Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s use of 1,100 Power Mac G5s in a computing “supercluster” is “a ringing endorsement for Apple’s latest machine,” Charles Haddad writes in his latest
Byte of the Apple
Business Week Online
Virginia Tech will use the new machines as part of a supercomputer cluster now under construction. The university has been working with Apple for months to set up the massive computer cluster, which will use the much-in-demand dual 2GHz models of the G5.
“While it wasn’t Apple’s idea, the company stands to benefit big-time. The opportunity isn’t in supercomputing itself, a small market in which Apple has no standing,” said Haddad. “But Virginia Tech’s progress in building a Mac-based supercomputer represents a high-profile endorsement of Apple’s new G5 desktop, released just weeks ago, and the first desktop to use a 64-bit microprocessor.”
Virginia Tech’s Mac supercomputer cluster won’t expand Apple’s market share since supercomputing only generates about $4.5 billion in sales worldwide and is dominated by a handful of giant players such as IBM, he adds. But it reinforces the fact that Macs are used by “imaginative underdogs.” And the G5’s unique architecture and relatively low cost (the Mac cluster will cost around US$5.2 million) will likely raise the eyebrows of research scientists worldwide, Haddad says.