[rescue] Cheapest Cray?

Tim Kirby trk at kirbys.org
Tue Apr 27 14:41:24 CDT 2004

On 27 Apr 2004 12:08, Steve Hatle wrote:

> A buddy worked at Cray here in Minneapolis back in the hey-day, and he took
> me on a tour of the "Big Floor" where they had at least one of everything
> Cray had made. [0]

Craypark is in Eagan, a suburb of *St. Paul*, please :)

The CCN (Corporate Computer & Networks) datacenter didn't really have one of
everything; it certainly had all the current stuff, but I don't think there
was anything older than a 1/S in that room at any point... but that was a
long time ago...

> these ladies would be arm-deep in the cabinets attaching the wires, and then
> the lunch bell would ring <snip> Maybe he was pulling my leg, but I don't
> think so.

They were masters (mistresses) of the art.

The Cray-1 had a maximum wire length of about four feet, if memory serves.
Something like 20% of the logic on the boards was purely there to insert
delays and add distance as part of tuning the machines to try and avoid
the standing wave problems. I think the Cray-2 had a maximum wire length of
around 12" or 16"; with a 2.2ns clock, that's about 24" of signal per tick.

The "C" shape was purely functional, keeping the connections in the center
of the machine as short as possible.

All that nice cable management is fine for slow signals <vbg>

> [0] Apparently at this point, Cray Park is a ghost town. I don't know what,
> if any, of the machines are still there and/or functional. My buddy said
> that when he got his initial tour of the campus and the buildings after he
> was hired, his guide jokingly remarked "This would make a great Bible
> college someday". It could be sadly prophetic.

Cray hasn't been at Craypark for several years. When SGI bought Cray in
1996 they took a dislike to the facility immediately; it was built with
individual hardwall offices for every employee (and every office had
natural light, either directly or from an atrium); SGI believed the
only true working environment to be a cube farm (though when they built
their new buildings in Mountain View they did give engineers individual
offices, though inside - no windows. In 1999 SGI "invested" in a networking
company called WAM!NET, part of which was "giving" WAM!NET the ex-Cray
facility, giving themselves some very nice lease terms until they could
go and build the cube farm they really wanted.

WAM!NET kicked Cray out of the datacenter by the end of 2000, I think,
with grand plans for the space that never materialized. SGI built a new
building elsewhere in Eagan and moved out sometime 2002/2003. WAM!NET
commercial got bought by Savvis and thus didn't need the datacenter space,
so they moved out in 2003. The only current tenant is Integris, who do
some hosting out of there. The facility has been purchased by EcoLab who
are going to move their R&D into that space, I believe.

The only "Cray" equipment you'll find belonging to Cray these days is
located in Chippewa Falls.

Tim Kirby                   trk at kirbys.org

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