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World's Greenest Supercomputer Not the Fastest

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 58 comments

I'm pretty sure that it can.

Supercomputers are tasked with performing massive calculations that can't be practically done in any sort of reasonable time on regular computers. For that, supercomputers have special power and cooling needs, but as we can see from the Department of Information Science at the University of Tokyo, supercomputers can be green-minded too.

The Japanese supercomputer system, called Grape-DR, is ranked as the greenest supercomputer on the planet. Its performance over power is 815.43 MFLOPS per watt, besting the second place IBM's 773.38 MFLOPS per watt in Germany.

The Grape-DR is composed of 64 Core i7-920 microprocessors, and Asus motherboard, 18 GB of DDR3 memory, and a custom accelerator board.

The custom accelerator board, developed by a professor at the University of Tokyo, enhances performance of the Core i7-920 system by about five times, according to TechOn.

While the Grape-DR is the most energy efficient supercomputer in the world, it's not even near the fastest. Its total performance of 23.4 TFLOPS is below the 24.67 TFLOPS needed to crack the top 500 supercomputers in the world.

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  • 17 Hide
    Parsian , July 15, 2010 2:05 PM
    "I'm pretty sure that it can."

    but you dont have access to it, so it is all assumption sigh
  • 16 Hide
    Anonymous , July 15, 2010 2:47 PM
    I put a plant on mine, it is greener then all of them.
  • 11 Hide
    vectorm12 , July 15, 2010 2:23 PM
    I'd be interested in finding out exactly could be done with one of those accelerator boards in a workstation running Windows or Linux. Wonder what it does exactly?
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    Parsian , July 15, 2010 2:05 PM
    "I'm pretty sure that it can."

    but you dont have access to it, so it is all assumption sigh
  • 4 Hide
    rohitbaran , July 15, 2010 2:07 PM
    It may not be the fastest, but looking at the specs, at least it could very well play crysis! :p 
  • 0 Hide
    Parsian , July 15, 2010 2:08 PM
    "Its total performance of 23.4 TFLOPS is below the 24.67 TFLOPS needed to crack the top 500 supercomputers in the world."

    thoses numbers seem to be too low, you can beat that with bunch of graphic cards like TESLA packages
  • 3 Hide
    Shin-san , July 15, 2010 2:19 PM
    I'm not surprised the PowerXCell 8i made it into the Green 500 list. The Cell processor's advantage for the PS3 wasn't high power, but the most power they could pack into 75 Watts, which made desktop CPUs at that time not very usable in a console. However, it seems like the faster Cell machines need another CPU to complement it like the AMD Opteron.





  • 10 Hide
    grieve , July 15, 2010 2:20 PM
    Parsian"Its total performance of 23.4 TFLOPS is below the 24.67 TFLOPS needed to crack the top 500 supercomputers in the world."thoses numbers seem to be too low, you can beat that with bunch of graphic cards like TESLA packages

    yah, this is my old rig... i needed to upgrade.
  • 0 Hide
    Shin-san , July 15, 2010 2:22 PM
    Parsian"Its total performance of 23.4 TFLOPS is below the 24.67 TFLOPS needed to crack the top 500 supercomputers in the world."thoses numbers seem to be too low, you can beat that with bunch of graphic cards like TESLA packages

    This isn't the fastest computer, but the most efficient supercomputer. The Tesla rigs are definitely fast and right now a Tesla supercomputer is #2, about the Cell supercomputer. That computer IS listed in the Green 500
  • 0 Hide
    MU_Engineer , July 15, 2010 2:22 PM
    I wonder how reliable it will be with those consumer parts in it and a complete lack of any reliability features like ECC memory. I would imagine there is node-level failover to recover from an individual board going belly-up, but if I built it, I'd feel a lot better if it used a proper 1P workstation/server board and a Xeon 35xx/36xx CPU to be able to use ECC memory.
  • 11 Hide
    vectorm12 , July 15, 2010 2:23 PM
    I'd be interested in finding out exactly could be done with one of those accelerator boards in a workstation running Windows or Linux. Wonder what it does exactly?
  • 1 Hide
    blasterth , July 15, 2010 2:24 PM
    top500 ranks using the "LINPACK Benchmark", not the Nvidia theoretical specifications.
  • 0 Hide
    zoemayne , July 15, 2010 2:32 PM
    how is it cooled? that should be the main part of this article
  • 11 Hide
    back_by_demand , July 15, 2010 2:37 PM
    Quote:
    I'm pretty sure that it can

    Can what? Play Crysis?

    There, I said it, thumbs-down ahoy!
  • 16 Hide
    Anonymous , July 15, 2010 2:47 PM
    I put a plant on mine, it is greener then all of them.
  • -3 Hide
    maximus20895 , July 15, 2010 2:58 PM
    I think it's funny how this super computer only has 18 GB of memory and some people have 32+ GB for their gaming computer..
  • 11 Hide
    anamaniac , July 15, 2010 3:01 PM
    Impressive.
    I'm interested in the accelerator board myself though.
  • 4 Hide
    mcvf , July 15, 2010 3:04 PM
    I just love first sentence. Even before I continued reading I knew it answers The Question about its abilities.
    Well done, you made my day!
  • -5 Hide
    j1701john , July 15, 2010 3:10 PM
    But can it play Crysis 2?
  • 0 Hide
    captainnemojr , July 15, 2010 3:11 PM
    rohitbaranIt may not be the fastest, but looking at the specs, at least it could very well play crysis!


    Or Mafia II...

    I'd hate to be the new guy asked to install a cable management system on that bad boy.
  • 1 Hide
    kristoffe , July 15, 2010 3:11 PM
    18gb and 23.4TFlops used properly and efficiently is much more powerful than a normal i7 board with 24gb (32gb stated) and even a tesla board. You would have to program in cuda, have very limited multithreaded app or process support. The parallelism in a tesla card must be tweaked like the scene kids in the 80's used to up to today with 36-64kb 3d engines with sound synths and animations showing the true power of efficient computing. The most ram or the fastest processor does you no good if you're a sloppy programmer. kudos on the japanese professor for developing this homebrew implementation.
  • 0 Hide
    TwoDigital , July 15, 2010 3:11 PM
    I'm pretty sure the greenest computer will NEVER be the fastest one. Kind of like a "green" electric car (which really ultimately is running on electricity from COAL) is neither the cheapest nor fastest car.
  • -1 Hide
    saran008 , July 15, 2010 3:38 PM
    rohitbaranIt may not be the fastest, but looking at the specs, at least it could very well play crysis!

    +1
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