Would you buy a personal supercomputer (for $8K)?

Silicon Graphics International today unveiled a "personal supercomputer," called the Octane III, with a price tag that starts at $7.995.

Silicon Graphics International today unveiled a "personal supercomputer," called the Octane III, with a price tag that starts at $7.995. For some reason - and maybe it's just me - I just can't seem to figure out who the target customer is for this machine.

I think it's the use of the word "personal" that's throwing me off. Consider this excerpt from SGI's announcement:

Octane III takes high performance computing out of the data center and puts it at the deskside. It combines the immense power and performance capabilities of a high-performance cluster with the portability and usability of a workstation to enable a new era of personal innovation in strategic science, research, development and visualization.

Hmmm. That didn't seem to help - but a soundbite quote from Earl Joseph, an IDC VP, in the company's press release did help a bit more.

IDC research has shown a growing demand for high-performance deskside supercomputers, and the new Octane III personal supercomputer is designed to directly address the requirements of both the entry level HPC technical server market and the desktop workstation market with a high-performance cluster designed to help close the gap between the desktop and the data center. SGI workstations and servers have been highly regarded by HPC scientists, engineers and analysts, and the new system with up to 80 high-performance cores and 1TB of memory is certain to capture the attention of many HPC computing professionals.

There's no doubt that there's some power under the hood. (Click out the specs below). It's definitely a supercomputer. But maybe SGI should lose the "personal" part of its description. It really doesn't seem to be a fit.

The company will showcase the Octane III at this week's Intel Developer's Forum in San Francisco.