IBM bladesmiths forge slim Cell system, SDK
Twice as many weapons in your rack, kensei
IBM has announced a new thinner Cell-based blade system, allowing twice as many units to be fitted per rack, and an SDK intended to ease development in the Cell Broadband Engine (Cell BE) environment.
Dubbed the IBM BladeCenter QS21, the new board is rated for peak performance of "approximately 460" Gflops, allowing 6.4 Teraflops in a single BladeCenter chassis and over 25.8 Teraflops in a standard 42U rack. IBM claims power efficiency, too, 1.05 Gflops per watt (or 3.8 quadrillion floating point operations per tenpenny kilowatt-hour, if you like). The QS21 and accompanying SDK for Multicore Acceleration Version 3.0 will be available from October.
According to Jim Comfort, IBM Global Engineering veep for Optimized Systems, the QS21 "incorporates not only twice the memory and density, but can now function either as a standalone blade server, or as a seamless addition to existing POWER or x86-based system."
The new blade in the armoury, as well as being slimmer, boasts an extra 2GB of I/O buffer memory. Together with the new SDK, IBM hope it will be snapped up by customers needing to run intensive graphics applications such as 3D rendering, compression and encryption. An image-rendering demo called "Interactive Ray Tracer" is available on IBM's alphaWorks website.
The SDK is designed to allow "partitioning of a customer application across a hybrid computing platform consisting of an x86 based system and one or more BladeCenter QS21s." IBM hopes this will encourage people to add QS21s to existing platforms.
Sony may be using Cell to power its charge on the living room in the PS3, but IBM are evidently looking more at the industries which provide content for that living room.®
XBox 360 Supercomputer?
BAM! Take that fanbois!
Seriously though, please *do not* cool your Cell supercomputer by submerging it in a bowl of water.
Maybe relocate to get cheaper juice?
With the electricity price you mention in the article, it would obviously be cost effective to move your computing center to a different location and/or get a different electricity supplier.
10p for a kWh is way over what one should have to pay these days: Even if I add the annual fee to my retailer and the transport cost to the company which owns the wires to my house, I pay only a fraction of that as a low-volume private buyer on the spot market.