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AMD Gains In the TOP500 List 77

MojoKid writes "AMD recently announced its share of the TOP500 supercomputer list has grown 15 percent in the past six months. The company credits industry trends, upgrade paths, and competitive pricing for the increase. Of the 68 Opteron-based systems on the list, more than half of them use the Opteron 6100 series processors. The inflection point was marked by AMD's launch of their Magny-Cours architecture more than a year ago and includes the twelve-core Opteron 6180 SE at 2.5GHz at one end and two low-power parts at the other. Magny-Cours adoption is important. Companies typically don't upgrade HPC clusters with new CPUs, but AMD is billing their next-gen Interlagos architecture as a drop-in option for Magny-Cours. As such, it'll offer up to 2x the cores as well as equal-to or faster clock speeds."
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AMD Gains In the TOP500 List

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is it newsworthy when one company goes up or down a random list?

    I guess if you are a stockholder, but other than that I can't see caring.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why is it newsworthy when one company goes up or down a random list?

      It isn't.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zill ( 1690130 )

      This is newsworthy because it's a new cache of ammunition for the fanboys. And since this is slashdot, we're basically at ground zero of the thermonuclear flame war.

      • by aliquis ( 678370 )

        What is there to fight about?

        I won't flame but yeah.. Pick your product category and yada yada ;D

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          What is there to fight about?

          A valid question! We know nothing about them, their language, their history or what they look like. But we can assume this. They stand for everything we don't stand for. Also they told me you guys look like dorks.

      • Re:So? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Sunday June 26, 2011 @10:39PM (#36580264) Journal

        Well I'd say its also news as many of the guys here are in charge of purchases and this shows AMD still has some competitive server offerings, and as someone who remembers what it was like when there was only Intel (crazy ass pricing, lousy chips, insane motherboard costs, etc) having competition is VERY important!

        I'd add these gains were done in spite of Intel doing everything but setting the AMD factories on fire trying to kill AMD. They rigged their compiler (and still are BTW) to put out shit code if it runs on an AMD CPU, they bribed the OEMs so much that there were several quarters where the ONLY profits Dell saw were Intel kickbacks, and Toshiba said their kickbacks were so generous they were "like cocaine" to the OEMs.

        So I'd say that AMD making gains despite Intel doing everything but breaking their employee's kneecaps just shows they still have some competitive spirit. I personally have switched my shop to AMD only after finding out about the bribery and compiler rigging and my customers couldn't be happier. Their netbooks and laptops all have smooth video and are easy to hook to a TV via HDMI thanks to the Radeon IGPs, their desktops are likewise great with smooth 1080p video and hardware acceleration of all the major formats as well as hardware transcoding, their triples and quads make a great centerpiece for a good cheap media box or HTPC, all in all they make a great consumer box that will do all your average person will ever want to do at a price they can easily afford without breaking the bank.

        So I'm personally glad for TFA, as it shows me they have competitive server chips to go with their excellent desktop and notebook lines. And frankly you should be happy too as real free market competition is good for everyone. or do you honestly think Intel would have a chip that costs less than $1000 if it weren't for AMD?

        • Any proof of these claims of compiler tampering? So why would you be using an intel compiler on AMD cpus? Does AMD not write one? Your third paragraph reads like an advertisement,

          "Their netbooks and laptops all have smooth video and are easy to hook to a TV via HDMI thanks to the Radeon IGPs, their desktops are likewise great with smooth 1080p video and hardware acceleration of all the major formats as well as hardware transcoding, their triples and quads make a great centerpiece for a good cheap media box

          • by Anonymous Coward

            No, AMD does not write a C++ compiler. In anyu case, that's irrelevant, unless you think software developers should start distributing two versions of every executable.

            And it's a well documented fact that Intel's compiler checks for "GenuineIntel" in the CPU ID string and executes different (generally less efficient) code if it gets "AuthenticAMD" instead. Intel itself has never denied it, and says it's because "they can't keep track of what instructions other manufacturers support" (it's not as if they cop

            • So why should intel have to write optimizations into their compiler for a competitor? The article basically says if it finds a non intel chip then all optimizations are turned off. Can this feature not be overidden? Sounds overblown if you ask me.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                It's not that Intel had work to do to support non-Intel chips. They did extra work to make all code produced by the Intel compiler slower that necessary on non-Intel chips. Thats' not just binaries delivered by Intel, but also a lot of code from 3rd parties.

              • So why should intel have to write optimizations into their compiler for a competitor?

                They don't. The issue isn't "optimizations" as one usually thinks of it, tweaking a piece of code with compiler tricks to make it run faster.

                The issue is using entirely different code paths that use x86 extensions like the SSE family of instructions. These instructions, in addition to being SIMD for when the same operation is being performed on multiple pieces of data, are essentially a replacement for the old x87 floating point co-processor instructions. x87, which is old and stupid, and a right bitch fo

            • Intel's excuse is valid. AMD has been fairly good (although not perfect) at only setting CPUID feature flags when they have a 100% compatible implementation of an extension. Other x86 manufacturers have been very bad. Worse, some (e.g. IDT's WinChip) have advertised some features and then implemented them with trap-and-emulate code in a driver. They did this for some uncommon operations, to make code that used them occasionally run, rather than exiting with an error, that meant that a compiler that used
              • I forgot to say - even if the non-Intel chip has a 100% compatible implementation of the feature, that does not mean that it will have the same performance characteristics. This is true even among Intel chips. Some SSE-based optimisations can give you a 2-4x speedup on Core chips, but give a slowdown on Atom chips (early ones, at least, not sure about the latest one). Doing the same optimisations for an AMD or Via chips may make things faster, or they may make things slower. Without extensive testing, I
          • by godrik ( 1287354 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @12:44AM (#36580742)

            "Any proof of these claims of compiler tampering?"

            This is a well known issue with the intel compiler which has been fixed since. The story is told on wikipedia in the criticism section of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_C%2B%2B_Compiler [wikipedia.org]

            The problem is so well known, that people wrote software to patch the code produced by the intel compiler to make it work properly on AMD processors such as http://code.google.com/p/patch-authenticamd/ [google.com]

            "So why would you be using an intel compiler on AMD cpus?"

            One of the interest in using the x86 instruction set is to be binary compatible so that you can use the code generated by any compiler. The intel compiler is a very good compiler, why not use it ? VIA also produces x86 processors you can use the binaries generated by the intel compiler on it. These technologies are designed to be compatible.

            "Does AMD not write one?"

            AMD contributes to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open64 [wikipedia.org] and to GCC.

            "Your third paragraph reads like an advertisement,"

            I agree on that one.

          • Would you have preferred it if I had wrote "Yo Dawg, I be hooking up video and that shit be fat yo! teh pic be all big and shit, and it be fatter than a ho's ass dawg!" is that more preferable? How else are you gonna write that you get great video performance and the ability to transcode without actually saying that?

            So excuse me for actually writing down what I have experienced installing and building AMD systems. Perhaps a video of never gonna give you up or a pic of a distended anus would be more to your

        • I'm glad AMD is around, but seriously you don't need to exaggerate things to make a point, especially when the exaggeration is obviously false.

          Yes, Intel would have chips that cost less than $1000 if AMD weren't around. They had them BEFORE AMD was around, and that hasn't changed. They quite often do have their highest speed desktop processor right around the $1000 price, with another running at 90% of it's speed at $600, and continuing down the line. I don't suspect that will be changing any time soon.

          • They had them BEFORE AMD was around, and that hasn't changed

            When was this period? AMD was set up because IBM refused to buy the 8088 from Intel without a second source. AMD has been around for as long as the PC architecture...

          • Look back to the advent of dual-core CPUs in the mid-2000s.

            Intel offerings were server-only chips, all well over $300. AMD offered something that did the same thing, had better performance, and broke the $200 barrier.

            It wasn't until AMD started mopping the floor with their Opteron / Athlon64 X2 chips that Intel got its act together and released affordable multi-core offerings. And it took them even longer to jump on the 64bit wagon that AMD had been pulling for 2+ years prior.

            Remember - Intel's visi
      • whats with all the bitching about stories? If you can't find something to discuss about the story presented - go play on 4chan
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You must be new here.

    • Random? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 26, 2011 @10:02PM (#36580126)

      That's hardly a "random list". And this is a site about technology. Do you think it would be irrelevant for a site about gaming consoles to mention that the Kinect increased the Xbox's share of exercise games (or whatever) ?

      Supercomputing designs are a rather good real-world benchmark of CPUs, because they take into account cost, density, ease of deployment, etc..

      More interesting than the share of the top 500 list, though, is the fact that AMD holds the #3 spot, ahead of Intel (whose first system comes in at #4) and both are behind a GPU-based system (using Nvidia Tesla chips, at #2). This is probably a good indicator of things to come, and explains why AMD is betting so heavily on integrating the GPU into its overall system architecture, and why Intel has finally started serious work on GPUs.

      #1, by the way, is held by a SPARC system.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      It's about as newsworthy as "random guy got aspergers", but hey, atleast these two stories aren't duplicates of each other!

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MacTO ( 1161105 ) on Sunday June 26, 2011 @10:45PM (#36580290)

      Well, it is of interest to people who are interested in supercomputers.

      People who develop software for those beasts like to know how things are changing. They may not need to know the intimate details since compilers and libraries will handle most of that, but they may want to throw together a small cluster to test emerging technologies. (This is particularly true in recent years since small clusters based upon AMD/Intel CPUs and AMD/Nvidia GPUs are within reach of individuals.)

      Stockholders though couldn't care less. The number of units is too small and the prestige counts for nothing unless it translates into sales in other markets.

      • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak.yahoo@com> on Sunday June 26, 2011 @11:17PM (#36580424) Homepage Journal

        It's a bit more. Supercomputers push bus speeds and floating-point calculations to the limits. Much of the hardware, these days, is commodity and these two criteria are important in gaming, computer art (such as rendering). The former is also important in embedded computing (such as phones) since data streaming is limited by maximum sustained bus speed.

    • This sort of information can also be useful for sales people. Many people don't know anything about PCs when they purchase a home computer. Many customers have heard of Intel, but the number of people that have heard of AMD is much less and they don't know if their products are any good. If a sales person wants to sell a particular computer that will fit their needs, the customer may be hesitant to buy an AMD based system if they haven't heard of it... even if the sales person says it fits their needs perfe

  • by gupg ( 58086 ) on Sunday June 26, 2011 @10:13PM (#36580168) Homepage
    The top500 site has its own take on highlights:
    http://www.top500.org/lists/2011/06/press-release [top500.org]

    - The two Chinese systems at No. 2 and No. 4 and the Japanese Tsubame 2.0 system at No. 5 are all using NVIDIA GPUs to accelerate computation, and a total of 19 systems on the list are using GPU technology.
    - China keeps increasing its number of systems and is now up to 62, making it clearly the No. 2 country as a user of HPC, ahead of Germany, UK, Japan and France.
    - Intel continues to provide the processors for the largest share (77.4 percent) of TOP500 systems. Intel’s Westmere processors increased their presence in the list strongly with 169 systems, compared with 56 in the last list.
    - Quad-core processors are used in 46.2 percent of the systems, while already 42.4 percent of the systems use processors with six or more cores.
    - Cray defended the No. 2 spot in market share by total against Fujitsu, but IBM stays well ahead of either. Cray’s XT system series remains very popular for big research customers, with three systems in the TOP 10 (one new and two previously listed).

    In my opinion, the newest & most important trend in high performance computing is the advent of accelerators like GPUs.
    • Is we need to look at finding a new benchmark perhaps for supercomputer. Maybe two or three different kinds, depending on the kinds of thing you want.

      The reason is that while GPUs are great, they are limited. We don't use them for everything for good reason. So if you have the kind of problem GPUs are good at, and linpack happens to be one of them these days, then wonderful. They are a great way to go in terms of performance/dollar and performance/watt. However if you don't, then they are not useful and you

  • by friedmud ( 512466 ) on Sunday June 26, 2011 @10:16PM (#36580178)

    The supercomputer I use daily is one of these new AMD based ones in the TOP500. It is a sweet machine. My software (custom engineering simulation written in C++) scales perfectly on it all the way out to over 10,000 cores.

    The memory architecture is really excellent as well. With our old Intel based cluster we wouldn't load up every core on the node because of memory contention. But hyper-transport with NUMA completely negates the need to do that. We routinely fully load the nodes on the new machine without any trouble at all.

    If AMD keeps it up they are going to find a lot of business in the high-end computing segment.

    • by The Finn ( 1547 )
      I was under the impression that intel's answer to hypertransport was QPI, introduced with Nehalem and continued in Westmere and Sandy Bridge. Intel may employ me, but I still root for AMD and wish I could buy a quad-core VIA.
      • QPI is only used on multiprocessor-capable Xeons and a very few "enthusiast" desktop processors. Sandy Bridge uses something called "DMI", which is essentially a PCIe x4 bus. Only the Nehalem i7s, the Westmere and Gulftown Xeons, and the Tukwila Itaniums use QPI. Even some of the Xeons use DMI - the smaller, single-processor-only Xeon E3s.

        Interestingly, AMD has a similar bus - UMI, which is used on the new "Fusion" processors. Which are designed for use in tablets and smartphones, not computers, so HyperT
  • But when are those 28nm CPUs coming out?

    Mostly for your ATI video cards. The heat output of your 6000 series is incredible. Love the industrial fan though.

  • by TheRealQuestor ( 1750940 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @05:04AM (#36581582)
    I really honestly DO want to like them. And I don't really hate them any more [mostly since I stopped using them about 4 or so years ago] And to be honest for the dollar AMD does quite well against Intel for most needs. My problem with AMD systems are a much MUCH higher failure rate for the motherboards using the same brand, quality, and price point as the intel bretheren:( and they are slower.

    My biggiest issue is I am VERY VERY impatient when it comes to computers and I can't find anything from AMD that even comes CLOSE to my current i7 2600K @ 5Ghz. Not even a mb/cpu(s)/memory costing 3 times as much can touch this thing in most everyday things I do such as read/program/play games/photoshop/repeat. I finally, a few weeks ago, broke down and gave them another chance and built "my" 1st amd rig in like I said about 4 or so years and whilst it's fine for the money [it's a Phenom II X4 955 Black, water cooled, overclocked to 4.2Ghz with 4 gigs DDR3 @ 1333]. it's still much slower than the i5 I built around the same time [i5 750 @ 3.4Ghz, and 12 gigs DDR3 @1328 air cooled] and both cost about the same in parts, yet the i5 SMOKES the 955 even at 800Mhz less per core. So dollar for dollar you're still "faster" with intel and I Like fast. I pay well for fast. IF Amd was faster I'd be using them right now but they don't have ANYTHING to offer me except the HD 6990 I have in here but that's still ATI in my minds eye.

    AMD will need to pull a major magic rabbit out thier hats on this upcoming bulldozer [which does seem to have intel worried as they are delaying the x78 chipset and subsiquent LGA2011 cpu's and boards until AMD reviels thier hand]. Smart on thier part I guess, sucks on mine cause I couldn't wait and went with the flakey p67 but hey in a couple of months I'll have a fairly cheap motherboard/cpu combo for sale :)

    i just don't see it.

    • your math sucks. your phenom is over twice as cheap as the i5, and you gave it 1/3rd the ram. also good AMD MB's are around 50-100+ bux cheaper than intel boards.
    • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @09:49AM (#36582984) Homepage

      Hmm, you make a couple of very bad points.
      1) The "MUCH higher failure rate for motherboards" is something I have never heard before. Especially when you go on saying "at the same price point as Intel" - are you still referring to motherboards, it is very hard to find Intel motherboards as cheap as AMD. Anyway, I have experience with hundreds of systems both Intel and AMD based over the years and I can't agree there is any sort of significant failure rate on motherboards of any of the two (although I have seen many integrated ethernet controllers go bad). With one exception. Around 2003-2004 a lab bought a dozen Dell Precision slim desktops with a Prescott. When I saw them I told the people who had ordered them that I found it suicidal to put 3.2GHz P4s (I don't remember if they were Prescott or Northwood) in such small enclosures. Sure enough, about 1.5 year later half of them had blown their motherboards, I don't know how it went from there.
      2) Your basic argument is that regardless of how much money you throw on AMD, you can't get the performance of Intel, which is, well, moot as AMD unfortunately (for consumers) is not competitive in the high-end. Then you go on comparing an i5 750 which is TWICE the price of the Phenom 955 (newegg: $214 vs $113 - free $15 gift card), has much more expensive motherboards and you pair it with 3 times the RAM. Yet, *surprisingly*, the i5 is faster. Gee, who would have guessed? AMD still is price-competitive, at the price points they cover there is nothing you can get from Intel that has the same performance (esp. if you include motherboard price).

      Furthermore, I would like to add that for some of us that run custom 64bit software, AMD still seems to hold strong. Example: Last year I built a Phenom 955 based system which went for under $1000, even if it had the highest quality components (best mobo with USB3, eSATA, my favorite Antec case & PSU etc). I chose an AMD on an otherwise not budget system, since it would serve mainly as a HTPC. Half a year later I bought a $4000 Mac Pro with a 3.2GHz Bloomfield quad-core Xeon. Guess my surprise when most of my own software (most doing string processing in C and Perl) are about 10% faster on my AMD-based HTPC!!! The only way to get more performance out of the several times more expensive Xeon is to manage to get over 4 concurrent threads running so I can get some benefit from HT! Not to mention that for a that much money the Mac Pro isn't even giving me USB3 or esata, which is absurd... but I digress... the point is that AMD machine which was not chosen for its high-end computation power, still holds strong against some of Intel's finest, even if more common workloads show a big preference to Intel.

      In the end, I hope AMD gets back in the game. I always buy what is the best (or best value) at any time, and, historically, AMD has been my choice more often than not, but the only reason we have things like Sandy Bridge coming out of Intel right now is because AMD is pushing them. In fact, if Intel's big pockets had not prevented AMD from dominating the market like they were dominating in performance during the 2000-2005 era, we would have a much stronger AMD now and more competitive products for us consumers.

      • Umm, buying an Apple machine isn't exactly making a decision based upon value, but you're making a value comparison. As for speed, sure, there are some tasks where AMD's architecture will work better, and like you said, you can optimize for either. For most users, the Intel architecture is just superior for price/performance. In some cases, AMD is better, usually when you're looking for value in highly parallel tasks, but not outright speed. Intel is loafing along, not pushing their market dominance, wa

        • by Ecuador ( 740021 )

          I bought an Apple machine because it was required for my work, obviously it was not based upon value. But if you read that part as a direct comparison of a Xeon to a Phenom, you did not get my point.
          If you did want a price/performance comparison of the two CPUs, you would have to note that the cheaper consumer version of Xeon, the i7 @ 3.2GHz costs a bit more than 2.5X the Phenom. so you would need almost 3X the performance for it ti make a better value.
          The Intel architecture currently is superior. As such,

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      AMD will need to pull a major magic rabbit out thier hats on this upcoming bulldozer [which does seem to have intel worried as they are delaying the x78 chipset and subsiquent LGA2011 cpu's and boards until AMD reviels thier hand].

      I think it's been quiet well established for some time now that Intel owns the high end. That they're delaying is probably more because their $2-300 CPUs are pounding AMD pretty good already. If as usually Q3 means the very end of Q3 there's still a full quarter where Intel doesn't need to lift a finger to win.

    • The way I tend to look at it is "AMD gives you the most bang for your buck; Intel gives you the most bang". AMD CPUs are cheap - I got a Black Edition (unlocked multipier, high-end) Phenom II X3 for about the cost of a low-end Core 2 Duo. It's more than fast enough for most usage, and the cost is great. But AMD can't really compete with the highest-end Intel processors - their hexa-core Phenoms are roughly a match for the quad-core Intels, and they can't beat the hexa-core i7s. Server-side, Intel isn't afra
  • This Top500 comes in handy after these:

    http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2011/6/24/amd-insiders-speak-out-bapco-exit-is-an-excuse-for-poor-bulldozer-performance.aspx [brightsideofnews.com]
    Following our coverage on AMD's exit from BAPCo and blog post made by Nigel Dessau, we got a surprising call from the person at the heart of AMD which we had to check out. After the end of an eye opening conversation, we started calling our sources in order to confirm if the claims made by an obviously disappointed engineer hold any substance

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.