updated 03:55 pm EST, Mon November 30, 2009
Departmenht of Defense orders 2,200 Sony PS3s
The US Department of Defense has recently ordered 2,200 more PlayStation3 gaming consoles to expand its supercomputer. The current device uses 336 PS3s in a cluster, all running Linux. The PS3s contain IBM's Cell microprocessor, and represent better value than other devices suitable for use in a supercomptuer with the chip. The official Justification Review Document shows the gaming consoles in question are the older, 160GB PS3s, as they have the ability to run another OS, unlike the new, slim PS3.
In the document, it is pointed out that a 1U server with two 3.2GHz cell processors can cost $8,000, while two Sony PS3s cost about $600. This is justified even though the PS3-spec chips deliver 150GFLOPS of performance compared to 200GFLOPS of a standard 3.2GHz IBM Cell microprocessor.
The reason Sony can price the PS3 so cheaply is because it makes up for each loss-making PS3 sale with software sales. [via BoingBoing]