US government auctions off supercomputer with 8,000 Intel CPUs and 300TB of RAM

The US General Services Administration (GSA), an independent US government agency, is set to auction off what is now the 160th fastest supercomputer.

1 minute & 32 seconds read time

An independent agency of the US government has auctioned off an iconic supercomputer that is capable of 5.34 petaflops.

US government auctions off supercomputer with 8,000 Intel CPUs and 300TB of RAM 651561516

The US General Services Administration, an independent agency of the US government tasked with supporting and helping the basic functioning aspects of federal agencies, has officially auctioned off its Cheyenne Supercomputer. The 5.34-petaflops system located at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) in Cheyenne, Wyoming, was the 20th most powerful supercomputer in the world in 2016, and as of November 2023, it's ranked 160th.

Despite its seemingly low ranking the Cheyenne Supercomputer is still a powerful beast of a computer with capabilities such as carrying out 5.34 quadrillion calculations per second. The supercomputer was typically used to carry out weather predictions and predicting natural disasters.

US government auctions off supercomputer with 8,000 Intel CPUs and 300TB of RAM 622662

Under its hood is where it gets really interesting, as Cheyenne features 8,064 Intel "Broadwell" Xeon processors (18-core 2.3GHz E5-2697v4) for a total core count of 145,152. Memory is another astonishing number, as Cheyenne has 313,344GB of DDR4-2400 ECC single-rank memory and 224 IB Switches. Keeping all this cool is 28 water-cooled E-Racks across 14 E-Cells, making each bay weighing approximately 1,500 lbs.

Components of the Cheyenne Supercomputer

  • Installed Configuration: SGI ICE™ XA.
  • E-Cells: 14 units weighing 1500 lbs. each.
  • E-Racks: 28 units, all water-cooled
  • Nodes: 4,032 dual socket units configured as quad-node blades
  • Processors: 8,064 units of E5-2697v4 (18-core, 2.3 GHz base frequency, Turbo up to 3.6GHz, 145W TDP)
  • Total Cores: 145,152
  • Memory: DDR4-2400 ECC single-rank, 64 GB per node, with 3 High Memory E-Cells having 128GB per node, totaling 313,344 GB
  • Topology: EDR Enhanced Hypercube
  • IB Switches: 224 units

Cheyenne was listed for auction on a government surplus site and was listed for $2,500, but after 27 bids the auction closed on May 3, 2024 at a final bid of $480,085.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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