October 26, 2004 4:16 PM PDT
SGI to upgrade high-end Linux servers next week
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The system is the next generation of the Altix 3000 family that SGI launched in 2003 for high-performance computing tasks. SGI calls the system the BX2 because it has twice the bandwidth to transfer data within the system.
The BX2 family also is the newest part of SGI's effort to turn around its flagging financial fortunes. The Altix family lets SGI benefit from advances Intel makes with processors and Linux programmers make with software, rather than having to develop its own ecosystem single-handedly, as it has with its older Origin line.
The new systems were on display here at NASA's Ames Laboratory, which unveiled a new supercomputer called Columbia on Tuesday that can perform 42.7 trillion calculations per second, or 42.7 teraflops. Columbia uses a total of 10,240 Itanium 2 processors in a combination of the old and new Altix 3700 systems.
"This is one of our earliest installs of that product," said Jeff Greenwald, senior director of project management and marketing.
The systems will ship with Intel's newest Itanium 2 processor, a version of the "Madison" generation, and will accommodate the "Montecito" model, due to arrive by the end of 2005, SGI said. The newest Madison model includes 9MB of high-speed cache memory instead of the 6MB of current chips.