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Dell launch Custom Cray supercomputer

Dell launch Custom Cray supercomputer

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Cray – world renowned creator of the Cray supercomputer today announced a reseller agreement with Dell which will mean that Dell can resell their own version of the entry level Cray CX1 baby supercomputer.

During the summer Cray announced the CX1-LC which has been a big success for them and Dell’s version will be more a ‘workstation with a cluster behind it’ to increase the processing capability. Three different levels of machines plan to be sold and we were told this evening that will all have two socket Xeon 5500 workstation blade configurations with the Nvidia Quadro FX graphics card powering the displays. The systems will all run the 64 bit version of Windows 7 which seems the logical choice. The Cray unit supports both Linux and Windows, but Dell are puting their focus entirely into Windows.

At the heart of the Dell CX1 IWS will be two Xeon processors (L5520’s @ 2.26ghz) with 24GB of memory and an Nvidia Quadro FX 380 graphics card. The machine also has two additional compute blades each with two L5520 processors and 12GB of ram and additional storage for the OS and storage. The compute and storage nodes will run Windows HPC Server 2008 SP2 which is a version of Windows with math libraries and other clustering tools.

Dells version (CX1 IWS) also has a 16 port Gigabit Ethernet switch which gives it a huge amount of interaction between itself and other workstations and by using Nvidia’s CUDA HPC programming environment remote workstations are able to offload computational work to the graphics cards. Those nifty 16 ports can also be used to add network storage options if you happen to have a plethora of fully kitted out NAS units handy.

The systems are targeted around the $40,000-50,000 price point with more expensive options available with the high end Xeon X5570 processors at the heart of the beast (2.93ghz). If the graphics aren’t nippy enough for your demands they also offer the Nvidia Quadro FX 5800.

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Stuart Davidson

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