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Supercomputing Hardware Technology

Asus Releases Desktop-Sized Supercomputer 260

Posted by timothy
from the many-cores-make-light-work dept.
angry tapir writes "Asustek has unveiled its first supercomputer, the desktop computer-sized ESC 1000, which uses Nvidia graphics processors to attain speeds up to 1.1 teraflops. Asus's ESC 1000 comes with a 3.33GHz Intel LGA1366 Xeon W3580 microprocessor designed for servers, along with 960 graphics processing cores from Nvidia inside three Tesla c1060 Computing Processors and one Quadro FX5800."
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Asus Releases Desktop-Sized Supercomputer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:27AM (#29881173)
    More importantly can this actually run Crysis 2? Probably not.
  • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:33AM (#29881197)

    While I wouldn't choose to do my scientific computing on Windows, I know some people do, and those Tesla cards (which are providing the bulk of the processing power) really don't care which OS you're running.

  • by hallux.sinister (1633067) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:05AM (#29881311)
    ...which will be used principly for... typing e-mails and surfing the internet, just like 90+% of other desktop computers... oh yeah, and downloading lots and lots of porn. Way to go, guys! Keep the hits coming!
  • Re:Super computer? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:17AM (#29881351)

    Seconded. Also it appears to have only 24 GByte of RAM, a miniscule amount for modern HPC. A machine I know well that fairly recently dropped out the top 500 has over 3 TBytes, and was considered memory starved.

    That said, to be fair, that may not be an issue. GPUs at present are a niche market, and the impression I have is that applications that run well on them tend not to be memory intensive - but I'm no expert here so I could well be wrong. Whatever, a general purpose "supercomputer" it is not.

  • Re:Super computer? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wisty (1335733) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:45AM (#29881441)

    "Supercomputer" might mean cluster, a big node (to go in a cluster), or big-iron mainframe.

    It's not a cluster, and it's not much of a mainframe, but it has a helluva lot of FLOPS for a single node. To me, it looks similar to the nodes that went into Roadrunner's TriBlades - 2 Opterons (as general purpose processors) plus 4 PowerXCell 8i (for heavyweight vector processing), and a total of 16G memory. But I'm not an expert.

    Still, I bet that if you could hook 3240 of them together, you would have a strong Top500 contender.

  • Re:Super computer? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kumiorava (95318) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:51AM (#29881453)

    Supercomputer is a computer that is one of the most powerful computers available at a given time. Therefore referring top500 list is very valid when determining what is supercomputer and what isn't. Top500 list can very well be used in determining whether we have a supercomputer or not. If the modern computer isn't faster (at least in certain specific tasks) than the lowest performing computer on the list I wouldn't consider it being a supercomputer. I don't understand the need to dilute supercomputer word to include cheap hacks like this, there are valid names for these such as minicomputer. What do we call the best performing computer? superdupercomputer?

  • by Gori (526248) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:35AM (#29881605) Homepage

    San somebody who has actually worked with such machines enlighten me about its performance on tasks that are not floating point intensive? Our simulations mainly push many,many objects around, with relatively little, or no floating point math in them.

    Do such machines still make sense, or are we better off with a bunch of general purpose CPUs clustered together? How do they compare to Suns Niagara cpus that have umpteen hardware threads in them ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @07:26AM (#29882145)

    BSOD/Clippy jokes? Sure is 1998 in here.

  • Re:Super computer? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kumiorava (95318) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @07:39AM (#29882187)

    Indeed, supercomputer is not strictly defined with any of the characteristics other than being one of the most powerful computers available at a given time. We cannot take away 90's supercomputer titles just because current desktops outperform them. Supercomputer is not a term that describes performance, it's all about prestige and engineering prowess to be one of the best in the world.

    This Asus can be technologically more advanced or faster than any supercomputer of 90's but it will never has such prestige. We can talk about high performance workstations and mean around 1 TFLOPS of computing power, but that's about it. We can also compare this Asus to some supercomputer of 90's and say it's more powerful than that, but still it doesn't mean it is supercomputer.

    And all this comes down to the fact that if a computer wants to claim supercomputer title it should be able to be in top500, or at least have comparable performance. Not small fraction of the performance like this Asus has.

  • Yawn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sluke (26350) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:40AM (#29883055)

    While this sort of machine is useful (I just built one for quantum Monte Carlo calculations 6 months ago) it is hardly news. NVIDIA has been pushing this sort of machine since the launch of the Tesla. In fact, they have had a parts list on their website [nvidia.com] for some time telling exactly what is needed to put together a computer with 4 C1060's. This is not even the first commercial offering of this nature, with companies like appro [appro.com] and microway [microway.com] having similar products for at least a year (see nvidia [nvidia.com]) for a more complete list.

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