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   Date: 16th Nov 09

Intel and AMD race neck to neck in supercomputing domain

When it comes processors for supercomputing, it's mostly either Intel or AMD. The server processors from both Intel and AMD are racing neck to neck in performance. By market share, Intel leads a lot over AMD, 402 out of top 500 supercomputers are powered by Intel's processors. But the AMD processor powers the rank number 1 in performance.

In the recently announced super computer rating by TOP500, Cray's XT5 supercomputer known as Jaguar ranks number one in performance beating IBM's Roadrunner.

The Jaguar is built using six-core AMD Opteron processors. The mission-critical Jaguar system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory delivers 2.3 petaflop/s theoretical peak performance and 1.75 petaflop/s performance on the Linpack benchmark. AMD processors are powering 4 of the Top 5 systems of this list.
The TOP500 release states, Jaguar roared ahead with new processors bringing the theoretical peak capability to 2.3 petaflop/s and nearly a quarter of a million cores. One petaflop/s refers to one quadrillion calculations per second.

The latest top 10 super computer ranking goes like this:

1. Jaguar - Cray XT5-HE from Cray Inc.
2. Roadrunner - BladeCenter QS22/LS21 from IBM
3. Kraken XT5 - Cray XT5-HE from Cray
4. JUGENE - Blue Gene/P Solution from IBM
5. Tianhe-1 - NUDT TH-1 Cluster from NUDT China
6. Pleiades - SGI Altix ICE 8200EX from SGI
7. BlueGene/L - eServer from IBM
8. Blue Gene/P Solution from IBM
9. Ranger - SunBlade x6420 from Sun Microsystems
10. Red Sky - Sun Blade x6275 from Sun Microsystems

While AMD powers the most powerful supercomputer, Intel' share in the list is far higher than AMD. Intel chips are used in 20 of the top 50 super computers. Intel's Xeon quad-core processors are powering 379 of this list.

Both Intel and AMD have announced new technologies for this fast growing domain:

In the first half of 2010, Intel plans to launch a new High Performance Computing (HPC) optimized processor Nehalem-EX with six cores. Intel Ct software technology which will be available by end 2009 enables parallel programming in the C and C++ languages by automatically parallelizing source-code across 100s of processors.

AMD plans to release 8- and 12-core x86 processors, the AMD Opteron 6100 Series processor named "Magny-Cours" with 4 channels of DDR-3 memory and new power management and virtualization features in the first quarter of 2010.
AMD also plans to release new architecture called "Bulldozer" in 2011 with modular core design to increase concurrency, simultaneous commands and multi-threading capacity with up to 16 dedicated cores.

With these levels of achievements, having supercomputers on your laps is not far away, and also possible is the present notebooks and netbooks computers available for a price of few 10s of dollars, only due the effort of the super semiconductor companies like this.

The hot applications areas for super computer are processing hungry domains such as drug discovery, climate/environment studies, astronomy/space research, biotechnology, and geology and any such domains requiring huge amounts of data processing.

For more details on ranking visit www.TOP500.Org

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