RealTime IT News

AMD To Supply Chips For Chinese Supercomputer

Number two chip-maker AMD has taken a large step forward in capturing presence in the Chinese market with a deal to provide its new 64-bit Opteron chips for a supercomputer project backed by the Chinese government, according to an AMD spokesman.

AMD's customer is China's Dawning Information Industry Co., a 1995 spin-off of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which will be working with the country's National Research Center for Intelligent Computing Systems to develop China's supercomputer program, known as Red Grid.

Their first effort, called the Dawning 4000A, will use 2,192 of AMD's 64-bit Opteron processors to make it capable of supporting 10 trillion floating operations per second (teraflops), said AMD spokesman Scott Carroll.

In addition to increasing pressure on archrival Intel , the deal could bump Dawning into third place among the world's supercomputers when the project is up and running.

According to Top500.org, a group that tracks the world's fastest computers, first place is held by Japan's Earth Simulator, built by NEC, which uses 5,120 vector processors to reach 36 teraflops. Second place is held by ASCI Q, developed by Hewlett-Packard for the Los Alamos National Laboratory. ASCI Q uses 8,192 Alpha processors to reach 14 teraflops. The Dawning 4000A, which will have 2 terabytes of RAM and 30 terabytes of hard-disk space, could eventually squeeze into number three on the list, and is expected to be at least in the top five.

The project comes only three months after AMD's official launch of the 64-bit Opteron chips, which are backwards compatible with systems running on 32-bit chips.

The company has also scored a contract with U.S.-based supercomputer titan Cray, which is aiming to make the world's fastest supercomputer for the U.S. Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories. The computer, dubbed Red Storm, will use 10,000 Opteron chips to reach a 40 teraflop rating.