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HP stuffs 3 GPGPUs into a pizza box server

Tries to offer pick and mix performance
Tue Oct 05 2010, 18:39

SERVER VENDOR HP has managed to stuff 8 GPGPUs into its modular 'blade' server.

Announcing the Proliant SL-series of servers at an 'enterprise' event in Barcelona, HP claimed that it now offers the world's most energy efficient server with its SL6500. However its energy efficient claims were restricted to when the chassis is kitted out with CPU blades.

Nevertheless, the SL6500 does appear to be the first hybrid blade system that offers both CPU and GPGPU in a single chassis. HP says that it can fit three GPGPUs in a single rack unit (1U) and put a total of eight in 4U.

Although HP would not publicly say which GPGPUs or 'accelerators' as server vendors like to call them, it would be using, The INQUIRER can confirm that it will include Nvidia's Tesla boards. That's quite an embarrassment for AMD which actually tipped up to Barcelona with HP and seemingly sponsored the demonstration of HP's kit with banners and all sorts of other marketing guff.

HP claims that its SL-series servers offer customers the ability to mix and match their infrastructure to needs. In short, one chassis can both run old hat servers such as web, database and email on traditional CPU blades, while the GPGPU blades can do high performance computing (HPC) jobs.

While HP did drop the glowing endorsement for power savings on SL-series kit that runs GPGPUs, in terms of performance per Watt, even Nvidia's often maligned Fermi based Tesla GPGPU boards perform extremely well.

For Nvidia it's another design win for the GPGPU group that is desperate to claim the top spot in the Top 500 list coming out next month. HP claimed that a rack of its SL6500 servers could easily make it into the Top 500, somewhere in the Top 150.

Perhaps HP, one of the more conservative server vendors, will use Nvidia GPGPUs to claim the bragging rights in the HPC game. µ



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