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Tyan samples eight-way Opteron board

'Graphics supercomputer'

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Computex 2005 Tyan has begun shipping what it claims is the first PCI Express motherboard for eight-way AMD-based servers, the company announced today.

Quantities are limited, however. Only customer samples are available now, with full-scale production commencing in Q3, the company admitted. The following quarter it will ship a barebones server, the Transport VX50, based on the new platform.

The Thunder K8QW system comprises Tyan's S4881 mobo, based on the Nvidia nForce Pro 2200 chipset and capable of running up to four AMD Opteron 800-class CPUs. There are two Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet controllers, and Serial ATA II support with RAID 0, 1 and 0+1, courtesy of the nForce.

The board provides three 64-bit PCI-X slots (two clocked at 100MHz, the other at 133MHz) and a pair of 16x PCI-E slots (one with 4x signalling, the other with 16x signalling), and Tyan expects the latter to be adopted by users keen to put eight-way box based on the K8QW to visualisation and modelling applications. Tyan claimed a fully kitted-out system based on the K8QW would be a "graphics supercomputer". Lesser applications can make use of the integrated ATI Rage XL graphics chip and onboard VGA port.

Space for the other four chips comes from a separate four-way daughterboard, the M4881, which provides four banks of DIMM slots (four slots per CPU) and HyperTransport links to the S4881. To reduce latency further, the four daughtercard CPUs are connected to each other directly rather than sequentially. The system as a whole can support up to 128GB of registered 400MHz DDR or 256GB of 266MHz DDR SDRAM.

While Tyan is pushing the K8QW as an eight-way board, it expects systems based on the mobo to sport dual-core Opteron 8xx chips, making it effectively a 16-way machine.

The VX50, meanwhile, can be implemented as a 5U rackmount or tower server. It adds eight hot-swap Serial ATA II or Ultra 320 SCSI drive bays, room for a slimline optical drive and a floppy drive, and 950W or 1350W redundant power supplies. ®

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