AMD plans supercomputer with 1,000 GPUs
Posted at: 4:13pm 9th January 2009 by Ben Hardwidge
Over 1,000 Radeon HD 4870s to be chained together to make online supercomputer, allowing games to be played using online processing power
Thanks to multi-core processors, GPGPU computing and innovations such as the Cell architecture and Creative’s Zii processor, parallel computing is starting to become much more mainstream. In fact, AMD now reckons that it can use over 1,000 Radeon HD 4870 GPUs to create a supercomputer capable of processing one petaflop. Not only that, but the power of the supercomputer will be available as an online powerhorse for everyone from gamers to 3D animators.
AMD’s president, Dirk Meyer, revealed the plans for the supercomputer, called the Fusion Render Cloud, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The colossal machine will be powered by AMD Phenom II processors and 790 motherboard chipsets, along with over 1,000 Radeon HD 4870 GPUs.
The company claims that one purpose of the system is to ‘deliver video games, PC applications and other graphically-intensive applications through the Internet “cloud” to virtually any type of mobile device with a web browser.’ The idea is that the Fusion Render Cloud will do all the hard work, so all you need is a machine capable of playing back the results, saving battery life and the need for ever greater processing power.
AMD also says that the Fusion Render Cloud will ‘enable remote real-time rendering of film and visual effects graphics on an unprecedented scale.’ Meanwhile, game developers would be able to use the supercomputer to quickly develop games, and also ‘serve up virtual world games with unlimited photo-realistic detail.’
The supercomputer will be powered by OTOY’s software, which allows you to render 3D visuals in your browser via streaming, compressed online data. Meyer said that the supercomputer ‘is being designed to break the one petaFLOPS barrier, and to process a million compute threads across more than 1,000 graphics processors.’
According to Meyer, it will be ‘the fastest graphics supercomputer ever,’ and AMD plans to have it up and running before the second half of this year. Meyer revealed a number of interested parties during his speech, including people from Lucasfilm, EA, HP and Dell, who joined him on stage.
Although the project is mainly aimed at mobile devices at the moment, it also shows the potential for online processing power. Is AMD on the right track here, and what would you use the supercomputer for if you had access to it? Let us know your thoughts.