Lower electrical power consumption, not just greater data processing oomph, will help a new class of desktop supercomputers unveiled on Monday turn conventional industry logic on its head, its designers say.

Orion Multisystems Inc. — led by two co-founders of low-power chip designer Transmeta who left to found the Santa Clara, California-based start-up — is looking to create “personal supercomputers” aimed at researchers, designers and other users of high-performance computers.

Orion CEO Colin Hunter said his company can capitalize on a vast performance gap that has grown up between supercomputers and PCs. Fast PCs run at two billion to three billion cycles per second while supercomputers clock around one trillion cycles.

Taking a strategy from an old computer entrepreneur playbook, Orion looks to revive demand for custom-built workstations that combine widely available computer chips with innovative architecture to leapfrog existing computers.

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