SGI Unveils New Altix ICE 8400 HPC Server Blades

SGI is bringing the newest processors from Intel and AMD to its Altix ICE HPC blade servers. The Altix ICE 8400 also features an improved InfiniBand I/O architecture. Three Altix ICE 8400 servers are run on Intel Xeon 5600 chips. The other two are powered by AMD's Opteron 6100 processors.

SGI is updating its Altix ICE blade servers with the latest x86 processors from both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices and a bulked-up InfiniBand network designed to increase scalability.

SGI's Altix ICE 8400, announced May 5 and aimed at the HPC (high-performance computing) space, can scale as high as 65,536 nodes, and can be powered by either Intel's six-core Xeon 5600 "Westmere EP" processors or AMD's eight- to 12-core Opteron 6100 "Magny-Cours" chips.

Other improvements over other generations of the 3-year-old product line include a Quad Data Rate InfiniBand that, combined with SGI's integrated backplane, offers three times the link-to-node bandwidth of other InfiniBand clusters.

The Altix ICE supports up to 128 processors-or 1,536 cores-in each cabinet. In addition, the system can support high-end CPUs that run 130 watts, the hottest running of the Intel processors. The systems also support three ConnectX-2 InfiniBand HCA compute blade configurations from Mellanox.

Because of its x86 architecture, users can easily deploy any kinds of applications-commercial, open-source or custom-on such operating systems as Novell SUSE or Red Hat Linux. The open nature of the Altix ICE systems is key, according to SGI CEO Mark Barrenechea.

"Altix ICE 8400 eliminates the need for proprietary processors and operating systems," Barrenechea said in a statement. "Customers will be able to deploy the world's largest and fastest clusters on open and standard technologies by using our latest generation of Altix ICE solutions."

The 8400 is the fourth generation of the HPC blade system.

The Altix ICE 8400 comes in five models. The IP101, IP103 and IP105 all come with Intel's Xeon 5600 series chips, with connectives for single-plane and dual-plane configurations.

Two other models, the IP106 and IP110, are powered by AMD's Opteron 6100 chips, both for dual-plane configurations.

The Intel-based models are available immediately; the AMD-based models will be available in the third quarter.