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December 9, 2009

Military purchases 2,200 PS3s

Posted: 11:14 AM ET

It seems generous grandmothers aren't the only ones purchasing PlayStation 3 (PS3) consoles this holiday season. The U.S. Dept. of Defense has announced plans to buy an additional 2,200 PS3s to complement a military supercomputer cluster running on 336 PS3 systems.

The military purchase was likely encouraged by Sony's recent PS3 price cut, which brought the price of a single console down to $299.

A military justification of review document explains the decision:

Though a single 3.2 GHz cell processor can deliver over 200 GFLOPS, whereas the Sony PS3 configuration delivers approximately 150 GFLOPS, the approximately tenfold cost difference per GFLOP makes the Sony PS3 the only viable technology for HPC applications.

According to Ars Technica, Sony sells the PS3 at a loss and hopes to make back the difference by selling games and accessories.

The reason that the PS3 is a more cost-effective way to buy Cell-powered GFLOPS than, say, the Cell blades that IBM actually makes specifically for supercomputing applications, is that the consoles come with a big, fat subsidy from Sony.

However, the military isn't likely to purchase any games for these PlayStations. The justification review states the systems will run a proprietary Linux-based operating system, which probably won't be able to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

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Filed under: consumer tech • Games • Gaming


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Tkamoshima   December 9th, 2009 12:04 pm ET

they dont need to run CoD MW2. They play real thing.


Sandra Orion   December 9th, 2009 12:47 pm ET

Interesting use of military funding. I wonder how many of these will get "lost" in shipment?


Butt Boy   December 9th, 2009 12:58 pm ET

They are using the old ones that are no longer sold on shelves. The new ones don't run Linux. So Sony isn't losing anything on them.


Franky, Land of Lincoln   December 9th, 2009 1:02 pm ET

Pretty interesting, pretty cool.

Who knew our government would use gaming systems to supplement their own missions and work? Well, technically, the government was the first to utilize gaming back in the 50's or something like that. Nice to see they're exploring all options on the table and make their jobs run easier and smoother.

That's too high-tech for me, all I know is grab a controller and beat some booty in Street Fighter but other than that, that's all.

I still don't got Call of Duty 2, that's sad. I feel like I'm letting my founding fathers down...:( :)


dougy confused   December 9th, 2009 1:12 pm ET

what? im Confused they used them for parts ? so theyll be used as computers with a linux OS?


SithLordSomeone   December 9th, 2009 1:13 pm ET

Finally a purchase decision by the U.S. Military that I actually agree with! :)


Charles   December 9th, 2009 1:20 pm ET

Hey Sandra in.........probably none will get lost and you should be thanking whoever is in charge of this type of procurement.

They take them and use the processors apart of networked computing environment.... Although they don't don't have the speed of much costlier systems they really do the job for a fraction of the price.

It is the type of military spending that we should be proud of....instead of throwing money at a problem....a little ingenuity and thinking is taking precedence.


alan   December 9th, 2009 1:22 pm ET

I guess no "buy american clause". big hit for XBOX. i bet if they could make a product that wasn't a piece of crap, it could have a use other than a paper weight. I own an XBOX, that gives me complaining rights.


max   December 9th, 2009 1:22 pm ET

I think this is just awesome, great compromise that saves a lot of money. Keep it up!


chris   December 9th, 2009 1:27 pm ET

They use the PS3 to do advanced calculations. When the PS3 first came out you could download a run a program that linked your PS3 to others around the world and doctors who were doing advanced calculations for a cure for cancer I believe. Once again a reason PS3 blows away Xbox.


http://twitter.com/whybs   December 9th, 2009 1:33 pm ET

If this were genuine justification, it's a smart move. Add'l thoughts...

– Transparency/accountability is good
– Volume discounts?
– Other countries have access to the same technology


Engineer Mike   December 9th, 2009 1:34 pm ET

This is not a new idea. Somewhere around 2000-2002, the University of Illinois took 200 original playstations (at about $200 apiece) and networked them together, modded a Linux OS for them and for under $200k total they had a supercomputer that placed #17 on the supercomputer list at that time beating out hundred million dollar supercomputers in performance.

For those who are unaware of the Cell processor, it's essentially a 9 core processor. Where as your typical home computer is still a single, dual, or quad core processor. Also, not only are you getting the Cell processor you are getting a 60GB, 120GB, or a 160GB hard drive (depending which version they're buying) with each, so yes it's already a computer, it's just a highly specialized function (video games) computer.


B Firman   December 9th, 2009 1:38 pm ET

For the confused: You are able to connect ALL the PS3's together (cluster) so that the power of each one becomes one single source thus creating a super computer. I believe this was first done by a group @ MIT using the PS2 and the cost difference from buying a bunch of consoles to the price of buying an actual super computer is amazing!


Jeff   December 9th, 2009 1:38 pm ET

Great idea! Must have been a Canadian that came up with that one!


Kurt   December 9th, 2009 1:40 pm ET

If they are just going to use the processors then they could lower their costs even further by selling the ancillary parts; controllers, cords etc.

What is the environmental impact of disposing of all the consoles, packaging, etc. for what will amount to a couple handfuls of chips?


Dave C   December 9th, 2009 1:47 pm ET

Connecting all those processors will create one WOPR of a computer. And then the pentagon will play a game of Global Thermonulear War...or perhaps a nice game of chess.


Lon   December 9th, 2009 1:48 pm ET

by modding the hardware are they violating the EULA? it is illegal for me to modify their proprietary system.


Bam   December 9th, 2009 1:56 pm ET

I wonder if other countries who are anti-American would also do the same thing to get their own type of "supercomputer?"

Anybody want to collaborate on a new SyFy low-budget movie starring Eric Estrada or Lorenzo Lamas?


kyle   December 9th, 2009 1:57 pm ET

thats cool


Ruben   December 9th, 2009 2:00 pm ET

Pretty Interesting....use of out tax dollars. I wonder what the final outcome of all of these will be, create more jobs? fix healthcare issues? deal with global warming? don't think so..


Eli S.   December 9th, 2009 2:03 pm ET

Whoa! That looks like X-mas sale going around like black Friday.


tonycehen   December 9th, 2009 2:03 pm ET

gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangstaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ben   December 9th, 2009 2:06 pm ET

The reason they're using PS3s is because the (non-slim) PS3s have the capability built in to run a full OS. There's this nice "install other OS" option in the menus and it's supported by Sony, who was also nice enough to provide drivers (well, sort of. It's a type 1 hypervisor)

In comparison, the Xbox is so locked down that you need to take a soldering iron to the chips before you can even start to install Linux on it. Besides, the Xbox 360 is a tri-core POWER processor and the PS3 is an 9-core POWER.


dcdingo   December 9th, 2009 2:06 pm ET

I would imagine that they could use the PS3's pretty much stock, unless they are building custom blades. after all, the PS3 runs linux, has a hard drive, and has a fast network interface. as for breaking the EULA its not illegal to put linux on and, if they do take it apart, I think it would be cheaper for them to replace a few units than pay extra support on all of them.

what I wonder is if they use them even remotely stock, is what their failure rate is >;) that would be quite revealing.

sometimes it is amazing that you can get 3 units at 3/4 speed for the price of one unit at the fastest speed. you don't get exactly the sum of the speed increase, but for these massively parallel systems adding several more instead of one faster unit can be much more advantageous.


Jason   December 9th, 2009 2:12 pm ET

It may break the EULA, but good luck getting permission from the govt to sue the govt.

No new thinking here, but great to see our money being used in a more thought out fashion than we are used to.


Stephen smitley   December 9th, 2009 2:24 pm ET

According to my calculations i recently got COD MW 2 and poped it in my xbox 360 which gave me the error 74 message a few days after. Rumors have it that this is cuz xbox suxs lol jp. But the ps3 i have that also i have the 60 gig BIG boy old playstation 3 no slim haha. I believe that these ps3s will be jointed and split into the ARMY and the MARINE CORP and AIRFORCE. Giving away about 3 quarters to each. And having them have classes on how to use the PS3 to its full capacity! i bet the gaming thing wont even hapeen. I also bet that BLU RAY movie CLASES will get involved and missions will start being svaed on a blu ray disks for faster access with a ps3 on a big 80 inch FLAT SCREEN hdtv for the military in a warzone! i gurantee that will happen :) also btw i would love to be in that work environment! think about it 80 inch tv?


none   December 9th, 2009 2:25 pm ET

What a waste of money. Keep this quote in mind "...states the systems will run a proprietary Linux-based operating system". Now consider that the new PS3 slim removed the capability to run Linux ( http://www.playstation.com/ps3-openplatform/faq.html , read the red text at the top). Question, how exactly is this going to work? Maybe the government is buying surplus old models?


Thanh   December 9th, 2009 2:28 pm ET

It will become basically a budget supercomputer. They can always retrofit more RAM into them, and aren't subject to the consumer EULA. I'm pretty sure the legal teams of both Sony and the government came up with a usage agreement.

I'm also pretty sure they're buy out of the fat PS3s or refurbished models, and they're not going to strip them for the cell processors. They'll just install their own Linux builds and work off of that.

It's also unlikely that they're purchasing consumer bundles. The Pentagon isn't going around to all the Best Buys, snapping up all the PS3s. It's probably shipped straight from Sony in bubble wrap.

Yeah there are probably groups all over the world using the tech for evil, but the PS3 has been around for 3 years, and no hacker group has had any newsworthy success in using to decrypt sensitive data, for example.

Also, running a cluster of PS3s will raise some eyebrows because it will draw a ton of electricity.


JP   December 9th, 2009 2:31 pm ET

They would have gotten Xboxes, though they would have had to replace them every few weeks when they red ring.


Ne-yakka   December 9th, 2009 2:32 pm ET

Great for the Government, sucks for Sony if the subsidy is true. Thats 2200 units sold at a loss with no chance of recouping margins from game or ancillary product sales.


DAVID   December 9th, 2009 2:33 pm ET

XBOX destroys PS3. Halo, XBox Live. I bet CHina is linking XBOX's cause they dominate!!!!!!


nelson bird   December 9th, 2009 2:36 pm ET

can I have one of them


john buge   December 9th, 2009 2:37 pm ET

I think the Generals are shopping for X-mas and making uncle Sam pay for it. If not, when the project will be shut down six months later, this PS3s will be sold for $5 a piece to the military personnel (with kids) involved with liquidating the project assets.


Robert   December 9th, 2009 2:38 pm ET

I would like to know how anyone can get that many of the 60 gb models today (that is the model in the picture). I have to find another one (someone broke in and stole it) and am likely going to have to pay twice what it originally cost. It is the only one I will buy as I have no desire to buy a slim model or the other "fat" ones.


Nelson Bird   December 9th, 2009 2:39 pm ET

Can you send me one my brother has a broken ps2


Link   December 9th, 2009 2:44 pm ET

remember back when ps2 came out, saddam did the same thing, iraq bought like 1000 of them to try to use the hard/software to make into better missle systems then they had already.


Red Storm   December 9th, 2009 2:45 pm ET

I'm surprised by the mostly intelligent comments, with the obvious exception of Ruben. If you want to check out what they use these massive computers for, google "Red Storm Computer". Sandia uses this massive supercomputer to conduct numerical simulation of nuclear tests to verify our national stockpile of nukes without ever detonating one. They model individual atoms!

They're also used for complex CFD simulations. So to answer your question, Ruben, it will keep jobs like mine going, it has nothing to do with healthcare, but either does using tax dollars to pay police officers. Using the GOP rhetorical technique of mocking things you don't understand doesn't make you look smart.


Aadro Gnuy   December 9th, 2009 2:48 pm ET

EULA is for software, not hardware. You can take your DELL computer and smash it to pieces or burn it in a huge bonfire. No EULA can ever prevent that, although the manufacturer can state that they will not be responsible for accidents, liabilities, etc., if you do so.


Robert   December 9th, 2009 2:50 pm ET

Actually, this article might not be correct or the pentagon might want to hire a video game expert. I don't believe the new ps3's that are currently available can install linux.


John   December 9th, 2009 2:51 pm ET

So the PS3 is good for something after all....


Rob   December 9th, 2009 2:55 pm ET

They had to buy them up before they aren't sold anymore. The new ps3 doesn't run linux and it's way easier to upgrade a cluster if you're using a bunch of the same computer. Sony only makes the slim now so I bet the military got a sweet deal on whatever stock was left of these old models.


RYAN   December 9th, 2009 3:07 pm ET

For all of you that are thinking the military is wasting money, you have to realize, the PS3 is and has been a better computer than your home computers. Sony designed this to be able to keep up with the times for at least 10 years. They might not get a discount on buying bulk, but they save money in the long run. would you rather the military spend $300 or $3000 per item.


Sal   December 9th, 2009 3:09 pm ET

nice way to sponsor American industry, how about buying some Intel based systems from American manufacturers? If they will just be running Linux, that can be done on an inexpensive Intel Atom based HTPC, costing under $100 if built with a small SSD drive.


Jason   December 9th, 2009 3:22 pm ET

The Army's former FCS program used XBox 360 controllers to run unmanned vehicles: http://www.army.mil/-images/2007/02/02/2287/size1-army.mil-2007-02-02-091945.jpg


BrownButt   December 9th, 2009 3:24 pm ET

RedStorm needs a BrownButt lecture in science...


Dan   December 9th, 2009 3:24 pm ET

'by modding the hardware are they violating the EULA? it is illegal for me to modify their proprietary system.'

And who is going to enforce this on the US Military? Japan? Remember what happened last time they tried that? Our Navy was in for repairs for a few months and they got two big bonfire parties made out of their cities.

The DoD operates outside of regulations like that because they can.


tevtov   December 9th, 2009 3:25 pm ET

modern warfare 2 is not a call of duty game. so cod modern warfare 2 is the wrong title. then again I think the pentagon won't buy games, but sure as heck want to watch those "awesome" blu-ray movies


TheHorseFace   December 9th, 2009 3:27 pm ET

I tried to use this trick on my wife to buy me one. It didnt work :(


supanon   December 9th, 2009 3:30 pm ET

Red Storm, you rock. I agree with others that this is surprisingly good spending. It seems that it is not a new idea, so it makes sense that uncle sam has caught on by now. Kurt brings up a good point. Buying the gear at 10% cost is awesome, but I wonder what the plans are for using the ancillary stuff. Using them stock would be cool, but if they are throwing parts away, I'd like to know where they are going. I need a new controller.


ivan esparaza   December 9th, 2009 3:40 pm ET

cod mw2 is a good game they should be scared!


andrew   December 9th, 2009 3:41 pm ET

there is now no disputing that PS3 is better than xbox 360


DC   December 9th, 2009 3:42 pm ET

To "none" and "Ruben"- Gentlemen, or women, please learn to rude. Stop attempting to put spins on government spending or to redirect with issues of healthcare. If you read the article, you would understand they are saving "millions of taxpayer dollars" by utilizing this cost effective method. You want the government to start saving money or using it right? This is just one of the many first steps. Seriously, there are alot of people like yourselves who need to stop seeing things with tunnel vision.


Brian   December 9th, 2009 3:46 pm ET

This will likely be used by the Army Research Lab's high performance computing (HPC) group. They're the stewards of quite a few military supercomputers.

ARL was experimenting with things similar to beowulf clusters back before the term had a proper name. They've always been keen about off-the-shelf hardware. Remember years back when DoD wanted to ban the export of Playstation 2s due to the encryption the CPU could support? Remember how everyone laughed at the idea that a government could put video game hardware to use for some other purpose? ARL's the reason suggestions like that happened – we've been doing that sort of thing for decades.

In terms of performance... 150Gflops * 2,200 cpus yields 330,000 Gflops, so 330 TFlops.

Per ARL's site, http://www.arl.hpc.mil/Systems/index.html

The biggest/baddest cluster they've got right now is a 10,400 core Cray XT-5 that pushes under 100 TFlops. They're going to build a system with 3x the performance for a fraction of the cost. They'll lose some of the cpu power to software overhead (for clustering etc) but the end result will still be a significantly better number-cruncher than anything they're currently running.


http://twitter.com/whybs   December 9th, 2009 3:47 pm ET

Check it out... Sony has just created a new division – Sony Defense! :)


Quis   December 9th, 2009 3:48 pm ET

This proves it. PS3 >>>>> Xbox 360. The goverment subliminally said so.


TXPhisher   December 9th, 2009 3:48 pm ET

A $300 nvidia GPU does about a Teraflop of power today, and you can put 4 of them in a single desktop utilizing their CUDA architecture - would have been WAY more cost effective and powerful.


Simes   December 9th, 2009 3:49 pm ET

Good thinking. I do research in the mechanical engineering program at my university, and we were thinking about buying playstations for the same reason. They have nice FFT computing capabilities.


See it works   December 9th, 2009 3:54 pm ET

The Cell processor in the PS3 is a networkable chipset that when combined with other cell processors (hence cell) their computational capacity is exponentially increased. really the most powerful computer in the world is the internet, and all the processing power of every online computer combined. Seti and other projects have utilized this concept, and the military is no different. But they want efficiency and thats where the PS3 comes in. Now just imagine the power that sony has at it's disposal with the Playstation Network, all of those ps3's hooked up to one network. If they keep it up at this rate, the next theater for war will be the matrix.


Nathan   December 9th, 2009 3:57 pm ET

Isn't this actually a bad story? I would like the government to save money as much as the next guy, but this story suggests they're actually stealing money from Sony. The PS3 isn't priced for its parts, it's priced as an investment. That's how I can afford it. However, when the government buys it for parts, and invests no money in its software, Sony has to pay the difference... thus I have to pay the difference. It's like the Government going to Sam's Club and stocking up on the free samples. You'd expect some cheap private citizens to do this, but when the government does it, it feels a lot more unethical.


DAVID   December 9th, 2009 3:59 pm ET

The DOD just posted this because they needed to stray the public from the REAL secret military project using XBOX 360. That one is super top secret.


Tom   December 9th, 2009 3:59 pm ET

I know people who work in the government and make the simulators for training solders. The technology that the gaming community has to offer is way more advanced than any thing that the Government can produce right now. So there for it is better for them to use off the shelf tech, than make their own. Also, the fact that they can make a super computer out of them is pretty awesome. And cheap.


Jake   December 9th, 2009 4:12 pm ET

PS3 as always been the best hardware of this generation. But as usual, Microsoft tricked the masses and infiltrated the mainstream with an inferior version of someone else's idea. Now that PS3 has dropped their price (the only real complaint you could ever make about it and not look stupid), there's no reason why you shouldn't have one.

It's obvious I have one right? Hell, Bluray, web browser, wi-fi, and free online right out the box. Microsoft cannot compare or will charge you extra for any of those things.


Chris   December 9th, 2009 4:15 pm ET

I don't think it's unethical to pay the price someone is asking for a piece of merchandise. The publicity alone is probably worth more than the subsidy.


Grant Taylor   December 9th, 2009 4:21 pm ET

It doesn't make sense on sony's POV. From what i know even when the price was higher sony lost money per consol and hope that people buy the games to make a profit. Looks like sony lost a lot of money. Did they go to a retailer?


kally   December 9th, 2009 4:23 pm ET

Hope they don't update the firmware.


Will   December 9th, 2009 4:27 pm ET

To those of you weeping over Sony's potential loss of income in this deal, consider this: First, these are likely earlier generation playstations that Sony is directly unloading to the government. The DoD isn't guy from Walmart to Walmart buying these things, and Sony could simply refuse to sell them if they wanted to. Second, Sony is probably LOVING the publicity. You can't pay for this type of advertising. Sony probably could have gifted the PS3s to the gov't and still come out ahead in the end.


GJM   December 9th, 2009 4:30 pm ET

The PS3 does NOT have 9 proc "cores" like some are saying. The Cell processor has 8 "active" cores but in the case of the PS3 1 of the cores is "disabled" or being used for other stuff so that leaves you with 7 cores 3.2 GHz Cell Broadband Engine with 1 PPE & 7 SPEs. Currently the Stand Ford university is using the PS online service to Flood = A software that calculates proteins. The PS3 hardware is excellent for crunching data and is also very efficient on doing it. Comparable systems to this 2200 PS3 cluster would cost 10 times more and would consume 10 times more electricity. All in all is a SOLID investment and plus if you get bored you can at least play COD MWF 2 – Is just a matter of putting all of that hardware to good use. Hey they can even use the System GPU power (RSX = 8800GTX breed) if they develop a CUDA software 4 it and increase the crunching power of their cluster! 3 companies participated on the development of the Cell proc – Toshiba, Sony and IBM


Chang   December 9th, 2009 4:33 pm ET

Chris (Dec 9th @ 1:27 PM),

That is an ignorant statement.

this is how it is broken down in Xbox 360 –

IBM PowerPC triple-core 'Xenon' CPU:
115 Gflops

ATI 'Xenos' graphics processor:
240 Gflops (programmable) + 697 Gflops (non-programmable)

total: 1052 Gflops (slightly more than 1 Teraflop )

is Xbox 360 as powerful as a 1 TFLOP Supercomputer ? no bloody way in hell.

a 1 TFLOP supercomputer has all of that computer power from general purpose
CPUs, plus the memory and memory-architecture to support that. Xbox 360
has roughly 1/10th of a Teraflop (115 Gflops) from its CPU, and that is only
peak theoretical single precision flops. the rest of the flops performance
in Xbox 360 is in its ATI GPU, and most of that is put into hardwired
GPU-functions, only about 240 Gflops is accessible to the programmer for
whatever graphics work he wants to program.

as for the Playstation3, Sony and Nvidia claim 2.18 Teraflops. well like
Xbox 360, the PS3 gets most of its flops performance from the GPU. in PS3's
case, that's 1.8 Tflops. the Cell CPU only has 218 Gflops, less than
twice as much as Xbox 360 CPU (115 Gflops).

so neither Xbox 360 nor PS3 are true Teraflop machines, as far as real
CPU-based flops performance is concerned, which REAL supercomputers have.

So purely based on CPU GFLOP stat, the PS3 is superior. But that is not the sole deciding factor of what makes a good GAMING system, which have different base requirements than a compute server.

Xbox 360 is more powerful than the Playstation 3 in virtually every area of videogame programming.

That is a 100% confirmed fact that the software confirms.

Xbox 360 is more powerful than the Playstation 3 in terms of:

GPU – Revolutionary new Unified Shader technology is far more advanced than the outdated technology used in the Playstation 3.

RAM – Xbox 360 has a far superior RAM architecture. Xbox 360 games always have smoother framereates because Xbox 360 RAM is never wasted, since Xbox 360 uses Unified RAM & eDRAM, compared to the traditional RAM of the PS3, which allows RAM to be wasted at times. Plus, the Xbox 360 Operating System is designed far more efficiently; it uses only 32MB of RAM, compared to the PS3 OS which uses 96MB of RAM. This means Xbox 360 has a 64MB RAM advantage, plus the extra 10MB of eDRAM that the PS3 has nothing similar to.

CPU – Xbox 360 uses three 3.2Ghz Power PC processors, which are best be processors ever designed for programming videogames because they are so incredibly easy to work with. Xbox 360 uses the TRUE form of multi-core CPU architecture that PC processors are based on. Playstation 3 still uses the outdated "parallel processing" form of multi-core design that the Sega Saturn used.

Polygons – Xbox 360 can display almost twice as much polygon detail on screen as the Playstation 3. That is a HUGE advantage!

This was a really great story, though!! The military certainly thinking outside the box for a change.


DAVID   December 9th, 2009 4:38 pm ET

Nathan-

You make no sense. how is this stealing. If Sony wanted to make money they should raise the price. Oh wait people arent willing to pay that much... HMMM I guess when people dont pay as much that is stealing because SONY isnt making any money. It would be stealing if the govt just took them. i never heard of buying something as stealing.


MCD   December 9th, 2009 4:55 pm ET

This isn't stealing. This is business. Sony willingly sells the product at a loss.

Plus, Sony is getting GREAT publicity from this. This is definately a win for Sony.


StephenZ   December 9th, 2009 5:14 pm ET

I predict half of these will fail in 6 months and 75% will fail before a year is up. PS3s aren't build as "server-grade" hardware.

Alternatively, they could be taken apart and put in server chassis or cooled creatively, but broken parts could not be easily fixed. Also, the labor involved in this task would be like throwing your money out the window.. oh wait... my money out the window..


Greg   December 9th, 2009 5:15 pm ET

So our government is going to spend $657,800 of our tax dollars on gaming consoles built by a Japanese corporation and not even use them they way the manufacturer intended, when they could have a U.S. based company build them a similar machine specifically for this task and keep that money here at home?


Wang   December 9th, 2009 5:29 pm ET

@Nathan,

I know what you mean, it may seem sketchy, but Sony puts them up for sale at that price of its own free will and must suffer the consequences. The Department of Defense is a consumer just like you and I. It's not breaking any laws, it's simply purchasing hardware at the given price. And wisely spending your tax money.


Steve J   December 9th, 2009 8:02 pm ET

Too bad there's not an option to disable the 75-80% mindless fanboy comments (as well as on ALL online comment boards/forums).

This may be good PR for Sony, but yes, they lose money on people buying it for Linux cluster use (which is why the option was removed from the PS3 Slim). And it doesn't necessarily mean the PS3 "rulez" because of this, nor is it anything 360 fans need to get all ridiculously knee-jerk defensive about! It's just far cheaper to buy PS3s instead of Cell blades, even at 60-75% the performance.


bignfat   December 9th, 2009 8:34 pm ET

@Dave C: LoL. Check out the sequel.

Aren't some of the PS3 components made in china? That alone should be reason enough for the DOD to consider using them a major security risk.


Uncle Sam   December 9th, 2009 9:46 pm ET

WHAAAAAAT? The military is trying to be prudent with our money? That is unheard of.


Kris   December 10th, 2009 3:38 am ET

@ Butt Boy – Appears they aren't using the previous generation, in the specs of the "BRAND NAME JUSTIFICATION" linked in the article it lists the PS3 as having 2x USB ports, not the 4x of the old hardware. They know something we don't. Shock.


CPhaseII   December 10th, 2009 8:33 am ET

See, honey...I'm not a gamer. I'm using my PS3 as a matter of "National Security."


Ryan F   December 10th, 2009 12:09 pm ET

No Brian, this is not going to be headed by the Army Research Lab, rather by the Air Force's Research Lab. Read the FBO procurement paperwork, says "AFRL/RIT" is running the project, while "AFRL/RIK" is doing the buying.
The AFRL is the "Organization", and RIT or RIK are the "Office Symbols" for those departments within such organization. All Air Force "addresses" go by the ????/???? convention. No surprise that the AFRL is running this show.
Their "parent" is the "AFMC", and I'm an alumnus of sorts of that particular part of the Air Force. (http://www.wpafb.af.mil/afrl/) I've even served under the AFMC's present commanding general, way back when he was a Brig. Gen.; before, through, and a couple of years after 9/11. I can assure you all that he runs a very tight ship. This is money well-spent.


Robert   December 10th, 2009 1:24 pm ET

tevtov: your comment about Call of Duty is incorrect. Go pick one up and you will see that the game is, in fact, a Call of Duty game. Originally yes they considered dropping the COD tag but feared a lack of product recognition. Or you could wiki this and find out I am right. But back to the article, that kind of pisses me off that the pentagon can purchase the 60 gb model and I can't. I would be willing to pay whatever it cost.


TechGuy   December 10th, 2009 1:58 pm ET

For those of you who don't know this, the PS3 cell processor and the XBOX360 processor are actually one and the same, both from the same company, both cut from the same die, and use the same core, the only difference is what is stacked ontop of the main cores and how they are utilized. So theoretically both are capable of the same shared workload, however the "smart" people at Microsoft decided to block those capabilities from access by normal users.


Patrick   December 10th, 2009 4:20 pm ET

@Buttboy

Your comment does not make sense. These systems were not simply going to be thrown away. They would have eventually made their way to consumers.


Todd Williams   December 10th, 2009 5:41 pm ET

Military spending money on bull**** why dont they spend some money on soldiers supplies.My cousin is in Iraq and his pay got deducted for Kevlar and ammo.


runswith beer   December 10th, 2009 5:46 pm ET

Folding@Home is of April 2009 sustaining over 8.1 PFLOPS, the first computing project of any kind to cross the four petaFLOPS milestone. This level of performance is primarily enabled by the cumulative effort of a vast array of PlayStation 3, CPU, and powerful GPU units.

Folding @home ain't about folding clothes. It's about Folding Proteins.

And yes you can run Programs on the GPU of your machine if you compile the program to do so.

IMHO the Military would be better suited giving these PS3's to soldiers in the field for recreation. The Interconnects are two slow to justify using the machines.

Yes I do work on Supercomputers.


Steve J   December 10th, 2009 5:55 pm ET

TechGuy – They are NOT the same processor. Similar in some ways, but that's about it.

Kris – MOST of the "previous generation" only had 2 USB ports...only the INITIAL launch models had 4, which is only a small part of the "previous generation."


BReal   December 10th, 2009 11:51 pm ET

you have to realize it is also a strategic play for national security. They can no longer play games with IBM since they are a Chinese company. Thats like opening the doors to a burglar. Any money spent on Sony in the US mostly stays in part of the fact that its a US sector. Sony Japan and US are separate entities within 1 company. They only make money off public share holders and popularity of their products in the stock market. Besides its still made in China, whether you say Xbox, IBM, Apple. Our money never stays in the country regardless where headquarters is located. Like the article says they get more bang for the buck for what ever application they need it for.

I liked to know what the outcome might make of this purchase but Im sure I will never know.


John   December 11th, 2009 2:18 pm ET

Wait a minute....where is the PS3 built? China? Are there any concerns about security on those bad boys strung together? Can you say, "backdoor Trojan"? ...and your telling me that the best the military can do to build a secure supercomputer on a budget is using a consumer-oriented gaming system? Sounds like an Obama / liberal democrat plan to me. We're so screwed....


Mike   December 11th, 2009 2:23 pm ET

What are they going to do with all those un-needed Bluray drives? Again to transparency...Some computer geek or purchasing agent will end up with some nice spare parts that the gov't won't miss.


micah   December 11th, 2009 2:30 pm ET

Hold up thats the 60 gb model how the hell they get them.... why sony cant sell me one.. the ps3 slim cant install linx any ways


ixaira   December 11th, 2009 3:32 pm ET

Thank You B Firman for the confusers one. I'm happy with all the good intended for our nation! My son is in Irak and I hope that this purhase outcome something better in our national security. GOD Bless America!


John Connor   December 11th, 2009 3:36 pm ET

Sounds like a Skynet start-up plan!


TheRizzle   December 11th, 2009 5:25 pm ET

Now you should understand why Sony no longer allows Lunix to run on new PS3s. The PS3 has become a security problem. There's nothing to prevent other countries from doing the same thing as the Air Force, and creating their own, cheap, super computer. Now anyone can string togther a few consoles and have previously unthinkable computing power. 10 PS3s for $3000, much more powerful than a single top end PC, and much, much cheaper than a low end super computer.


mikeybub   December 11th, 2009 5:31 pm ET

huh... so our military is relying on a gaming system fer this.... jus another thing the asian's are gonna swarm on


clos   December 11th, 2009 5:50 pm ET

scalability

budget solutions = little or no scalability = bad long term investment


Casey   December 11th, 2009 6:46 pm ET

There are seperately funded parts of the US military(or not in the military) that have funds to purchase gaming systems and accessories for actual play, they also accept donations. Most service members who are not married and limited to BEQ quarters have little to do for the first few months on station. There are programs that provide places for service members to play games, also wach movies and access the net.

Cool to see them hacking down a piece of technology for parts. Also, PS systems seem to be very durable and endure hours and hours of play without fault. I think its a great idea.


Jekyll   December 12th, 2009 12:13 am ET

The PS3 Slim can run Linux, and even the experimental version of Mac OS X. Running Linux on the PS3 was never limited by hardware, it was disabled by a few lines of code in the operating system. The DOD will receive the PS3 Slim version which has Linux enabled, and Sony will not loose money as the version they receive will not come with a controller or AV Cable. It is also rumored that it will not include the blue-ray drive, and that it will only come with a 20GB or less hard drive. The PS3 slim was chosen as its power consumption is less than half that of older versions, and the government is getting criticism for its carbon footprint. Even with the slim version, it will still consume over a quarter of a Megawatt of power per hour, or near 2200 Megawatt hours per year. (Thats $300,000 a year in electricity!)


SGM   December 12th, 2009 12:46 am ET

Who gives a flop! Giga flops, Tera flops or Peta flops are all crap. A flop of any kind on a GPU is much slower than on a CPU, and a flop on the Cell Processor can in some cases be slower than some Intel or AMD processors. A calculated flop on one type of processor may take many clock cycles, yet on another type of processor it may be able to calculate many flops per clock cycle. In simple terms it depends also on the type of calculation being calculated on the processor. One calculation on a Cell may take one clock cycle, and another type of calculation 30 or 40 clock cycles. Add to that, the fact that the in many cases parallel processing is actually slower than a single multiple processor system, or even just a single risk based CPU. The moral of this story is really to say that even though a processor may say "I I I I I I I I I" a billion times a second, that same processor wont have the speed to say "Bullcrap Bullcrap Bullcrap Bullcrap Bullcrap Bullcrap Bullcrap Bullcrap Bullcrap " a billion times a second.


Trevor   December 12th, 2009 4:49 am ET

The XMB on the PS3 is embedded into the chipset. Even if they do put a "proprietary Linux-based operating system" on the HDD. Just hold the power botton down for 10 sec and the XMB will load. Bring on the gamer!!!!


Miles   December 12th, 2009 7:19 am ET

Seems like a great example of the Federal Government doing their homework and saving the taxpayers a few dollars. And they can install linx there micah after a few pretty simple modifications. Cheers


TK   December 12th, 2009 12:01 pm ET

I must be missing something because at face value this is little embarrassing if you ask me. We are supposed to be a military superpower and we are daisy chaining PS3's to form a supercomputer...a Military supercomputer at that? Sure the technology and even some of the financial logic behind the decision may make sense, but couldn't they contract with Sony to build them a computer combining the technology into a self contained unit?

Also, I wonder what the electric bill must be for plugging in 363 PS3's??


Teddy   December 12th, 2009 12:21 pm ET

hardly surprising. gaming platforms these days are so ridiculously powerful. Many universities are using ps3's as a supercomputer platform.


James Waaramaa   December 12th, 2009 2:47 pm ET

1 ps3 is 1% as powerful as a brain. maybe pentagon has found a way to link them all together to form a super pc?!


Brendan   December 12th, 2009 6:46 pm ET

The military has always been prudent with our money. Its the politicians and interest groups that waste money. They need to feed their people to keep their power.

If we were told that the DOD was doing this under the Bush administration and not Obama, the left would be up in arms. And fyi, the money that multi-national corporations goes to their HQ home country, if GM makes money over seas it doesn't go directly to China even though the Chinese own most of our debt by purchasing bonds, which when they expire we pay out. It's called the Time-flow of money bro, and a dollar today is going to be worth $2 tomorrow.


purewebdev   December 12th, 2009 8:47 pm ET

I'm going to put linux on my ps3 as well. I'd been meaning to do it for a while. This way, I'll have full flash and multimedia support for things that the ps3 doesn't currently support. Some type of live linux that I don't have to install would be good.


albert g.   December 12th, 2009 10:20 pm ET

and not forgetting they can easily transport these innocent looking ps3 into war zone (each chosen soldiers are given the task to bring with them 1 ps3 )and link them up together and use it as the core /supercomputer of their portable command center when in need or it can be a distributed command center..........or.... Distributed and Integrated Defense System :) ...


lurking   December 13th, 2009 5:07 am ET

Wow, always amazing to see all the clueless comments on a technology article. Some of you get it, but the rest...oy, thanks for sharing the dumb.


Dennis   December 13th, 2009 10:29 am ET

I would venture to answer Sandra's question like this – none.
I spent 20 years in the military and I have to say, the last 13 years in civilian life has been a disappointment. I have to add, I'm living in Western Europe, not the US. From what I've seen, the military's accountability is several levels above civilian life in general. Ethics aside, the Army assumed the worst in people and left little to chance as a consequence. I think most mismanagement and misappropriation occurred at government levels outside the military (even though it's 'military' spending. Less oversight.
And now that this purchase has been made so public, lots of people are going to try and make sure nothing goes wrong on their watch.
CYA may not be noble, but it sure can be effective.


reznil   December 13th, 2009 11:55 am ET

Lets look at wattage usage: about 200 watts per console, 2,536 consoles total, equals 507,200 watts! At about 11 cents per kilowatt-hour (average DC-area industrial rate) equals $55 an hour to run, or about $40,000 per month.


STERLING   December 13th, 2009 5:46 pm ET

So many ps3's yet i bet some of them will end up in someone's house for their kids or something and why would they go as far as mentioning call of duty modern warfare2 lol


Simply Reg   December 13th, 2009 8:51 pm ET

So the next war would be XBOX nets vs PS3 nets? LOL


Esmilio   December 13th, 2009 11:58 pm ET

"the systems will run a proprietary Linux-based operating system"

This does not imply its pre installed on the ps3's. Pretty sure it means the military is going to Wipe it and load their own software onto it...


lazywoodson   December 14th, 2009 9:55 am ET

y dont they just use xboxes insted of ps3s


ryan   December 14th, 2009 10:52 am ET

Why did they purchase 2,200, and plan to purchase an additional 2,200, when they only need 336 for the Super Computer cluster?

Hmmmm...


Sean.T   December 14th, 2009 2:25 pm ET

I wonder what Sony is planning next. The business model for the PS3 (as well as almost every other console) is to give away the hardware and make money selling games. With the DOD pulling the hardware off of the game playing market someone in marketing at Sony must be beating their head against the wall.


Anonymous   December 14th, 2009 8:21 pm ET

These are some of the most idiotic and stupid comments I have ever read on any gaming topic. Other than the comment by SGM, all of your comments should be deleted; these are all just ignorant. Lame.


Mike B   December 14th, 2009 10:46 pm ET

IF YOU READ the LINKED PROCUREMENT DOCUMENT:

The document linked in this article seems to indicate they will be purchasing full systems (bundled – with Uncharted – Drake's Fortune) with 160G HD and DualShock3 wireless controller. This is based on this part number listed:
"Procurement of 2,200 Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) 160GB Console Systems, Part Number: 98038"

google the sony part # !!

Maybe you'll see the controllers sold off by the GAO as surplus. And what a waste of the BD players. I doubt that they will dismantle the console, as they want the supplier to handle the 1 yr warrantee from Sony! It seems they are insisting on this model based on the 336 unit cluster (53 Tflop) that was the pilot and what the development was done on. This saves time and $$ on porting, and re-development.

The article further specifies that they are planning a 2116 unit cluster – which I figure to be about 330 Tflops – so I guess they're gonna have some spares, or enough for another small cluster for testing software changes. (or maybe Presents for the Staff?)

Based on the numbers quoted, it doesn't seem that they are bothering to use the GPU power in available processing, but are just using the (7) SPE cores. Networking the GPUs might be part of the issue. Well worth the effort if someone could figure out how to overlay networked GPUs as another supercomputer on top of the main SPE cell cluster.

The power, space and cooling is what's the killer on this deal. All those Power Supplies and powered up circuitry they don't need are going to cost dearly. I don't know how long they plan to run this supercomputer, but I suspect that the $ invested in the IBM blades might pay itself back in power, cooling and space over a relatively short period of time.

I just wish I was the retailer selling these to the govt.


Dude - Get a brain   December 15th, 2009 2:30 am ET

They use PS3's for the network because commercially written software is already available for networking Cell based processor networks. Rumor has it the PS3's being supplied lack a Bios chip, Blueray drive, Hard drive, all cables (except power) and controller, possibly not even the case as rack mount adapters are available. As for people who mention about increasing the ram, obviously they have no idea on how parallel processing works. 256mb is more than ample, and most network computers used much less. In reality if you need more than a few megabytes per system, you are running servers and not creating a super computer. They are buying just the mother boards silly boys and girls.


Let_Chaos_Reign   December 15th, 2009 12:41 pm ET

No respawns in real life!


John   December 15th, 2009 6:14 pm ET

Exactly. The DOD isn't going to be buying video games. They just want the motherboard and processor.

Actually this is a pretty smart move by the United States: the U.S. military expands its war-driving supercomputer at the expense of the Japanese manufacturer Sony. Sony subsidizes the PS3 to keep the hardware costs down and in the range of most consumers.

http://www.datacenterfix.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=70


Lets Flow » The 404 Podcast 486: Where Bonnie is not Nicole   December 15th, 2009 11:07 pm ET

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Bryan   December 16th, 2009 1:58 am ET

I didn't think the new redesigned PS3's could run Linux. Is the Military buying older ones? The pic shows 60GB stations so maybe. lol..still, pretty cool.


Nick   December 16th, 2009 10:04 am ET

I think it is pretty neat that military is using this type of technology, i was never a fan of the PS3, I have always been a XBOX user from Day one. Perhaps the Military is not aware that the XBOX 360 is being used by doctors to help detect heart defects:

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1925332,00.html


Michael S.   December 16th, 2009 11:26 am ET

The DoD isn't worried if the new models won't run Linux, because I would think they are buying the PS3 to harvest the parts, to integrate into their existing server racks. That's my guess, but if a 200 gigaflop processor is 4000 USD, then I would buy the PS3 too. (a PS3 is $2 US per gigaflop. Tenfold of that, $20 US. 200 gflops x $20 = $4000 US per GFlop.) That is wise spending by the DoD. Buy the $300 node, scrap the $4000 node.


Jacen   December 16th, 2009 4:25 pm ET

I'm glad the boys and girls of the armed forces have a device which can play games that can distract the depressed mind into virtual alternative worlds! Maybe we'll begin making our own gmaing machines which are less disgusting and more reminding of positive or non-violent or sexist themed video games filled with temptation. Hopefully they will have fun with their modable devices anyway. Most likely outside viruses like the virus enemies of the War in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are already using on US computers to see everyday life will now target PS3s and PS3 operating systems or logic boards. That would be too bad if hundreds of children had their X-Mas toys broken because of the War in the middle East, I guess we could all loose something special because of the War, a childs happiness via a 200x computer (compared to an 87 Atari) or more souls in the War that can be stopped but how can we even celebrate while other people are dying by the score for revenge for New York with no target or plans to ever stop the killing. Makes you wonder if other animals evolved if they would be as war like or use technology to scar the Earth during hopelessness, one way or another a virus isn't going to help the soul of the sun or the "Mayan* synchronistic Intergalactic Sol or God, only cause more spiritual pain, like not listening to the suffering of Robert Johnson at the crossroads, there has to be a way to change, we can't pay for our leader's mistakes. Neither a virus or a virus can stop the war machine, only a mass protest (neverendin) that might never be over is as applaudable option for the powerless or helpless here with Earth. Or maybe a computer class that has to work for your computer to work educating on the dangers of war in the middle East or elseware. Or maybe a nicE vudeo game that could encourage bringing home the Army and helping rebuild the temples and shrines and schools and houses in thoses areas we have demolished in the past 8 years, but we can't give them an extra life. Have they been forbidden to witness the comming miracle by our foriegn government? Twas as tricky as passing nuclear waste between Canada and Us.
.


danworkstopayforthisstuff   December 16th, 2009 7:58 pm ET

DOD bargain shopping? That's a new one...


Steve J   December 17th, 2009 12:56 am ET

For all those who don't know (and keep wildly guessing), these are older 160GB PS3 models that used to only be available in bundle packages.

They run Linux (as long as there's a PPC distro) and are being used in clusters all over the place (Sony even runs the WARHAWK online servers on them). They ARE NOT being salvaged for parts, 'custom units' or other idiotic nonsense people keep making up on here.


Su4v3   December 17th, 2009 1:17 pm ET

Don't be stupid PEOPLE! They're not buying video games, they're buying computers! It's cheaper then if they buy a "conventional" computer!


The Chris   December 17th, 2009 1:25 pm ET

I wonder how the Japanese government feels about one of its company's products being used to make war. We have embargoes on tech products being shipped to other countries so they don't use them for military purposes.


MGrant   December 21st, 2009 7:44 am ET

Hey, can somebody build me a PS3-based computer? I'd pay for this!!!! I don't need anything spectaular, just the OS installed on the hardrive and ports so I can connect peripherals...any help?!


The Reader   December 21st, 2009 8:58 am ET

These comments are worse than Youtube comments, in terms of idiotic statements. The comment section of these articles are pointless now that "uniformed" people write about things they have no idea about. It's like a 5 year old kid giving a lecture on human ethics.


l_dopa   December 21st, 2009 10:04 am ET

The military could just buy the processors for the super computing. What do they need the whole console for?? Perhaps so they can use them as simulators?


SILENT_WARIOR   December 21st, 2009 11:05 am ET

SOUNDS LIKE SOME SORT OF MILITARY TRAINNING FOR YOUNGSTER WITH HIGH SCORES ON VIDEO GAMES LIKE TO TEST THERE SKILLS AND PREPARE THEM FOR WAR


Spooly-T   December 21st, 2009 11:14 am ET

Sony and Microsoft both sell consoles at a lost.

Sony is willing to sell PS3 at a lost because it's investing/betting on winning the Blu-Ray format war.

All I know is everyone I know w/ Xbox360 is on their 2nd or 3rd. I still have same PS3 and it does everything I need.

How can something that has such high failure rate be a better product? Does these folks feel the same when it come to airlines crashing planes?


Smart Kid's Parent   December 23rd, 2009 12:52 am ET

Hand picked smart kids, about 2190, with fast fingers, like my 9 year old, will be given these consoles this Christmas so they can, on their own, learn to control the drones and bring them baddies down. No cost to the mil. in training...kids'll have fun and make em big Santa fans.

Have a Very Merry Christmas you all and stay warm.

God bless America and let there be peace, love, beauty, fragrance and music.


Joe   January 20th, 2010 5:15 pm ET

I don't know what to say to most of you. Anybody that runs dedicated servers for anything, whether it be websites, databases, supercomputing, or even games, knows that a Playstation 3 console is the way to go. This is simply because the PS3 does exactly what a $10,000 server does for $299. Maybe you all should look at facts before you post your random idiotic comments about something you know nothing about. The Playstation 3 not only comes with the ability to play games, but also has a proprietary Linux build. This Linux build can be used for any kind of server the military or private corporation would need. Get facts before you speak so you don't look like donkeys. I guess I would complain that they're saving my tax dollars by spending $299 per console rather than $10,000 per server box. SHAME ON YOU FOR SAVING MY TAX DOLLARS!

And a reply to Spooly-T:

The fact of the matter is that Xbox has many more Xbox specific series' that are better than anything Sony has. My point being proved by the fact that Final Fantasy is now no longer a Sony specific game. And why do you think people keep replacing their Xbox? Because it's awful? Ok, you also need to think before you speak friend.


rick   January 29th, 2010 10:02 pm ET

Come on Redstorm.....if not for the gop their wouldnt be much of a military...all of your tax dollars would go to welfare instead....which you would be on because you would be unemployed!


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sony decides we don’t need linux on the ps3 « long haired boy   March 31st, 2010 8:54 pm ET

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Marc   September 2nd, 2010 5:58 am ET

That's an interesting approach to save money on hardware. I never thought you could use consoles like the PS3 to actually build a cluster of super-computers.

At first I thought it must have been a trick to conceal that the army buys game consoles for their soldiers but since they don't buy any games it must be the real deal.

Best regards

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These were bought by the Air Force Research Lab in Rome, NY, to do high performance supercomputing research projects. Max bang for the buck.


US Air Force using PS3's as super computer   December 6th, 2010 6:11 pm ET

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זקוקים להובלה? חוששים לשלמות התכולה? מתקשים למצוא את החברה המועדפת? השאלות טבעיות. התשובות רבות. אנחנו מבקשים להציע לכם שירות מקצועי שיאפשר לכם לשכב לישון בשקט – בתחושה ובידיעה כי ההובלה המבוקשת תיעשה במקצועית, בזהירות, באחריות ובקפידה.

חברת הובלות המועסקת בשירותן של חברות גדלות במשק, בהן אל על ואחרות, מבצעת משלוחים והעברות של כל ציוד נדרש. החברה מציעה ומספקת גם כלים לאריזה ועל פי דרישה מבצעת את האריזה, את העמסת הציוד, פריקתו וסידורו, כמבוקש, במקום החדש.

הובלות הן עולם ומלואו. הן אינן רק העברה ממקום למקום, אלא שורה שלמה של פעולות שצריכות להיעשות בהיגיון ובסר מסוימים, באחריות ובזהירות מופלגות, ברגישות אנושית, במקצועיות ללא פשרות. כאשר אתם נזקקים להובלה מתחילים הבירורים השונים, הירידה לפרטים הטכניים החשובים כל כך. חברת הובלות מקצועית המחויבת ללא פשרות וללא תנאי ללקוחותיה יודעת ופועלת בהנחת-עבודה בסיסית לפיה – אין הובלות קטנות. גם הובלה קצרה מחייבת – ובצדק! – את החברה להפגין ולמצות את כל יכולותיה המקצועיות. אין הובלות שוליות. אין הובלות 'על הדרך'. כאשר לקוח מזמין הובלה הוא ראוי וזכאי לקבל את השירות המקצועי הטוב ביותר שהוא מצפה לו.

שיקולים בבחירת חברת הובלות

המחיר הוא פקטור חשוב ולגיטימי לרצות להוזיל את עלות ההעברה, אבל חשוב לדעת כי לא אחת כאשר הכסף הופך לשיקול מרכזי – הבחירה עלולה להיות שגויה. אם אתם רוצים לוודא כי תכולת הבית הוא המשרד יישמרו בשלמותם ולא יינזקו, ודאי תזדקקו לשירות הובלות של חברה מקצועית ואמינה, שבידי בעליה רישיונות ואישורים נדרשים לביצוע ההובלה. אתם ודאי תרצו לדעת כי אתם מפקידים רכוש יקר, אשר יש בו, כמשוער וכצפוי, פריטים שונים שלא יסולאו בפז, בידי מי שאמונים ומיומנים בביצוע הובלות ללא דופי וללא פשרות.

כמו בעל ענף גם לענף זה חודרים לא אחת שרלטנים הפועלים ללא אישורים נדרשים, עם ציוד לא מתאים לאריזה ולהובלה, בהעדר ידע כיצד לפרוק את התכולה. חאפרים אלה יימנעו בטענות שונות מחתימה על חוזה, הימנעות אשר היא כשלעצמה אמורה להדליק אצלכם את נוריות האזהרה כי מדובר באנשים אשר הגדרת ם כלא מקצועיים היא לשון המעטה שעושה עמם חסד.

מקצוענים בתחום הובלות יתנו לכם אחריות, יעגנו את ההובלה בחוזה מוסכם. יסדירו את נושא הביטוח. כאשר אתם בוחרים חברה מוצדק ולגיטימי לחלוטין לבקש המלצות עליה. אל תהססו לשאול אנשים שהסתייעו בשירותיה. ניתן ללמוד דברים חשובים גם ממי שהיו שבעי רצון ובכל זאת יכולים לתרום לכם מניסיונם כך שתוכלו להימנע מטעויות שהם עשו.

כאשר אתם חותמים חוזה הובלה יש להידרש לשורה של סעיפים ובהם: לוח זמנים וקביעת פיצוי ע חריגה ממנו, רישיון, זמינות, ותק, אפשרות לבצע הובלה בשעות לא שגרתיות ועוד. אגב, אם אתם יכולים לשלוט במועד ההובלה ולתזמן אותו למועד הנוח לכם, חשוב שתבררו את הפרשי המחירים בין העונות השונות. בקיץ על פי רוב המחירים מאמירים.

ביקור בית

מקצועיותה של חברה נמדדת בדברים הקטנים אבל החשובים. השתדלו לקבוע פגישה עם נציג של חברת ההובלה בביתכם, כדי שיוכל לאמוד את השטח ואת הציוד שיידרש לביצוע ההובלה. ביקור מקדים חשוב בעיקר כאשר דרך הגישה אל הדירה קשה או כאשר היא ממוקמת בקומה גבוהה בבניין דירות וכוללת ציוד אשר ייתכן כי יידרש מנוף להעברתו. חשוב ללמוד את השטח מבעוד מועד ובכך להקל הן על המוביל והן עליכם.

הובלות, כאמור הן עולם מלא. דברים רבים עלולים להשתבש במהלך ההובלה ואף לפניה, לכן חשוב להיערך מבעוד מועד לכל מצב אפשרי. מאחר שדברים רבים יכולים – עשויים או בעיקר עלולים – להתרחב במעבר מנקודה א' לנקודה ב', חשוב לעגן את כל הסעיפים הכרוכים בדרך כלל בהובלת תכולה של בית או משרד בחוזה חתום.

אנחנו לא מתחייבים להוריד לכם את הירח מהשמים (בינינו, לא עדיף שיישאר במקומו?) אבל כל מה שקשור להובלה מקצועית, על ידי אנשי מקצוע מאומנים בהובלות, יש לנו ידע וניסיון וקבלות מוכחות על ביצוע הובלות ללא דופי, לשביעות רצונם המלאה של הלקוחות.

שאלות על הובלות

אתם נמצאים במקום ובזמן שבו טבעי ולגיטימי לשאול כל שאלה שעולה על דעתכם. לפני שמתחיל תהליך הזמנת ההובלה יש זמן מספיק (אלא עם הובלה חייבת להתבצע בנוהל מקצור ואולי אף באופן מיידי, לאלתר) לשאול את כל השאלות שעולות על דעתכם. אין שאלות מיותרות או טיפשיות, ודאי לא כאשר מדובר בכסף שלכם. לגיטימי לשאול גם על אופן ההובלה והאם ניתן להוזיל את עלותה בדרך זו או אחרת.

חשוב להבין כי האינטרס של הלקוח ושל חברת ההובלה הוא אינטרס משותף. שני הצדדים רוצים שההובלה תתבצע באופן המהיר ביותר, ביסודיות ובמקצועיות; שלא יינזק דבר ולא יאבד; שכאשר עוברים בית כל התכולה המועברת תועבר בשלמותה, תיפרק מהמשאית בזהירות ושהבית או המשרד החדש ירוהטו ויצוידו בציוד שהועבר.

הובלות ניתן לתכנן ולבצע כמעט בכל זמן, אבל אם חשוב לכם שההובלה המתוכננת תיעשה במועד מסוים – רצוי לתאם אותה מבעוד מועד. סביר להניח כי אינכם הלקוחות היחידים של חברת ההובלות, במיוחד כאשר מדובר בחברה מקצועית ואטרקטיבית, אשר הביקוש לשירותיה גבוה. לא רק אתם, מתברר, רוצים להסתייע בשירותם של הטובים ביותר.

הובלה בראש שקט

אנשים רבים עוברים ממקום למקום ונזקקים להובלות. חברות רבות מציעות שירות. דווקא בשל הזמינות של החברות הרבות קל "ליפול" על חברה לא מקצועית או כזאת שאינה ערוכה לספק לכם את השירות המבוקש. לכן חשוב לחזור ולהדגיש לקראת סיום המאמר מה שנכתב בתחילתו ובאמצעו: חשוב לברר היטב מי היא החברה המיועדת מבחינתכם לבצע את ההובלה. זו זכותכם ובמידה רבה זו חובתכם.

נ.ב. חפצי ערך יקרים במיוחד (הן מבחינה כספית והן מבחינה רגשית) רצוי לשמור אצלכם ולהעבירם ברכב הפרטי שלכם, כאשר הם צמודים אליכם בכל משך הנסיעה, מאחר שתמיד קיים חשש שמא משהו יילך לאיבוד.

בשורה התחתונה: הובלות כרוכות במאמץ, באחריות , במקצועית ולא אחת גם בכאב ראש. נשמח לפטור אתכם מה כאב הטורדני הזה.
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