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Cray XC30 supercomputer

Cray unveils a supercomputer for the rest of us

Cray Computers is launching a new line of inexpensive supercomputers providing speeds of 22 to 176 teraflops. Targeting the “technical enterprise” market, the XC30-AC systems start at $500,000 and give users the reliability and resiliency of a high-end supercomputer, but in a smaller package and at a lower total cost of ownership, the company said.

The Cray XC30-AC is not only targeting customers in markets new to supercomputing, but also a broader class of users in more traditional high-performance computing (HPC) markets, such as academia, defense and Earth sciences.

Although the XC30-AC runs at a fraction of the speed of Titan, the Energy Department’s 17.59 -petaflop supercomputer, its processors are a step up from those used in Titan, according to an article on Ars Technica. Whereas Titan uses a mix of AMD Opteron and Nvidia processors and uses Cray's proprietary Gemini interconnect, the XC30-AC uses Intel Xeon processors and the Aries interconnect, which is even faster than Gemini, the article stated.

According to the company’s spec sheet, the Cray XC30-AC supercomputer leverages the same compute node, compute blade and daughter card architecture as the Cray XC30 liquid-cooled supercomputer. But the AC models are air-cooled and have physically smaller compute cabinets, with 16 vertical blades per cabinet.

“Cray has a history of leveraging the supercomputing technologies featured in their high-end systems and economically repackaging those same technologies to offer solutions to fit the needs of HPC users with smaller budgets," said Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president for HPC.

Oak Ridge Lab’s Titan supercomputer was originally named Jaguar, a Cray XT5 system. It was upgraded in 2012 to leverage the computing power of graphical processing units.

Posted by Susan Miller on May 09, 2013 at 9:39 AM


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