The CPU modules were scrapped as the result of a supercomputer upgrade, and were presumably functional before having their heat sinks taken off– a herculean effort for that many CPUs! Matt says that the list price for the lot of chips was over US$800,000 in 2006 and that the desk contains about 2.8 TFLOPs of computing power, about the same
as 900 3.2GHz P4s.
I just love the way that this desk looks. But it gives me an idea too– take it one step further, and what if it worked? You could use a single, giant PCB for the motherboard which sat underneath the glass surface of the desk. With that much area, you could fit in a lot of processing power. On the cheap (or moderately cheap), one could imagine instead filling the inside of a desk top with low-cost (even last-generation) PC motherboards to make a great looking beowulf cluster or render farm that doesn’t take up any desktop or rack-mount space.