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SGI's dash away from cruel mistress Itanic continued this week in earnest with the delivery of the Xeon-based Altix ICE blade.

ICE doesn't stand for Itanium Cills Eams as you might expect but rather Integrated Compute Environment. And so you'll find the Altix ICE 8200 blade integrated with either dual- or four-core Xeon chips from Intel. A rack full of 8200s will hold 512 cores with Intel's four-core Clovertown chippy.

The 8200 proves Infiniband rich with a pair of 20 Gbit/second links per blade card.

"By dedicating a Gigabit Ethernet network for administrative tasks, SGI has freed up the 20 Gb/second DDR Infiniband connection for compute traffic," SGI said. "For optimal dynamic communication, the new system also utilizes a hierarchical network topology that requires no external switching."

The SGI blades ship sans internal disk but with water cooled cabinets as an option. So, if your data center runs hot and you've got a bunch of Fibre Channel boxes sitting around, you're in luck.

SGI has aimed the Altix 8200 at the high performance computing set. So, it's not surprising to see the system ship with SLES 10, SGI's ProPack 5 tuning and workflow software and the Altair PBS Pro 9.0 workload management package.

A 512-core system is list priced at $350,000. ®

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