ARM And Intel Go Head To Head In UK

“Scientists have a growing choice of potential computer architectures to choose from, including new 64-bit ARM CPUs, graphics processors, and many-core CPUs from Intel. Choosing the best architecture for an application can be a difficult task, so the new Isambard GW4 Tier 2 HPC service aims to provide access to a wide range of the most promising emerging architectures, all using the same software stack. Isambard is a unique system that will enable direct ‘apples-to-apples’ comparisons across architectures, thus enabling UK scientists to better understand which architecture best suits their application.”
 
See GW4 joins industry partners to develop ‘first of its kind’ supercomputer
This is interesting. I’ve chosen ARM for my next generation of clients and servers based on advertised specs and history but ARM is still new to many people in production systems and folks want to test hardware. In UK, an HPC setup is going to allow scientists to test both ARM and Intel running the same software. Cool. There’s no doubt Intel has advantages when raw power is the only consideration but in the real world folks want to consider computation per unit volume/energy/time/price/whatever. With such a setup as long as the software is not optimized for one architecture or the other it could be an objective test. Stay tuned.

See also Cray to Deliver ARM-Powered Supercomputer to UK Consortium

“Isambard will include over 10,000 64-bit ARMv8 cores, in addition to a smattering of x86 CPUs, Intel Knights Landing Xeon Phi processors, and NVIDIA P100 GPUs. The project’s rationale for this architectural diversity is to compare application performance across a range of processors on the same machine.”

Cray has been around for ages. I remember machines they built back in the day from discrete transistors, liquid-cooled machines curved to minimize transfer times and other things that seem odd today… but they were fast and available to scientists. I never got to use one though. I lived in an IBM/DEC shop…

Cray may not be alone in this space for long. Another consortium is building on Cavium Thunder-X2 modules. ARM64 will finally get a workout in a relatively open environment.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to ARM And Intel Go Head To Head In UK

  1. ram says:

    It will be interesting to see the power consumption per DP-MFLOP for these different architectures. I note they all use fin-FET technology, and are mostly made at Intel fabrication facilities.

  2. Deaf Spy says:

    Then indeed you are just a cheap hypocrite, who is willing to sell all his ideas for a second-hand laptop.

    Or, maybe TLW is just not willing to buy any of your ideas of ARMs, idle cores, etc., etc… If your own wife doesn’t trust your IT prowess, why should the world?

  3. Deaf Spy wrote, “why didn’t you buy her a proper ARM laptop, Robert?”

    She has her own money and preferred to pay $0 for a recycled notebook no one else wanted.

  4. Deaf Spy says:

    So, why didn’t you buy her a proper ARM laptop, Robert?

    If it because you got the Intel for free, then you are just a cheap hypocrite, who is willing to sell all his ideas for a second-hand laptop.

  5. Deaf Spy wrote, “Obviously the ultra-hyper C2 can’t quite satisfy her needs.”

    That’s partially true but the main reason it was acquired was that the previous owner no longer needed it (living in a smartphone) and she broke her Android/Linux tablet… It was merely a cheap and plentiful option compared to nothing mobile except her smartphone. Like me, she is getting on in years and finds a smartphone’s small size limiting.

  6. Deaf Spy says:

    “The “new” Intel machine” is the latest TLW got after the glorious C2. Obviously the ultra-hyper C2 can’t quite satisfy her needs. If she needs mobility and portability, why didn’t you talk her into buying an ARM laptop? There are quite a few out there, Robert.

  7. dougman wrote, “some doofus allots three million quid for a one off machine, and another doofus assumes this is the future of computing”.

    The important part of this story is that ARM is being given a shot. A fair shot is all I care about. Intel does make good chips but it has no monopoly on ability to create CPUs. Intel doesn’t deserve a monopoly on the market for CPUs. So, this is a good news story.

  8. Deaf Spy wrote, “TLW’s newest machine is Intel.”

    Garbage in, garbage out of your argument. TLW’s newest machine is the Odroid-C2. She got it last year. The “new” Intel machine is about 6 years old. It’s second hand. She doesn’t use it for its CPU, just its portability and screen-size. When she wants to get serious work done, she uses the Odroid-C2 because it’s located in her office and has a very large screen and full keyboard and mouse. She doesn’t do anything that requires much of a CPU. It’ll be idling even on the Odroid-C2. The wait-queue on the Odroid-C2 is about 0.5 tasks, though. She ramps it up to about 1.0 when she’s working but that’s still idling. Odroid-C2 is quad-core, you know. She’d be OK with one core.

  9. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “No, Robert, you haven’t. TLW’s newest machine is Intel. It is one step forward, one step back.”

    Remember Mr. D, TLW has to actually get work done that pays the bills, while Robert Pogson mostly uses his computers as toys to tinker with – he doesn’t need it to work all the time.

  10. Deaf Spy says:

    I’ve chosen ARM for my next generation of clients and servers based on advertised specs and history

    No, Robert, you haven’t. TLW’s newest machine is Intel. It is one step forward, one step back.

  11. oiaohm says:

    dougman there are many mainframe/super computers going the arm64 route.
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/20/fujitsu_arm_supercomputer/
    Also the HP machine project is still going forwards and that is arm64 based.

    http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/610912/new-supercomputer-will-unite-x86-power9-arm-chips/
    This is not the only hyrid super computer on the future road map. Maybe the day of the x86 only super computer is ending.

    Turns out for these large system there is some serous advantage to using anything other than x86. Mostly that you can use memory layouts intel x86 chip will not function with. Power chip will support 16G memory pages arm64 using HP machine design uses 8G memory pages but more with other designs with arm64 is possible. Intel can barely do 1G pages. Systems with huge memory being able to use huge pages can get important.

    Basically dougman attacking without knowing the facts. GW4 is a half way hibrid between arm64 and x86 most when doing hybrid are normally putting power in the mix what makes the GW4 odd is no power chips. Interesting enough there were half of kind with x86 in the supercomputer market before x86 ate the other CPUs lunch. So this could be history repeating.

  12. dougman says:

    LOL, some doofus allots three million quid for a one off machine, and another doofus assumes this is the future of computing.

    Eh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *