Subject: Processors | June 19, 2012 - 11:46 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Xeon Phi, xeon e5, nvidia, larrabee, knights corner, Intel, HPC, gpgpu, amd
The one positive thing for Intel’s competitors is that it seems their enthusiasm for massively parallel computing is justified. Intel just entered that ring with a unique architecture that will certainly help push high performance computing more towards true heterogeneous computing.
Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2012 - 01:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, seamicro, interconnect, purchase, HPC, 3d torus, freedom
In the beginning of March it was announced that AMD would be spending $334 million to purchase SeaMicro, a company who holds the patents on the 3D torus interconnect for High Powered Computing and servers. This interconnect utilizes PCIe lanes to connect large amounts of processors together to create what was commonly referred to as a supercomputer and is now more likely to be labelled an HPC machine. SeaMicro's current SM1000 chassis can hold 64 processor cards, each of which have a processor socket, chipset and memory slots which makes the entire design beautifully modular.
One of the more interesting features of the Freedom systems design is that it can currently utilize either Atom or Xeon chips on those processor cards. With AMD now in the mix you can expect to see compatibility with Opteron chips in the very near future. That will give AMD a chance to grab market share from Intel in the HPC market segment. The Opteron series may not be as powerful as the current Xeons but they do cost noticeably less which makes them very attractive for customers who cannot afford 64 Xeons but need more power than an Atom can provide.
The competition is not just about price however; with Intel's recent purchase of QLogic and the InfiniBand interconnect technology, AMD needs to ensure they can also provide a backbone which is comparable in speed. The current Freedom interconnect has 1.28Tb/sec of aggregate bandwidth on a 3D torus, and supports up to sixteen 10-Gigabit Ethernet links or 64 Gigabit links, which is in the same ballpark as a 64 channel InfiniBand based system. The true speed will actually depend on which processors AMD plans to put into these systems, but as Michael Detwiler told The Register, that will depend on what customers actually want and not on what AMD thinks will be best.
"As last week was winding down, Advanced Micro Devices took control of upstart server maker SeaMicro, and guess what? AMD is still not getting into the box building business, even if it does support SeaMicro's customers for the foreseeable future out of necessity.
Further: Even if AMD doesn't have aspirations to build boxes, the company may be poised to shake up the server racket as a component supplier. Perhaps not as dramatically as it did with the launch of the Opteron chips nearly a decade ago, but then again, maybe as much or more - depending on how AMD plays it and Intel and other server processor makers react."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD collaborates with Green Hills to port Integrity real-time OS @ The Inquirer
- Death of a data haven: cypherpunks, WikiLeaks, and the world's smallest nation @ Ars Technica
- Rockyou security blunder exposed data on 32 million gamers @ The Inquirer
- Plastic that SELF-REPAIRS using light unleashed by prof @ The Register
- ARM adds Mali support to the new DS5 suite @ SemiAccurate
- ASUS EA-N66U Wireless-N450 Ethernet Adapter @ Benchmark Reviews
- Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Review @ TechReviewSource
- The new Comcast Xbox Xfinity app is the first nail in net neutrality’s coffin @ ExtremeTech
Subject: General Tech | March 1, 2012 - 02:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, seamicro, interconnect, purchase, HPC
There is more movement in the low power server market as AMD purchased SeaMicro for $334 million, an investment that may help them keep their share of the server market. You might have thought that a company that arrived on the scene with a server based on 512 single core Atoms would either stick with Intel or even consider ARM but instead it was AMD which grabbed them. It is an important move for AMD to retain competitiveness against Intel considering Intel's purchase of QLogic and its InfiniBand interconnect technology which could lead to entirely new server architecture. Using SeaMicro's experience of connecting a large amount of individually weak processors into a powerful server AMD will be able to develop the SoC business that they have been pursuing for quite a while now. Check out the full story at The Inquirer.
"AMD's new CEO Rory Read was fired up about executing better in the server racket at the company's analyst day earlier this month and has wasted little time in stirring things up with the acquisition of low-power server start-up SeaMicro for $334m."
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- Neat nanoparticles could bring 10TB disks @ The Register
- Adata launches 1.35V DDR3 modules for overclockers @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft shows off their transparent 3D desktop prototype @ Hack a Day
- Intel isn’t ready to announce Centerton, yet @ SemiAccurate
- Mozilla Collusion lets you see who is tracking you @ The Inquirer
- Hands On With Windows 8 Consumer Preview @ TechReviewSource
- Configuring a Windows 8 Virtual Machine @ Techspot
- Wicked Lasers Spyder III Krypton 1 Watt Green Laser @ Tweaktown
- Canon Pixma MG3120 Review @ TechReviewSource
- TechwareLabs Powerbag Give Away Contest
Subject: General Tech | January 24, 2012 - 01:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, QLogic, purchase, Infiniband, HPC
Intel blew tiny $125 million piece of their record breaking quarterly income to purchase QLogic's InfiniBand business, which gives them access to a networking technology significantly faster than Ethernet. InfiniBand is what is referred to as a switched fabric technology which allows multiple switches to connect to multiple hosts or data stores as opposed to the more point to point single broadcast which current ethernet based networks use.
That may look familiar to some, but not as a network technology; it matches the communications architecture behind PCIe and SATA. As we have seen, the speed difference between parallel connections and serial is quite impressive and InfiniBand's fastest implementation is currently capable of transferring 25 Gbit/s per lane. That is significantly faster than the 1Gbit/s per lane PCIe 3.0 can provide which is why some current implementations of InfiniBand are used in High Performance Computing (HPC) applications. InfiniBand also offers incredibly low latency of between 100 to 200 nanoseconds, depending on the implementation.
Getting a hold of this interconnect technology gives Intel a huge boost in their capabilities of creating high performance networking technologies. They have been looking for a way to grow in that area and push out Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) manufactures from the market, replacing those chips with low power Xeons or future Intel chips. This would open up an entirely new market for Intel, who could see their already impressive growth increase significantly. Intel could become even more attractive to customers by taking advantage of the benefits of owning McAfee by placing virus/malware protection directly onto their switches. We have already seen evidence of one project along these lines at IDF 2011 when they announced the DeepSAFE project which is software that operates below the OS level, providing what they refer to as "hardware-assisted" security. With that OS-agnostic approach it would be possible to run the security software on a network switch or on an HPC interconnect. That could give Intel not only the fastest interconnect technology but also the most secure.
When discussing this with The Inquirer, Intel's representative Kirk Skaugen stated that this purchase will help Intel design and produce an exaflop level supercomputer by 2018. It is unlikely that this is Intel's only goal, with the purchase of Fulcrum Microsystems this summer, a company which designs ASICs for Ethernet switches and routers that run at 10Gbit and 40Gbit, they are well on their way to designing network switches for HPC applications. The Register ponders what this could mean for companies which have used InfiniBand technology in their products. Will they be snatched up by a networking company like Cisco, could AMD pick them up and provide competition in this industry or will they consider offering themselves to Intel the best alternative? We will be keeping an eye on this as it will not only develop into the next generation of networking technology but could also drive the successor to PCIe.
"The high-performance networking market just got a whole lot more interesting, with Intel shelling out $125m to acquire the InfiniBand switch and adapter product lines from upstart QLogic.
Intel has made no secret that it wants to bolster its Data Center and Connected Systems business by getting network equipment providers to use Xeon processors inside of their networking gear – that Intel division posted $10.1bn in revenues in 2011, and the company wants to break $20bn in the next five years."
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- And the Nvidia Kepler/GK104 price is…….. @ SemiAccurate
- Intel calls the successor to Romley…… @ SemiAccurate
- Western Digital reveals Thai floods cost $199m to clean up @ The Inquirer
- Pure graphene conducts heat exceptionally well @ Nanotechweb
- Laser used to cool semiconductor @ The Register
- Pirate Bay To Offer Physical Item Downloads @ Slashdot
- Is Lion Server suitable for home use? Ars investigates
- Ubuntu 11.04, 11.10, 12.04 On The NVIDIA Tegra 2 @ Phoronix
- Intel's Open-Source Driver Can Beat Mac OS X @ Phoronix
- Apple rewrites the history books @ The Tech Report
- I/ITSEC: Cutting Edge Simulation and Training Trade Show Coverage @ Tweaktown
- CES Live Coverage Part 5 @ Hi Tech Legion
- 2012 CES: OCZ Technology @ OCIA
Subject: Systems | May 24, 2011 - 09:07 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tesla, supercomputer, petaflop, HPC, bulldozer
Cray has been a huge name in the supercomputer market for years, and with the new XK6 they are promising to deliver a supercomputer capable of 50 Thousand Trillion operations per second. Powered by AMD Operton CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs, each XK6 blade is comprised of 2 Gemini interconnects pairing four AMD Opteron CPUs with four NVIDIA Tesla X2090 embedded graphics cards. The graphics cards in each blade have access to 6GB of GDDR5 memory, and are connected via PCI-E 2.0 links to the Opteron processors. The CPUS have access to four DDR3 memory slots “running at 1.6GHz for every G34 socket,” according to The Register. This amounts to 32GB per two-socket node when using 4GB sticks.
Cray plans to wait until AMD releases the 16 core 32nm Opteron CPUs in Q3, dubbed the Opteron 6200s. The Register quotes AMD’s CEO Thomas Siefert as promising the processors are based on the new Bulldozer cores (and would be compatible with the current G34 sockets) “would ship by summer.”
Further, they claim that Cray’s goal with the XK6 was to keep the new blades within the same thermal boundaries as its predecessor, despite the inclusion of GPUs into the mix. Cray has indicated that, due to their success in remaining within the thermal envelope, their customers will be able to use XE6 and XK6 blades interchangeably and will allow them to customize their supercomputer load-out to meet the demands of their specific computing workloads.
Each cabinet is capable of storing up to 24 blades, and can deliver up to 50 kilowatts of power. Each of the Tesla X2090 GPUS are capable of 665 gigaflops during double-precision floating point operations, something that GPUs excel at. As each XK6 blade contains 4 GPUS, and each cabinet can hold 24 blades, customers are looking at 63.8 teraflops of computing power solely from the graphics cards. On the CPU side of things, Cray is not able to release specifications on the processors as AMD has yet to deliver the chips in question. The Register estimates that each XK6 blade will provide 3.5 teraflops of floating point computing power, which amounts to approximately 84 teraflops per cabinet.
With a claimed capability to utilize up to 300 cabinets full of XK6 blades, customers are looking at approximately 44 petaflops of computing horsepower, with GPUs delivering 19.14 petaflops, and the CPUs estimated to provide 25.2 petaflops of floating point computational power.
The first customer of this system will be the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre. According to the Seattle Times, the center’s director Professor Thomas Schulthess stated that they chose the Cray XK6 based supercomputer not for it’s raw performance, but because “the Cray XK6 promises to be the first general-purpose supercomputer based on GPU technology, and we are very much looking forward to exploring its performance and productivity on real applications relevant to our scientists.”
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