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SGI births smaller baby super

Resurrecting the ghost of Octane

High performance access to file storage

Mucho Mobo

The mobo that SGI is using for this personal super configuration have a dozen memory slots, for a max of 96 GB of memory per node, and one 2.5-inch SATA drive per node. The board has two Gigabit Ethernet ports and an optional InfiniBand adapter. These boards cannot have graphics adapters. The fully loaded machine has 80 cores, 960 GB of memory, and redundant links into the server nodes and is rated at 726 gigaflops using the L5520 processors.

Because El Reg believes in positive reinforcement, SGI should get a cookie for saying that the base price of this configuration is $7,995 including one Xeon board with 24 GB of memory and the Gigabit Ethernet switch.

The third configuration is the OC3-19DV1, which is a variant of the deskside cluster that crams nineteen MicroSlice nodes into the chassis, each one sporting a single Atom 330 processor. These run at 1.6 GHz and have a mere 1 MB of cache on the chip. This variant uses Gigabit Ethernet only as the network fabric and has only a single 2.5-inch disk on the head node in the cluster.

Each Atom node has a maximum of 2 GB of main memory, and it can have a total of 38 cores. This particular setup is not really aimed at the number-crunching style of HPC workloads, but rather the distributed Web 2.0 style of apps, and is only intended to be a development machine. No price for this version of the Octane III.

The Octane III chassis can plug into two 15-amp, 120-volt wall plugs to power itself, one 20-amp, 120-volt plug, or one 20-amp 208-230-volt plug. All of the nodes turn on and off with a single power switch, and the boxes come preconfigured from SGI's factory in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

All three of these configurations are available immediately. The workstation or clustered nodes can be configured with Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Novell SUSE Linux or Windows Server 2008 or Windows HPC Server 2008. The Linux cluster configurations can also be equipped with SGI's ProPack math library and Linux tunings for SGI as well as its ISLE cluster manager and Altair's PBS Pro batch scheduler.

Looking ahead, Noer says that SGI is working on a 19-node machine that uses the new Xeon 3400 "Lynnfield" processors for single-socket mother boards. The Xeon 3400s, which are part of the Nehalem family in that they support QuickPath Interconnect, made their debut two weeks ago.

These quad-core Xeon 3400 chips will have a lot more oomph than the Atom chips and their mobos and the chips themselves cost a lot less than the Xeon 5500s and their mobos. Which means the Octane III nodes based on the Xeon 3400s will offer much better bang for the buck. No word on when these might ship, however. SGI is keeping mum for now. ®

High performance access to file storage

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