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GPUs; Not Just For Games
Sunday, 16 November 2008 00:00

Users of HPC systems are always on the lookout for more performance for their applications. Some users turn to FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays, essentially a reconfigurable processor) to accelerate their algorithms but this options is time consuming and expensive. HPC users often look to the off the shelf market and in doing so found some kindred spirits: gamers.


Some HPC users have requirements for capable graphics processors to display 3D models, lining up well with the gaming market, while others are interested in tapping into the theoretical 1Tflops (1 trillion floating point operations per second) of computing power for the algorithms. The release of CUDA, Nvidia's free development package for
their GPUs, provided access to the GPU for general computation. Due to the large gaming market, video card prices are kept very low making these computing resources much more accessible.

Cost and ease of development have been taken care of leaving one major hurdle: size. Video cards are often relatively large and often require additional power which can make fitment difficult. We were receiving inquiries into smaller, more dense options including GPUs so we rolled up our sleeves and created the Pinnacle 1X5GPU1 Server. These servers squeeze a top-shelf video card and a dual socket Xeon computer into a compact 1U rack mount chassis with an 80% efficient power supply, DVD-RW drive and up to two hard drives. Pinnacle 1X5GPU1 Servers can accept any Nvidia video card or
Tesla computing system allowing the performance, video display or floating point) to be tailored to a user's application and budget.

 
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