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Intel Xeon CPUs at the heart of fastest supercomputerBy Hanleigh Daniels 15 November 2010 | Categories: news
The world’s fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, was unveiled at HPC 2010 China last month. GPU maker Nvidia then revealed that this Chinese supercomputer, with its new performance record of 2.507 petaflops, as measured by the LINPACK benchmark, was powered by 7 168 Nvidia Tesla M2050 graphics processing units (GPUs) as well as over 14 000 CPUs.
Now Intel has revealed that the supercomputer, which is located at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, China, is powered by 14 396 Intel processors (Intel Xeon 5600 series processors) that along with the Nvidia GPUs provide the calculating oomph.
The 36th edition of the TOP500 list of supercomputers shows that almost 80% of the world’s top 500 systems operate on Intel CPUs, including four out of the top six systems.
“Our Xeon processor roadmap continues to deliver hugely powerful supercomputers that are helping solve mankind’s greatest challenges,” said Rajeeb Hazra, general manager of Intel’s High Performance Computing organisation.
“Securing the top position on the Top500 is a source of great pride for Intel, and demonstrates the tremendous leaps in performance and versatility that our processors are delivering across a range of compelling workloads.”
Nvidia stated however that if the Tianhe-1A only made use of central processors instead of both CPUs and graphics cards, then it would require more than 50 000 CPUs as well as double the amount of floor space in order to deliver the same performance. It would then also be three times less power efficient.
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