrade to reduce costs...wonder if they'll add a few boxen to the farm...gotta keep up bragging rights!

I mean really, for a community that mothballs GFX 5900's because the 5950s came out...do we have to ask?

A friend of mine had a great idea about this (5, Funny)

Fortunato_NC (736786) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098631)

When it was first rumored that VT might replace its G5 boxes with Xserves, a friend of mine shared the idea that the pulled machines should be resold to the public, with some indication that they had been part of the cluster, perhaps a plaque or laser engraving noting that they had been included in the VT supercomputer. I bet those things would be bid up sky-high on eBay!

Instead of going 3x smaller (5, Insightful)

laurensv (601085) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098632)

why not have a few more Xserves, I mean they already have the infrastructure for that much heat/power/room, so why don't they supersize the Big Mac?

Re:Instead of going 3x smaller (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098705)

Insightful and funny. Supersize the Big Mac? See that?

Re:Instead of going 3x smaller (1)

Herg (564957) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098773)

My guess is the cost. The upgrade is supposedly fairly cheap, but 2000 more Xserves would not be so cheap.

Speed Improvments (5, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098634)

While providing no real speed improvement this should actually speed up the cluster by a factor two - The XServe G5s have error correcting RAM in which should stop them having to run jobs twice just to be sure of getting the right result. They may even get a slight speed boost from having a 1.1Ghz bus rather than a 1Ghz one.

Bob

Re:Speed Improvments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098957)

Bzzzt, wrong. Error-correcting typically imposes a 4-8% performance penalty. What planet are you from?

Re:Speed Improvments (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099088)

hmm, lets see now, 4-8% speed penatly against 50% speed penalty from having to run the jobs twice.

I choose the error correcting RAM thanks.

Bob

Re:Speed Improvments (2, Informative)

linwoes (608943) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099012)

I thought I might point out that ECC is actually slower per access that non-ECC RAM. There are a few clocks per access to compute and check the syndrome.
Another thing that struck me is why we assume that VT would buy current generation XServes. I would imagine that they are going to be purchasing the next version of the XServe with a faster clock speed. I imagine that size matters but they'll get a speed boost also.

Re:Speed Improvments (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8099114)

Yes, VT will be purchasing the second revision of the XServe G5, which will use the PowerPC 970FX. With clock speeds of 2.2, 2.4, and 2.6 GHz and bus speeds of 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 GHz there will be a marked speed improvement as well as reduced heat and power dissipation.

Video Cards & Optical Drives (4, Insightful)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098635)

Now for all those people who droned on and on about how foolish VTech were for not getting stripped down boxes, here's the reason.

a nice incentive (4, Interesting)

nuckin futs (574289) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098650)

would be to reward some VT Computer Science majors.
get an A in any programming class, take home a G5.

Re:a nice incentive (1)

ArmenTanzarian (210418) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098938)

Srinidhi was my Freshman C professor a few years back. Now that I'm an alumni *with money*, I think I should get one for the A I got then.

The Cost? (1, Troll)

forlornhope (688722) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098656)

It really amazes me that VT can afford to waste so much money on a super-computer. Really, could they have not waited the 4 months to get their brand new shiney G5 based super-computer and not wasted so much money on all those G5 towers?

I mean sure they can use them in computer labs and such but it still seems like a waste in the current education environment of tight budgets and program cutting.

All Im saying is that this money probably could have been put to better use else where than getting VT their brand new toy "right now" instead of waiting 4 whole months to get the hardware they really needed for the project.

Re:The Cost? (4, Informative)

jocknerd (29758) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098672)

They've already covered their costs in publicity and research. Getting on the Top500.org and being ranked #3 is huge. Well worth the $5 million they spent.

Re:The Cost? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098860)

Funny. I thought the purpose of academia was advancing education and research, not adding to the marketing hype associated with technology. Thanks for clearing that up.

BTW, I'm a CS prof; spare me your lecture on modern academic realities. Annoucements of this type discourage me b/c it shows that many departments lack real technical depth and are forced to make up for that with marketing noise. Pity for the students and pity for the taxpayers.

Re:The Cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098919)

Rumor has it the swap was part of the original deal - thus the cost to the university is most likely very humane.

Uh (3, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098985)

This was *more* than worth it for Virginia Tech, academically, scientifically, and economically.

They spent $5M to instantly catapult themselves to the forefront of high performance computing, which was successful. Now they're replacing the entire cluster with ECC on the cheap, and will be doing real work with it in no time. This is a coup for VT, plain and simple. No one will be #3 again on the Top 500 list for anything close to $5M anytime in the foreseeable future. (The Top 10 will soon be populated with even more $100M+ clusters.) Virginia Tech's gamble will pay off many more times over for Virginia Tech, the people of Virginia, and the federal taxpayers who helped pay for it. As you claim to be a professor (which I doubt), it surprises me that you're too dense to realize that. Remind me to steer clear of your "classes".

They became the #3 most powerful supercomputer site in the world, #2 in the US, and #1 in education - and the first academic site to break 10Tflops - for a pittance, and in accordance with all rules set forth by the Top 500 organization - and now can attract much more grant money to do even more research and become an even bigger contributor, instead of taking years and millions more dollars to do it.

The Top 500 list has always been about hype! Wake up! Bravo to Virginia Tech. The only "pity" here is that you're so ignorant and shortsighted.

VATech's rise to prominance (4, Interesting)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098906)

Absolutely an impressive school. 10 years ago, they were a joke. Now they built a national reputation via their football team, so people have heard of them, and projects like this put them on the map. When I looked at schools, they never entered the equation. If I was looking at engineering schools today, I'm sure that I would end up applying there.

This is a school with great self promotion and is going to go places. Unlike places like MIT, they don't sit on their Laurels, they are exploding.

I expect that in 20 years, they'll be considered one of the elite engineering schools. Kinda neat to have your college degree appreciate in value because the school gets better. I can't imagine that you don't get a decent engineering education at any engineering focused school, and this research project is a brilliant PR stunt.

Alex

Marketing (0, Troll)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098675)

You can bet that the VT is HEAVILY supported by mac marketing devicion. Even the original prices look suspeciosly cheap, and the machine was just ready at the right time to enter top500.
And questions about missing ecc ect were evaded,ect...
I suspect that the machine until now was nothing more than a apple marketing stunt and has not done any real computational work besides network/topology testing an a top500 linpack run.

Re:The Cost? (2, Insightful)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098727)

Really, could they have not waited the 4 months to get their brand new shiney G5 based super-computer and not wasted so much money on all those G5 towers?

Waste what? From what I read they're just trading them in and Apple will sell them as used/refurbished units. They're probably getting a huge discount for the trade in of 4 month old machines, if they're paying anything at all. This is just a boost for Apple's marketing department to have a G5 cluster in one of the top supercomputer spots. What I never understood is why someone like IBM didn't come along and cluster 10,000 dual P4 nodes together for fun to get on the top spot. I'm sure they have the inventory to write that off.

Re:The Cost? (4, Interesting)

Christopher Whitt (74084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098998)

What I never understood is why someone like IBM didn't come along and cluster 10,000 dual P4 nodes together for fun to get on the top spot. I'm sure they have the inventory to write that off.

That would be ASCI White [llnl.gov], which is currently #8 on the top 500 [top500.org]. It's an 8192-cpu Power3 machine, and they didn't do it just for fun. It was #1 on the top 500 in Nov 2000 [top500.org].

Also, #10 on the top 500 [top500.org] is a 1920-node IBM Xeon 2.4Ghz cluster, but why should IBM use Intel processors when they make their own?

Re:The Cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098771)

Really, could they have not waited the 4 months to get their brand new shiney G5 based super-computer and not wasted so much money on all those G5 towers?

no, the super computer is too fast! no time for waiting!

Re: waste of budget ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098819)

Were not talking about a public high school here.

This is a college, where unless your on a full scholarship, someone is footing the bill for you to be there.

If nothing else, tuition might be raised .25 cents a head (or what ever it would come out to) to recoop the costs, which to say your school has a top what ever super computer in it, isnt a bad deal.

One of our local college's here, University at Buffalo, recently (within last year) got a 1000+ node Dell PowerEdge cluster for DNA sequencing or something like that for the medical lab. Don't know if it got on slashdot, but it was definately in international news.

I dont think anyone at UB (north or south campus) is complaining about the money it took them to build it.

Re:The Cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8099056)

I hear on the radio all the time in Virginia about how universities are raising tuition because they are not receiving enough tax dollars. With stunts like this, perhaps some universities don't deserver_ANY_ tax dollars.

Possible Money Spinner (0, Redundant)

h0tblack (575548) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098658)

Allthough 1000+ 'refurbs' could distort the 2nd-hand market a bit and I'm not sure Apple would want to buy them back, why don't VT make some money out of this. I'm sure that a Mac with an official "In my previous life I was part of BigMac" plaque on it would sell for more than the price of a vanilla 2Ghz G5. With all the publicity over the last 5/6 months these things are collectors items. VT could come out of this with a profit!
(Guess I should have phrased this in a 1... 2... 3... Profit format) ;)

Yeah, right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098659)

they are working on getting "very good homes" for the PowerMac G5s

"working"? more like "stealing" i assume... it would be interesting to know how many of these G5 will leave the house through the fire exit.

Managing the VT Xserve cluster with apt-get (0, Troll)

Debian Troll's Best (678194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098664)

As you can imagine, acting as the sysadmin of such a large collection of compute nodes would be a tough job. Thousands of nodes, each one needing to be up to date with the latest scientific code, data and documentation. Manually rolling out software to the G5 Xserve cluster might take weeks, and require several staff just to cope. I had the honor of having lunch with several key Virginia Tech staff involved in the project just the other day to discuss these issues with them. How did I snag such a presitigious invitation? It turns out the guys down at VTech are long time fans of one of my earlier creations: apt-get-expose [slashdot.org]

Of course, in the original implementation (which some of the VTech guys had actually ported to Gentoo to replace the emerge system!), I had to rely on ASCII graphics and animations to replicate the Quartz Expose graphics. But, running natively on Mac OS X and G5 hardware, it would be possible to strip out the text Expose animations, and write PowerPC 970 assembler to directly invoke the OpenGL version! That's not all though. Because the load placed on apt-get-expose would be much larger for a cluster the size of Vtech's, I had to code a parallel graphics engine, taking advantage of the AltiVec unit on each G5. This new implementation, coded in tight hand-tuned Python, actually replicates the entire DirectX 9 platform, but using AltiVec calls for enhanced speed. That way I can use the same code base for Mac OS X and Windows XP when win-apt-get is released.

Man you should see them down at VTech now. Those guys are loving being able to manage up to 1024 individual apt-get sessions at once, and with a simple tap of the F9 key, select a package upgrade from anywhere on the network. It's an example of how the new Apple, open source, and the ingenuity of the original apt-get developers can combine to produce something bigger than just a fancy window tiling animation. apt-get show desktop out.

TROLL ALARM! (-1, Offtopic)

quigonn (80360) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098728)

mod "Debian Troll's Best" down, he's a freaking troll.

Re:TROLL ALARM! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098740)

Mods, this quigonn guy just goes around all day claiming everyone else is a troll. Check his posting history. Nothing more than a troll troll.

Re:TROLL ALARM! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098755)

apt-get remove quigonn

Re:TROLL ALARM! (0, Offtopic)

sebi (152185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099044)

So what? He is a very funny and inventive troll. You know--the good kind. The one we would need a +1 moderation option for.

WTF??? (1, Informative)

kinnell (607819) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098746)

+4 Interesting?!? Did any of you moderators actually read more than 2 lines. +4 Funny maybe...

People not only doesn't RTFA as they don't RTFPost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098764)

"I had to rely on ASCII graphics and animations to replicate the Quartz Expose graphics. But, running natively on Mac OS X and G5 hardware, it would be possible to strip out the text Expose animations, and write PowerPC 970 assembler to directly invoke the OpenGL version!"

C'mon.. If a post has more than 20 lines it automatically gets modded as interesting, without people taking the time to read it?

Re:Managing the VT Xserve cluster with apt-get (1)

networkz (27842) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098940)

Impressive use of obfuscation there, first and last paragraph look on-topic, but the rest is US patent-office bait!

Where's the code, joe? (1)

danalien (545655) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099042)

hi,

joe, shmoe - from the middle of nowhere

where is it, where is the code, joe!? - for this 'apt-get-expose' or 'apt-get-osx' or the hyped up 'win-apt-get'..

Stop beeing a SCO, and tell us, be precise - mkay

too soon to initial install (3, Interesting)

musikit (716987) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098673)

when i heard about this the first thing i thought was "they just it up and running and now they are doing an upgrade?" i'm not in the cluster world does this happen often? does anyone else think that it came too soon? Or is apple giving them another deep discount to keep an Mac based computer #3 on the supercomputer chart?

Re:too soon to initial install (3, Insightful)

nordicfrost (118437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098760)

It's not as much an upgrade ar it is a change of form factor. Besides, the cluster of G5s was spuuosed to be donated away when the real upgrade came anyway. This way, VA uni saves power, money and a slight upgrade in efficency of the cluster. And the G5s can be sold as top-notch computers. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

Re:too soon to initial install (4, Interesting)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098762)

I assume this was the plan all along, but the G5 Xserve wasn't ready yet, and VTech needed the cluster online for [academic | fiscal | calendar] year '03.

What I wonder is what are they gonna do with all the extra space? Wouldn't they be able to stuff twice as many Xserves in the space occupied by the towers? Anybody know if the electrical and cooling are up to that challenge?

Re:too soon to initial install (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8099004)

word around the campus is that, like the original deal with Apple, VT is getting the machines for just over half the price of Xserves from the apple store.

GIven they'res already an education discount on them, for a small outlay Apple is getting more attention from the VT cluster than they could with any other marketing, and VT is getting a cheap supercomputer.

Now Accepting orphan G5's (2, Funny)

Frightened_Turtle (592418) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098677)

I would like to let V. Tech know that I am more than willing to accept some of those poor, forgotten G5's into my loving home.

There, they can spend the day happily puttering away in my new (soon-to-be) G5 cluster, working merrily at finding ways to improve the human condition, advancing understanding of the universal truths, and produce superior pr0n...

Re:Now Accepting orphan G5's (1, Funny)

spare.dave (678439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098781)

jesus christ man

what exactly are you planning on doing to these poor G5's to produce this "superior pr0n" of yours

i mean, i like my powerbook and all, but....

Re:Now Accepting orphan G5's (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098838)

he's gonna fuck em, in much the same manner by which I fucked b0th j0 m0mmas last night.

Competitors (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098680)

Apples' competitors according to Yahoo Finance [yahoo.com]:


DIRECT COMPETITOR COMPARISON
AAPL DELL HPQ MSFT Industry
Market Cap: 8.49B 89.74B 79.64B 310.72B 216.00M
Employees: 10,912 39,100 142,000 55,000 344
RevGrowth: 8.10% 13.60% 29.10% 13.50% 0.00%
GrossMarg: 27.27% 18.26% 26.28% 81.68% 38.03%
EBITDA: 110.00M 3.62B 3.46B 11.76B -911.00K
OpMargins: 1.63% 8.53% 3.96% 29.88% 1.08%
NetIncome: 137.00M 2.50B 2.54B 8.88B -1.92M
EPS(ttm): 0.371 0.954 0.829 0.816 0.00
PE(ttm): 62.02 36.74 31.51 35.29 36.17
PEG(ttm): 4.02 1.88 1.70 2.35 1.81
PS(ttm): 1.26 2.26 1.09 9.07 2.14


Motivation? (3, Insightful)

Goose Bump (454208) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098695)

Not a G5 expert here...

I wonder if there is a processing gain acievable by doing this or of the motivation is purely power dissipation and space. If so, at the end of the day it seems like the power bill delta over the usable life of the computer wouldn't make the expense of the upgrade worthwhile (especially considering VT has an on campus power plant of their own). Wouldn't it make more sense to wait around for the 'next best thing' instead of the same thing in a different package? If it ain't broke, why fix it?

But I guess they want a super-computer the football team can be proud of...

Keep your eye on the ball (5, Funny)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098745)

But I guess they want a super-computer the football team can be proud of...

Or a supercomputer that the football team can spell. "G5" is shorter than "Pentium".

I'd Like a BigMac to go (-1)

devnullish (743715) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098707)

1. Buy computers for big publicity BigMac

2. Laser engrave: "I'd like a BigMac to go!" with a limited edition number.

3. ???

4. Profit!

I know where they'll end up. (5, Informative)

blackchiney (556583) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098717)

Trust me, the university is not letting anything out of their hands that can't be obsoleted first. It's a state school so they have a pecking order. My first bet is a large majority ends up at the Empo' [vt.edu] followed by professors (who are also looking to build a smaller farm), faculty, staff, other state schools, and if we are so fortunate (and this is really a long shot) you can scoop one auctioned [vt.edu][PURCH].

So what did they ever compute? (1, Troll)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098724)

This is really amazing to me. They spend a chunk of coin
on the system, barely get it up and running, don't actually use it for anything, and then run out and upgrade it 4 months later. Sounds like a typical home computer geek!

But really, shouldn't somebody be better managing the money
there and saying 'hey go do something worthwhile with your new toy, then ask for more money'?

Re:So what did they ever compute? (3, Funny)

CompVisGuy (587118) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099022)

They worked out how much it costs to build a top-three supercomputer from commodity parts at very low cost, while simultaneously getting a massive amount of publicity.

These G5s are too snooty now... (4, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098749)

I can see it now. The G5s, after getting a college education, pick and choose their new jobs.

"No offense, but after running thermal dynamics equations, your, how do you call it, 'leet' Photoshops skills are somewhat beneath me. I'm looking for something that will stretch my thinking, not bore me to tears. I don't think I'm right for you. Perhaps a Blueberry iMac would be more your speed. Yes, a beige G3 with 64 megs of ram and os 8.1 should handle your AOL sessions just fine. I'll continue my search. Thanks for your time."

/me weeps into hands

PowerPC 970FX (2, Interesting)

iJed (594606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098788)

I wonder if the lower power PowerPC 970FX used in the Xserve has superior performance to the ordinary 970 used in the PowerMac G5...

It would also be interesting to know if the 970FX has suitable energy saving modes and a low enough power consumption to be used in a G5 PowerBook ;-)

Re:PowerPC 970FX (3, Interesting)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099045)

It does. I don't remember the exact numbers, but the power output of the 970FX chip was in the neighborhood of 15Watts, about 1/4 more than the current G4 'books. The watt number may be wrong, but the are definately only slightly more power-hungry than the current chips.

G5 PowerBooks are on the way!

I can think of a good home for several of them... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098793)

in the garbage, where all crapintrash shit belongs.

Re:I can think of a good home for several of them. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098964)

Sweeeeeet. Good burn! You fucking rock!

apt-get-cluster-lib (-1, Troll)

Debian Troll's Best (678194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098799)

This reminds me of one of my recent consulting contracts in which I was charged with providing a solution for seamlessly monitoring and maintaining a large x86 cluster. since many of the problems encountered on this project would be common to all clustering projects, so maybe this information will be useful to the virginia tech guys (i've just sent off an email to eric raymond, who is in charge of their cluster -- I know eric from previous collaborations, such as fetchmail, others)

Well anyway, when faced with the problem of how of manage this huge cluster of PCs, I first turned to the wealth of superb GNU/Linux and GNU/BSD code available in linux after some unsuccessful starts using fetchmail (damn u eric!), we ended up going with apt-get!

Once I realised that I could model the plethora of hardware suppliers involved in the project as "mirrors", and individual bundles of hardware upgrades as "packages", it all became simple.

Needless to say, the innate flexibility of the apt-get code allowed the entire project to be done well before due date and way under budget. Here's how it worked -

When an essential piece of hardware would be released, say a new video card from nvidia (those cluster guys are mad for farming out bryce5 renders), a central administrator would simply issue a single command --
apt-get dist-cluster upgrade video

Behind the scenes, this would initiate a cascade of value searches on ebay and other quality hardware vendors for the best possible video card around that could be supported by the present hardware, at the same time incorporating value decisions (using fuzzy logic) on whether it was simply easier to upgrade the entire cluster's mobo, or whatever was necessary.

In this manner, whole new braces of functionality could be built into the cluster with similar commands:
apt-get dist-cluster install firewire

and bang! dozens of hardware techs would practically melt out of the walls with firewire cards, cables and various multimedia devices, and befre long, our 1000-node computer cluster was a multimedia monster!

Clearly, this model is exactly what virginia tech is looking for, and i fully expect them to take me up on it. If you have a cluster you like to try it on, just open a term and type: apt-get apt-get-cluster-lib

too easy!

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8099110)

just gave this a run on my 2 home pcs and it's already queued up 2 cheap WiFi cards from eBay without hardly having to do any configuration. nice...

Re:MOD PARENT UP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8099136)

apt-get LOL!

Forward Thinking (4, Interesting)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098846)

"According to the article, the Xserve G5s will reduce power consumption, heat production and decrease the system size by a factor of three."

It may seem like a waste to upgrade a system only four months old, but the reduced power consumption will save some dollars in the long term. By ditching the towers, they also save a boatload of space...

Where they can use some some of that extra money to purchase more nodes...

To put in all that extra space...

How many more nodes would it take to surpass number 2 on the list? Or possibly give number 1 a run for its money?

I think VT may be on to something here.

Buy one Get one Free ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098852)

I wanna be the first kid on my street to have 1/1100 of a supercomputer!

BOGO would be good deal too...

Why upgrade to dual 2 Ghz?? They won't be 2 ghz.. (3, Interesting)

inertialmatrix (675777) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098915)

Some people are like "Why would they upgrade from dual 2 Ghz G5 desktops, to dual 2 Ghz G5 rackmount servers??"

They won't be dual 2 Ghz G5 rackmount servers.. VTech is going to do the same thing they did when the G5's were released.. get first dibs on new inventory as soon as the new rackmount servers are released - the new 2.3Ghz rackmount servers.

Apple knows what's in it's product pipeline, and I guarantee you that they are in talks with Virginia Tech about offering their new xserves that are *yet* to be announced. You honestly think that Virgina Tech had no idea about the nee G5's prior to Steve Job's and his keynote? They are planning on upgrading their supercomputer, and they are going to be making it FASTER, and Cooler (bad pun.. I know)

Apple's marketing line is going to be: "Look, Look Not only is the 3rd fastest computer on earth powered by our G5's, but it also is run on our new XServes.. You need mission critical hardware? No problem. We build supercomputers!"


-Buddha wears grass shoes

Has anyone else heard..... (5, Interesting)

Botchka (589180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099027)

...how loud the Xserves are compared to the G5's? I can't imagine the decibels in a room full of them. One thing they don't mention in the article, and possibly another reason to upgrade to the Xserves, is the use of the Server Manager software. This software doesn't work on the PowerMac G5's because it doesn't have the sensors built in that the Xserves do. Not being that keen on cluster arrangements, I wonder if they have another product in place now that does the same thing with the PowerMacs?

why? (1)

mydigitalself (472203) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099081)

right, so their system went online in November last year. so that's what - a 3 month old super computer being replaced by pretty much the same thing just to save on space and energyrequirements.

i mean surely they have enough space at the moment, otherwise their existing cluster wouldn't exist. so why not just scale it up using the Xserves rather than losing money on an investment that is so young???

Misprint on Reuters. They've already found homes!! (2, Informative)

dylan_baxter (745761) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099106)

It looks as if our hopes are dashed. Hi, That statement on Reuters should have read "found new homes" not "finding" Regards, Srinidhi Dr. Srinidhi Varadarajan Director, Terascale Computing Facility Virginia Tech -----Original Message----- To: Srinidhi Varadarajan Subject: Request for information regarding liquidation of the G5's Greetings Mr. Varadarajan, I am sure my email is only one of a slew of letters to grace your inbox following the press release (http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/040126/tech_virginiatech_ apple_1.html). I sincerely hope this letter is no intrusion. I am writing in hopes of obtaining enough information to keep up to speed with VT's liquidation of System X. Hopefully, there will be an opportunity for myself and others like me to finally purchase a G5 without breaking the bank! Any leads you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time, Dylan Baxter Computers are like air conditioners - they stop working properly if you open Windows.

Re:Misprint on Reuters. They've already found home (0)

dylan_baxter (745761) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099146)

Whoops, forgot line breaks, heh heh. Anyway, that was a letter from Srinidhi Varadarajan, who is in charge of the project. -D
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