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Supercomputer sale

by on06 May 2024

Cheyenne supercomputer is up for grabs

Fancy owning a piece of computing history or need a cheap supercomputer to assist your plan for global domination? Do you have a bit of space in your basement and a knack for tinkering with tech? Then the Cheyenne supercomputer could be yours.

Once the 20th most powerful computer on the planet in 2016, the Cheyenne supercomputer, housed at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is now up for grabs through the US General Services Administration (GSA).

By November 2023, the 5.34-petaflops system had slipped to 160th in the world rankings, but don’t be fooled - it’s still a beast, capable of performing a whopping 5.34 quadrillion calculations per second. It’s been used to study weather phenomena and predict natural disasters.

The Cheyenne Supercomputer is a behemoth made up of SGI ICE XA modules, including 14 E-Cells, each weighing a hefty 1,500 lbs and 28 water-cooled E-Racks. It boasts 8,064 Intel “Broadwell” Xeon processors (18-core 2.3GHz E5-2697v4) with 145,152 cores. Memory-wise, it’s packing 313,344GB of DDR4-2400 ECC single-rank memory and 224 IB Switches. The supercomputer also has two air-cooled management racks featuring 26 1U servers.

However, potential buyers should be aware of a few snags. Firstly, the unit doesn’t have fibre optic and CAT5/6 cabling, although the internal DAC cables within each cell are provided and will be “meticulously labelled and packaged in boxes”. It also comes with previously used PGW coolant fluid (around 10 gallons per E-cell). The collection will need to be arranged by a professional moving company, and the purchaser will need to “assume responsibility for transferring the racks from the facility onto trucks using their equipment.”

A major red flag is that the supercomputer is listed as “repairable”. The auction page states, "The system is experiencing maintenance limitations due to faulty quick disconnects causing water spray. Given the expense and downtime associated with rectifying this issue in the last six months of operation, it’s deemed more detrimental than the anticipated failure rate of compute nodes.

Approximately one per cent of nodes experienced failure during this period, primarily attributed to DIMMs with ECC errors, which will remain unrepaired. Additionally, the system will undergo coolant drainage."

With just a few days left before the auction ends, bidding currently stands at $50,085, with the reserve not yet met. If you fancy owning a piece of supercomputer history, have the deep pockets required to get it up and running, and have the space to house it, you can bid in.


Last modified on 06 May 2024
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