August 28, 2008

The Week in Review

by John E. West

Here’s a collection of highlights, selected totally subjectively, from this week’s HPC news stream as reported at and HPCwire.

>>10 words and a link

Dell and Leibert announce partnership to cool your data center;

IBM sets 20 percent premium on Power6 software;

Intel/Disney-Pixar partner on Ratatouille, Cray/Boeing on Dreamliner;

Focus on power at Intel’s Research Day;

>>Intel set to release revved quad-core in August

Recall that last week AMD finally announced a firm ship for Barcelona, its quad-core offering, but also shared the news that it would be at a slower clock rate, just 2.0 GHz for the performance bin. The Register reported on Friday of last week that Intel announced it will rev its four-core Xeon (Clovertown) August to keep the pressure on.

“Chipzilla also in August will release a low voltage version of its four-core Xeon code-named Clovertown that runs at 2.0GHz, while consuming just 50W max power. By contrast, AMD’s upcoming standard edition Opteron will eat up 95W, while the low power chip will eat up 68W. Intel’s new 2.0GHz chip will also boast a 1333MHz front side bus, up from today’s 1066MHz FSBs, according to our sources.”’s readers pointed out that while this power picture does favor Intel for the chip, the winner on total system power consumption will be harder to call because of Intel’s use of FB-DIMM memory. More at

>>Sun’s CEO sets out the company’s HPC strategy on his blog

Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz had an entry on his blog this week about Sun’s HPC strategy and why exactly it is that Sun thinks it can make money with HPC.

“The academic supercomputing community (there’s that word again) sets the pace for enterprise computing across the world — which has grabbed on to HPC for an array of real world challenges, from virus, disease, and drug discovery, to customer purchase pattern analytics, capital markets trading, energy discovery, dynamic resource management – you name it, it’s one of the fastest growing segments in the marketplace. Proving that what starts in academia, ends up on main street.”

So while Sun is grabbing headlines with Ranger (TACC’s 500 TFLOPS machine), it’s building its business model in the same place that all the other HPC vendors are looking: the enterprise/departmental market.

The stats on Ranger are impressive; Jonathan blogged them in the same entry, for details check out


John West summarizes the headlines in HPC every day at, and writes on leadership and career issues for technology professionals at InfoWorld and on his own blog at You can contact him at

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