SEATTLE—SC11--Though the TOP500 saw no changes in its top 10 supercomputers this week, Intel Corp. still managed to dominate the list, powering some 85 percent of all new entries with 223 systems choosing the Intel Xeon 5600 series and 10 systems running on the firm’s Xeon E5 processors.
Fittingly making their way onto the TOP500 list on the 40th anniversary of Intel’s first 4004 processor and the 10th anniversary of the Intel Xeon brand, Intel said its current processors had become some 130 times more powerful over the years.
The firm was also touting its E5 as the first server chip to support the PCI Express 3.0 I/O integration, which Intel said doubles the interconnect bandwidth over the previous generation PCIe 2.0 specification, while also enabling lower power and higher density servers.
To take advantage of the faster PCIe 3.0 specification, Intel said it had added new fabric controllers which would permit for better scaling of performance and data transfer as the number of nodes in HPC supercomputers continued to grow.
Citing early-performance benchmarks, Intel said its Xeon E5s delivered up to 2.1 times more performance in raw Floating Point Operations Per Second (FLOPS) and up to 70 percent more performance using real-HPC workloads compared with the previous generation of Intel Xeon 5600 series processors.
Over 20,000 Xeon Sandy Bridge E5 processors are already in operation two months after initial shipments to supercomputer centers, according to the company, which said they represent a cumulative peak performance of more than 3.4 Petaflops.
“Customer acceptance of the Intel Xeon E5 processor has exceeded our expectations and is driving the fastest debut on the TOP500 list of any processor in Intel’s history,” said Raj Hazra, general manager of technical computing at the Intel datacenter and connected systems group.
Xeon E5s are poised to debut in a number of upcoming supercomputers including the 10 PFLOPS “Stampede” at Texas Advanced Computing Center, the 1.6 PFLOPs “Yellowstone” at The National Center for Atmospheric Research, the 1.6 PFLOPS “Curie” at GENCI, the 1.3 PFLOPS system at International Fusion Energy Research Center (IFERC) and more than 1 PFLOPS “Pleiades” expansion at NASA.
Broad availability of E5 processors is set for the first half of 2012, with Intel boasting over 400 design wins already, almost double the amount when Xeon 5500/5600 launched. Meanwhile, demand for initial production units is purportedly some 20 times greater than for previous generations of the Intel Xeon 5500 or 5600 series processors.