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Quick Take: PC Pro Recommends 4-node-in-2U Platform

June 17, 2009

Boston Limited UK has recently received a “recommended” rating from PC Pro UK for its 4-node-in-2U platform with AMD’s Istanbul processor on-board. Dubbed the “Boston Quattro 6000GP” and following-up on the 2-node-in-1U “Boston 3000GP” platform, this systems allows for 4-nodes with 2x AMD Istanbul processors per node. This formula yields 8 processors (48 cores) in 2U resulting in a core density of over 1,000 cores per standard 42U rack.

Computational density like this is bound for virtualization and HPC clusters. Judging from the recent reports on Istanbul’s virtualization potential and HPL performance, this combination offers a compelling platform alternative to blade computing. In its review, PC Pro UK touched on the platform’s power consumption, saying:

“In idle we saw one, two, three and four nodes draw a total of 234W, 349W, 497W and 630W. Under pressure these figures rose to 345W, 541W, 802W and 1026W respectively. Even if you could find an application that pushed the cores this hard you’ll find each server node draws a maximum of 256W – not bad for a 12-core system. Dell’s PowerEdge R900, reviewed in our sister title IT Pro, has four 130W X7450 six-core processors and that consumes 778W under heavy load.”

PC Pro, UK

The system, as configured by PC Pro UK, came with 2x 2.4GHz Istanbul processors, 16GB DDR2/667 memory, Infiniband (CX4), dedicated remote management (10/100), dual 1Gbps Ethernet, and 3x 1TB WD GreenPower SATA disks and redundant power  delivered at a MSRP of £9,995 (about £2,499/node or US$4,070/node.) Considering each node is hot-swap capable, the Supermicro/Boston solution promises to be a price-performance alternative to blades in dense computing environments.

John Fruehe, AMD Director of Business Development for Server/Workstation, delivers his take on the 6000GP platform and what it means to the HPC, web and cloud markets. Says Fruehe, “in the world of density, this product really stands out.”

SOLORI’s Take: We have been watching Supermicro’s 4N/2U platform for some time. Super’s first attempt – its 2N/1U – was brilliant with two blairing exceptions: no redundant power supply options and no dedicated KVM/IP LAN port. The new platform, which we introduced in a blog last month as “Supermicro Unleashes a Monster,” delivers on the promise of affordable, dense computing suitable for the small and large enterprise alike. We told you to look out for this platform and we’re glad to see an AMD/Supermicro partner take advantage of the potential.

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