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Commodity Computer

A commodity computer is a standard-issue PC that is widely available for purchase. The term usually differentiates typical consumer products from specialized or high-performance computers but is sometimes used to refer to low-cost and no-frills but functional machines. 

Commodity computers share various characteristics:

  • A base instruction set.
  • Widely available software.
  • Compatibility with common peripherals.
  • Out-of-the-box functionality.
  • Architecture common to similar models.
  • Parts interchangeable among similar models.

The term “commodity computing” is often used in reference to low-budget cluster computing, which is the use of multiple computers, multiple storage devices, and redundant interconnections to compose the user equivalent of a single highly available system. A governing principle of commodity computing in this context is a preference for inexpensive, modestly performing hardware components working in parallel. Commodity computing systems are conceived, designed, and built to minimize the cost per unit of performance.

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