CCL: W:hardware for computational chemistry calculations

 Sent to CCL by: Bill Ross [ross],[]
 > From what I can tell, at the moment (and this could change at any
 > time), the price/performance of AMD 64 equipment ("Opteron" is
 just a
 > model of AMD 64) is by far the best. I know people who do a lot of
 > number crunching who are buying AMD 64 whiteboxes by the fleet, and
 > putting them in clusters. ...
 Vis-s-vis buying Dell or more generic PC's, I've been working at Sun
 recently, so have noted some excitement over the price/performance
 of the new commodity-class Opteron server line (e.g. $745 for the most
 minimal system, X2100 w/ no hard drive, slowest CPU, 512 MB). The
 'coolest' thing to my mind is that the X4100 (starting at $2,195) runs
 at <50% of the power needed by the equivalent Dell server. Here's the
 president of Sun bragging on his blog:
     50% more performance
     63% less electricity consumption
     1/4 the physical size,
     at 1/3 the price.
     Space and power matter, and we now lead the planet in
     responsible computing.
 These machines can even run Windows.. based on what I've seen of
 the product development cycle at Sun, I wouldn't be surprised if
 the boxes were easy to open up and work on, tho clearly they
 are more engineered than Dell, so I'm curious how hands-on folks
 will feel. Here's an Anandtech review of the X2100:
 I'm a programmer (former Amber developer), and haven't played with
 a big variety of systems for a while, but this Opteron line sounds
 very promising for building clusters.
 Another cool thing I've seen (and used) is the DTrace facility built into
 Solaris10 - free kernel tracing.  It looks like the open-source version
 of S10 isn't fully equipped to compete with linux yet, since key parts
 are apparently still getting intellectual property cleanup (like the
 package system for installing software), but it'll be interesting to
 watch S10 as it emerges into the open-source world.
 Bill Ross