Home > SGI and IRIX > Linux Supercomputing Arrives For The Masses Linux Supercomputing Arrives For The Masses Andrew Youll 2005-07-12 SGI and IRIX 26 Comments SGI today claimed that it can bring supercomputing to the masses in the form of its cheapest ever scalable rack-mounted servers and storage systems. About The Author 26 Comments 2005-07-12 9:07 pm Since when has 20k at the entry price point been for the Masses? 2005-07-12 9:28 pm maybe SGI refers to the masses of suits in big corporations… 2005-07-12 9:13 pm http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/07/09/1326249 2005-07-12 10:01 pm tastytaste … wow my mom and dad will be so pleased that they can now have their supercomputer for only 7 grand per 1U unit… they’re practically GIVING them away. 2005-07-12 10:47 pm Matt Giacomini can make some money by sueing Linux. or merge with SCO ha ha ha 2005-07-13 12:14 am I wonder how long it is going to take Intel to completely fold Itanic… I give it another 3 years before Intel burns through another $2Bn in wasted investment on Itanic and completely pulls the plug. It is going to be interesting what happens to SGI then. If I were making decisions at SGI, I would be seriously considering Opteron now. 2005-07-13 12:21 am I think MIPS was better than itanium. All they needed to do was develope it more and push it rather than just using old cpus and switching because they cant market themselves. I mean hell, they’ve sold most of their IP already and spun off everything they could. Supercomputers are old school nowadays anyway. Everyone is doing their data on grids and stuff now 2005-07-13 8:30 am >Everyone is doing their data on grids and stuff now Yeah like the terragrid folks; http://www.gridtoday.com/05/0117/104473.html no need for that big ol’ iron any more 2005-07-13 10:43 am I think you may be somewhat wrong on this if this is your ‘general view’. In a large number of cases, the intra-node communication becomes the bottleneck – even on clusters with Myrinet, Dolphin SCI or other hi speed interconnects. In those settings, grids are not really going to help you much. That said, there are plenty of ‘batch processing’ tasks that runs very, very well on grids, e.g. finance/monte carlo simulations are great for that. 2005-07-13 1:48 pm reread the post with your irony detection apperatus enabled or perhaps you were not replying to me… 2005-07-13 11:47 am Itanuim is cool. If intel could provide a more affordable solution (by stripping down caches for example) i would buy one =) 2005-07-13 12:10 pm kaiwai They’re offordable right now; in amounts of 1000, they’re priced only slightly higher than the Xeon; the problem is, however, you can’t buy the CPU’s off any distributor, and no third party motherboard and component manufacturers are providing solutions to small white box computer businesses, which still make up over 40% of the market place – in some countries, higher. 2005-07-13 3:29 am Supercomputing with regular off the shelf commodity chips is real wasteful. We need to use streaming processors for alot of projects. They are more efficient. http://merrimac.stanford.edu/ I do like itanium though. 2005-07-13 10:39 am Anonymous, Would you care to elaborate ? “Supercomputing with regular off the shelf commodity chips is real wasteful” does not provide much insight as to which industries and purposes you are talking about. I certainly agree about the need for streaming processors, but by and far, they (possibly with the exception of ClearSpeed) are not mature enough for most industry specific purposes (in large scale settings, not thinking of ‘desktop tinkering’) 2005-07-13 3:56 am Too expensive and running on dead end intel cpus. They feel the squeeze from the desktop sector so they must lower prices on their hw and they make it then look like they’re doing us a favor by dropping prices on their crap hw. You can probably build a rack server from desktop computers and use some linux sw to run it at fraction of the cost and faster. 2005-07-13 7:12 am For that kind of hardware, the price really is a bargain. I believe that Sun is offering competitive hardware with slightly better prices, but I´m not sure. And to anyone who thinks that one could build a rack of off-shelves desktop parts and just throw Linux at it (let´s pretend that those 1U small factor mobos and cases are commodities), I have a quick question. Have you EVER stepped on a Data Center? 🙂 I, being an avid Linux user, agree that Linux plays a big part on the performance of these SGI offerings, but puhleese… However, like some posters already pointed out, I´d keep both eyes on Intel´s roadmap for Itanium since they aren´t exactly best sellers and everybody and their mothers knows that Intel already spent a lot of money in this. Even HP, Intel´s partner on R&D for the Itanium, already jumped off the wagon. It would be wise if SGI started to evaluate AMD offerings for its Altix product lines just as a fail safe (or even consider completely replace Intel´s processors with AMD ones since Intel has been playing catch-up to AMD for quite some time). 2005-07-13 10:21 am Buck I wonder if only Linux can be used on this hardware… What about FreeBSD? 2005-07-13 11:26 am pravda This is what SGI is really talking about. At the bankruptcy sale, pennies on the dollar, so that will be $70 per 1U supercomputer. $70 is not a bad deal , all things considered. A decent machine with good FP performance and a museum piece as well. At long last, SGI figured out how to offer hardware at a good price. Hurrah. 2005-07-13 11:38 am haugland Damn. Itanic CPUs in a 1U configuration. Talk about thermal challenges. With a TDP of 100W+ SGI must have som serious cooling i those pizzaboxes. 2005-07-13 12:06 pm Since when has 20k at the entry price point been for the Masses? Depends on what you get and what you can use it for. 2005-07-13 12:17 pm Itanium gets a LOT of flak, some of which is deserved, some of which is not. As it stands, Altix is INCREDIBLY scalable – it beats hybrid-cluster systems such as the Cray XD1 or commodity x86/Myrinet clusters into dirt for almost linear scaling with cpu/job size. However, the two big issues with itanium are compilers and proce. When we had an Itanium2 system to test, the version of ICC at the time realy struggled in some cases – sometimes the output codes were blazing fast, sometimes they were rubbish compared to a P3 of the same clock speed. When you consider what you can buy for your money, Itanium is simply too risky for uncertain performance characteristics – £20 buys you a 16-core opteron machine, which is more “conventional” to work with, and easier to get reasonablew performance from. Is ICC better now? probably. But that’s no guarantee, and a smart cluster admin, is going to think twice about sinking a lot of money into Altix. 2005-07-13 12:24 pm The masses aren’t interested in supercomputing. They are mostly interested in why the new version Freecell doesn’t have their favorite deck of cards. 2005-07-13 1:47 pm care to elaborate how hp jumped off the bandwagon? hp is still moving enterprise unix (a big business for them) from pa-risc to itanium…I see no other processor anywhere on the horizon. 2005-07-13 5:15 pm http://www.primidi.com/2003/12/01.html a little on streaming processor for supercomputers. 2005-07-13 10:37 pm Ronald Vos Now they’ve corrected their prices, could this mean SGI will eventually become relevant again, and that I should buy their stock which is at a record low? 2005-07-13 10:42 pm Ronald Vos That looks interesting. If chipbuilding didn’t cost a damn lot of money and expertise.. I would like to see AMD go at it It’s true that modern processors are extremely wasteful of processor cycles.