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Intel, AMD, Nvidia Claim Greenest Supercomputer Technology

By - Source: Green500 | B 16 comments

The world's most prestigious supercomputers are usually spotlighted in the Top500 list of the world's fastest systems.

But there is also a similarly interesting, albeit less known listing that is showing tremendous progress in the power efficiency of some supercomputers. Intel, AMD and Nvidia are the main proponents of this group.

ORNL's Titan may be the world's fastest supercomputer, but it is only the third most efficient, according to Green500. The honor of being the greenest supercomputer system goes to University of Tennessee and its Beacon system, which is based on Xeon E5-2670 and Xeon Phi 5110P processors. The computer delivers 2,499.44 Mflops per watt.

In second is King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology's SANAM supercomputer, based on Xeon E5-2650 and 420 dual-GPU AMD FirePro S10000 server graphics cards, with 2,351.10 Mflops per watt.

The ORNL Titan, which integrates AMD Opteron 6274 processors and Nvidia Tesla K20x graphics cards, posted 2,142.77 Mflops per watt.

The three systems cannot be compared in their absolute performance. Titan holds position #1 on the Top500 list; SANAM can be found at #52 and Beacon at #253.

Titan (560,640 CPU cores, 46,6 million Nvidia CUDA processors) delivers a sustained performance of 17.6 Pflops, while SANAM (38,400 CPU cores, 1.5 million AMD stream processors) is rated at 421 TFlops, and Beacon at 110.5 TFlops (9,216 CPU cores, undisclosed number of Xeon Phi 5110P cards with 60 cores each).

Check out the full list here.

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  • 12 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , November 15, 2012 2:07 AM
    "46,6 million Nvidia CUDA processors"

    Titan has 50,233,344 CUDA cores Gruener, not 46 million. You've already published this number before, and I've already pointed it out to be inaccurate. Where are you getting this number from? It's in neither of the articles you've sourced.

    It makes me question the accuracy of other news articles I don't know as much about, because I might not know any better. I think everyone would appreciate it if you and the rest of the news team would make an attempt to correct some of these mistakes from time to time, or at least acknowledge that you've made them.
  • 11 Hide
    bystander , November 14, 2012 11:15 PM
    adgjlsfhkReally, the three biggest chip makers claim the best supercomputers. How shocking. How does the Raspberry Pi one measure up?

    I'm not sure you read, but they listed the 3 top most efficient systems. Not what claims to be, but what are the most efficient, and of the top 3, all those 3 brands were present.
  • 11 Hide
    bystander , November 14, 2012 11:17 PM
    abbadon_34eh who cares, supercomputer are about power, or at least power/cost

    Exactly, Power per cost, which is what efficiency is. And the most powerful was #3 on efficiency. Therefor you may start seeing the most efficient processor setups in the newer supercomputers being built.
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    adgjlsfhk , November 14, 2012 10:38 PM
    Really, the three biggest chip makers claim the best supercomputers. How shocking. How does the Raspberry Pi one measure up?
  • 4 Hide
    vaughn2k , November 14, 2012 10:50 PM
    Informative and interesting...
  • -6 Hide
    abbadon_34 , November 14, 2012 11:01 PM
    eh who cares, supercomputer are about power, or at least power/cost
  • 11 Hide
    bystander , November 14, 2012 11:15 PM
    adgjlsfhkReally, the three biggest chip makers claim the best supercomputers. How shocking. How does the Raspberry Pi one measure up?

    I'm not sure you read, but they listed the 3 top most efficient systems. Not what claims to be, but what are the most efficient, and of the top 3, all those 3 brands were present.
  • 11 Hide
    bystander , November 14, 2012 11:17 PM
    abbadon_34eh who cares, supercomputer are about power, or at least power/cost

    Exactly, Power per cost, which is what efficiency is. And the most powerful was #3 on efficiency. Therefor you may start seeing the most efficient processor setups in the newer supercomputers being built.
  • 1 Hide
    A Bad Day , November 15, 2012 1:12 AM
    bystanderExactly, Power per cost, which is what efficiency is. And the most powerful was #3 on efficiency. Therefor you may start seeing the most efficient processor setups in the newer supercomputers being built.


    There's a certain point where the annual electricity cost for powering and cooling the supercomputer exceeds the setup cost of the supercomputer.

    And I'm fairly sure we're already past that point.
  • 2 Hide
    A Bad Day , November 15, 2012 1:14 AM
    EDIT: Especially in Europe or other places with high electricity prices.
  • 4 Hide
    cjl , November 15, 2012 1:19 AM
    adgjlsfhkReally, the three biggest chip makers claim the best supercomputers. How shocking. How does the Raspberry Pi one measure up?

    Actually, IBM's absence on this list is rather notable, since their Blue Gene/Q system was the best in efficiency until just recently.
  • 12 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , November 15, 2012 2:07 AM
    "46,6 million Nvidia CUDA processors"

    Titan has 50,233,344 CUDA cores Gruener, not 46 million. You've already published this number before, and I've already pointed it out to be inaccurate. Where are you getting this number from? It's in neither of the articles you've sourced.

    It makes me question the accuracy of other news articles I don't know as much about, because I might not know any better. I think everyone would appreciate it if you and the rest of the news team would make an attempt to correct some of these mistakes from time to time, or at least acknowledge that you've made them.
  • 4 Hide
    x3style , November 15, 2012 4:11 AM
    dragonsqrrl"46,6 million Nvidia CUDA processors"Titan has 50,233,344 CUDA cores Gruener, not 46 million. You've already published this number before, and I've already pointed it out to be inaccurate. Where are you getting this number from? It's in neither of the articles you've sourced.It makes me question the accuracy of other news articles I don't know as much about, because I might not know any better. I think everyone would appreciate it if you and the rest of the news team would make an attempt to correct some of these mistakes from time to time, or at least acknowledge that you've made them.

    Where do you think you are? Engadget? THIS IS THG, they are never wrong, the industry is basically not sticking with THG's designs. If THG says its 46,6 million then its NVIDIA's fault for putting 50,233,344 in them. ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    Thomas Creel , November 15, 2012 8:23 AM
    I never got an answer on this but can a supercomputer play video games on super high fps?
  • 1 Hide
    devBunny , November 15, 2012 10:32 AM
    Thomas CreelI never got an answer on this but can a supercomputer play video games on super high fps?


    If you program it to, sure, why not. If you mean a game straight off the DVD then no. Greatly simplified, a supercomputer consists of a whole bunch of individual computers working together. A bog-standard game would only get to use one of them as that's all it's programmed to do.
  • 1 Hide
    devBunny , November 15, 2012 10:33 AM
    adgjlsfhkReally, the three biggest chip makers claim the best supercomputers. How shocking. How does the Raspberry Pi one measure up?


    You must be thinking of the Raspberry Super-Pi, which hasn't been built yet. ;-)
  • 0 Hide
    devBunny , November 15, 2012 10:37 AM
    A Bad DayThere's a certain point where the annual electricity cost for powering and cooling the supercomputer exceeds the setup cost of the supercomputer.And I'm fairly sure we're already past that point.


    Yep. Furthermore, when a current petascale supercomputer can use the same energy as a small town, the goal of exascale supercomputers is impossible without drastic changes. It's becoming all about low power (energy) in order to achieve high power (computing).
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , November 15, 2012 12:40 PM
    devBunnyIf you program it to, sure, why not. If you mean a game straight off the DVD then no. Greatly simplified, a supercomputer consists of a whole bunch of individual computers working together. A bog-standard game would only get to use one of them as that's all it's programmed to do.


    Yes, but they can run an incredible simulation of running a game.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , November 15, 2012 12:42 PM
    devBunnyYep. Furthermore, when a current petascale supercomputer can use the same energy as a small town, the goal of exascale supercomputers is impossible without drastic changes. It's becoming all about low power (energy) in order to achieve high power (computing).


    That's why the goal is so many years off... Lower power DDR4 memory and much more efficient CPUs and graphics cards will be available at the time and if they're not efficient enough for them, they can do what was done with one of those Blue Gene computers, undervolt/underclock.