Feeds

Supercomputer geek builds Cray-1 around home PC

More powerful than the original?

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

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

®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
Seagate chances ARM with NAS boxes for the SOHO crowd
There's an Atom-powered offering, too
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.