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[DVHARDWARE]Researchers create supercomputer with four GeForce 9800 GX2 cards

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Researchers at the University of Antwerp in Belgium have created a new supercomputer with standard gaming hardware. The system uses four NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics cards, it costs less than 4000EUR to build and thanks to NVIDIA's CUDA technology it delivers roughly the same performance as a supercomputer cluster consisting of hundreds of PCs!

This new system is used by the ASTRA research group, part of the Vision Lab of the University of Antwerp, to develop new computational methods for tomography. The guys explain the eight NVIDIA GPUs deliver the same performance as more than 300 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz processors. On a normal desktop PC their tomography tasks would take several weeks but on this NVIDIA-based supercomputer it only takes a couple of hours. The NVIDIA graphics cards do the job very efficiently and consume a lot less power than a supercomputer cluster.

The research group ASTRA, part of the Vision Lab of the University of Antwerp, focuses on the development of new computational methods for tomography. Tomography is a technique used in medical scanners to create three-dimensional images of the internal organs of patients, based on a large number of X-ray photos that are acquired over a range of angles. ASTRA develops new reconstruction techniques that lead to better reconstruction quality than classical methods.

Although our reconstruction techniques are very powerful, they have an important drawback: they are quite slow. As the 3D images that we normally deal with can be rather large (typically 1024x1024x1024 volume elements, or more), advanced reconstruction methods can sometimes take weeks of computation time on a normal PC.


Here's a look at the specifications of the FASTRA desktop superPC:

# AMD Phenom 9850 processor + Scythe Infinity CPU cooler
# 4x MSI 9800GX2 graphics card
# 4x 2GB Corsair Twinx DDR2 PC6400 memory
# MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard
# Samsung Spinpoint F1 750GB HDD
# ThermalTake Toughpower 1500W Modular PSU
# Lian-Li PC-P80 Armorsuit case
# Windows XP 64-bit

The medical researchers ran some benchmarks and found that in some cases their 4000EUR desktop superPC outperforms CalcUA, a supercomputer with 512 AMD Opteron cores that cost the University of Antwerp 3.5 million euro in March 2005:

You can read more about the FASTRA GPU SuperPC project over here. The site contains lots of background information, info on the hardware they used, more photos and benchmarks.

In the video below Dr. Joost Batenburg takes you to the ASTRA-lab where he shows what tomographical reconstructions are and what the role of FASTRA is:

Link
Code:
http://www.dvhardware.net/article27538.html
post #2 of 50
Damn, those things are stacked on top of each other... Overheating much?
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post #3 of 50
I thought that

A) CUDA does not work with SLI or multi GPUs
B) SLI does not work on AMD motherboards
C) 9800GX2 only scales to two cards, and nvidia does not support anything over 4 GPUs in parallel

How does this work?
Fermi
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post #4 of 50
i highly doubt that this thing is even running windows.

This seems to be just a number cruncher, so i bet its running a form of linux, made just to handle 8 GPU cores...
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post #5 of 50
Thread Starter 
It says its running XP 64 bit but the 64 bit XP blows...so idk
post #6 of 50
wouldn't the Phenom bottleneck or even the Q6600 bottleneck 4 of those GPU's?
    
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post #7 of 50
They aren't using it for gaming, you know...

Even if they used all the GPUs for F@H, the CPU cores don't have to do that much... just babysit the GPUs.
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post #8 of 50
Nice cable management
    
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post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by 003 View Post
I thought that

A) CUDA does not work with SLI or multi GPUs
B) SLI does not work on AMD motherboards
C) 9800GX2 only scales to two cards, and nvidia does not support anything over 4 GPUs in parallel

How does this work?
All of this only goes for SLI. You can have as many GPUs as the OS allows, using them for gaming depends on drivers, chipset, and so on, and that's where the limitation lies. SLI and Crossfire.

These cards are not running in SLI.
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post #10 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by 003 View Post
I thought that

A) CUDA does not work with SLI or multi GPUs
B) SLI does not work on AMD motherboards
C) 9800GX2 only scales to two cards, and nvidia does not support anything over 4 GPUs in parallel

How does this work?
My guess is the program/software they are using indivually assigns work to each of the gpu cores. Dont think about this application in the same terms as you think of a normal gaming pc running a game.
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