Archive for the ‘HPC’ Category

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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

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Advanced Clustering HPL Comparison: Instanbul vs Nehalem

June 17, 2009

Advanced Clustering Technologies, based in Kansas City, KS and specializing in HPC solutions, has just released a High-Performance Linpack (HPL) performance report comparing “equivalent” Xeon X5550 and Opteron 2435 systems. According to Advanced Clustering, their goal was “to show the peak performance in terms of GFLOPS (billion floating point operations per second)” of the comparison systems.

In their tests, Advance Clustering attempted to keep platform specifications as uniform as possible (OS, power supply, hard drive). Due to Nehalem’s tripple-channel memory, differing amounts of memory were used in the comparison and Advanced Clustering compensated by making adjustments to the problem size in an attempt to utilize 100% of available systems RAM accordingly.

The results showed that AMD’s Istanbul delivers 15% more GFLOPS  at a 30% savings in effective system cost ($/GFLOP). Advanced Clustering comments that while Istanbul delivered a higher GFLOP rating than Nehalem, it did so at only 79% of its theoretical potential due to the weaker memory bandwidth of the Socket-F system. From our conversation with AMD’s Mike Goddard, we are told that a lot of Istanbul’s potential – including much higher memory bandwidth – will realizable only in its sockted G34 incarnation. By that time, the comparison will likely be between Intel’s 8-core Nehalem-EX and AMD’s 12-core Magny-Cours product.