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[softpedia] Nvidia Got the Gaming Market, Moves to Supercomputing

post #1 of 18
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Quote:
The company aims at powering the top 5 supercomputers within a four-year timeframe


Enlarge pictureGraphics expert Nvidia plans on taking over the supercomputer market in the next few years. The company has announced that it will power the top five supercomputers in the world. This move will give Nvidia's business a whole new dimension, and competing for the gaming market will become child's play. However, the company will have to struggle in order to get under the skin of the world suppliers of top-tier supercomputers.

"By 2012, three of the top five supercomputers in the world will have graphics processors using parallel computing applications for computing," claimed Nvidia chief scientist David Kirk.

The GPGPU (general purpose graphics processing unit) technology is currently mastered by both Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia, the most important players on the high-end graphics market. In fact, both manufacturers released GPGPU-enabled products: the ATI FireStream and Nvidia Tesla, but the devices have not become too popular as of the moment of writing.

The current supercomputer technology is built around the regular x86 processors in considerable amounts. These chips feature two to four CPU cores each, which allows a supercomputer to boost its computing power.

However, the graphics chips come with hundreds of unified stream processors, which means that they can deliver improved performance over the dual-core models of AMD Opteron or Intel Xeon chips. This would ultimately account for less GPUs to act as CPUs inside a supercomputing cluster, thus decreasing the necessary physical space and the electricity bill, not to mention the costs for processing hardware.

"This is truly the democratization of supercomputing. We ship a million parallel units a week," Kirk said.

The practical approach is as follows: world's most powerful supercomputer, the IBM BlueGene/L can perform 478.2 TeraFLOPS per second on its 213,000 PowerPC 440 processors. In contrast, the latest graphics processors from AMD and Nvidia – the RV680 and the GeForce 9800 GPUs can deliver 0.5 teraFLOPs performance. It does not take rocket science to see that about 1,000 graphics chips will substitute for more than 200,000 x86 processors.

The catch is that GPGPUs won't "understand" the x86 software, which will have to be ported for the new architectures, and this requires a lot of efforts from the operating system and applications makers
Source
post #2 of 18
Wow, this is very interesting. Should be fun to see what GPUs can offer to the Supercomputer market.
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post #3 of 18
ive often wondered why they dont replace the CPU socket and ram dimm's on a motherboard with a GPU "socket" and graphics ram dimms..

sure it would take support from a large OS like mac/linux/windows to support it. but once it did! forget about the CPU market entirely.

wouldnt that be funny? intel owning nvidia with not giving the CSI data. and then nvidia owns intel by making x86 chips obsolete
    
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post #4 of 18
I really dont think that little old nVidia is going to be a player in the server market. Taking a GPU and writing code for it to run a server based OS is more difficult than one would think. This would mean a fundimental shift in how a server is built and the software it runs. Besides look hwo they will be up against, Intel, IBM, AMD and others.

I just think that nVidia is a little to optomistic about their timeline and how hard it will be to take covert the whole server market.
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post #5 of 18
Nvidia wants to go to computing as Intel is doing performance GPU's... interesting.

EDIT: I just thought of something. If Intel is making gpu's to compete with Nvidia and Amd/Ati I'm assuming they would have to have similar performance to compete with them. Wouldnt this loop back around, meaning that eventually Intel could have a gpu do the same ? Where would that leave Nvidia, if Intel can do what they do with GPGPU, and still having x86 processors?
    
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post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheatton View Post
I really dont think that little old nVidia is going to be a player in the server market. Taking a GPU and writing code for it to run a server based OS is more difficult than one would think. This would mean a fundimental shift in how a server is built and the software it runs. Besides look hwo they will be up against, Intel, IBM, AMD and others.

I just think that nVidia is a little to optomistic about their timeline and how hard it will be to take covert the whole server market.
if i understand what their software thing is. its basically like vmware used on linux for windows apps. as their software is to run on gpu for x86 apps

basically emulate the x86 system on a GPU or thousands of GPU's so that it should be fairly easy to migrate software to the GPU systems

you know. i wonder if "they got what it takes" to go from 200,000 ibm cores to nvidia making a super system out of 200k high end gpu's?
    
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post #7 of 18
AMD/ATI have a better platform for just doing raw FLOPS with the vector-based processors on the R6xx/7xx series.

Where they fail is in having less texture units than the 8 series cards.
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post #8 of 18
The only real task is for them to continue doing what they're doing and improving their Cuda engine. As soon as more scientific applications can be written for Cuda the sooner this super computer idea will have some cred. You don't have to bother with x86 at all if the applications can be developed for cuda directly.
    
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post #9 of 18
IBM is in trouble, lol. AMD should look into this if they have any spare hands on the ATI department.
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post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheatton View Post
I really dont think that little old nVidia is going to be a player in the server market. Taking a GPU and writing code for it to run a server based OS is more difficult than one would think. This would mean a fundimental shift in how a server is built and the software it runs. Besides look hwo they will be up against, Intel, IBM, AMD and others.

I just think that nVidia is a little to optomistic about their timeline and how hard it will be to take covert the whole server market.
They're not aiming for the server market - they're aiming for the supercomputer market. In that market, everything that is run is custom-coded anyhow, so I don't see it as being a huge complication over the current x86 based supercomputers. Good move by NVIDIA IMO.
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