Feeds

SiCortex does desktop supercomputer

Cluster Catapult

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Supercomputing youngster SiCortex has done the inevitable by popping out a pint-sized version of its cluster in a container.

The new SC072 - code-named "Catapult" - fits 72 processors into a deskside unit that starts at less than $15,000. The system is a no brainer for SiCortex since it provides a more a digestible option for engineers, developers and those hoping to take the company's weird hardware for a test drive. In addition, the more compact unit lets SiCortex tap into a trend pioneered by now deceased Orion Multisystems of selling supercomputer class machines in a near PC form factor.

To date, SiCortex has shipped 5,832 and 648 processor machines. These cabinet-sized systems run on slow, power-friendly MIPS cores. This lets SiCortex pack a lot of horsepower in a relatively small amount of space, while keeping energy consumption low. The company has also focused on maintaining high internal bandwidth between all of the cores.

"SiCortex has introduced a new concept in high-performance computing by implementing a complete cluster node on a chip, including six 64-bit processors, multiple memory controllers, a high-performance cluster interconnect and a PCIexpress connection to storage and internetworking," the company said. "With a total of 72 processors, 48 GB memory, and 3 PCIexpress ports, the Catapult draws less than 200 watts of power and fits in standard PC chassis. This eliminates the heat and fan noise issues that have previously made it impossible to put such a large cluster in a deskside environment."

Shot of the PC-like Catapult system on a desk

Sicortex's Catapult

The system also has an Opteron node inside it for easy access to the x86 world.

The deskside cluster concept is expected to be all the rage at this year's Supercomputing conference taking place next week in Reno. The rise of multi-core chips has made it possible for hardware makers to give engineers direct access to beastly systems. Proving he's not always behind the times, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates backed the idea of a deskside cluster in 2005. ®

Register editor Ashlee Vance has just pumped out a new book that's a guide to Silicon Valley. The book starts with the electronics pioneers present in the Bay Area in the early 20th century and marches up to today's heavies. Want to know where Gordon Moore eats Chinese food, how unions affected the rise of microprocessors or how Fairchild Semiconductor got its start? This is the book for you - available at Amazon US here or in the UK here.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
VVOL update: Are any vendors NOT leaping into bed with VMware?
It's not yet been released but everyone thinks it's the dog's danglies
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.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.