Archive for the ‘x86’ Category

Building the ultimate media workhorse

Thursday, September 10th, 2009


A prominent post production company approached us to build a system for post production (obviously!) workloads. The interesting part is that they like to use a high end card to capture up to four HD or SD video streams, a high end video card, an output card to composite real time video and graphics. If that’s not enough, we are adding a Fibre Channel card for storage access, another HD video capture card.

In a nutshell, we are building a system powerful enough to handle the demands of an HD digital video pipeline (DVP) for real time video processing, compositing and rich media production. Want more? They want it to run a linux OS and windows OS at once. So, lets try to wrap this up in a sentence: A dual socket system supporting two HD video capture cards, a high end graphics card, an HD output card, an FC card and run Windows and Linux virtualized with access to these cards. Can your vendor provide this system and support it?

The most popular vendor in digital media does provide digital media solutions (well, not like these systems anyway), but at a very high premium. Why? I don’t know. Maybe they spent all that time and energy in reaching out and establishing themselves as the leader in developing solutions for media space, which are not much different from other high end computing systems. And when you talk about high end computing, HPC Systems has delivered more complex machines than anyone can even imagine. We have delivered numerous multi-socket (4,8 socket) systems to some of the premier federal organizations for a variety of workloads, for forest fire simulations, for IC designs and simulation, for virtualization, for desk-side supercomputing and for financial modeling. We have even delivered a fully integrated single cluster that includes a Cell processor rack mount system, CUDA cards, accelerators, Opteron processors and Infiniband. There are not many who can deliver that complex designs.

The point of all this is not bragging but to say we don’t charge our customers a premium based on their requirements. We don’t charge you more because of the company size or because of anything else. However, we do charge for non-trivial software installation or configuration. Compared to the quality of the systems (with full software configuration and free phone, email support) we deliver the unbeatable value.

Well, I will keep you posted on the progress of this project. Keep coming back!

AMD delivers OpenCL SDK beta for x86

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

AMD announced the availability of OpenCL SDK for x86 processor cores.

The first publicly available beta of OpenCL SDK will allow developers to write portable code supporting both x86 processors and compatible GPUs. At release, OpenCL SDK will be delivered as a part of the ATI Stream Software Development Kit.

For the uninitiated, OpenCL is an open programming standard, supported by a number of industry vendors, for writing source code to target multi-core CPUs and GPU execution units. OpenCL is designed ground up to support parallel computing paradigms using task-based and data-based parallelism.

NVidia also has an SDK in the works and we can expect to see NVidia’s version very soon, esp. after their continued demos at SIGGRPAH. NVIDIA’s SDK will, obviously, support NVIDIA GPU’s. If they will support x86 cores, is yet to be seen. AMD, on the other hand, has an incentive to support x86 cores and GPU in its release. It will accelerate adoption of ATI Stream GPU’s and Opteron processors. AMD is in a unique position because of its product line – GPU & x86 CPU, whereas, NVIDIA has only GPU and Intel has only CPU. Let’s hope AMD manages to take advantage this opportunity.

AMD’s OpenCL demo with AMD Opteron Istanbul is below. This demo is on a 4 socket AMD Opteron system with six core Istanbul processor. I cant wait to try it on our 48 core AMD Opteron system (8 socket) with Istanbul processors.