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Nvidia's Fermi GPUs get squeezed into blade servers

Blades of glory
Mon Jul 19 2010, 16:59

RUSSIAN SERVER VENDOR T-Platforms has announced that it will be selling blade servers featuring Nvidia Tesla GPGPU boards.

The brave move will see T-Platforms provide ultra high density high performance computing (HPC) machines that use Nvidia's latest Fermi based Tesla boards for computation. The vendor is saying that its HPC servers will have "aggressive power-saving schemes for heterogeneous environments in its Clustrx OS, dynamically switching GPGPU-based nodes on and off depending on the actual workload."

Blade servers mount large numbers of individual servers, or 'blades', vertically in order to increase computational density within a standard 19-inch rack. The servers are typically thinner than the standard 1U rack unit, meaning that cooling becomes a serious issue. It is surprising then that T-Platforms has managed to pack lots of Fermi-based boards into such a confined space. However if it's able to do so, it might perhaps mitigate some of the heat concerns that had been widely reported earlier.

Nvidia is about to see greater competition from other GPGPU accelerator vendors including AMD, which is readying the launch of its Firestream products. AMD has pledged that its GPGPU boards will come in at lower thermal design power (TDP) than Nvidia's top-end Fermi Tesla units, which should make them even more viable for inclusion in high density HPC servers.

T-Platform's HPC blade system will be unveiled at a GPGPU technology conference starting tomorrow.

We expect other HPC and GPGPU accelerator vendors to make similar announcements as they try to capitalise on the negative press associated with Nvidia's Fermi architecture. µ


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