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Nvidia Tesla K20 GPGPUs power Eurora cluster to 3.15 GFLOPS/W

Trounces Intel's Xeon Phi at the top of the Green 500
Thu Jan 31 2013, 08:00

BOLOGNA: HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING (HPC) vendor Eurotech has announced that its latest Aurora Tigon cluster has achieved 3.15 GigaFLOPS per Watt (GFLOPS/W) using Intel Xeon processor chips and Nvidia Tesla K20 GPGPU accelerator boards.

Eurotech announced its Aurora Tigon HPC product last year but wouldn't release specifications of the nodes at the time other than saying it is a hybrid cluster. Now the firm has announced that a cluster installed in Italy's Cineca HPC datacenter hit an average of 3.15 GLOPS/W using Nvidia Tesla K20 GPGPU accelerators and Intel Xeon E5-2687W processors.

Eurotech's Aurora Tigon cluster is being used by the Eurora research project that is investigating HPC power usage and efficiency. The 3.15 GFLOPS/W figure was derived from experiments carried out by researchers on the Eurora project during multiple runs over two days and means that the Intel Xeon Phi Beacon cluster will be displaced from the top spot on the Green 500 list come May.

Intel's Xeon Phi accelerator helped the Beacon cluster take the top spot on the last Green 500 list, which takes the Linpack performance figures from the Top 500 list and divides it by the total cluster power draw, with an impressive score of 2.5 GFLOPS/W.

Even taking into account experimental variance, Eurotech's Aurora Tigon cluster is a big step up in HPC efficiency.

Eurotech talked up the use of ambient watercooling in the Aurora Tigon cluster, telling The INQUIRER that the system uses de-ionised water with an anti-fungal additive, the same liquid computer gaming enthusiasts use in their consumer watercooled systems.

Giampietro Tecchiolli, CTO of Eurotech told The INQUIRER that the the Aurora Tigon clusters use no fans for cooling, and added that the water coursing through the compute nodes can be as hot as 55C and still effectively cool them. Each Aurora Tigon node has two Nvidia Tesla K20 boards, each of which has a TDP of 225W, and two Intel Xeon E5-2687W processors that each have a TDP of 150W, for a total TDP per node of 750W.

While the Cineca Aurora Tigon cluster is unlikely to get anywhere near the top rung of the Top 500 list in May, the Green 500 has become the benchmark for HPC cluster efficiency.

It seems that Intel will need to work hard to put Xeon Phi accelerator boards into a cluster that is at least 30 percent more energy efficient if it wants to have a chance of holding on to the top spot on the Green 500. µ


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