Today is the first day of SuperComputing 08 conference held in Austin, Texas. A lot of companies are bringing out the big guns for that one, and one of the companies that could have the largest one is Nvidia and its partners.
Regardless of what you may think of CUDA, this API really took off in scientific community. Young enthusiasts started to build personal supercomputers, and Nvidia CUDA guys got the idea of creating a personal supercomputer when they saw FASTRA project from University of Antwerp. FASTRA is being used for computational topography, but many other universities are doing exactly the same.
Fast forward to SC08, and we have Nvidia launching its own product, Tesla Personal Supercomputer. In a nutshell, we’re talking about Intel or AMD powered system feeding four Tesla C1060 cards. We heard that the reference system uses two nForce 200 chips (even though SLI is not used), Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of system memory. In a nutshell, this is what you get:
• No less than a 4-core CPU
• No less than 4GB of memory (expect 8GB in most systems)
• No less than four Tesla C1060 boards
• No less than 4 TFLOPS in single precision format and additional 0.56 TFLOPS in dual precision
The company assembled quite a lot of OEMs and system integrators, such as ASUS, Dell, Lenovo, Scan and many others – all in a bid to jump-start revenue coming from the Tesla product line-up. In a conference call for Q2’08 results, Jen-Hsun stated that Q2’09 will see impact from Tesla line-up, and my personal take is that this product could be a surprising success.
All of the images in gallery are 1000 pixels wide… if you would like to see wider or narrower galleries, it would be great if I could get some feedback and suggest a resolution 😉
The reason for it is quite simple: unlike companies that are advertising personal supercomputers and charging them tens of thousand dollars (Cray CX1 and Tyan PSC come to mind) – Nvidia is targeting a price of less than 9,999.99 USD. Yep, that’s correct, 4+ TFLOPS supercomputer for less than 10 grand.
At the time of writing, I haven’t been able to found are those Tesla cards using older 65nm or new, power-saving 55nm chips. If we would judge by chips that power new Quadros, 55nm should be under the hood, but then again, Nvidia has a large nVentory of older 65nm chips, so the company might be inclined to clean them out.
Somehow, I would bet that this is not the only supercomputer announcement from companies in Red-Green-Blue area. After all, certain motherboards from ASUS and GigaByte could fit six single-slot cards… can you say FireStream and 6 TFLOPS?
To end this article, here is some food for thought: Nvidia got inspiration to create this system after seeing tens of enthusiasts build their own supercomputers. 11 years ago, overclockers and gamers jump-started the IT industry we know today by overclocking and modding their own systems.
Can this underground movement turn desktop computers into handhelds and supercomputers onto desktops? Only time will tell. After all, what CPU, GPU or motherboard manufacturer does not encourage overclocking or offer an overclocking/gaming product line? After all, all of these products are based on overclocking Celeron 300A to 450 MHz, Dual-Celeron Abit BP6 and so on. Makes me wonder who will remember those crazy doctors that created FASTRA 10 years from now.
UPDATE Nov 18, 01:23AM CET: For some odd reason, gallery didn’t work – uploaded the pictures again. It should work now.