Tuesday, September 16th 2008

Microsoft and Cray Team Up to Deliver the $25k Cray CX1 Supercomputer

Supercomputer leader Cray Inc. and Microsoft Corporation today introduced the new Cray CX1 supercomputer pre-installed with Windows HPC Server 2008. With U.S. list prices starting at $25,000 to over $60,000, "ease-of-everything" features and the ability to fit into standard office environments and workflows, the new product reflects Microsoft and Cray's shared goal to drive high productivity computing farther into the mainstream in a broad array of markets including financial services, aerospace, automotive, petroleum, life sciences, government, academic and digital media.


Studies released by the Council on Competitiveness and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) found that nearly all large firms using HPC consider it indispensable for their ability to compete and survive, but smaller companies, as well as workgroups and departments in larger firms, have been hampered by the cost of HPC systems and a lack of access to in-house experts to help them use these systems.

The Cray CX1 supercomputer was designed from the ground up to address these barriers. It is the most affordable supercomputer ever offered by Cray and is designed to be easy to purchase, deploy, operate and upgrade. Purpose-built for offices, laboratories and university departments, the Cray CX1 is the world's highest-performing computer that uses standard office power.

The Cray CX1 product incorporates up to 8 nodes and 16 Intel Xeon processors, either dual or quad core; delivers up to 64 gigabytes of memory per node; and provides up to 4 terabytes of internal storage. Systems can be configured with a mix of compute, storage and visualization blades to meet customers' individual requirements. The quiet, deskside supercomputer features Windows HPC Server 2008 and interoperates with Linux. A three-year warranty with next-day, on-site Cray-certified support is standard.

"Windows HPC Server 2008, in combination with the Cray CX1 supercomputer, will provide outstanding sustained performance on applications," said Vince Mendillo, director, HPC at Microsoft Corp. "This combined solution will enable companies in various sectors to unify their Windows desktop and server workflows. Many Microsoft financial services customers, for example, want to unify back-office modeling and simulation with the work of front-office trading desks."

"IDC research shows that HPC has been one of the highest-growth IT markets during the past five years and the segment for HPC systems priced below $100,000 is headed for continued growth," said Earl Joseph, IDC's HPC program vice president. "The Cray HPC brand name and experience, combined with Microsoft's strategy of extending the familiar Windows environment upward to the server level, gives the Cray CX1 solution strong potential for exploiting the anticipated growth of this market segment."

"Cray sees Microsoft Windows becoming an increasingly important force in the HPC market," said Ian Miller, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Cray. "With the Cray CX1 high productivity system and Windows HPC Server 2008, we're bringing the power of Cray supercomputing to a much wider range of new users with an affordable and adaptable system that provides incredible value and is easy to install, program and use with a broad array of applications from independent software vendors (ISVs)."

The Cray CX1 high productivity system is also the first Cray product to incorporate Intel processors and the first milestone of the unique collaboration Cray and Intel announced in April to develop a range of HPC systems and technologies over the next several years to address various segments of the HPC industry.

"Taking advantage of the energy-efficient performance of the Intel Xeon processor 5400 series, Cray's CX1 system will bring many HPC capabilities to the office that were previously confined to the datacenter, enabling more users to employ supercomputing to help them solve some of their most difficult computational problems," said Richard Dracott, Intel's General Manager of High Performance Computing, "In addition, we continue to collaborate with Cray on developing the supercomputing technologies of the future, aimed at all segments of the HPC market."

Scientists at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA plan to use a Cray CX1 with Microsoft HPC Server 2008 for mathematical modeling and visualization. This will support their development of advanced computational algorithms and scientific approaches for the comprehensive and quantitative mapping of brain structure and function.

"We are very excited about utilizing the Cray CX1 to support our research activities," said Rico Magsipoc, Chief Technology Officer for the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging. "The work that we do in brain research is computationally intensive but will ultimately have a huge impact on our understanding of the relationship between brain structure and function, in both health and disease. Having the power of a Cray supercomputer that is simple and compact is very attractive and necessary, considering the physical constraints we face in our data centers today."Source: Cray
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25 Comments on Microsoft and Cray Team Up to Deliver the $25k Cray CX1 Supercomputer

#1
Solaris17
Creator Solaris Utility DVD
i actaully kinda ant one....though im not going to lie after i pay my card down im goi g to blow a grand or so for TPU's sake and im going to get 3 or GX2's and im going to build a 24/7 folding box for our F@H team i mean honestly we all build these amazing rigs but i already have a 24/7 folding box going for tpu (spare parts) but something that will really make me feel good about everything is building some super fast folding machine that i can didicate soly to tpu F@H i wont even care about the fact that i wont use it as my primary desktop but folding or deseises tomy fav website...awsome
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#2
mdm-adph
Seeing as how just about all "supercomputers" run a flavor of Unix or Linux, it'll be nice to see something with which to compare standard Window systems against.

I wonder how well it runs Vista... probably not bad, but we'll have to see.
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#3
InnocentCriminal
Resident Grammar Amender
Doesn't look that super, where is it's cape? ;) ;)
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#4
mlee49
by: Solaris17
i actaully kinda ant one....though im not going to lie after i pay my card down im goi g to blow a grand or so for TPU's sake and im going to get 3 or GX2's and im going to build a 24/7 folding box for our F@H team i mean honestly we all build these amazing rigs but i already have a 24/7 folding box going for tpu (spare parts) but something that will really make me feel good about everything is building some super fast folding machine that i can didicate soly to tpu F@H i wont even care about the fact that i wont use it as my primary desktop but folding or deseises tomy fav website...awsome
:roll::roll::roll::roll:
Posted on Reply
#5
Solaris17
Creator Solaris Utility DVD
by: mlee49
:roll::roll::roll::roll:
i fail to see how any of that is funny? perhaps the parts i will be using is unbealivable? well i have a server and a linux box i build dedicated soley for folding for TPU so why not build a better one to help fight diseases that have plagued my entire family?
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#6
mlee49
by: Solaris17
i fail to see how nay of that is funny? perhaps the parts i will be using is unbealivable? well i have a server and a linux box i build dedicated soley for folding for TPU so why not build a better one to help fight diseases that have plagued my entire family?
Sol~ reading your post with no periods comma's or any punctuation it makes for very entertaining reading thanks
Posted on Reply
#7
Solaris17
Creator Solaris Utility DVD
by: mlee49
Sol~ reading your post with no periods comma's or any punctuation it makes for very entertaining reading thanks
ya i know i try. but i tought myself how to type. I type incredably fast bealive it or not. However learning to type by myself lead to me skipping over anything that isnt a letter :/
Posted on Reply
#8
PrudentPrincess
by: Solaris17
ya i know i try. but i tought myself how to type. I type incredably fast bealive it or not. However learning to type by myself lead to me skipping over anything that isnt a letter :/
I bealive it.
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#9
FatForester
by: Solaris17
ya i know i try. but i tought myself how to type. I type incredably fast bealive it or not. However learning to type by myself lead to me skipping over anything that isnt a letter :/
Mario Teaches Typing 2. 'Nuff said. :laugh:
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#10
Solaris17
Creator Solaris Utility DVD
by: FatForester
Mario Teaches Typing 2. 'Nuff said. :laugh:
lol
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#11
Bluefox1115
Will it play Crysis and Crysis: Warhead maxed out at over 100FPS constant?!?! If so, I want one. Hell I want one anyways. :D
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#12
hat
Maximum Overclocker
Doesn't say anything about video.
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#13
PVTCaboose1337
Graphical Hacker
I don't think I can afford even one. F@H? You must be kidding! That would be like 10 WU per day!
Posted on Reply
#14
hat
Maximum Overclocker
more like 32+WU per day if you're using 16 quad xeons
man thats a nuthouse
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#15
mlee49
Check it out, you guys have to configure one:

https://cx1.cray.com/default.asp

With 16 Xeon 3.0GHz cpu's, 128GB ram, only 320x4 HDD, and 4 NVIDIA QuadroFX 5600(2k a peice) its a bigger beast than you think. The gpu's along could hit 30+ Wu's a day.
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#16
theJesus
I configured one for ~97,000. 2 compute nodes, 2 visualization nodes, and 1 storage node (4hdds); and just maxed everything out :rockout:
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#17
lemonadesoda
... for govt contracts only. Would any commercial enterprise really pay that kind of money for performance that can be easily replicated for a fraction of the cost?


Noob webmaster, see picture:
Posted on Reply
#18
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
by: lemonadesoda
that kind of money for performance that can be easily replicated for a fraction of the cost?
How do you get that performance for a fraction of the cost?
Posted on Reply
#19
newconroer
by: Solaris17
i actaully kinda ant one....though im not going to lie after i pay my card down im goi g to blow a grand or so for TPU's sake and im going to get 3 or GX2's and im going to build a 24/7 folding box for our F@H team i mean honestly we all build these amazing rigs but i already have a 24/7 folding box going for tpu (spare parts) but something that will really make me feel good about everything is building some super fast folding machine that i can didicate soly to tpu F@H i wont even care about the fact that i wont use it as my primary desktop but folding or deseises tomy fav website...awsome
What?
Posted on Reply
#20
lemonadesoda
by: Frick
How do you get that performance for a fraction of the cost?
You joking right? Please follow the link and look at the prices of the "components" (nodes and options) https://cx1.cray.com/default.asp. You will recognise a lot of 3rd party equipment there at double the price you might expect. I was truely shocked at the price of each "xeon part" in the system.
Posted on Reply
#21
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
by: lemonadesoda
You joking right? Please follow the link and look at the prices of the "components" (nodes and options) https://cx1.cray.com/default.asp. You will recognise a lot of 3rd party equipment there at double the price you might expect. I was truely shocked at the price of each "xeon part" in the system.
Yeah, you make a good point.. But there's more to it than performance I guess. Like the "A three-year warranty with next-day, on-site Cray-certified support is standard."-thing.
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#22
Apocolypse007
They charge you $240 for a mouse and keyboard. Think they are skimming off the top a little?

edit: $1,050 for a standard 24'' monitor
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#23
candle_86
i still want one, wonder if wow would lag on it, or if i could multi-task
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#24
theJesus
by: Apocolypse007
They charge you $240 for a mouse and keyboard. Think they are skimming off the top a little?

edit: $1,050 for a standard 24'' monitor
Yeah, I noticed that kb/mouse combo as well. Same model retails on the egg for ~$140.

I don't think the main selling point of this is supposed to cost/performance, it's ease of use. I imagine there's a good market for people that could benefit from HPC but don't have the knowledge or experience to set up their own system, and would rather not hire more employees for the task. They would like the idea of buying an "out-of-the-box" HPC system and having full support for everything. It's the same reason some people buy Dell's and the like even though they know they can build for cheaper; think the PSU failed? they come out and replace the mobo and PSU on the spot the next day (at least in the cases I've seen).
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#25
Bluefox1115
You COULD build one for cheaper. But just having a computer that says "Cray" and being able to brag about owning a 1337 puter would just be kickass. Also, my 8800GTX does about 10 to 15 WU's a day. I'm sure this thing would pump out around 100..
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