Feeds

SGI bakes denser superbricks

Made possible by MIPS

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Silicon Graphics will debut a 128-node, single system image NUMA system at the Supercomputing 2002 show next week, cranking up the density of the Origin series.

For a while now, SGI has hinted that the low power, low thermal characteristics of the MIPS chip (one eighth of an Itanic core) would allow it to build denser systems than those created by rivals, and the Origin 3900 marks an aggressive debut. Four 3900s can be connected to create a 512-CPU shared memory system.

The base system doesn't leave you much change from $3 million, but SGI justifiably claims that the shared memory, single system image (it's NUMA, rather than SMP) architecture is more flexible than clusters of cheap commodity PC clusters. In addition to offering each process access to more memory, SSI systems offer better manageability. SGI aims a pointed barb at configurations which place undue emphasis on "unsustainable theoretical peak performance," ie PC processors linked together with interconnects that are compromised on latency and bandwidth.

SGI has also been working on collaborative software: we've had an impressive hands on with the Visual Area Networking, which allows dispersed sites to collaborate and can even render the output to wireless handhelds. (You lose a bit of detail, obviously). SGI has also enhanced its SAN-style CXFS cluster file system, although SGI told us earlier this year that storage systems won't be a primary focus for the company.

The vogue for high density, low power systems also gives SGI's boutique MIPS systems an advantage. Green Density, an experimental Alamos system using Transmeta processors gained widespread coverage earlier this year.

If there's a "renaissance" in high performance computing, it's because the federal budgets haven't been so abundant for twenty years. And by an extraordinary stroke of good fortune, oil exploration is now a primary factor guiding foreign policy, too.®

Related Stories

SGI raises the Itanic
SGI stays with MIPS at high-end
SGI to develop MIPS chips for Origin, Onyx
Transmeta blades power landmark supercomputer breakthrough
US tax payers shovel $10m into Cray R&D

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
VMware vaporises vCHS hybrid cloud service
AnD yEt mOre cRazy cAps to dEal wIth
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?