USA Today writer attempts to downplay Apple’s role in Virginia Tech supercomputer

“Yesterday I stood inside what is probably the world’s third-most-powerful supercomputer – the Terascale Computing Facility at Virginia Tech. (I say ‘probably’ because the testing won’t be done till next week – the Department of Defense is using it right now and can’t be interrupted.) It’s composed of 1100 Macintosh G5 computers running in parallel,” Andrew Kantor writes for USA Today. “These aren’t your run-of-the-mill Macs; each sports a 2.3 GHz IBM PowerPC 970 processor, which isn’t available to the Little People. But before you Mac people start giving each other high-fives, you should know that the university didn’t say, ‘Hey, let’s make a supercomputer out of Macs.’ They were interested in that PowerPC processor, which IBM happened to sell to Apple for those Macs. (All right, one high-five is allowed.)”

MacDailyNews Take: For some reason, Andrew wants to make quite sure that his readers think they can’t get a Mac G5 with a “2.3 GHz IBM PowerPC 970 processor,” but anyone visiting Apple’s Retail Stores or online Apple Store knows that “the Little People” (all sizes of people, actually) can get dual G5s with speeds of up to 2.5GHz. The first incarnation of Virgina Tech’s “System X” (Big Mac), the one that achieved the world’s number three ranking, was constructed of off-the-shelf Apple Power Mac G5s with dual 2.0 GHz processors running Mac OS X. Next Andrew wants to pretend that Apple does nothing and it’s all IBM; who would want a Mac for a Supercomputer, anyway? But, you Mac people really should start giving each other high-fives because as IBM and Apple both explain, “Apple collaborated with IBM to leverage this industry-leading design for the G5, combining an optimized Velocity Engine with a new superscalar, superpipelined execution core that supports more than 200 simultaneous in-flight instructions. But you won


  1. 2.3 GHz G5 in Xserve enclosure. Andrew is right, when he said it “isn’t available to the Little People.” These must be few prime G5, which had low power loss. It also means, we probably will be see 2.3GHz Dual G5 Xserve available to the “Little People” near future!

  2. USA Today is never known around journalism circles to be the brightest. It’s the equivalent of McD’s in the newspaper area. It’s just popular cos’ it’s dumbed down further and colorful.

    Like a lot of other things, someone had to design the architecture that runs the IBM processors and Apple did that.

    The guy actually comes off looking dumber than anything else.

  3. Once again, we are reminded of the power of the media to create and shape public opinion and knowledge. The one thing that Apple has going for it is that their product IS much better than Windows.

    People are waking up, people are switching.

    2005 should be a banner year for the Mac, if for no other reason than Windows is about ready to collapse. People have simple had enough of the trouble that is Windows.

    At a BBQ last weekend I came upon a conversation that was Windows users griping about bugs, viruses and instability. At the end of my little “switch to Mac” talk, I pulled out my PowerBook and let the gang play with it for a while.

    There were 8 people in the conversation – so I’ll see how many have Macs by the end of the year. I predict 3 to 5 will be switching within a few months.

    We will see.

  4. The Wintel world is full of idiots such as this moron. I have also found this to be true in the educational sector of computer related courses because of the lack of knowledge coming from both the instructor and the text they utilize.

  5. These machines have nothing to do with Apple other then the logo on the box they came in…

    They had to turn off the GUI in order to have a command line interface so they could interact with the cluster.

    These are computers are not using OS X or anything Apple !

    This is an IBM cluster period.

  6. But before I jet off:

    Sputnik, you are by far and away the funniest troll I have ever encountered. The command line IS part of OS X, the motherboards are designed by Apple, the machines are sold by Apple, so Apple get the money.

    Next you’ll be saying MS-DOS isn’t part of Windows.

    TTFN MDN posters.

  7. “These machines have nothing to do with Apple other then the logo on the box they came in…”

    So I guess Apple only manufactured the packaging?

    “They had to turn off the GUI in order to have a command line interface so they could interact with the cluster.”

    Wrong again. They turned off the GUI because they didn’t need it, not because they had to. Any honest person can tell you that the command line is accessible from Terminal even with all the Aqua stuff running.

    “These are computers are not using OS X or anything Apple !”

    Really? That should come as a shock to Dr. Varadarajan and the staff of the Terascale facility.

    “This is an IBM cluster period.”

    You just don’t give up, do you? IBM manufactures the processor, which is jointly designed by Apple and IBM, and Apple makes everything else, including the OS that runs it.

    It’s not as if you didn’t know all this Sputnik, I’m responding for the benefit of those who don’t, and might be taken in by your blatant lies. Others here have claimed that you’re just exhibiting “irony” and “humor”, but you’re merely tiresome.

  8. Man this guy is a moron!!! On his website he has a blog article about how he HATES the Mac and he’s glad it only has a small percentage and flames it for everything. Kind of funny though, he’s slamming on 9 and comparing it to xp, but what he fails to realize is that it was not the competition to xp, it was the competition to win 95/98, by the time xp is out it was already trying to copy OS X!!!! Man, you really got to pity idiots like that. He fails to realize that 9 is history and fails to acknowledge that even in it’s worst days, Mac OS was more secure and stable than Windows is today and that OS X has standard features now that won’t be available on the WinHell machines for another 3 years.

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