Electronic Design
768 Cores And Counting

768 Cores And Counting

SeaMicro's SM10000-64HD packs in 768 Atom cores and 1.5 Tbytes of DRAM into a 10U system interconnected via a high speed torus mesh. The system fabric provides 1.28 Tbits/s interconnect. Each board (Fig. 1) has six 64-bit, dual core, Intel N570 Atom processors with 4 Gbytes of DDR3 DRAM per chip and four dual channel fabric switch chips. Each switch chip can handle two processor chips so there is capacity for a future jump to four dual core processors when they can be packed onto the board.

The latest system uses the same rack and peripherals as the earlier SeaMicro systems (see 512 64-bit Atom Cores In 10U Rack) since the hot swap processor boards are the same size. Systems can include up to 64 2.5-in SATA hard or solid state disk drives. Networking support includes up to 64 Gigabit Ethernet or up to 16 10 Gigabit Ethernet links. A system can have a mix of these types of links.

The SM10000-64HD essentially consolidates Ethernet switches, server management devices and load-balancers into the same system containing the processing and storage resources as well. The system fabric also provides higher performance communication between servers. Each processor supports 64-bit, x86 virtual machine operating systems allowing easy migration from other servers.

Most users will employ the SM10000-64HD like a a lot of individual dual core systems running LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl) for handling web services. Still, the fabric offers super computing features and some are starting to take advantage of this architecture. Message passing systems work very well with SeaMicro's fabric.

SeaMicro also brings significant high availability features to the game. The fabric provides alternate routes even when a processor or peripheral board is removed from the mesh. SeaMicro provides advanced system management for handling groups of processors.

Low power consumption is one of the system's features. The Atom chips have some of the best performance to power ratios around. From this standpoint, SeaMicro's system runs rings around Xeon systems. Of course, Xeon systems can deliver more cores within an SMP environment. On average, a SM10000-64HD uses 3.5kW. Pricing starts at $237,000.

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