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Advanced Clustering Technologies is a leading provider of high performance Beowulf clusters, Linux-based servers and workstations.
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Home Newsletters August 2012

August 2012

 

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   August 2012       

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Swap your stories for FREE SHIPPING!

 

If you've purchased an Advanced Clustering Technologies cluster, we would love to find out what you're doing with it!

 

When we sell a cluster, we have a general understanding of how it will be used, but we don't always get to hear the details about the research projects our customers are conducting or what sort of discoveries are made. We'll admit we're curious!

 

Please consider dropping us a quick note to let us know all about your cluster experience at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . We may publish it in an upcoming newsletter, and if we do, you will receive FREE SHIPPING on your next order with us, no matter how large or small!

 

 

Is now the right time for solid state drives?

 

Common wisdom for years held that spinning platter hard drives would always cost much less than solid state drives (SSDs). After all, the demand for NAND flash memory chips, the primary component of SSDs, continually seemed to outpace production due to high consumer demand of laptops, smartphones and digital cameras, thus keeping prices high.

 

But things have changed: First, the global economy slowed, and overall demand for electronic gadgets decreased. Then, in late 2011, floods hit Thailand's hard drive manufacturing plants, and the resulting part scarcity caused the prices for standard drives to increase dramatically. The cost of a typical 1TB enterprise drive was around $90 in early October 2011, just prior to the flooding in Thailand, and had soared to $170 by February 2012.

 

Prices for platter-based drives have stablized a bit in the past few months, but still have not returned to their pre-flood levels. Meanwhile, the surplus of NAND chips on the market has reduced SSD pricing considerably. With SSDs costing an average of a little over one dollar per gigabyte now for capacities up to 480GB, they have become an attractive and competitive option in high-performance computing applications, where fast access to stored data is desirable and, at times, critical. 

 

Conventional drives, with a typical capacity of 1-3TB, still offer larger storage capacity than SSDs, and thus will likely continue to be used for long-term storage needs for some time to come. But for instantly accessible storage, the current pricing of SSDs makes them an excellent alternative.

 

We at Advanced Clustering have used SSDs in many of our clusters and would be happy to speak with you regarding their current pricing and potential applications. For more information, please contact us at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Intel's "supercomputer in a chip"

Xeon Phi to arrive later this year

 

Intel has confirmed that it plans to start shipping its new many-integrated-core (MIC) product, the Xeon Phi, later this year. This new chip, codenamed "Knights Corner," is Intel's first MIC product, designed to work in tandem with traditional processors, similar in concept to a GPU and ideal for highly parallel applications.

 

Intel has dubbed the Xeon Phi a "supercomputer in a chip," because this coprocessor offers one teraflop of performance, the same as the first Intel-based supercomputer built in 1997. The difference is that while the 1997 system featured more than 9,000 processors in 72 server cabinets, the Xeon Phi will occupy just one PCIe slot in one server.

 

A version of this coprocessor can already be found on the TOP500 supercomputer ranking list, in Intel's own 9,800-core "Discovery" cluster.

 

You can read more about the Xeon Phi here: blogs.intel.com/technology/2012/06/intel-xeon-phi-coprocessors-accelerate-discovery-and-innovation

 

For upcoming news on Xeon Phi offerings from us at Advanced Clustering, keep reading this newsletter and visit our webpage at www.advancedclustering.com.

 

Upcoming Conference:

Oklahoma Supercomputing Symposium

 

Advanced Clustering Technologies will be a silver-level sponsor at this year's Oklahoma Supercomputing Symposium, to be held October 2-3 at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK.

 

This conference, the only one of its type in the Midwest, brings together programmers, researchers, information technology professionals and students to discuss various topics related to high-performance computing. The symposium is free and open to the public.

 

More details about this conference can be found here: www.oscer.ou.edu/Symposium2008/index.html.