Feeds

Nvidia snaps out snappier Tesla GPU coprocessors

All fired up on all 512 cores

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Do the math

When you add it up, the faster clocks and memory and the higher core count add up to somewhere between a 20 and 30 per cent improvement in performance, thus:

Nvidia Tesla M2090 performance

Tesla M2090: Your performance improvement may vary

By the raw numbers, the M2090 is rated at 665 gigaflops at double-precision and 1.33 teraflops at single-precision, or 29.1 per cent more than the M2070 it replaces. The M2090 delivers 178GB/sec of memory bandwidth, up from 148GB/sec with the M2070.

And here's the kicker: the M2090s go faster but are still within the same 225 watt peak power draw of the earlier and slower M2050 and M2070 devices. Of course, your actual power draw will depend on the workload and how it stresses the GPU coprocessor.

But its not just speed and power requirements that are pushing the coprocessor envelope: the big innovation that is helping with the adoption of GPU accelerators for supercomputing and other analytics jobs is not the GPU, but the server that wraps around them.

"We're beginning to see server makers respond to what customers want," Gupta tells El Reg. "Once customers start using GPUs, they want more GPUs in a box and fewer CPUs."

Gupta calls out HP's new ProLiant SL390s G7, which can cram eight GPUs into a two-socket tray server in a half-width 4U tray, which was soft-launched back in April. The Tesla M2050 and M2070 GPU coprocessors were already certified in this machine, as is the new M2090. That full configuration gives customers a ratio of four GPUs per socket – but, oddly enough, this is not actually good enough. For most HPC applications, one GPU per CPU core is what the applications really need, says Gupta.

On a two-socket server, if you backstep from a six-core Xeon 5600 to a four-core model (such as the Xeon X5667 launched in February), you can get things into balance. At least until there is an eight-core Xeon chip.

Perhaps the better answer, you're thinking, might be to do what Nvidia has already done for workstation graphics back at the end of March, and double-up the GPUs on a double-wide card.

The GTX 590 graphics card has two 512-core Fermi chips running at 1.22GHz with 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory per chip running at 1.77GHz. Nvidia does not provide floating-point performance ratings on the GTX 590, but it should be somewhere around 1.24 teraflops double-precision. With six of these GTX 590 cards in a 3U chassis, an HP ProLiant SL390s would be able to use six-core Xeon 5600 chips and have one GPU per CPU core.

The only trouble is, however, that the GTX 590s are aimed at workstations, not servers, and have fans on them that might mess up the airflow in the server chassis. Moreover, the GTX 590 cards pull down 365 watts of power, and are therefore a bit more power dense than the M2090, which has half as many GPUs but four times as much GDDR5 memory per Fermi chip. If your HPC app needs more GPU and less GPU memory, this is worth thinking about, if your server can handle the cooling job on multiple GTX 590s – and you can actually get your hands on them.

The GTX 590 will win, hands down, on price, at $699. The M2090 is probably going to cost somewhere around $4,100 to $4,700, if it is priced like the M2070 it replaces. Nvidia does not provide official pricing on the fanless M20 series of GPU coprocessors, which is silly.

Last week, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang lamented that the Professional Solutions business, where workstation graphics and Tesla co-processors live inside Nvidia, was not doing as well as expected, and part of the problem would seem to be that Nvidia is trying to charge too much money for the fanless GPUs. The price disparity between the GTX 590 and the M2090 is too large, plain and simple. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.