Where do you go to scratch your itch for a vintage Cray? Why eBay of course.
Our search wizards were up early this morning and spotted a listing for a “Vintage Cray C90/J916 Super Computer” which includes the 48-foot Ellis & Watts trailer that the supercomputer is mounted to. [Note: this is a J90 series system, not the earlier C90, as the included images confirm.]
Codenamed “Jedi” during development, the Cray J90 series was first sold by Cray Research in 1994. It was an entry-level, air-cooled vector processor supercomputer that evolved from the Cray Y-MP EL minisupercomputer. It is compatible with Y-MP software and runs the same UNICOS operating system, Cray’s version of Unix.
As Wikipedia notes, “the J90 supported up to 32 CMOS processors with a 10 ns (100 MHz) clock.” The J916 is the 16 processor model. There was also the J98 with up to eight processors, and the J932 with up to 32 processors. Fully configured with 4 GB of main memory and up to 48 GB/s of memory bandwidth, the J90 offered “considerably less performance than the contemporary Cray T90,” but was “a strong competitor to other technical computers in its price range,” according to the Wikipedia entry.
The seller reports that the unit, which comes equipped with cooling systems (that “need some restoring work”), is untested and requires a 480v connection to hook up the trailer.
Currently, one person has bid $3,999 on the auction. Shipping is listed at $3,000 with free local pickup in San Jose, California.
If you want a piece of Cray history in time for the holidays but aren’t looking to spend quite that much, there’s other Cray memorabilia to choose from, like this vintage Cray Research champagne glass (buy it now: $27.50), a Cray Y-MP C90 bomber jacket direct from Wisconsin (buy it now: $99), or, if it’s hardware you crave, a Cray X-MP memory board (buy it now: $146).
As for the “portable” Cray J90, the eBay lister doesn’t say much about its provenance, stating only, “Pickup from company been storing for many years. Please send me an email for more info.”