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What is the reasonable Cost & Benefit for owning a "Supercomputer" & what is "Super"?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by vawrvawerawe, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. vawrvawerawe

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    I was wondering what the reasonable cost and benefit, for those people who are not millionaires/billionaires (yet), for owning a reasonably-sized "supercomputer".

    What would be some reasonable benefits for someone who is not doing any research or trying to solve PI or some other thing like that?

    And what would classify the computer as a "Super" computer? For example, what would be the minimum requirements to be called one?


    Obviously a Supercomputer can be massive and cost even billions of dollars. I'm not referring to the scale which would be out of reach of the middle class.

    [​IMG]
  2. repman244

    repman244

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  3. digibucc

    digibucc

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    there are none. super-computers perform very difficult math and very advanced simulations faster than desktop computers. that's why they exist. they often need proprietary software which means throwing a game or adobe suite on there will give you no real advantage.

    so in short, there is no reason for a supercomputer unless it is for research or advanced mathematics, like cracking passwords/security.
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  4. vawrvawerawe

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    Ok then there's no use for me to have it :(
    I just really like the idea of "having a Supercomputer" ;)
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  5. Frick

    Frick Fishfaced Nincompoop

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    No. You can have one, but it's a waste of resources. The closest thing that is feasible for home users are dual socket setups.
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  6. vawrvawerawe

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    What's that and how could I use it?
  7. Chevalr1c

    Chevalr1c

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    Dual socket motherboards do have 2 CPU sockets on them so that 2 CPUs can be installed in one system. They don't fit in standard cases though.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  8. Jizzler

    Jizzler

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    You gave up after only two posts, you'll never achieve your goal of having one at this rate!

    I admit that building one is the easy part, whether it's a Raspberry Pi cluster or simply having some computers networked:

    [​IMG]

    Finding a use is somewhat harder :D However, there are examples of people going outside the usual uses of simulation and number crunching. Daniel Pohl's earliest projects were ray tracing Quake on 4 computers, which was later expanded to 20.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2012
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  9. de.das.dude

    de.das.dude Pro Indian Modder

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    super computers are very particular to their use. some are used to calculate projectile path, and others to do other stuff, like calculating results out of equations with trillions of possibilities. soo.. yeahh..
  10. vawrvawerawe

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    Cool PC. It's funny, even today that system would probably be very expensive. Back when it was bought it was probably $20,000 worth of equipment.

    I'm not giving up; one day when I am the next Google company, I will find ways to use it. But for now, it seems, I wouldn't have any practical use to justify the means.

    What is "ray tracing"?
  11. Completely Bonkers New Member

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    The term comes from the 60's.

    There were COMPUTERS, typically classified as mini-computers and mainframes. Mainframes were designed to hold and process data. There was typically one cabinet that was the "Central Processing Unit" and additional cabinets for holding the data, and at that time, reel-to-reel data tape. The mini-computer on the other hand would fit in a large box (small cabinet) and was as designed for doing calculations rather than storing and processing data.

    Then in the 70's there was a new classification, microcomputer, that was designed to fit in a box on your desk, and was either 4-bit (not much more than a programmable calculator), or 8-bit. 8-bit micros is what made it into the home and started the revolution of home micros. These processors were called microprocessors.

    The "PC" as we now call computers that WE use today, were 16-bit, quickly 32-bit and now 64-bit. "PC"s are split into desktop, server, workstation, and more recently nettop and HTPC.

    A supercomputer is essentially a very big network of mini-computers. That is, 100's, 1000's or 10,000's of independent CPUs that can work in a coordinated way, or independently running different programs solving different problems.

    There is no practical use to a home-user having a supercomputer. If you want a high power PC that can do two or three things at the same time, then consider a workstation PC. As previously mentioned, a workstation with dual CPUs is within consumer budget reach and can give you some bragging power. However, they are not really and FASTER they can just do MORE AT THE SAME TIME. For a regular user, like internet, MS Office, gaming, they won't make and difference and most of the CPUs will sit idle doing nothing other than consuming some electricity and making heat. Your FPS wont improve.
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  12. Jizzler

    Jizzler

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_tracing_(graphics)

    And a recent article about Daniel and how ray tracing has progressed since his early projects:
    http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/tracing-rays-through-the-cloud
  13. vawrvawerawe

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  14. BUCK NASTY

    BUCK NASTY F@H Mod & 4P Enthusiust Staff Member

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    If you do not know what the practical applications are for a supercomputer, then you obviously do not need one. There are very different approaches to this type of hardware that are not necessarily labeled as a "super" computer. I have 2 Operton server rigs that have 48 "MagnyCour" cores per rig. This setup is not very expensive($5K for both rigs) and is a personal passion that I have. I use them for Folding @ Home and other distributed computing applications. With distributed computing there are thousands of computers worldwide share the work and collectively add up to a "super" computer, but on varying levels.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  15. vawrvawerawe

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    I would be happy to learn the practical applications just so that I could justify owning supercomputer :)
  16. BUCK NASTY

    BUCK NASTY F@H Mod & 4P Enthusiust Staff Member

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    Are you prepared to invest the $$$ needed?
    Crunching for Team TPU
  17. vawrvawerawe

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    The setup like you have is likely what I will get in the next couple of years, depending on how fast my business grows.
  18. BUCK NASTY

    BUCK NASTY F@H Mod & 4P Enthusiust Staff Member

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    Hardware changes so drastically over 2 years. I would re-visit the hardware side when you are closer to your launch of such a project. You must also prepare yourself for the electrical cost that will impact your budget.

    Just Google "Distributed Computing" and pick a project that is "near to your heart". Um, we also do it for the virtual points and ranking;).
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  19. vawrvawerawe

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    Yea, I remember doing folding about 2 years ago.

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