AMD claims spots in top supercomputers

The new Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers is now out. Who came out on top this month? AMD believes it did, and it has a pretty strong case.

Jaguar, a Cray XT5 system situated the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, has become the world’s number-one supercomputer thanks to an upgrade from quad- to six-core Opteron processors. The machine has theoretical peak performance of 2.3 petaFLOPS, and it scores 1.75 petaFLOPS in the Linpack benchmark. (petaFLOPS refers to 1015 floating point operations per second, by the way.)

Jaguar may be impressive in its own right, but AMD also has a presence in all but one of the list’s top-five supercomputers. Roadrunner, the silver medalist, combines Opteron and Cell processors. Kraken, a Cray XT5 machine that came in third place, also includes six-core Opterons. And Tianhe-1, which sits in fifth place, pairs up Intel Xeon E5540 and E5450 microprocessors with Radeon HD 4870 graphics processors from AMD.

Neither Intel nor AMD get credit for the fourth-place contestant, JUGENE, a proprietary IBM system endowed with 850MHz PowerPC 450 processors.

AMD’s strong presence in the top supercomputer space is noteworthy considering how even its six-core Opterons don’t always keep up with Intel’s latest and greatest Xeons. AMD may lose ground when Intel starts rolling out those eight-core Nehalem-EX processors, although eight- and 12-core Opteron 6100-series CPUs are on AMD’s roadmap for the first quarter of next year.

Comments closed
    • deputy dawg
    • 10 years ago

    Where did all the old CPUs end up?

      • PRIME1
      • 10 years ago

      The next TR contest will have 37376 prizes!

    • DrDillyBar
    • 10 years ago

    More details from NCCS.gov
    §[<http://www.nccs.gov/jaguar/<]§

    • brucect
    • 10 years ago

    Wow 1.25 B Settlement helped a lot for AMD for get the Top :))

      • Scrotos
      • 10 years ago

      Not really; these systems were designed and built long before this settlement. Often the performance scores that come from these systems are run as tests after they are fully assembled and working and before they are actually being used for reals. So these have been worked on for months before the settlement.

    • ub3r
    • 10 years ago

    These few supercomputers made up 82% of AMDs sales in the past 2 years.

    • barleyguy
    • 10 years ago

    I’d hate to be the guy who had to swap 38000 processor chips.

      • Shinare
      • 10 years ago

      Funny, I was thinking I would LOVE to be that guy.

        • indeego
        • 10 years ago

        That seems like a great job for a robot rather than a humang{<.<}g

          • Meadows
          • 10 years ago

          Something tells me they don’t have just one guy doing it.

          • wibeasley
          • 10 years ago

          §[<http://despair.com/motivation.html<]§ This one is hanging in my office.

    • PRIME1
    • 10 years ago

    I’m not convinced it’s the fastest. I’m going to email them my folding@home ID and have them run it for a few weeks.

    Then I can be sure of their claim

    Plus my score would be slightly inflated.

      • Ashbringer
      • 10 years ago

      Why do you care about a Folding score.

        • PRIME1
        • 10 years ago

        chicks dig it.

    • jstern
    • 10 years ago

    The best super computer is the PS3. It doesn’t cost millions of dollars, or waste as much electricity as these other super computers. It also has a blu ray player.

      • Ashbringer
      • 10 years ago

      It’s also not a super computer, or a computer at that.

        • SomeOtherGeek
        • 10 years ago

        It is when you go the folding@home website and see all the playstations kicking major butt!

          • Waco
          • 10 years ago

          Distributed computing != supercomputing.

          Hello from SC09 by the way. 🙂

            • SomeOtherGeek
            • 10 years ago

            Yea, true. It just seem like a supercomputer to me anyway.

            And hey to SC09! You having a good time? Good stuff for the future for us geeks?

        • Scrotos
        • 10 years ago

        Why isn’t it a computer?

        Hard drive, CPU, RAM, video processing unit. Can run Linux and Sony’s proprietary OS. Hooks up to a TV just like the old C64’s and Amigas. You can plug a USB keyboard and mouse into it, too.

          • loophole
          • 10 years ago

          It can’t run Linux any more (on the slim I mean)…

        • Shining Arcanine
        • 10 years ago

        20 years ago, it probably would have counted as a supercomputer.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      It’s not a supercomputer.

      • Laykun
      • 10 years ago

      When it comes to double precision operations the Cell processor in the PS3 is rubbish. That’s why it’s in a game console, single precision operations.

      • abos
      • 10 years ago

      Building a supercomputer without ECC memory is stupid.

    • [+Duracell-]
    • 10 years ago

    But can it play Crysis?

      • Scrotos
      • 10 years ago

      Depends on how good the AI is that runs on it, I guess.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 10 years ago

      Nope, still too slow.

    • deathBOB
    • 10 years ago

    Why did they choose AMD?

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      Because it’s the Smarter Choice™.

      • asdsa
      • 10 years ago

      Because Intel sucks donkeys balls.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 10 years ago

      Cuz AMD sold them their arms and legs to help fund them?

      • brucect
      • 10 years ago

      They Give those chips free counterattack to Intel .

      • Sahrin
      • 10 years ago

      Because their six-core solution provides much better multi-thread performance than any competing offering from Intel. (Supercomputer applications are exclusively multi-thread).

        • Shining Arcanine
        • 10 years ago

        Are you sure? I thought that Intel fixed that in their Nehalem processors.

          • Sahrin
          • 10 years ago

          There’s no ‘fix’ for having less execution hardware. If there were a six-core Nehalem, it would beat the pants off of a hex-core Opteron. Since there’s not, the best you can do is a Dual socket Quad Core Nehalem (as of today), which is not as fast as Opteron. I don’t think Intel has released Nehalem EX yet (which supports 4 sockets or more), but for the processor the price/performance is probably way out of whack.

            • Shining Arcanine
            • 10 years ago

            I was under the impression from Anandtech’s review that the 6-core Opteron processors were unable to match the 4-core Nehelam processors in benchmarks, despite having more execution hardware.

            • Sahrin
            • 10 years ago

            True in almost every case, except massively parallel workloads (which is what we are talking about here). In that case, Intel’s advantage evaporates because the workload can’t take advantage of HTT and they have less execution hardware. When the workloads are well tailored (as all Supercomputer workloads have to be in order to make sense on such a massive machine), more cores means bigger advantage (also AMD has architectural details that are still superior to Intel’s solution – like better associativity between sockets).

      • grantmeaname
      • 10 years ago

      because up until nehalem came out, intel’s inter-socket communications were orders of magnitude worse than AMD’s. So 1 Xeon would be a bit faster than 1 comparable Opteron, 2 would be about equal to 2 Opterons, 4 would be a little slower, but the bus didn’t scale efficiently and 8 Optys destroy 8 Xeons. Zoom all the way out to thousands like in a supercomputer, and the Xeons just don’t stand a chance even if individually they’re faster.

      • wiak
      • 10 years ago

      Because they had a AMD Opteron Dual Core systems and could upgrade it to a Six-Core Opteron without changing anything else!
      §[<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEmqz0SYmTg<]§ heck AMDs upgrade choice is superior to intels as in you cant upgrade a Intel Xeon system to Xeon Nehalem system and still use the same mb and cpu lolz btw did you also know that HyperTransport is now 6 year old technology and sitll beats intels 1 year old QuickPath ripoff? :P if it was intel it would have cost a NEW motherboard, and some kind of EXOTIC crappy RAM as well as more work..

      • wiak
      • 10 years ago

      Because they had a AMD Opteron Dual Core systems and could upgrade it to a Six-Core Opteron without changing anything else!
      §[<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEmqz0SYmTg<]§ heck AMDs upgrade choice is superior to intels as in you cant upgrade a Intel Xeon system to Xeon Nehalem system and still use the same mb and cpu lolz btw did you also know that HyperTransport is now 6 year old technology and sitll beats intels 1 year old QuickPath ripoff? :P if it was intel it would have cost a NEW motherboard, and some kind of EXOTIC crappy RAM as well as more work..

      • wiak
      • 10 years ago

      Because they had a AMD Opteron Dual Core systems and could upgrade it to a Six-Core Opteron without changing anything else!
      §[<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEmqz0SYmTg<]§ heck AMDs upgrade choice is superior to intels as in you cant upgrade a Intel Xeon system to Xeon Nehalem system and still use the same mb and cpu lolz btw did you also know that HyperTransport is now 6 year old technology and sitll beats intels 1 year old QuickPath ripoff? :P if it was intel it would have cost a NEW motherboard, and some kind of EXOTIC crappy RAM as well as more work..

        • BoBzeBuilder
        • 10 years ago

        Thank you. But I didn’t quiet catch that. Could you repeat it please?

      • bfellow
      • 10 years ago

      It’s very hard to stick an Intel CPU into a motherboard socket designed for AMD.

    • Hattig
    • 10 years ago

    Major win for socket upgrades.

    Magny-cours will require the G34 socket, so the infrastructure will change. However with four channels of memory a 12-core could scale nicely over the 6-core dual-channel, and I’m sure the G34 socket will live for a few years, ending up with 16-core (32 thread) Bulldozer derivatives on 22nm. Could make it appealing for supercomputer builders to keep on using the AMD product lines.

    • bdwilcox
    • 10 years ago

    If it works as designed, this will be the first Jaguar I’ve seen without electrical problems.

      • Vaughn
      • 10 years ago

      lol that was a good one and on point.

      • vihad
      • 10 years ago

      hilarious!

    • flip-mode
    • 10 years ago

    Wow. Impressive coup for AMD.

    • Scrotos
    • 10 years ago

    But can it run Crysis?!?

      • bdwilcox
      • 10 years ago

      Yes, but not with anti-aliasing enabled.

        • shaq_mobile
        • 10 years ago

        And if you close background apps

          • WillBach
          • 10 years ago

          Now that we’ve finally have a system the can play Crysis, we need a new question. I nominate “but will it run Mcafee Antivirus and Adobe Acrobat at the same time?”

            • Sahrin
            • 10 years ago

            It’s only funny when you keep it in the realm of the possible.

      • battleRabbit
      • 10 years ago

      These things probably don’t have video cards, so I’m going to guess that they can’t run any games.

        • pixel_junkie
        • 10 years ago

        Correction…

        “And Tianhe-1, which sits in fifth place, pairs up Intel Xeon E5540 and E5450 microprocessors with Radeon HD 4870 graphics processors from AMD.”

        This only leaves open the question, how-many-way-crossfire is this?

        Gaming AHOY!

        • Waco
        • 10 years ago

        They could run ray-traced games fairly well. 😀

      • DrDillyBar
      • 10 years ago

      This is HOW you run Crysis.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 10 years ago

      I suppose a software renderer could be created that would get pretty good FPS on that thing.

    • Jake_AMD
    • 10 years ago

    Watch a video of the upgrade process of “Kraken” (another Cray/AMD supercomputer) here: §[<http://links.amd.com/CrayUpgrade.<]§

      • bdwilcox
      • 10 years ago

      I’m very jealous of Al Linger. His name sounds like “I’ll linger” and I’d linger too if I had access to that system. :o)

    • blastdoor
    • 10 years ago

    Makes sense… supercomputers aren’t exactly bought on a whim at Best Buy. I’m sure that when these computers were in the planning stage the new Intel Core i7 architecture wasn’t available yet. In another couple of years we’ll probably see Opteron displaced in these lists.

      • Sahrin
      • 10 years ago

      I disagree – a lot of these computers use drop-in CPU upgrades to increase performance if they can, due to the cost fo replacing the system. AMD is a lot more studious about continuing support for the same socket (Socket F supports Opterons from Dual Core all the way up to Six Core, compared with Intel who has 3 different active server sockets right now) – for supercomputers this is crucial because the interconnection hardware (motherboards, specialty buses, large memory infrastructures) are often custom designed and *very* expensive. A drop-in upgrade can save you hundreds of millions of dollars over a completely new system. If Bulldozer is timed right (and AMD can stay in the same ballpark, even if not beat Intel), AMD could get every one of these system to do 2 processor upgrades between now and 2011, and then buy Bulldozer systems in 2012.

        • shank15217
        • 10 years ago

        The 6 core is end of the line for socket F but you are right AMDs long term support of a socket is part of the success and AMD knows this. The next socket however is a huge upgrade in bandwidth and bulldozer will bring a significant increase in processing power.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      In a couple of years, we’ll see totally new CPUs from both sides, which have yet to be shown off…

      We’ll also see over 9,000 new socket types from Intel, while AMD don’t get to throw money/manufacturing/market share at changing such things willy nilly.

      G34 leaves an additional hyperlink open for “Torrenza” co-processors. They aren’t just throwing this out the window as soon as they’re done with Sao Paolo and Magny Cours opterons. It’s for what comes next.

        • SoulSlave
        • 10 years ago

        São Paulo, or, at least, Sao Paulo, but never Sao Paolo…

        This is Portuguese, not Spanish…

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 10 years ago

          I don’t know wtf you just said to me. I only speak Intel code names natively.

    • PRIME1
    • 10 years ago

    Here is a picture of the “Jaguar” supercomputer.

    §[<http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Atari_jaguar4.jpg<]§

      • Scrotos
      • 10 years ago

      I applaud you! I was thinking OS X but you made a better reference!

      • flip-mode
      • 10 years ago

      I laughed.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      OAS is highly amused.

      • jstern
      • 10 years ago

      That was funny. Do the math. I was expecting the actual super computer.

      • MrBojangles
      • 10 years ago

      Sadly for a split second i thought “They modified an atari jaguar shell to be the main terminal frikin sweet” then i realised it was a joke and that I fail.

    • jdaven
    • 10 years ago

    Intel has 402 out of 500 on the list which is very impressive. But AMD has some impressive stuff and 4 out of the top 5 is very good. I had to laugh when I saw that Intel’s one supercomputer out of the top 5 still has AMD products in them.

    With Nehalem Ex and Magny-Cours coming out at the beginning of next year, the supercomputer world is going to be interesting.

    On a side note, no new Itaniums have been added to the list and with only 6 left, that processor family looks dead. Is Intel still updating it next year?

    • dpaus
    • 10 years ago

    4 of the top 5 – good for them!

      • brucect
      • 10 years ago

      Because They give away free those chips ? :))

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