SAN JOSE, Calif. Advanced Micro Devices powers the world's three largest supercomputers according to the lasted version of the Top500 list released Monday (Nov. 16). But archrival Intel Corp. still dominates the list with processors now in 80 percent of the systems.
China is another winner in the latest rankings with its most powerful system to date hitting number five on the list. Quad-core processors fueled a whopping 427 of the systems in a sign of the ongoing love affair between high-performance computers and multicore CPUs.
The Cray XT5 supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Lab claimed the top spot on the list thanks to an upgrade to AMD's latest six-core Istanbul processors. It hit 1.75 petaflop/second on the Linpack benchmark. Cray claimed the machine, nicknamed Jaguar, has a theoretical performance max of 2.3 petaflop/s.
Jaguar surpassed the IBM Roadrunner system at Los Alamos National Lab which broke the petaflops barrier in June 2008. The Roadrunner uses a mix of dual-core AMD Opteron CPUs and IBM QS22 blades based on a version of its Cell processor all linked on an Infiniband network. The Jaguar uses a proprietary 3-D Torus interconnect called SeaStar2 developed by Cray.
Like Jaguar, the third ranked system on the list was another Cray XT5 recently upgraded from AMD four- to six-core Istanbul CPUs. The so-called Kraken system was measured at 832 teraflop/s and is housed at the University of Tennessee.
The next big wave of AMD server processors will sport up to 12 cores next year and 16 in 2011. However the AMD Magny-Cours CPUs coming in 2010 and its follow-ons will require new motherboard designs to support a new AMD socket using four DDR3 memory channels and the 5 GHz PCI Express Gen 2.
Despite its high profile design wins, AMD appeared in only 42 systems on the list, one less than in the ranking released six months ago. Intel continues to dominate the list with CPUs in 402 of the systems, three more than on the previous list.
Intel's latest quad-core server processor, the Nehalem-EP, showed the strongest growth of any chip on the list. It is now used in 95 systems up from 33 in the previous ranking.
IBM's Power processors were the second most common on the list. They appeared in 52 systems, down from 55 in the prior list.