Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ain't that grand

In the esoteric world of super-fast PCs, the speed benchmark is the SPEC CPU2006 test, which involves repeating meaningless tasks, such as manipulating enormous graphics files, continuously for three days. When the results came in last month, the Fi7epower had racked up a CPU2006 score of 130. The previous record was 85.5.
In supercomputing terms it had run at 80GFLOPS, or 80 billion floating-point operations per second. That’s 320 times the speed of the world’s first supercomputer, the Cray-1 of 1976.

80 billion floating-point operations per second are available for £3,995 in an electronics store off the Tottenham Court Road. The mind boggles. That box is almost powerful enough to keep track of the escalating public sector borrowing requirement.

When we started the company we budgeted £2,000 for each PC. These days (the beast above notwithstanding) it is hard to spec one up to cost that much, hard as the burglar tries.

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