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Cray XT-3 Ships

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the and-they-mean-ships dept.

AMD 260

anzha writes "Cray's XT-3 has shipped. Using AMD's Opteron processor, it scales to a total of 30,580 CPUs. The starting price is $2 million for a 200 processor system. One of its strongest advantages over the std linux cluster is that it has an excellent interconnect built by Cray. Sandia National Labs and Oak Ridge National Labs are among the very first customers. Read more here."

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Oh no! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629019)

Second first post today! No anon posts for me for awhile! Vote Durden!!

Must get one (-1, Redundant)

PyraX (825376) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629020)

I wonder if they can run doom 3 any good...
Are there benchmarks for the Cray super computers anywhere?

Imagine... (1, Troll)

twenty-exty-six (772817) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629021)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of those. Please don't hit me...

How many girls are there on Slashdot? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629353)

I won't hit you geek if you tell me how many girls there are on Slashdot and what their nicks are! And I don't want to know about any bull-dykes or left-wing hags - only healthy, libertarian-minded ladies will do (and I'll do them, hehe).

So, spit it out, geek!

unf unf unf unf (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629022)

I AM THE CRAY 9000

imagine a... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629026)

single node of those.

Re:imagine a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629111)

or a single node in a beowulf cluster of beowulf clusters... wait a tic, that would be a beowulf cluster!

Re:imagine a... (1, Interesting)

catch23 (97972) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629287)

Man a single node is $20,000?? I could build a pretty good opteron system for $2000.... so the other 18 goes to the interconnect? $2 million is a lot for only 200 processors.

Re:imagine a... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629347)

*rolls eyes*

When you have a single CPU, designing the system to be pretty fast is easy. There's no major contention to deal with.

Two CPUs? Slightly harder, but reasonably straightforward. You don't see a 2x improvement in speed over one CPU, but it's around 1.95x, give or take a bit.

Four CPUs? Now you're starting to see less improvement ... probably around 3.2x, because of all the contention issues.

Sixty-four CPUs? You'll be lucky to get a 50x speed up over a single CPU.

When you get to 200 CPUs, the issue of access to shared memory and other shared resources becomes critically important. It's also an issue that most computer buyers don't need to worry about, because they don't have 200 CPUs in their system. This means that you have a lot of highly specialised research going on, and relatively few buyers to spread the cost of that research over.

Two million for a 200 CPU box which has low latency, low contention, and solid reliability is not a lot at all. You might not buy it. That doesn't mean nobody will.

My new dream toy (2, Funny)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629028)

Gotta save up for this gamer's dream machine. Now taking donations...

Re:My new dream toy (3, Funny)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629297)

Maybe if you included promises of free iPods...

How big is it? (3, Interesting)

rooijan (746599) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629031)

I read the article (okay, so I kinda read it :-) ) and it has the speed and specs to be a geek's improvement on sliced bread. But how big is it, physically?

The article doesn't appear to mention its dimensions, and I'm curious to know what kind of space you need to install this baby. Anyone got any idea?

Re:How big is it? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629056)

Dimensions (cabinet): H 80.50 in. (2045 mm) x W 22.50 in. (572 mm) x D 56.75 in. (1441 mm)

Weight (maximum): 1529 lbs per cabinet (694 kg)

http://www.cray.com/products/xt3/specifications. ht ml

Re:How big is it? (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629062)

The weight is 1529 lbs per cabinet (694 kg). Imagine lugging that up to your 5th floor walkup apartment....

How big it is (2, Informative)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629075)

from TFA -

Dimensions (cabinet):

H 80.50 in. (2045 mm) x W 22.50 in. (572 mm) x D 56.75 in. (1441 mm)

Sorry to reply twice but I forgot this detail.

Re:How big is it? (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629116)

Sibling posts already gave the spec, but I believe the size of a system like this is rather insignificant.

If you're paying 2 million and upwards for a thing like this you probably can afford an appropriate space with appropriate climate control.

(OK, so some people cram ${car_price * 10} worth of HIFI equipment into a ${small_japanese_car}, but I doubt anyone would want one of these installed in their closet...)

I'll pass for now. (3, Funny)

mrjb (547783) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629033)

This is only the XT-3. I'll wait for the Pentium-3-4.

Re:I'll pass for now. (2, Funny)

Pleione (825378) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629136)

Don't you mean "AT/ATX"?

we're getting closer... (5, Funny)

nilbog (732352) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629035)

A few more years of advances like this and we might have a machine capable of running Longhorn!

Re:we're getting closer... (3, Funny)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629094)


Ahh, now that's what I call an optimist.

Re:we're getting closer... (2, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629128)

"A few more years of advances like this and we might have a machine capable of running Longhorn!"

A few more years of computer advances and this joke will still be modded funny!

Re:we're getting closer... (1)

Pleione (825378) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629141)

Oh, quiet you...it was funny...sort of...well not really but you know what I mean?

Re:we're getting closer... (2, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629191)

"Oh, quiet you...it was funny...sort of...well not really but you know what I mean?"

It was funny like a year ago. Now it's as overused as an SNL skit.

Re:we're getting closer... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629271)

sarcastic clapping family was the best snl skit ever

$2 million for a computer? (3, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629036)

It better have a lot of good games. How many mouse buttons does it have?

I can't believe people complain about the price of iMacs....

Re:$2 million for a computer? (1)

Maniac-X (825402) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629378)

It's a supercomputer. You use it for taking over the wor- I mean, things like rendering a feature-length CG movie. Or doing the special effects for Star Wars ep. 3 _

real FPU operations (4, Interesting)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629039)

How are the Opterons at standard FPU operations in double precision? SSE2 and friends are nice, unless you have to make compromises in your simulations.

I ask, because I remember that the Athlons beat the pants off the Pentium 4's in FPU operations, so all the benchmarks were rewritten to use SSE2.

Re:real FPU operations (4, Informative)

jmv (93421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629071)

Opterons beat the pants off the Pentium 4s in x87 (i.e. old) FPU operations. If you want to get good performance, you need SSE/SSE2. Both for AMD and Intel. For pure SSE, the Pentium 4s beat the Opterons mainly because of the clock speed, but for multi-processor systems, the hyper-transport and all more than makes up for that.

Re:real FPU operations (1)

Pleione (825378) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629151)

Isn't the P4 a generation behind the Opteron? What about 3DNowPro!, doesn't that stand for something?

Re:real FPU operations (1)

Dogers (446369) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629187)

I think 3dnow pro doesnt really include enough "extra" stuff to be worthwhile. It's mostly made up of the SSE instructions..
http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processor s/ProductInforma tion/0,,30_118_756_3734%5E3738,00.html

Re:real FPU operations (3, Insightful)

jmv (93421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629273)

Both SSE and 3DNow! get you (in theory, at best) two adds and two multiplies per clock cycle, even on an Opteron. So yes, just because of the clock, the P4 beats the Opteron in the case of pure (no memory/cache access, no depencency, nothing else) float operation. Now, in real life, you sometimes spend longer waiting for the data than computing with it and that's how the Opteron quite often comes out on top, especially for multi-processors.

Re:real FPU operations (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629155)

Yeah, yeah, SSE... Nice, if you can manage your data properly aligned and don't mind manual assembler coding (even intel's compiler does so-so job at vectoring). Still, even then you don't get trigonometry, for instance.

Re:real FPU operations (5, Interesting)

jmv (93421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629300)

Couple facts about SSE:
1) You can use it in scalar mode, in which case it's almost like x87, only a bit faster because:
a) It doesn't use a braindead register model (stack)
b) On P4, you can do a mul and an add in parallel with SSE, but not with x87
2) You can use SSE intrinsics. It's not as easy as "normal" programming, but easier than assembly and almost the same speed.
3) Unaligned access is possible. It's slower than aligned access, but overall better than non-vectorized code.
4) Trig is so slow that SSE/x87 doesn't matter (unless you write approximations, in which case SSE will also be faster).

Re:real FPU operations (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629097)

I seem to remember it being the other way around.

Anyway, it depends on how you're using the floating point numbers: the standard 387 FPU instructions are faster, but the superscalar operations are more efficient when used in their intended role of vector calculations.

Or so I've heard. YMMV.

(BTW: nice sig...)

Re:real FPU operations (1)

Maniac-X (825402) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629409)

http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/20030422/opteron-1 9.html Looks to me like the opterons pretty much beat the pants off of barton 3000+'s in most FPU ops, but a few are only by a slim margin. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that there's two opterons, and only one barton. Its probably better to compare the dual opterons to the dual xeons... in which case the opterons did 2-3x better, in everything but mflops. But that probably has to do with the xeon's having almost twice the frequency of the opterons. (the xeons were 3.06GHz, and the opterons were 1.8GHz)

Heat... (1, Interesting)

Gurezaemon (663755) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629040)

I can't even begin to imagine what sort of heat this thing would put out, or what sort of power requirements it would have.

You don't have to begin to imagine (3, Informative)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629082)

You could just read on the spec page: Power: 14.8 kVA (14.5 kW) per cabinet. Circuit Requirement: 80 AMP at 200/208 VAC (3 Phase & Ground), 63 AMP at 400 VAC (3 Phase, Neutral & Ground) Cooling Requirement: Air Cooled, Air Flow: 3000 cfm (1.41 m3/s) Intake: bottom, Exhaust: top.

Re:You don't have to begin to imagine (5, Interesting)

fbform (723771) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629312)


More interesting is this spec:

Acoustical Noise Level: 75 dBa at 3.3 ft (1.0 m)

For comparison, that's roughly the same as an average vacuum cleaner when you're operating it, or maybe a good-sized pickup truck passing you in the next lane.

And remember, this value is *per cabinet*. You have to do a weighted sum over all the cabinets in an installation to get a true dB level. I wonder whether the maintenance people will have to use noise-level exposure limits for this baby.

And here I was, complaining about the quiet whine of my PC's fan.

Re:You don't have to begin to imagine (4, Interesting)

pchan- (118053) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629331)

Power: 14.8 kVA (14.5 kW) per cabinet.

that's amazing. how did the cray guys get a kilovolt-ampere that is not equal to a kilowatt? just goes to show you the power of fast interconnects.

Re:You don't have to begin to imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629354)

I believe they are used differently, W or kW is usually normal usage, where as VA or kVA i used for the startup power.

Electric motors have much higher VA rating than W.

Re:You don't have to begin to imagine (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629375)

it is quite possible for kVA != kW, it all depends on the relative phase of the current and the voltage...

14.5kW would just be the real component of power, i.e. heat dissipated
this leaves - using pythagoras' theorem - an imaginary component of power of 2.96kVA

Re:You don't have to begin to imagine (5, Informative)

wronskyMan (676763) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629376)

Disclaimer: IANACEBIATAPEC (I Am Not A Cray Engineer But I Am Taking A Power Engineering Course)
It's fairly common to get a KVA !=KW.
Overall power used by a load is expressed as S=P+jQ, where P is the "real" power and Q is the reactive power (capacitive/inductive from motors, fluorescent lamp ballasts, etc).

While the "units" of S, P, and Q are power=voltage*current, S is generally expressed in VA, P in W, and Q in VAR(volt-ampere reactive) to differentiate the variables. Because the magnitude of S=sqrt(P^2+Q^2), S will always be greater than or equal to P (in this case, 14.8kVA=sqrt((14.5kW)^2+(+-2.965kVAR)^2)

Just the name brings back memories (4, Informative)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629058)

In this day and age of very fast computers and clusters built in our basements, there sometimes comes along a story that whispers of the computing age of days long past. Cray is one of those names that can drop a jaw just by the mere utteration of the name.

The name is synonymous with speed and power and the unwillingness to cut corners in order to shave a few dollars off the final product. When you buy a Cray, you know you are getting top of the line hardware.

It looks like Sandia wants to build the fastest supercomputer in the world by clustering a few of these monsters, and I have no doubt that they will. Looks like more fun articles about this in the future. :-D

There are two prominent applications for these machines. The first is nuclear weapons simulation. Personally, I don't see the point to that. The other application is in weather prediction. By feeding in current weather variables into a well-written model, a supercomputer is able to predict to a large degree of accuracy the future weather. Such an application will always be welcome.

I think I'm going to have to fire up the old ][e, the nostalgia is killing me!

Nuclear Simulations (1)

dynamic_cast (250615) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629139)

The point is that if you simulate the effects of age on a warhead you don't have to do any realworld testing. It does no good to have a nuclear arsenal that is not capable of being used.

Re:Nuclear Simulations (0)

Jacer (574383) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629315)

I'm of a mind that it does no good to have nuclear arsenal.

Re:Nuclear Simulations (2, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629333)

you don't have to do any realworld testing

I admire your positive outlook on the prospects of simulations, but as an experimentalist, I find this "soon we won't need experiments at all" (see Rev. Mod. Phys. 64, 1045-1097 (1992), for instance) attitude very dangerous. Simulations and models, even at the first principles level, should never be trusted implicitly. They only sure way to tell how nature works is via experimentation.

I can sort of understand simulating nuclear explosions, but simulating the aging process of a warhead doesn't make that much sense to me - unless the simulations are accompanied by direct observation of the (accelerated) aging of a warhead.

scary thought (1)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629399)

how would you accelerate the aging of a warhead?
make the plutonium pit out of plutonium mixed with plutonium decay products, layered to match the cross-section of a genuine old warhead pit?

make the explosive pannels that are supposed to all go off perfectly semmetrically out of aging, unstable, unreliable explosives?

make the wiring exclusively out of decaying cables, which have the insulation falling off?

Hmm. better dismantle and scrap these guys as soon as any one part begins to go.

All the real life testing on even slightly aged warheads was done in the 1970s, and by the french in the 1990s. They now keep the models in sillico, and don't let the warheads age past the point where the model has been shown to hold by recycling them for components.

I really don't want to be anywhere near an artificially aged warhead.

Re:Just the name brings back memories (4, Informative)

joib (70841) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629406)


There are two prominent applications for these machines. The first is nuclear weapons simulation. Personally, I don't see the point to that. The other application is in weather prediction.


Oh, please. Buy a clue, will ya? There's lots and lots and lots of applications that use supercomputers, or could use if they were more affordable. A few examples from the top of my head:

Materials science, that is ab initio simulations, moldyn, you name it. This alone probably uses > 50 % of all supercomputer cpu time in the world. By comparison, weather prediction and nuke simulations is small potatoes (or shall we say, the simulations as such are big, but the number of people engaged in weather prediction or nuke simulation is really small compared to all the supercomputing materials scientists).

CFD, the automobile and aerospace sectors are big users.

Electronic design.

Seismic surveys, the oil industry uses lots and lots of supercomputers to find oil deposits.

Biology. Gene sequencing, moldyn simulations of lipid layers and whatever.

Climate prediction, somewhat related to weather prediction. Official purpose of the Earth Simulator.

All of the examples above could easily use almost any amount of cpu power you can throw at them. The only thing that stands between a lot of scientists and improved understanding of the world is computing power.

Re:Just the name brings back memories (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629407)

There are two prominent applications for these machines.

Wrong! There is a third, more used application: Solitare.

Even super computer coders have to wait for results.

I also asked this recently, but didn't get a reasonable answer, do these beasts have screen savers? if so, Are they just blackout type, or busy 3d rendered whizbang super cool ones "Just because we can"?

(I realise you may not be able to answer that, but someone might)

software (1)

virtualone (768392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629059)

what kind of operation system runs on this beast?
did they write something froms scratch or did they just write some kernel patches
insmod torus_cpu.o

yum!! (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629107)

From the spec page:

Operating System:

UNICOS/lc--Components include SUSE(TM) LINUX(TM), Cray Catamount Microkernel, CRMS and SMW software

I remember installing SuSE linux long ago on a ppc. The first thing I did once I got X running was fire up the gimp and doctor their logo so it said "Welcome to DuDE Linux...."

To answer your question, it looks like they've patched SuSE to run on the Cray Catamount Microkernel. Since there's no way in hell I'm going to buy one of these for my modest word processing and web browsing needs, I'm too lazy to look up what that actually is, of course.

Anyway, I run OS X these days. When I need Cray computing power, I don't need to spend no $2 million. I just fire up Desktop Cray [xosx.com] and go to work!

Re:software (5, Informative)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629124)

what kind of operation system runs on this beast?

UNICOS is usually a safe bet. In this case the specs [cray.com] say UNICOS/lc, which is made up of "SUSE(TM) Linux(TM), Cray Catamount Microkernel, CRMS and SMW software"

I'm not entirely clear how to interpet that, but I think it runs as follows: It runs the Catamount Microkernel as the kernel, and uses SUSE for everything else (so we have SUSE Linux, without the Linux - all of a sudden that GNU/Linux stuff starts to make sense). The CRMS is their interconnect management and monitoring software, and SMW is the System Management Workstation - which I'm guessing is their administration frontend.

It's worth noting that that's some pretty serious software there (because Cray has a lot of experience dealing with large systems) - you can bet that the management and monitoring software is some very serious stuff.

This thing is to a beowulf cluster what a dual G5 PowerMac is to homebuilt PC system running Linux From Scratch. It's going to work flawlessly "out of the box" with a smooth and polished interface that lets you get done everything you want to do simply and easily. You can of course make your home built PC with LFS work just as well, it's just going to take you an awful lot of effort.

Jedidiah.

Re:software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629196)

The current "Cray" guys obviously are great at what they do. But most of that experience has not been around as long as many people think.

Several years back the original Cray was bought by SGI. Then a couple years ago, a Seattle based startup company called Tera with their own unique technology bought the Cray name and renamed their company.

I'm not sure how much technology transfer went along with the purchasing of the name "Cray".

Re:software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629220)

More detail on the history of Cray here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray_Inc.

Re:software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629332)

Perhaps it runs Linux (kernel and all) on the service nodes, and the catamount kernel on the compute nodes?

So......the cost compared to? (0)

ericdano (113424) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629063)

So, how does this compare to running Apple's Xserve [apple.com] ? Bang per buck? Heat? Space? Etc etc....

Re:So......the cost compared to? (2, Informative)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629096)

X-serve clusters would be cheaper, but I think that Cray has the edge n the interconnect tech. So, you need massive bandwidth in the system, get the Cray. you need next best bandwidth at a low price, get the Xserve cluster.

Re:So......the cost compared to? (1)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629335)

So what you say is that not even the macintosh can touch the 30000 proc cray, but it has the second place pretty much secured. And to a better price. Dream on.

Re:So......the cost compared to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629100)

Answers:

1. Better.
2. One library of congress.
3. Great movie.
4. Sure is a lot of it.

Re:So......the cost compared to? (4, Informative)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629161)

So, how does this compare to running Apple's Xserve? Bang per buck? Heat? Space? Etc etc....

There's not a lot to compare. We're talking apples and oranges. It's like asking to compare a PowerMac G5 with a bunch of PC parts scattered on the floor as desktop machines. Sure, you can put the PC together, load it with Linux, tinker with it to get everything working, etc. but that's a fair amount of work compared taking the PowerMac out of the box, plugging it in, turning it on, and having everything work perfectly.

Read the specs [cray.com] , particularly with regard to the interconnect, system administration, and hardware and software reliability features. This thing is seriously engineered to be massively parallel system with top of the line hardware and software to support and maintain that, as well as extremely impressive reliability features.

Jedidiah.

Re:So......the cost compared to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629253)

Sure. Someone spending $2 million++ would be very concerned about the space it occupies and the heat it generates. It is quite hot working on my HomeCray but the speed means I can read all of slashdot in a few seconds.

hmm . .. (1)

TheScorpion420 (760125) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629065)

Its 2:43 am CST with 12 comments and its already slashdotted, damn and I was really looking forward to reading that . . .

cray (1)

Exter-C (310390) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629067)

Cray was at one time the fastest system.. then it went belly up.. now its back.. lets hope its here to stay for the long term. With some of the technology flowing through it would be a great thing for the industry.

~If only HP would keep the Alpha on and continue the development rather than crush one of the only real risc procs.

Re:cray (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629311)

Cray never went "belly up". It was acquired by SGI around 1997 or so, then divested and merged with Tera, who renamed the resultant entity "Cray Research".

Although it's true that Cray was not growing strongly before the SGI buy-out, it was not failing either. It could have kept running quite happily for many years, but in the bizarro-world of Wall Street, a company which is not growing is dying. I so love it when economists use biological terminology for corporations. In Wall Street's thinking, the only healthy growth would be a cancerous tumor.

Anyway....

The whole SGI-period of Cray is actually quite fascinating, and I suspect the true story will never be fully known. Lots of SGI engineers had their non-Cray technology branded with Cray marketting names, most egregiously LegoNet becoming CrayLink. Lots of Cray folks - aka. Crayons - felt that the core of their company was gutted by an SGI operation which didn't care for the extreme high-ends of HPC.

One rumor I heard, from a well-placed source, is that the Cray merger with SGI was primarily arranged by the USG. The intelligence services have huge investments in both company's products, so the merger between them made sense. I was told that as a quid-pro quo, the USG had an in-principle agreement to continue purchasing Cray gear to provide enough revenue inside SGI to keep both Cray architectures alive. However, certain parts of SGI felt that the US government didn't live up to their agreement, negotiations to rectify that weren't successful, and so SGI management defunded significant aspects of the Cray engineering work.

Also, FYI, Cray is one of those companies which will never totally go "belly up" anyway. Given the sensitivity of the work which they did, their support databases alone are full of sensitive and/or classified information. Should the company cease trading, it would be acquired by a shelf company whose sole function is to ensure this data would remain private. That's been the fate of almost all of the now-defunct supercomputer and high-end graphics companies who formerly supplied the defence and intelligence market.

Re:cray (2, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629389)

It seems to be really lacking in the blinkenlight department though.

What good is a supercomputer without blinkenlights ? They just don't make them like they used to...

Any future plans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629077)

I'm impressed by the technological achievements of Cray and what they have contributed to the industry, but more importantly, when is the Extreme Edition coming out?

Opterons and PowerPC together (5, Interesting)

Henriok (6762) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629085)

It seems that the XT-3 not only use Opteron processors but they also use PowerPC 440 co-processors from IBM to off load inter-processor communication from the main computing CPUs. Quite an interessting set up.

The XT-3's biggest comptetitor in this segment must be the BlueGene/L type super computer made by IBM. The processors in Blue Gene/L is a custom built dual core version of the PowerPC 440 with built in high speed interconnects.

Just like IBM have a finger in all the future game consoles, they seem to have a finger in several of the next generation super computers also. Nice going IBM.

Re:Opterons and PowerPC together (2, Informative)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629122)

No. The biggest competitor to the XT3 will be machines like the NEC SX-8, their own X1 family or the IBM p690's. They are all shared memory systems, while the Blue Gene family is not. And therein lies a whole world of difference.

Re:Opterons and PowerPC together (2, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629251)

Just like IBM have a finger in all the future game consoles, they seem to have a finger in several of the next generation super computers also. Nice going IBM.

It's not that they're the best thing since sliced bread, it's mainly that all their competition went down the chute for one reason or another.

HP/Compaq/DEC was the king of supercomputers. Now they're only supporting their formerly glorious products, with practically nothing new comming to replace it.

Sun seems to really be sitting on their ass.

Intel was trying, but screwed the pooch with Itanium/Itanic.

SGI was a competitor, but they've just faded out.

Motorola could compete if they put some effort into it, but they've been out of it for some time.

etc.

Re:Opterons and PowerPC together (2, Interesting)

pchan- (118053) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629368)

let's see what you're missing:

* first, sgi still makes and sells supercomputers, they are far from faded. they also own cray (or did).
* tandem, bought by compaq, we all know what happened there.
* hp sells a superdome once in a while. but nobody seems excited about their itanic systems.
* sun, rotting with their out of date cpus.
* fujitsu is doing well in the supercomputer market.
* nec is also successful.
* ibm, of course.

and you mentioned motorola? you're joking, i hope.

the largest purchasers of supercomputers in the world - national labs and the nsa, like to buy american hardware. they've always had a hand in keeping the industry afloat. notice that the big labs tend to round-robbin their supercomputer vendors so that they buy a machine from each vendor.

STD Linux Cluster? (0)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629090)

I certainly do not want to get near that thing, STDs will rot your johnson off.

Wow! (1)

pyro jackelope (771283) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629101)

$2 million? Oh, sure...I'll take like...5 of those. They'll go good with the particle accellerator and mock hubble telescope I have in my backyard =). Anyways, this sounds really cool. A person could crunch so many numbers with one of those, or perhaps play a game of solitaire?

Sic transit gloria mundis (2, Insightful)

oakad (686232) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629102)

It seems like Cray is not capable of sustaining its heritage. Buying cheap AMD processor and connecting them with customized HT interconnect is not enough to build a machine capable of record-breaking single-task performance, old Crays exhibited. When one could be sure with Cray XMP that he has the best machine money can buy (with outstanding scalar and vector abilities), new Cray is just another loosely-coupled AMD cluster. Thanks god it's not a NEC clone (at least).

Re:Sic transit gloria mundis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629247)

the process seems to have started already:
Cray SX-6 System [cray.com]

Re:Sic transit gloria mundis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629320)

Sic transit gloria mundi. Please. There are no mundis around.

The first test of the new Cray (3, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629119)

they simulated a woman who posts to Slashdot and is waiting for her Centris running PearPC on Debian to boot OS X.

Strangely, it took roughly a week. The second test was a simulation of the moderation results of this post.

It received a +5 Funny, which puzzled researchers, as it is currently modded -1 Offtopic.

Damn you Schroedinger!

MP performance overhead (1)

Durzel (137902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629123)

I was under the seemingly somewhat misguided assumption that multi-processor systems incurred a non-trivial performance overhead from their application - i.e. a dual processor system doesn't technically perform at 200% the speed of the equivalent single because of the inherent overhead in the MP architecture and implementation. From memory generally speaking it's more like 90% (or even less).

Wouldn't this overhead rise exponentially as you added more processors to the point where - unless the machine had a compartively small form factor (vs an equivalent number of Blade servers for example) - it would become a Law of diminishing returns?

Re:MP performance overhead (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629208)

It doesnt work that way because the applications this thing will be running will be highly specialised for the architecture.

The algorithm will decompose the workspace so as each node can compute its own slice of the problem almost independently.

The is only a slight communicatiosn overhead depending on what application is run. This is also offset a bit by the supposedly fast interconnect hardware.

Re:MP performance overhead (3, Informative)

Big Mark (575945) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629221)

If Crays were built the same was as desktop dual-proc machines, then yes, the multi CPU overhead would cripple it. Fortunately, it's designed completely differently - e.g. they use PowerPC chips to handle almost all of the inter-processor communication.

You can't really compare something that can hold thousands of CPUs to something powered by Abit that can hold two, anyway. It's like comparing apples and a strange bug thing with tentacles.

newfangled buzz. (1)

colaboy (227199) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629145)

Yes, all that mumbo jumbo about CPUs and interconnects is fine, but what we really want to know is how fast it can run Mac OS X under PearPC... Can anyone tell us an XBench score?

Re:newfangled buzz. (2, Interesting)

adzoox (615327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629355)

Ha - well I'm sure the guy behind CherryOS will have a press release that it runs The Mac OS at 30 Terahertz.

help help helpq (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629157)

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Leather seats? (1)

gspr (602968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629160)

Do they have leather seats for the operators like the 1980s models did?

Anyone know the IP? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629188)

My Distributed.net stats could use the boost.

LK

AMD gets about... (2)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629190)

So 96 processors, AMD gets about 144K per PE node at 1500 per cpu, or does Cray get a discount?

Also, a 30,000 cpu complex, AMD must be making a tidy sum.

Re:AMD gets about... (1)

Big Mark (575945) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629225)

I highly doubt Cray are paying retail prices for these CPUs. I'd imagine they buy them wholesale from AMD directly, and probably a further bulk discount on top of that.

Re:AMD gets about... (1)

mikera (98932) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629252)

AMD may even be gving Cray an extra discount/kickback for the publicity value - not uncommon for this kind of cutting edge stuff.

My old company managed to get some seriously expensive enterprise software for just 10% of the retail price because we were able to convince them that having us as a client would be a publicity coup for them....

Not even trying... (1, Funny)

F'Nok (226987) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629193)

Using AMD's Opteron processor, it scales to a total of 30,580 CPUs.

They must be in a rush to market... Clearly the target was to have 32,768 CPU's.

I mean, what the hell am I going to do with only 30,580 CPU's?!

Re:Not even trying... (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629265)

Run Duke Nukem 3D on Longhorn?

Re:Not even trying... (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629411)

I think you would have a hard time running Minesweeper on LongHorn with "only" 30,580 cpus!

Dont even consider doing 3d work until you get over 65535 processors.

fucking death labs (-1, Flamebait)

harkabeeparolyn (711320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629205)

The nuke boys are always first in line for these things. How about some AI researchers for a change?

Re:fucking death labs (1)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629359)

Ah....for tactical nuclear weapons simulation, no doubt. And we thought General MacArthur [msn.com] was bonkers.

just ask Hank Dietz! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629216)

http://www.aggregate.org/ [aggregate.org]

Intersting note (2, Interesting)

floydman (179924) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629234)

from their Tech.sheet [cray.com] they are using the Luster file system [clusterfs.com]

This is the first time i see a shipped linux with this file system. Now the intersting part is that lusterfs is made for linux clusters, but this monster is not a cluster... any body can shed some light?

$2 million for a 200 processor system ? (1)

Professeur Shadoko (230027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629267)

I can't find this price anywhere.
And it seems _really_ low.
I would expect a price at least twice higher.

Ok, $2 million is starting price, but on Cray's website they say the configuration can be as "small" as 96 CPUs.

So it's maybe $2 million for 96 CPUs.
(Still fairly cheap for a Cray, if you ask me)

Re:$2 million for a 200 processor system ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629405)

Its cheap becuase they are using almost off the shelf opertons and ppcs cores.

Previous expensive Crays had custom made vector processors.

Mirror Links (1)

Agret (752467) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629269)

In case original page gets slashdotted: http://www.cray.com.nyud.net:8090/products/xt3/ind ex.html

STD Linux? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629304)

So, what other advantages does this have over the sexually transmitted diseases Linux cluster?

But what it doesn't have is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10629323)

NUMAlink IV.

If you want an even faster, cheaper machine, buy an Altix: http://www.sgi.com/products/servers/altix/

A happy customer. (Seriously)

The math for a comparable Xserve system (0, Redundant)

adzoox (615327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10629382)

If the math is right for a 200 CPU system for $2 million ...

That would mean $10,000 per CPU

That would mean 100 Apple XServes

But for the comparison, let's just go with 200 Apple X Serves giving 400 CPUs total

Let's throw in 100 Apple XServe RAIDs fully loaded

1 Xserve G5 Dual 2.0Ghz = $3000

Multiply by 200 = $600,000

For cost savings we'll go with (20) 5.8 terrabyte RAID for $13,000 each

[Instead of 100 1 Terrabyte units for $6000 each]

=$260,000

Total = $860,000 for total system

Throw in approximately $120,000 for setup and integration (as comes with Cray purchases)

NOW double that - what a value for 6 teraflops calculation [extrapolated from Virginia Tech SuperComputer scores]

What a value!! Plus you have money left over to pay the tax!

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