Cray Unveils Personal Supercomputer
Ray Kurzweil, in The Singularity is Near, predicts that by 2020 personal computers will have the same processing power as human brains. For now, Cray, the supercomputer manufacturer, has just come out with a $25,000 supercomputer that runs on 110 volt current and is small enough to sit beside a desk. A boon for industry and science. HPCwire.com interview with Cray's VP of sales, Ian Miller:
HPCwire: Are we seeing a new Cray?
Miller: Not a new Cray, but a new aspect to Cray. What we are seeing is Cray's response to the HPC needs of a new market. This is a very exciting time to be in high performance computing. The move to multicore processors is leading to an explosion of developers facing the same problems, and using the same tools and techniques that have been the sole province of the supercomputing community for 50 years. For perhaps the first time in modern history, the flow of innovation in high performance computing is going to be driven by the millions of programmers focused on commodity application development. This will mean a proliferation of new ideas, new tools, and new techniques with the potential to completely reshape high end computation. With decades of experience in supercomputing, Cray is ideally positioned to help lead this transformation by providing tools that will help open up the promise of high performance computing to a broader community of users than ever before.
HPCwire: What are the specifics of available processors, storage, and graphics options?
Miller: The Cray CX1 is highly versatile with a variety of blades that can be mixed and matched to customize the system to meet varying user requirements. It is designed with eight nodes in a chassis with eight slots for blades. The CC48 is a single-socket and the CC54 is a dual-socket blade -- both with dual- or quad-core Intel Xeon processors and 8 DIMM slots per blade. A single chassis supports up to 16 Intel Xeon dual-core or quad-core processors -- for a maximum of 64 cores. In addition, each node can accommodate up to 64GB of memory.
This flexibility extends beyond just compute blade options -- the CX1 can also be configured with one or more visualization blades -- something not even available in any other system of this size. The CV5401 visualization blade features NVIDIA Quadro FX graphics cards as well as an optional NVIDIA GPU.
Additionally, there are two different storage blade options, the CS5404 and CS5408, which combine Intel Xeon's for computing with four or eight 2.5 inch Serial Attached SCSI disk drives for storage. Configuring a system for maximum I/O results in up to 4 terabytes of storage in a single Cray CX1 chassis.