Cray Inc. is packing even
more horsepower into its CX1
desk-side supercomputer with a new model that will ship with Intel's
Xeon processor 5600 Series, providing up to a teraflop of computing
horsepower for computationally intensive applications.
The third-generation CX1 now features Intel's new
microarchitecture built on the company's latest 32nm process technology. The
microarchitecture features two more computer cores per socket giving the CX1
access to a total of six cores compared to earlier CX1 models, which were
limited to support for four cores. As a result, the new CX1 can deliver more
than 50 percent additional compute power while still maintaining the same power
and energy consumption levels.
This additional horsepower is critical for engineers who are
always looking to up the performance of their processor-hungry simulation and
visualization applications, according to Ian Miller, Cray's senior vice
president of the Productivity Solutions Group and marketing. "The classic
problem that a design engineer has is getting their computationally intensive
work that's part of designing a product or part accomplished," Miller explains.
"While workstations are increasingly powerful, engineers are always yearning
for even more power and the ability to get batch simulations done in a quicker
The CX1, with Intel's 5600 processor, delivers on that need
by providing access to a small cluster of processors — up to eight individual
blades — so engineering teams scale out models and simulations to achieve
optimal performance. "This essentially lets them harness up to eight computers
to bring additional horsepower to bear on the problem," Miller explains. "It
lets them get work done faster, get products out the door more quickly and make
their overall operations faster."
Despite its supercomputer performance, the CX1 plugs into
standard office power and operates within a standard noise envelope making it
suitable for use within an open office, not just within a data center. Cray has
also been working with leading engineering and design tool software providers
to ensure their applications take advantage of the parallel functionality of
the new Intel architecture and the CX1 platform.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.