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What could you do with 49,000 x86 16-core processors?
lexipixel




msg:4386684
 1:15 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Cray to use AMD's new 16-core chip to build an 11.5 petaflop supercomputer for science

This system, which will be capable of a peak performance of 11.5 petaflops when it is completed next year, will be built with 49,000 processors from Advanced Micro Devices, Cray said in its announcement Monday. A petaflop equals one quadrillion floating point operations per second.

[computerworld.com...]


Kinda puts new meaning in those "I'm a PC" t.v. ads.

 

J_RaD




msg:4386707
 2:10 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

AMD Opertons.... good choice! :-)

rocknbil




msg:4386810
 5:33 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe now they can solve pi. :-P

Marshall




msg:4386863
 7:43 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe they'll finally figure out how to make a really good cup of coffee. :)

incrediBILL




msg:4386882
 9:14 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

IBM's Watson could probably use some horsepower like that to play a better game of Jeopardy!

TBH, in this day and age I'm shocked desktop computers aren't built like legos so when you need more computing power or memory you just snap in a new module, not replace the whole damn thing.

lucy24




msg:4386940
 11:37 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

! Accelerators !

I'd forgotten there was such a thing until you said "more computing power" and I remember squeezing a few more years out of my SE with the aid of the old TransWarp accelerator. They never did come out with the extra doodad that would have let me upgrade the RAM, though. 4MB and no higher, from a starting 1MB.

lexipixel




msg:4387010
 3:54 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

upgrade the RAM, though. 4MB and no higher, from a starting 1MB.


I remember when the big leap was going from a max. of 512k to 640k "fully addressable" RAM, (and even then a lot of software could not recognize the 128k of "high-RAM" address space).

Right now I'm looking over my shoulder at my little "museum" that includes XT, 286, 386 and 486 machines.

I'm sure everyone here knows the story behind the name "Pentium", (and why Intel never released it as the 80586)... thanks to AMD.

Funny thing, I've never owned a single AMD based machine -- I always felt they were cheap clones of Intel chips and the first few years there were serious overheating problems. I guess we can thank AMD for keeping PC prices reasonable -- I remember some early Pentium processor upgrades costing $800-$1000 or more just for the chip.

J_RaD




msg:4387143
 1:58 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)


TBH, in this day and age I'm shocked desktop computers aren't built like legos so when you need more computing power or memory you just snap in a new module, not replace the whole damn thing.


you can sort of do that if you purchase all your parts with upgrades in mind. I purchased my AM3 mobo with the ability to go from a simple dual core all the way to a 6 core with full support on DDR3. AMD is good about not porking you on upgrades by switching sockets and telling you to suck it.


I remember some early Pentium processor upgrades costing $800-$1000 or more just for the chip.


i remember...... wait, yep its still exactly like that for intel chips. hahaah


I stick with AMD, might not be as fast but they are a good value and I can keep on upgrading for much longer.


I always felt they were cheap clones of Intel chips


you sure you aren't remembering cyrix or winchips?

those were the cheap-o knock offs.

lexipixel




msg:4387219
 4:34 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm shocked desktop computers aren't built like legos


A good friend once said, "Multi-tasking is best done with multiple computers". I still agree. The cost for hardware and the modern plug n' play nature of networking make it reasonable to just add another machine if you need to do (a lot of) more than one thing at a time. No matter what they call it, "multi-tasking" inside one case will always share some resources which will affect something else you're trying to do on that same box.

you sure you aren't remembering cyrix or winchips?


No, early AMD chips had heat problems.

"Unfortunatly AMD were never able to overcome the K5's heat problem and so had to resort to the same P Rating that Cyrix was using with the 6x86."
- [zen26266.zen.co.uk...]

"In my initial experience, the older PR75, PR90 and PR100 K5 CPUs are not great fellows for overclocking. Most of the time, the system would remain dead after moving up only one step and these versions share the same serious heat problem with the 6x86."
- [tomshardware.com...]

...more stories of AMD heat problems are easily found.

J_RaD




msg:4387235
 5:10 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

yes i do remember AMDs little fireball processors but they worked that out in a few years then intels processors started taking the fire breathing crown when they started getting into the P4s.

heat issues or not they weren't junk chips like the ones I mentioned. You can't really use overclocking as a rule as its not really designed to do that.. esp in the 90's.... if you did you could say the intel celeron rules the roost hahaah.

lexipixel




msg:4387340
 8:34 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

overclocking


Citing the basic rules of physics and engineering, I've never bought the "overclocking" concept. I've also never tried to put a 396ci Chevy big block into a Corvair -- but I've heard of people who've done that too.

J_RaD




msg:4387364
 9:32 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

well back then you couldn't buy an unlocked processor, now they sell them and encourage doing so.

try overclocking a new locked processor and you'll run into the same stuff you did back then.... you'll get a little extra juice then it craps itself.

incrediBILL




msg:4387438
 1:23 am on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Back in the 80s I overclocked a mother board to 2Mhz so it would run the faster 2Mhz Z80 chip but never overclocked the chip itself ;)

lucy24




msg:4387451
 2:19 am on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

What riles me is the new-fangled (ahem) approach to memory. Back in the day, each application had its own allotted memory, which you could change explicitly but you had to make sure to leave a cushion for system functions like printing. An important part of good programming was to intercept all possible memory dribbles, like disposing of gWorlds when you were done with them. I don't remember exactly what a gWorld did-- something involving pictures, obviously-- except that leaving them lying around would send your memory usage through the ceiling and eventually the program would crash.

And then OS X came along, everyone shared the same memory, "Such-and-such application has crashed. You do not need to restart your computer" *, and by the end of the day, everything is using four times as much memory-- even if you've closed all documents-- and running correspondingly slower. So I turn off the computer every night just to let everything start from scratch.

It's the ### Tragedy of the Common all over again. Is it really necessary for a text editor to consume 150MB of RAM? What's the browser doing with its current 110?

Years and years ago, my father observed that disk space is cheaper than good programming. I still try to shave a few k's off each image file. We won't talk about my html. But just yesterday I got into a virtual fight with someone about entities vs. real (UTF-8 or even Latin-1) characters. I guess the same applies to memory.

I try not to think about CPU usage. It makes my head hurt.


* If you are in the appropriate age bracket, you may remember how wildly thrilling this was.

lexipixel




msg:4387508
 7:29 am on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I miss manually calculating memory and adding the proper device driver initialization parameters to CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT, (not!)

On my BBS machines I used to have to decide if I should load stuff into a RAM disk to save disk access time, or save as disk files to save RAM.

incrediBILL




msg:4387513
 7:49 am on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh stop complaining, I used to use software games to swap out my Commodore-64 ROM just to get access to that extra 8K of ghost RAM hiding under it.

lucy24




msg:4387530
 9:10 am on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hey, remember Virtual Memory? Instant decelerator and it didn't cost a dime.

The browser is now up to 133MB. Wonder where those last 23MB have gone?

Then again, the Memory Usage Getter itself runs around 45MB. I kinda think the old Memory control panel took something like 45k, if that.

lexipixel




msg:4387618
 3:29 pm on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

swap out my Commodore-64 ROM just to get access to that extra 8K of ghost RAM hiding under it.


My first "home computer" was a used VIC-20. When the VIC-64 came out I already had access to a dual-floppy IBM PC. Before "home computers" (mid-70's) my access was limited to time-sharing on a TTY connected to a mainframe.... this conversation always ends the same way -- my first use of a real computer was one that had ferite core magnets in glass bubbles as "RAM"--

[en.wikipedia.org...]

...and to "boot" the machine we had to load the OS from 5" magtape and load in binary instructions using a row of toggle switches on the front panel.

[en.wikipedia.org...]

(The DecSystem10 in the photo is similar, but nicer than the one we had with only 2 memory modules).

I had my own 5" tape reel and would stay late after school so I could run my programs on the mainframe. Also got experience wiring up "breadboards" so I could batch punchcards to run larger sets of data.

So yeah, I have a lot of sympathy when my daughter complains her 3 month old Droid phone isn't good enough -- how something like her friend's new iPhone would be better -- and how if she had the latest iPhone she could answer my call or text message when she's at the mall and I'm trying to find her -- she "technically" explains how the Droid takes too long ring and for her to open the "phone" 'cause her playlist, her Facebook friends, the Tumblr page she's browsing and all her friend's texts are on the screen at the same time and the phone "glitches".

Poor kid.

lucy24




msg:4387832
 11:02 pm on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

this conversation always ends the same way
...
So yeah, I have a lot of sympathy when my daughter complains

Don't forget the part about walking barefoot to school in the snow, uphill both ways, carrying a bucket of coal.

ken_b




msg:4387835
 11:07 pm on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

What could you do with 49,000 x86 16-core processors?

Sell them quick before they become out-dated, that's a pile of inventory to get stuck with. :)

Leosghost




msg:4387843
 11:17 pm on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Don't forget the part about walking barefoot to school in the snow, uphill both ways, carrying a bucket of coal.

at least it wasn't in a lake..

SteveWh




msg:4387865
 12:21 am on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Multi-tasking is best done with multiple brains. Four hands would help, too.

lexipixel




msg:4387881
 1:11 am on Nov 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

walking barefoot to school in the snow, uphill both ways


Not barefoot, but the rest is true.

I live in an old New England mill village. My house is at the top of a steep hill. The Junior High and High School I went to are on the opposite side of the village on another hill. To get to school I'd have to walk down one hill, (pass the mill pond and over the bridge at the waterfalls), then up the hill to the school, coming home, reverse that. So, in the winter, yes, I would walk "up hill in the snow both ways", (albeit for only half the distance). My daughter goes to the same school I did, but she has never walked there yet (I drive her every day -- a few times when it's been nice out she's walked home -- and now that she's older has friends that drive her sometimes).

I wore the line out the first year she went to the school, the back of my head suffering many a teenage eye-roll.

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