March Silicon Madness

Published on Monday, 29 March 2010 08:41
Written by Douglas Eadline
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Read about three new processors hitting the market and nothing about basketball

I waited to make a joint news story about the new processors that were due to arrive this month. In this way, you could click from here to some good reviews and insights rather than hunting on the Internet. We are now permanent residents of multi-core-ville. Remember those single core processors? Seems like a while ago. Although, I bet you still use hardware that has some of these "old" processors. Of course the Intel and AMD announcements are pointed toward servers, but the goodness always trickles down. Other than making the Internet faster, I am still trying to figure out what Joe or Jane Sixpack will do with 6-cores in their bargain of the week lap/desktop from the big box store.

The fist announcement, which is rather old in Internet years, is from Intel. I invite you to check out Intel Ups Performance Ante with Westmere Server Chips by Michael Feldman of HPCwire. Intel has been cruising along lately. And by cruising, I don't mean loafing. They seem to have hit their stride with Nehalem.

{mosgoogle right} Next you can learn about the just released new AMD Magny-cours processor. As an aside, I have to say that this is probably the worst "code name" for a multi-core processor. Initially when I heard the name "magny-cours" I thought this person has some trouble pronouncing "many-cores." Then when I found out it was really "magny-cours," I checked it out on Wikipedia and that was no help. I mean, I get the cool names AMD uses like bulldozer and sledgehammer, but mangy-cours? Come on AMD, next time need a new code name, stay with the theme, how about "pickax." In any case, check John Fruehe's blog on magny-cours. John is the Director of Product Marketing for Server/Workstation products at AMD. You may also want to check out the article over at Inside HPC: AMD launches Magny Cours, hopes 4 socket pricing attracts cluster builders.

And finally, we have some Fermi news. The Fermi (or GF100) is shipping in video cards. No mention of Tesla products just yet. Check out Tom's Hardware for an in-depth review. The summary is interesting. They present the good (performance is generally faster than the Radeon HD 5870), the bad (the price, a flagship GeForce GTX 480 runs $500 US), and the ugly (power 250+ Watts and 160F). All you CUDA mavens may be interested to know that CUDA 3.0 (with Fermi support) is now available.

I'm sure there will be more HPC processor news real soon. In the mean time, enjoy the March Madness.

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