Custom build specifications for Amazon EC2 cr1.8xlarge

Ever wonder what the big Amazon instances would cost if you bought one (instead of rented)? Here is an attempt to answer that question. Note: Amazon EC2 provides more than just the hardware (e.g. network connectivity and bandwidth, for starters), so this isn’t quite an apples-to-apples comparison.

From the Amazon page, the short specifications are: 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2670 processors, 244 GiB RAM, 2x120GB SSD, 10GB Ethernet. Those CPUs provide 8 cores times hyper-threading each, for a total of 2x8x2 = 32 vCPUs and 88 ECUs.

According to Amazon prices in 2013, this virtual machine will cost you $3.50/hour for on-demand, which is $30,660 per year. (See “High-Memory Cluster On-Demand Instances, Eight Extra Large”).

So, of that $30,660 per year, what are the hardware costs?

Note that with “only” 16 memory slots, it needs 16GB sticks of ECC REG to achieve 256GB.

Note that the CPU does not come with coolers. I’ve never heard of the Dynatron brand, but it was one of the few “low height” fan/cooler combinations I could find. It is ridiculous to think of risking a $1,600 CPU like that. That detail is what prompted me to look at the “custom-build” shops – since they would have more experience in this critical area.

Here are a few custom-build shop prices, for comparison:

  • at a dual E5-2670 machine with 256GB of RAM, without the 10GB NIC, and without the SSDs, came in at $9,380
  • at a dual E5-2670 machine with 256GB of RAM, without the 10GB NIC, came in at $7,131.
  • at a dual E5-2670 with 256GB of RAM, with a $410 10GB NIC, came in at $9,363.

Caution: Unlike the other postings of mine, this is NOT a built machine. And, at $7,000+, it probably never will be built by me. It is pure “by the specifications” intellectual exercise. It should work, but all of my others builds actually work.

So – here is the machine I’ll build after winning the lottery:

Item Product Cost
CPU Intel Xeon E5-2670 Sandy Bridge-EP 2.6GHz 3.3GHz Turbo Boost) 20MB L3 Cache LGA 2011 115W 8-Core Server Processor BX80621E52670, $1,599 each $3,200
RAM Kingston 64GB (4 x 16GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR3 1600 Server Memory DR x4 Model KVR16R11D4K4/64, $656 each $2,624
Motherboard Dual LGA 2011 Intel C602 DDR3 1600 (with case)
Power Supply 740W (1+1) Redundant (with case)
Video (built in)
Case SUPERMICRO SYS-6027R-WRF 2U Rackmount Server Barebone Dual LGA 2011 Intel C602 $1,199
SD Drives SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series 128GB MZ-7PD128BW 2.5″ 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD), $140 each $280
HD Drives
NIC ntel E10G41AT2 AT2 Server Adapter 10Gbps PCI Express 2.0 x8 1 x RJ45 $515
CPU Cooler Dynatron R13 70mm 2 Ball Bearing CPU Cooler , $30 each $60
OS Ubuntu 12.04p2 LTS $0
Total $7,878
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