, the New Zealand-based special effects house co-founded by Peter Jackson and famous for the award-winning CG in the Lord of the Rings films, has shelled out $2-3 million on 250 additional blade servers to complete post- production work on Jackson's latest epic, King Kong
Housed at the New Zealand Supercomputing Centre
in central Wellington, each new IBM blade server sports dual Intel Xeon 3.4GHz processors and 8GB of RAM - that's 850GHz and 2 terabytes of RAM if you please, Mr Palmisano
When added to the centre's existing 1,144 Intel Xeon 2.8GHz processors, the purchase cements NZSC's place in the Top 100
of supercomputing clusters in the world.
While NZSC nears an impressive theoretical peak of 10 TFLOPS, IBM's Blue Gene
dominates the top rank with a theoretical peak computing power of a whopping 183 TFLOPS. Amazingly, it does so using PowerPC 440 700 MHz processors, albeit 64 racks of 1,024 processors; 65,536 in total. The PowerPC's design allows it to punch above its weight, calculating 4 GFLOPS per MHz versus the Xeon's 2 GFLOPS.
Weta Digital also has an additional 500 blade servers at a second site in Wellington, and has been used to produce special effects for films such as I, Robot
and Van Helsing
following their 2003 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in Return of the King
In addition to various post-production work for the US$150 million King Kong
, the acclaimed studio will be used for the up-coming Halo
movie, after it was revealed
that Peter Jackson will act as an Executive Producer for the film. The irony is that Microsoft's revered 3D shooter will be brought to the silver screen via a Linux-powered render farm - Weta's blades run the Fedora
version of Red Hat Linux.
will hit cinemas worldwide on 14th December - watch the trailer
if you're curious to see what Jackson has done to the 1933 classic. Halo
is currently expected sometime in 2007
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to talk TFLOPS, giant big apes and film adaptations of computer games.