Server makers wrap iron around Nvidia GPUs
How many Teslas can you screw into a chassis?
Super Micro wants to ride the ceepie-geepie wave and to sell lots of systems to customers who don't want to pay the IBM, Dell, or HP premium. At the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan this week, Super Micro is showing off two forthcoming CPU-GPU hybrid rack servers that provide slightly more GPU density than the current machines it sells and sport the Nvidia M2090 coprocessor, too.
The SuperServer 1026GT-TRF-FM307 ceepie-geepie
The first new GPU-designed machine is the SuperServer 1026GT-TRF-FM307 is a 1U rack server that has three of the double-wide Tesla M2090 GPU coprocessors crammed into the box, with 20 fans to keep air moving inside the chassis – and not counting the fans in the redundant 1,800 watt power supplies, which are rated at 94 per cent efficiency. The CPU part of the system is based on a Super Micro mobo with two Intel Xeon 5500 or 5600 series processors and using the Intel 5520 chipset. The system board has six SATA ports, and the chassis has room for four hot-swap 2.5-inch SATA drives that mount in ahead of the mobo at the front of the chassis. After plugging in the three Tesla GPUs, there is a single PCI-Express 2.0 x8 slot open for peripheral expansion.
The SuperServer 202GT-TRF-FM407 is a 2U rack server with a single dual-socket motherboard based on Intel's Xeon 5500/5600 processors that runs down the middle of the chassis. That server supports up to 96GB of main memory and has two Gigabit Ethernet ports on the system board for clustering. The unit puts four Tesla GPUs into the chassis, two on the left front and two on the right front, stacked atop each other and the motherboard (made by Super Micro itself) has four PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots, one for each Tesla GPU.
The unit has room for ten 2.5-inch disk drives, which hot plug into the front of the chassis; the board only has six SATA ports, so four of them are spares. The unit comes with redundant 1,800 watt power supplies that are rated at 94 per cent efficiency.
The SuperServer 202GT-TRF-FM407 ceepie-geepie
It is not clear when these Super Micro CPU-GPU hybrids will be available; the company had not responded for requests for availability and pricing at press time.
Over at IBM, one of the preferred platforms for CPU-GPU hybrid computing is the iDataPlex hybrid, which is a cross between a blade and rack server that comes in a double-wide, half-depth rack that packs up to 84 servers into a single chassis. (The other is the BladeCenter GPU expansion blade for its HS22 blade servers.)
This week, the iDataPlex dx360 M3, announced last May, is updated to support Nvidia's Tesla M2090 GPU co-processors. Customers buying iDataPlex dx360 M3 servers will be able to use these M2090 GPUs, which are fanless and rely on the cooling in the server chassis and rack to keep them from melting.
IBM is also, however, going on the cheap and allowing customers to plug Nvidia's Quadro 4000 and 5000 series of graphics cards, which can run the same CUDA software as the Tesla coprocessors, into the iDataPlex dx360 M3 machines. All three GPU options will ship on July 29 and are paired with two-socket servers in the iDataPlex chassis using Xeon 5500 or 5600 series chips. IBM does not provide public pricing for the iDataPlex line. ®
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