[Beowulf] thunderbolt?

Ellis H. Wilson III ellis at runnersroll.com
Fri Feb 25 07:53:31 PST 2011

On 02/25/11 10:07, Jonathan Dursi wrote:
> On 2011-02-25, at 9:56AM, Ellis H. Wilson III wrote:
>> I guess I'm lost on why this would be really useful, especially from a
>> beowulfery perspective.  It's not like any sane Beowulfer would pay a
>> premium for Macs just to have this interconnect when they could just get
>> some old IB hardware.
> It's not an Apple thing, it's an Intel thing; presumably it'll be 
> rolled out on PC hardware soon enough too (and I think if this had
> first been introduced on (say) Dell boxes we wouldn't be seeing the 
> knee-jerk skepticism from some corners that we are.)  It looks like
> it comes built into the chipsets, eg, you wouldn't need a separate 
> "thunderbolt" board.

I noticed the non-exclusivity after my post and although I admit I'd
prefer to see this rolled out first by a company that doesn't pride
itself on closed and overpriced hardware and software, my skepticism
isn't primarily founded on the technology's origins.  I still think
(certainly for the average consumer) this type of product is largely
useless, since at the end of the day you either need to have all that
data cached in RAM (with this tech and 8 gigs of RAM you're looking at
like 5-10 seconds of transfer, presuming the source can read data to you
at that maximum rate) or on the HDD/SSD.  Until manufacturers start
concentrating on the massive I/O performance gap that has been growing
since the late 70s any further advancements on these fronts is in my
opinion, fruitless.

> Whether it scales up remains to be seen, of course, but hooking up 
> a bunch of machines to something approximating a shared PCIe bus 
> with no additional hardware seems like it could be genuinely 
> interesting, if it works like that.   If not, well hey, it's a fast adapter
> bus, and faster data transfer is good, even if just to peripherals.

Peripherals which probably can't operate at 1.2GB/s (provided you don't
have a SAN in your home).


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