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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

February 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Cray’s new entry price: $200K

So much for the super-cheap supercomputer.

Seattle supercomputer maker Cray today announced that its new entry-level product is a mid-range system that starts at $200,000.

The company also stopped selling its CX1 entry-level systems that started at $25,000 and its CX100 systems that started under $100,000.

“For us it was more of a technology decision and supporting changes that are coming to the processor in the years forward,” spokesman Nick Davis said.

The CX1 and CX100 did well, selling several hundred units, he said. Most ended up selling for a multiple of their base price, after they were configured to customer specifications.

xe6m-high-res.png

Cray’s new $200,000 systems don’t have a moniker. They’re configurations of the company’s XE6m (pictured) and XK6m systems.

The selling point is that the new systems have features and architecture drawn from Cray’s upper-end systems, yet are relatively affordable.

In other words, they’re like Quarter Pounders with the Big Mac’s special sauce, and the 99 cent burger is off the menu.

These new systems are aimed at the department-level technical computing market, which is expected to grow 7 percent to 8 percent a year through 2015, according to research firm IDC.

So what do you get for $200,000 nowadays at Crays R Us?

Davis said the base system is a single-cabinet supercomputer with more than 750 compute cores delivering about 6.5 teraflops of performance. The system uses AMD Interlagos processors and can be ordered with Cray XK6 compute blades with graphics processing units, but that may increase the price a bit.

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