"True supercomputers, the rock stars of computing, are capable
of millions of calculations per second. But they can be extremely
expensive — the fastest supercomputer of 2008, IBM’s
RoadRunner, costs $120 million — and access to them is
limited. That’s why smaller versions, no bigger than a
typical desktop PC, are becoming a hit among researchers who want
access to massive processing power along with the convenience of
having a machine at their own desk.
"“Personal supercomputers that can run off a 110 volt wall
circuit allow for a significant amount of performance at a very
reasonable price,” says John Fruehe, director of business
development for serve and workstation at AMD."