The Super-Cheap Supercomputer
By Om Malik

(Business 2.0) – Imagine plunking down $100,000 and walking away with your very own supercomputer. The low-cost computing revolution means you can now get that result with a handful of off-the-shelf components. By lashing a cluster of 32 blade servers together with an inexpensive switch, any business can harness the kind of power--more than 150 gigaflops--once reserved for government agencies and aerospace giants that could shell out tens of millions for a Cray or Silicon Graphics machine. Genentech has built a server cluster to process gene-related data, while Ferrari is using one to design its F-1 racing cars. Engineering companies, architectural firms, and small software providers like Blackboard of Washington, D.C., are also taking the do-it-yourself approach. In fact, research firm IDC predicts that sales of high-performance machines used for supercomputing tasks could hit $7 billion by 2007. Here's a breakdown of the estimated costs. --OM MALIK