Dell Uses Madison For HPC System

New PowerEdge 3250 offers 64-bit computing for high-performance computing.

Dell is stretching out the high end of its server line with a new high performance computing box that uses the forthcoming Intel Corp. Itanium 2 6M processor, code-named Madison.

The Round Rock, Texas, company today introduced the PowerEdge 3250 that officials said could be used for such compute-intensive applications at graphical rendering of special effects, complex financial modeling and genomic research. What will make this possible are Madisons 16GB of memory and performance enhancements over earlier versions of Itanium.

Because the PowerEdge 3250 uses Intel chips and the Linux operating system it is more cost-effective than other HPC offerings, officials said. A cluster of Dell PowerEdge 3250 servers recently achieved an HPC cluster benchmark that was one-third the cost of proprietary systems from competitors, the officials said.

This lower cost is important to making HPC clustering more attractive to enterprises, Dell said. High-end clusters have mostly been used by government and research organization. Darrel Ward, of Dell Product Management, said that the PowerEdge 3250 could also become a development platform for enterprises.

"We expect maturation in this environment as enterprise applications come along," Ward said .

The PowerEdge 3250 will use two Madison processors and is a 2U-high rack-mount system. It supports Red Hat Inc.s enterprise Linux and Windows 2003 Enterprise Server. The system supports 16GB of DDR RAM and sports dual internal hard drives with integrated RAID. The 3250 offers embedded server management capabilities, including Dells Active ID technology for quickly identifying a particular server in the rack.

Dell will offer the 3250 in clusters of between 8 and 128 nodes. The computer maker also said it will offer 8- to 128-node clusters of its PowerEdge 1750 server, with uses dual 3GHz Xeon chips. Ward said Dell had made inroads in the HPC clustering market with 15 customers on the list of the top 500 supercomputer users.

New partners in Dells high performance computing cluster program include Altair Engineering, Data Direct Networks, Engineered Intelligence and Qlusters.

Dell would not reveal pricing and availability for the PowerEdge 3250 until after Intel officially rolls out Madison next Monday.