AMD supercomputer tops TOP500 list

November 17, 2009 | 10:17

Tags: #cray #high-performance-computing #hpc #nehalem #nehalem-ex #opteron #supercomputer #top500

Companies: #amd #intel

AMD scored a win against its rival Intel in this year's TOP500 list of the most powerful supercomputers in the world - but in doing so demonstrated its bit-player status in the CPU marketplace.

As reported by PC Magazine, the number one supercomputer in the TOP500 list is the Jaguar-Cray XT5-HE, which is built around AMD's Opteron platform and features an impressive 224,162 logical processing cores for a total performance of 1.759 petaflops.

AMD dominated the top three, with IBM's dual-technology Cell/Opteron Roadrunner system and Cray's Kraken XT5 98,982-core making the top spots.

However, despite AMD having taken the high-performance computing crown for now, rival Intel still proves a popular choice: of the 500 systems listed, 402 - over 80 percent - used Intel processors rather than AMD.

Intel is hoping that this preference will continue, and already has plans for an AMD-beating HPC-specific version of its Nehalem processors - dropping down from an eight-core model to a six-core while increasing clock speed in order to directly compete with systems built around AMD's six-core Opterons.

Interestingly, Cray is looking to bring its supercomputing prowess to the masses: a deal with box-shifter Dell - reported over on The Register - will see the entry-level CX1 blade-based system resold under Dell's branding. The Nehalem-based system uses Nvidia graphics in order to offer GPGPU offload, and offers supercomputing performance at a surprisingly low price point. Interestingly, however, the Dell version of the CX1 will be offered only with Microsoft Windows - something likely to alienate the high-performance crowd, who typically prefer Linux- or BSD-based operating systems as available directly from Cray itself.

Are you pleased to see AMD making a good showing in the high-performance computing sector, or does the overwhelming majority of Intel processors highlight the struggles its smaller competitor will face? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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