Friday Jul 18, 2008

Two MEASURED TeraFLOPs in a Box: Now THAT is Big Iron!

I love the smell of Big Iron in the morning.

We just announced new versions of our M-series midrange and high-end SMPs, the M4000, M5000, M8000, and M9000 systems, that sport the latest Fujitsu quad-core, dual-threaded SPARC64 VII processor. These systems, a co-development effort between Sun and Fujitsu, are traditionally viewed as high-end enterprise-class systems. With up to 64 quad-core processors, up to 2 TBytes of memory, and up to 288 PCIe or PCI-X IO slots, these systems are clearly high-end datacenter workhorses. But they kick butt on HPC workloads as well. No surprise given the tight coupling of compute and memory in such an SMP system, which is especially valuable for computations involving large amounts of very fine-grained communication between cooperating parallel processes.

We've published world record benchmark numbers on a standard Open MP benchmark, besting the competition by some considerable margins. We've also shown new world record benchmarks on a prominent standard floating-point benchmark. My favorite result, however, is a LINPACK score of over 2 TeraFLOPs with a single M9000 system using Solaris 10 and our latest compilers, Sun Studio 12. This result is almost 2X higher with the new 2.52 GHz SPARC64 VII processor than with the previous 2.4 GHz SPARC64 VI processor. Impressive--and yet another example of why shopping based on processor clock speeds is an increasingly bad idea. In any case, you can read more details about these benchmark results and others here and here.


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Josh Simons

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