Feeds

Supercomputer geek builds Cray-1 around home PC

More powerful than the original?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Daryl Brach, known as pfaffen online, has built a scale model of the Cray-1 supercomputer to house a PC.

The Cray-1, (pictured above) the world's first supercomputer, was launched in 1976. It was rated at a peak performance of 250MFLOPS and had "200,000 integrated circuits, 3,400 printed circuit boards, 60 miles of wire, and [was] housed in less than 70 square feet of space". The Cray-1 made a celebrity of its designer, Seymour Cray, and more than 80 systems were sold.

Brach decided to model the Cray-1 because of its iconic C-shaped, hexadecagon (16-sided polygon) design with two and a half sides left out. This design featured a projecting naugahyde-clad base housing Freon refrigeration units surrounding a set of twelve wedge-shaped upright fins holding the pipeline processing elements. The project's course is described in a bit-tech article.

Brach says: "The original Cray-1 was 77in tall and 103.5in across. My one-third scale model turned out to be 25.6in tall and 34.5in across." One problem was that the inner surfaces of the upright wedges revealed blue-covered wiring. Brach used a rough Masonite surface with a base coat of silver spray paint. This was then covered with two coats of a light blue colour and topped off with a reflective paint layer to give the illusion of dense blue wiring.

He put two PCs into the base, each with three SATA hard drives and an optical drive. An irony is that the resulting scale model Cray-1, seen below, is probably more powerful than Cray's original near 40-year-old design.

Brach model of Cray-1

®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.