ASUS have outed their first supercomputer, and while you might associate the term with rooms packed full of ominous black totems, the ASUS ECS 1000 is actually a simple desktop. Despite the compact size, the ECS 1000 manages to hit speeds of up to 1.1 terraflops courtesy of NVIDIA graphics cards; the 3.33GHz Intel LGA1366 Xeon W3580 is paired with three NVIDIA Tesla C1060 computing processors and a single Quadro FX5800.
Together that's a total of 960 graphics cores, which ASUS are billing as a more cost effective and energy-efficient alternative to traditional high-performance workstations. Still, the PSU is rated for 1,100W and - while ready to ship now - it's not an impulse purchase. ASUS haven't revealed definitive figures, but they do say the ECS 1000 "has a cost structure in software and hardware of US$14,519 over five years."
RAM in the desktop supercomputer amounts to 24GB of DDR3-1333MHz memory, while the hard-drive is a 500GB SATA-II unit. The Tesla C1060 cards themselves are double-width PCI and each have 4GB of memory; they use parallel computing between the hundreds of cores each squeezes in to break down larger tasks and churn through them more quickly. ASUS worked with NVIDIA and the National Chao Tung University in Taiwan to develop the ECS 1000.