Posts Tagged ‘HPC’


AMD G34 Motherboards Spotted

June 3, 2009

Charlie Demerjian was first to post a couple of “spy photos” of two G34 motherboards on his site “SemiAccurate.” Both of the boards sighted are dual-socket G34 and appear to carry on-board 10GE ports.

The G34 from Quanta appears to be 2-DPC (16 DIMM slots) with what could be Broadcom’s BCM84812 100/1G/10G chipset, while the other looks to be 3-DPC (24 DIMM slots). The larger of the two, from Inventec, looks to be designed for low-profile/HPC applications and appears to support 10GE with a pair of on-board SFP+ connectors – possibly using Intel’s 82599ES for 100/1G/10G compatibility.

As we know from our briefings with AMD on the subject of G34, these motherboards should be able to run quad-channel DDR3/1333 at 2-DPC. This allows AMD/G34 to offer more than twice the amount of DDR3/1333 than Nehalem-EP (8-DIMMs/CPU on G34 versus 3-DIMMs/CPU on Nehalem). With 2-sockets yielding 24-cores, 64GB RAM (16 x 4GB DDR3/1333) and on-board, redundant 10GE, AMD’s IOMMU and these G34 boards, as Charlie puts it, “scream HPC and heavy-load virtualization.”

Based on what we can see, expect to see these boards in the $375 to $450 price range in Q1/2010.


AMD Istanbul Launch: Shipping Today

June 1, 2009
AMD Opteron "Istanbul" 6-core processor die

AMD Opteron "Istanbul" 6-core processor die

June 1, 2009 – Today, AMD is announcing the general availability of its new single-die, 6-core Opteron processor code named “Istanbul.” We have weighed-in on the promised benefits of Istanbul based on pre-release material that was not under non-disclosure protections. Now, we’re able to disclose the rest of the story.

First, we got a chance to talk to Mike Goddard, AMD Server Products CTO, to discuss Istanbul and how G34/C32 platforms are shaping-up. According to Goddard,”things went really well with Istanbul; it’s no big secret that the silicon we’re using in Istanbul is the same silicon we’re using in Magny-Cours.” Needless to say, there are many more forward-thinking capabilities in Istanbul than can be supported in Socket-F’s legacy chipsets.

“We had always been planning a refresh to Socket-F with 5690,” says Goddard, “but Istanbul got pulled-in beyond our ability to pull-in the chipset.” Consequently, while there could be Socket-F platforms based on the next-generation 5690/5100 chipset, Goddard suggests that “most OEM’s will realign their platform development around [G34/C32, Q1/2010].”

In common parlance, Istanbul is a “genie in a bottle,” and we won’t see its true potential until it resurfaces in its Magny-Cours/G34 configuration. However, at few of these next-generation tweaks will trickle-down to Socket-F systems:

  • AMD PowerCap Manager (via BIOS extensions)
  • Enhanced AMD PowerNow! Technology
  • AMD CoolCore Technology extended to L3 cache
  • HT Assist (aka probe filter) for increase memory bandwidth
  • HT 3.0 with increase to 4.8GT/sec and IMC improvements
  • 5 new part SKUs
  • Better 2P Performance Parity with Nehalem-EP

That’s in addition to 50% more cores in the same power envelope: not an insignificant improvement. In side-by-side comparisons to “Shanghai” quad-core at the same clock frequency, Istanbul delivers 2W lower idle power and 34% better SPECpower ssj_2008 (1,297 overall) results using identical systems with just a processor swap. In fact, the only time Istanbul exceeded Shanghai’s average power envelope was at 80% actual load and beyond – remaining within 5% of the Shanghai even at 100% load. Read the rest of this entry ?


Testing the Tyan Transport GT28 (B2935G28V4H)

January 7, 2009

Over the next few posts I’ll be investigating the Tyan GT28, 1U, 2-socket, dual-node (4-socket total) barebones system. This cost effective system comes some impressive features built-in:

  • 1U, Dual-node Chassis (shared 1000W supply)
  • Dual AMD Opteron 2000-series processor (per node)
  • Shanghai processor support, (AGESA v3.3.0.0 required, BIOS v1.03+)
  • 16 DRAM slots (per node, DDR2/REG/ECC)
  • 2 x Dual Gigabit Ethernet (per node, Intel 82571EB)
  • 20Gbps Infiniband 4x port (per node, B2935G28VHI only, Mellanox MT25204)
  • 2 x Hot-Swap SATA/SAS bays (per node)
  • 1 x Low-profile PCI Express x 8 slot (per node)
  • XGI Volari Z9S Graphics Controller
  • nVIDIA nForce Professional 3600 (NFP 3600)
  • IPMI/SMDC slot (per node, Tyan M3295-2/M3296)

I am testing mine with the M3296 SMDC card with IP/KVM support (Raritan KIRA100, firmware version 1.00, build 5772, GT28 r01). WARNING: The units I received did not come with AGESA v3.3.0.0 updated BIOS and would not boot with a Shanghai processor – requiring a BIOS update with an older 2000-series chip.

After BIOS update on both the SMDC and motherboard, system boots without issue in my test configuration (per node):

I’ll have some screen shots of BIOS settings and configurations (courtesy of the M3296’s) soon. Since the Gigabit Ethernet controllers support both “jumbo frame” and TCP off-load, we’ll try to squeeze-in a few performance comparisons of these features as well.