Price-performance trend in top supercomputers

A top supercomputer can perform a GFLOP for around $3, in 2017.

The price of performance in top supercomputers continues to fall, as of 2016.

Details maintains a list of top supercomputers and their performance on the Linpack benchmark. The figure below is based on empirical performance figures (‘Rmax’) from Top500 and price figures collected from a variety of less credible sources, for nine of the ten highest performing supercomputers (we couldn’t find a price for the tenth). Our data and sources are here.

Sunway Teihu Light performs the cheapest GFLOPS, at $2.94/GFLOPS. This is around one hundred times more expensive than peak theoretical performance of certain GPUs, but we do not know why there is such a difference (peak performance is generally higher than actual performance, but by closer to a factor of two).

There appears to be a downward trend in price, but it is not consistent, and with so few data points its slope is ambiguous. The best price for performance roughly halved in the last 4-5 years, for a 10x drop in 13-17 years. The K computer in 2011 was much more expensive, but appears to have been substantially more expensive than earlier computers.


We welcome suggestions for this page or anything on the site via our feedback box, though will not address all of them.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.