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Old 2012-08-23, 18:43   #1
debrouxl's Avatar
Sep 2009

2·3·163 Posts
Default ARM-based servers...

I've stumbled across the Baserock Slab ( ) and MiTAC GFX series ( ), two ARM-based servers announced in the past few weeks.

* the Baserock Slab is 8 x (quad-core ARMv7-A @ 1.33 GHz + 2 GB ECC DDR3 + 30-120 GB SSD) + 2 x 10 Gbps SFP+ Ethernet + 4 x 1 Gbps "classical" Ethernet in a 1U rack of half depth. That's nothing to sneer at, especially with a 260W PSU.
* the MiTAC GFX is 64 quad-core ARMv7-A @ 1.6 GHz + 32 HDDs in 4U rack. Not sure about the amount of RAM, since the indicated 16 GB seems low for a 256-core system - perhaps it's 16 GB for each of the 8 "compute modules" ?

The performance per watt of ARM-based gear is clearly significantly higher than that of x86_64-based gear...
Future 32-bit and 64-bit ARM cores will improve, but so will x86_64 cores, so the ratio might not change that much.

How would people around here estimate the crunching abilities of those platforms ?
High-end GPUs are probably too far above x86_64 CPUs at TF on Mersenne numbers for these ARM servers to dethrone them; but I think that servers like the Baserock Slab could prove good NFS machines, if memory bandwidth approaches that of x86_64 machines (and that might be a big "if"):
* with 512 MB of RAM per core, and 1 GB already announced for the next few months (maybe they'll raise the amount of RAM per core further later, I don't know), 15e wouldn't be a problem;
* 5 Gbps internal + 2x10 Gbps external network interconnect could prove attractive for MPI post-processing.
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