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NASA ditches Itanic for new Xeon-based SGI giant

20,480 cores on the Moon

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NASA has once again turned to SGI for a massive supercomputer.

The two organizations announced today that SGI will build a whopping 20,480-core system for NASA Ames in Mountain View, California. The giant will run on four-core versions of Intel's Xeon chip and should reach peak performance of 245 Teraflops, which would make it one of the fastest computers in the world. The system, centered around SGI's Altix ICE hardware, will also boast - gulp - 20,800 GB of memory and 450TB of storage.

The computer will also be water-cooled and run Suse Linux.

NASA plans to use this unit to help with jobs related to future manned missions to the moon and for aeronautics and science research.

This system is of particular note because of SGI's past at NASA. A few years back, SGI built a 10,000 processor supercomputer for NASA around Intel's Itanium chips. That computer - dubbed Columbia - was one of the top three boxes in the world during its heyday.

NASA appears to have shunned the Itanic this time around, which makes us wonder if we'll ever see Itanium crack the top ten again.

In addition, SGI and Intel helped NASA out an awful lot on the Columbia box, offering up hardware at a very steep discount. We're waiting to hear how much this system will cost. ®

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