Published in PC Hardware

Those were the Crays

by on02 January 2024

Supercomputer out matched by a Raspberry Pi

The UK government’s supercomputers in the 1970s would now be outclassed by a Raspberry Pi according to one of the testors of both.

Roy Longbottom worked for the U.K. government's Central Computer Agency from 1960 to 1993, and from 1972 to 2022 produced and ran computer benchmarking and stress testing programs.

Longbottom writes that "In 2019 (aged 84) he was recruited as a voluntary member of Raspberry Pi pre-release Alpha testing team."

This week — now at age 87 — Longbottom has created a web page titled "Cray 1 supercomputer performance comparisons with home computers, phones and tablets." And one statistic really captures the impact of our decades of technological progress.

He said that in 1978, the Cray 1 supercomputer cost $7 Million, weighed 10,500 pounds and had a 115 kilowatt power supply. It was, by far, the fastest computer in the world.

“The Raspberry Pi costs around $70 (CPU board, case, power supply, SD card), weighs a few ounces, uses a 5 watt power supply and is more than 4.5 times faster than the Cray 1."

You can read about his comparisons here.


Last modified on 03 January 2024
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