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High performance computing clusters have much in common with each other, but each cluster is unique. Adding a cluster to your data center represents a significant investment, around $100K for 16 blades cluster with the headnode and attached storage that is served to computational nodes via NFS. If you use proprietary parallel filesystem is can be much more. There are various ways to meet your specific requirements for capacity, performance, but the cost of computational nodes is the biggest factor. Expensive servers such as from HP or IBM isnít likely to be a perfect fit in this role. You need something twice cheaper.
A rule of thumb is that the cost of computer node should not exceed the cost of 2 Intel CPUs plus $1500. For 14 core CPUs that bring us to around $6K per node.
The major more or less reasonably priced vendor for HPC clusters is Dell. HP can be used by typically their cost is prohibitive. Fujitsu sometimes is used in Europe but cost of their blades is higher. 1U servers are reasonably priced.
IBM is an interesting proposition if you need something specialized, for example very high speed I/O is a must. They own GPFS filesystem. They change outrageous amount of money (being probably the most expressive supplier of hardware), but they can deliver really high bandwidth solution on the cutting edge of technology. That makes then extremely attractive for financial institutions for which the cost of the cluster is just a rounding error.
For cash strapped startups use of desktops or low cost 1U servers as computational nodes is highly recommended. There are several Taiwanese companies which provide really low cost high quality nodes. Supermicro is one option (see for example Advanced HPC - Rackmount Servers - 1U Rackmount - Supermicro 1028R-MCT.
Quanta is another that one of my friends recommended in such cases: http://www.qct.io/product/index/Server/rackmount-server
Energy efficiency is important so other things equal you probably should prefer energy efficient CPUs and memory. The cost of electricity for 16 blades rack for 5 years can the same as the cost of hardware. Taiwanese manufactures sell their hardware via several distributors such as
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