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Wonder What It Is like to Unbox a Supercomputer?



/ 2 years ago

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There isn’t a much better feeling then receiving that new product and unpacking it, digging through bubble wrap and packing peanuts for every little thing. And then finally, we can peel off the protective plastic-covers, slowly. But have you ever wondered how it would be to unbox a super computer? Apparently some reporters did, and we got a lot of photos.

Unboxing a super computer isn’t much different then any other computer, it’s just a much bigger scale. Crack open the crates, connect the cabinets and voila, your super computer is running.

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Pawset Supercomputing Centre in Australia recently received a Cray XC30, dubbed Magnus2, and the unboxing was covered by the reporters from ITNews. Each of the 7 new cabinets weighs about 1.4 tonnes and can have up to 384 CPU’s in each, cracking a wopping 99 teraflops. The new system features over 35.000 Xeon cores and a peek performance around 1 petaflop.

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The University of Arizona recently got their El Gato supercomputer, and the unboxing was covered as well. It’s composed out of IBM’s x86 iDataPlex servers and Nvidia Tesla K20 accelerators, and the El Gato also came fully build, shrink-wrapped but otherwise ready to go. With a peak performance of 145 teraflops, the El Gato is one of the fastest supercomputers located at an US university.

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Just as in our consumer world, not everything in the server world is plug and play like above. The video below shows a time-lapse of engineers at DoE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) manually upgrading the jaguar supercomputer to become the titan super computer. With it’s 560 Xeon cores and 640 Tesla cores, it’s pumping a massive 17  petaflops, yet it still isn’t the world’s fastest.

So there you have it, it isn’t much more difficult to unbox and set up a super computer then any random Dell PC for example.

Thank you Extremetech for providing us with this information.

Image and video courtesy of Extremetech.


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  • Barry Bradshaw

    I need these in my room :p

  • ZomBie

    But can it run watchdogs on steady 60 fps?

  • Wayne

    And to think that 30 years from now (if not less) we’ll likely have all that processing power in our phones.