Over at The Register, Dan Olds writes that the recent SC13 Student Cluster Competition was a real eye opener in terms of what performance can be achieved with commodity hardware.
On the Commodity side of the tracks (where students could only spend $2,500 on their cluster), the LINPACK competition has been translated into a lowest cost per GFLOP. The results were incredibly close, with only two cents difference between the top two teams. Team Sun Devil (Arizona State University) topped, or rather, bottomed, the other competitors with a cost/GFLOP of $4.99. The total tab for their system was $2,472.80, meaning that their LINPACK score was 495.55 GFLOP/s.
Learn more at the Student Cluster Competition Blog.