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Intel Xeon Phi 5110P cluster tops Green 500 list

Nvidia needs to take note
Thu Nov 15 2012, 14:52

CHIPMAKER Intel has seen the Xeon Phi accelerated Beacon cluster claim top spot in the Green 500 list.

As AMD and Nvidia celebrated their position at the summit of the Top 500 list that ranks publicly known high performance computing clusters based on Linpack performance, Intel scored what many would claim is an equally important victory. Appro's Xeon powered Beacon cluster that features Xeon Phi 5110P accelerator cards topped the Green 500 list.

Intel will be particularly happy with its top billing in the Green 500 list, which divides the Linpack performance number by the cluster's power usage to produce a MFLOPS/W value. Appro's Beacon cluster scored 2,500 MFLOPS/W, almost 150 MFLOPS/W higher than the second place cluster and over 250 MFLOPS/W higher than the AMD and Nvidia powered Titan cluster that sits on top of the Top 500 list.

Appro, which was bought by Cray last week, is only one of four vendors including Cray to make it into the Green 500's top 10. Most of those systems are IBM Bluegene clusters that use 16-core Power processors, though Cray and Appro take three of the top five spots, with Adtech coming in at number two on the list.

Nvidia could rightfully claim that the interconnect, the wires that connect the nodes in the cluster, is different. Appro's Beacon cluster uses the mature Infiniband interconnect while the two Cray clusters that feature Nvidia's Tesla K20 and Tesla K20X accelerator cards use Cray's leading edge Gemini interconnect that could see future improvements to reduce power utilisation.

Intel's Xeon Phi accelerator doesn't boast the same double-precision floating point peak TeraFLOPS rating as Nvidia's Tesla K20X, however given that the Xeon Phi already has higher power efficiency than the Nvidia accelerator cards, its future looks promising. µ


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