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Re: Custom vs. commodity networks [message #570 is a reply to message #561] Thu, 10 June 2004 16:07 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
Patrick R. Haspel is currently offline  Patrick R. Haspel
Messages: 4
Registered: April 2004
Location: University of Mannheim, C...
occasional visitor
From: *ra.informatik.uni-mannheim.de
I can pretty much agree to most of the mentioned points.

We could roughly sum up all of them by stating, that if there is a cost reasonable commodity network that fulfills all requirements, it makes no sense to reinvent the wheel by designing a custom network.
But if we have special requirements unlikely implemented in commodity hardware we need to consider a custom solution.

So the key issues needed to be figured out are the communication requirements.

Just some words about the cost of a custom network, just to rebut the common view. Cost effectiveness tremendously depends on the needed quantity:

Mask cost for 180nm CMOS ASIC are about 300kUSD, cost per 200mm waver are about 2kUSD. A sophisticated NIC design takes about 32qmm. With a pessimistic yield of 75% you will get about 750 dies out of a waver. The part cost would then be:
  @   750 chips:  400 USD per chip
  @  1000 chips:  304 USD per chip
  @  5000 chips:   62 USD per chip
  @ 10000 chips:   32 USD per chip
  @100000 chips:    5 USD per chip
Compared to costs of a sophisticated FPGA of between 1,5 and 2,5kUSD one must take quantities into account for any ASIC/FPGA implementation. Of course there are applications where flexibility is key and therefore FPGAs are the only solution.

Best regards,
Patrick

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[Updated on: Tue, 15 June 2004 09:41] by Moderator

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