CNet Commentary Tries To Blow Off Virginia Tech’s G5 Supercomputer

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Some unnamed person at CNet is tense about Apple getting attention for the Virginia Tech Big Mac project. If you remember, the VT project used 1,100 Power Mac G5s to make the worldis third fastest supercomputing cluster. Better yet, the university did it for a mere US$5.2 million, a tiny fraction of the cost of any of the other top 10 ranked supercomputers.

Understandably, this made lots of news last year when the story broke, and it gave Apple new cachet in a market where the company had never before been a player. Not so fast, says CNet Newsi unsigned commentary. That figure doesnit count the free student labor, and besides, itis really no big deal anyway. Corporate customers are all about the Big Boys in this market, so this Apple thing is just not important. From the commentary:

In an academic environment, there are plenty of graduate students on hand to figure out the best arrangement of processors, memory and network gear for a given task. Students also can translate software written for other computers to Appleis systems, which with a single machine now on the top 500 list are far from prevalent in the supercomputing arena.

So the Apple project at Virginia Tech may be a wonderful educational project, but commercial customers who have less interest in experimentation are more likely to pay specialists at Linux Networx, RLX Technologies, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Dell or Hewlett-Packard to plan the plumbing, package the software and plug in the cables. And those companies arenit going to rely on Macs.

You can find the full commentary at CNet Newsi Web site.

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