[Beowulf] AMD 6100 vs Intel 5600

Hearns, John john.hearns at mclaren.com
Thu Apr 1 03:27:36 PDT 2010

> > Various vendors try various strategies to differentiate products
> based
> > on features.  For the most part HPC types care about performance per
> $,
> > performance per watt, and reliability.  I'd be pretty surprised to
> see large
> > HPC cluster built out of Nehalem-EX chips.

Look at the announcement yesterday of the SGI UV 10 - 4xNehalem EX and 512Gbytes memory in a
4U box. There will be similar spec boxes from other vendors. I can see this being a very attractive
workgroup solution.
There's a very good recent Linux Journal article by Doug Eadline - where he discusses the future direction of clusters (*)

Many workgroups have codes which scale to these 32- and 48-core sizes - why have a humungous cluster with expensive interconnects
when you can run a 32-way job on an SMP machine with a decent amount of RAM?

So my present dream system - a rack of 10 Ultraviolets, connected by 10gig Ethernet to a Blade systems rack top switch.
In a 42 U rack that leaves me with a 1U for a batch master/login/PXE boot node.
Connect it across to a rack of Panasas shelves, similarly with a 10gig racktop switch and you have a pretty powerful system - 
set your scheduler up to farm out jobs to each of these fat SMP nodes. If you do have a call for a bigger core count you can run
as a cluster over the 10gig links.


"These numbers are confirmed by a poll  from ClusterMoney.net where 55% of those surveyed used 32 or less cores for their applications. When the clouds start forming around 48-core servers using the imminent Magny Cours processor from AMD many applications may fit on one server and thus eliminate the variability of server-to-server communication."

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