Feeds

IBM shows off Power7 HPC monster

Big Blue unveils big box: Crowd goes wild

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

As we had been anticipating, IBM is indeed dropping the clock speeds of the Power7 chips down, and IBM now confirms that for this Power7 IH MCM, clock speeds will range from 3.5GHz to 4GHz. The current Power6+ chips top out at 5 GHz, but only have two cores per chip and fewer execution units. IBM says that this single package will deliver just north of one teraflops of number-crunching power using just the floating point units.

At 800 watts, the package is not cool by any means, but the Power7 IH MCM is delivering performance at 1.28 gigaflops per watt at the package level. A Xeon 5500 chip from Intel can do four floating point operations per core, or 16 across four cores in a single die, and that means the top-speed X5570 running at 2.93GHz and rated at 95 watts can deliver 46.9 gigaflops, or only 493 megaflops per watt at the chip level.

Dropping down to the 80-watt E5540 helps a bit, delivering 506 megaflops per watt, and stepping down to the 60-watt L5530 running at 2.4 GHz gives you 640 megaflops per watt. The Power7 module is precisely twice as good, but you can damned sure bet it will cost a lot more than twice as much.

The Power7 IH node, as you can see in this picture, is not small. It is 39 inches wide by 6 feet deep, including space for cables. The IH node drawer is 2U high and it has room for eight of these Power7 IH MCMs, for a total of 256 cores. There are two monster motherboards underpinning the processors and their memory and the hub/switch and its interconnects. These mobos are manufactured by Japanese server maker Hitachi and Benner said that these were one of the largest motherboards ever made.

Power7 IH HPC Server Node

The Power7 IH HPC server node

The IH nodes are completely water-cooled, with water blocks on the Power7 MCM packages, on the 8 GB DDR3 memory modules IBM had specially designed for the box, and on the Power7 IH hub/switches, which were not given a proper name yet.

The memory modules include buffers on the DIMMs, which IBM also designed, to help accelerate their performance. There are 16 DIMM slots per socket in the Power7 IH node, and IBM is using 8GB DIMMs, yielding 4GB per core.

A total of 1TB of main memory is on each drawer, and the fully loaded Blue Waters box will have 2PB of main memory. IBM is being a bit cagey about the memory architecture, but the Power7 chips have some features to implement a kind of global address space (not cache coherent shared memory like in SMP and NUMA servers). It will be interesting to see how this global address space memory is architected and how it performs.

In this picture, the power supplies are to the right, and moving leftward are banks of DDR3 memory, the eight Power7 IH MCM sockets, another bank of memory, the IH hub/switch modules with optical links going out to the left and right (the orange cables), which route out to the back and come out as optical links to other server nodes in a cluster. The left side of the chassis (which is the back of the rack in the Blue Waters machine) is also where there are 16 PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots and an extra x8 slot just for the heck of it.

Reducing security risks from open source software

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*
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.