[Beowulf] El Reg: AMD reveals potent parallel processing breakthrough

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed May 8 06:41:44 PDT 2013

The game console business is a strange one, and I don't know that it has
much to bring to the HPC world (whoa, that will provoke some comment).
Sure, razzle dazzle graphics engines wind up in game consoles, but those
same engines wind up in other form factors.   People DO build
supercomputers with special purpose processors (physics engines), but the
lack of availability of people to program them probably makes the original
Beowulf concept of "commodity PC with fast interconnect" very, very
attractive.  Ultimately, you need to get useful work done, and that takes
fast hardware and people to program that hardware.

For every person skilled at programming nVidia, or Cell, or
whoosiewhatsit, you can probably hire 1000 people to grind out C code on a
 (anyone looking for a job programming SPARC V8 or doing verilog on FPGA
or, even better, both at the same time, and interested in working at JPL
in sunny southern California, send me your resume instantly)

On 5/8/13 2:29 AM, "Vincent Diepeveen" <diep at xs4all.nl> wrote:

>On May 6, 2013, at 3:17 AM, Christopher Samuel wrote:
>> Hash: SHA1
>> On 04/05/13 16:32, Eugen Leitl wrote:
>>> Purportedly, there will be something resembling the PS4 architecture
>>> for the PC market. That would be an APU with 8 cores and stacked
>>> memory.
>> Also interesting that Microsofts next XBox (720) will also be AMD,
>> with similar specs to the PS4.
>Seems like a lifeline for AMD. Question is why they can deliver it
>that cheap knowing they're a full generation behind intel.
>The first ps3 incarnation had a max power usage of around a 380 watt.
>Maybe that's why Sony doesn't care?

Nobody cares how much power a game console draws, as long as it's not more
than you can pull from a standard socket. Figure, for the US market, 7Amps
at 110V, or 770 W.
The TV you're displaying the game on draws several hundred watts.  The
not-very-efficient sound system draws several hundred watts.

The only issue with power dissipation is keeping the internal temperatures
reasonable without needing a noisy fan. (quiet fan is ok)

>In itself the total number of customers that potentially can buy from
>you has increased dramatically, meanwhile they sold
>less playstations than their first incarnations.

I don't know about the market size.. It's growing, certainly, but people
eking out an existence at $30/month in a factory in Bangaladesh aren't
likely to be buying game consoles. I suspect that the total number of
people able to buy a console, of any brand, isn't rising all that fast.
(Hard to know about China's growing middle class.. Certainly a growing

I think it's more about software availability, etc.
A sampling of my kids' friends seems to rate Xbox/360 better than PS/3 for
a variety of reasons. Could be just marketing and not technical
superiority (not that Sony would know anything about that..)

>I see a report of 77 million were sold by januari 2013. That's a lot
>less if we take into account sales of PS1 and PS2,
>and especially fact that market has grown significantly.

I don't think anyone is still using their PS/1, or even the PS/2.  Ours is
gathering dust on the shelf, long since supplanted by the Wii and Xbox/360.

>Sony CEO maybe still living in past times? I bet he could get a chip
>from AMD dirt cheap - yet it'll eat massive power.

Who cares how much power it draws..  Certainly not the user, except
insofar as more power means more expensive power supply which raises the
price of the overall box (slightly).

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