Calgary (AB) – Nvidia’s Tesla cards are getting into gear, as Acceleware becomes one of the first companies to be offering a deskside supercomputer that can approach a performance of 2 TFlops.
It is no secret that general purpose graphics processor (GPGPU) are likely to play a more and more important role in next-generation supercomputing solutions. A first glimpse what these systems may be able to do is offered by Acceleware’s ClusterinABox systems, which are demonstrated at the SuperComputing 2007 conference.
The company will be offering standalone accelerator cards - slightly modified high-end Nvidia workstation graphics cards – as well as complete ClusterinABox workstation systems that are based on AMD Opteron or Intel Xeon processors and come with either two or four Tesla cards in one or two deskside units.
As reported before, GeForce 8-based graphics cards can take advantage of Nvidia’s GPGPU software platform CUDA and hit a peak performance of 500 GFlops per GPU. In Acceleware’s A20 and A30 (Tesla) cards, this performance translates into a simulation horsepower of 400 – 450 Mcells per second. The company says that a minimum of 100 MB of hard drive space is required for the card drivers and either Intel Pentium 4 or an AMD Athlon FX or Opteron processor are minimum requirements to run the cards, which will sell for an estimated $10,000.
Customers who are looking for a complete solution can opt to purchase an Intel or AMD dual-core workstation that comes with either one (ClusterinABox Dual D20/D30) or two deskside units (ClusterinABox Quad Q30). The product scales from two Opteron processors and 8 -16 GB of memory and 500 GB of HDD space with two to four Tesla cards from a peak of 800 Mcells/s to 1700 Mcells/s, according to Acceleware.
By consumer standards, these systems are well out of reach for most of us, costing between $25,000 and $60,000. By supercomputer standards, however, this price could be a bargain and organizations that do not need the enormous memory that is available in supercomputers, these Tesla systems could become an interesting alternative.