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April 26, 2005

Orion Unveils $100,000 'Personal Supercomputer'

Courtesy of EE Times

MANHASSET, N.Y. — Orion Multisystems Inc. has raised the bar on personal supercomputing to deliver a 96-node workstation. Last year the company introduced 12-node desktop personal supercomputer.

The 96-node machine fits under a desk and can be plugged into a standard power outlet. Both machines can be used in applications such as life sciences, geosciences, engineering, manufacturing, financial analytics, media and entertainment.

The 96-node Cluster Workstation can be stacked to up to four systems, and users can boot up 96 individual computers, or nodes, to create a single system using a single on/off switch.

Orion (Santa Clara, Calif.) said its design requires no special cooling and draws a maximum of 1,500 watts from a standard power outlet.

The system is based on eight Orion processor array boards. Each board includes 12 nodes on a private network. Each node includes an x86 processor, chip set, memory, optional disk drive and networking capability.

The Linux-based workstation also includes a dual 10-GigE fiber card and a 12-port GigE switch. A DVD/CD-RW and a 2.5-inch hard drive are built into the head node.

"We don't have a significant IT staff to manage a large cluster, and Orion provides systems we can conveniently operate and maintain ourselves," said Rob Edwards, a researcher at San Diego State University's Fellowship for Interpretation of Genomes.

Pricing starts in the $100,000 range. The Orion system achieved 110-Gflops sustained performance and 230-Gflops peak performance based on the Linpack benchmark.

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