Cray released details to the Wall Street Journal on its latest product line, the CX1. A mini-supercomputer you say? Indeed, Cray has officially entered the deskside market. Starting at a measly $25,000US, the CX1 will come packaged with Intel silicon and either a Linux distro or Microsoft Windows HPC Server 2008. What!? You heard it folks, the people that brought you UNICOS are now running Windows.
It’s the smallest thing we’ve done,” said Ian Miller, a Cray senior vice president.
The CX1 is designed for workloads that are too large for a personal computer yet typically don’t require a multi-million dollar supercomputing investment. Automotive component manufacturers and small research groups are a few of the initial customers Cray is targeting.
For everyone who can’t get time on the big server, if they have something like this in their office it’s a home run,” said Earl Joseph, an analyst at the market-research firm IDC.
So what about the tech details? The article is pretty light on the actual details, but we do know this. The CX1 will carry up to eight processor boards, each with one or two sockets of Intel silicon. No mention of any AMD offerings or if a scaled version of SeaStar will find its way to the platform.
This is an interesting move by Cray. You can definitely see the “broaden my marketshare” gleam in the eyes of the executives. They do have some stiff competition though. There are several AMD-based workstations on the market with four or eight sockets. SiCortex also has a compelling solution with their SC072 workstation unit.
For more info, read the full article here at the WSJ.
UPDATE: Upon listening to the “official” Cray release webcast, I’ve learned a bit more on the technicals. Apparently, the CX1 will be released with the Harpertown/Wolfdale line of Intels and will eventually support Nehalems. This will be a distributed memory system, but will not feature the SeaStar interconnect. Instead, it will have onboard Infiniband and GigE. The chassis will support up to eight blades of various sorts. There is a single socket, the CC48, and dual socket, CC54, compute blade. Both will have eight DIMM slots. This means up to 64 cores, each with up to 64GB of memory. There is a viz blade, the CV5401, with an integrated NVIDIA Quadro FX card. There are also two different storage blades. The first, CS5404, will support four 2.5″ SAS drives; the latter, CS5408, will support eight.
UPDATE: John West has written a feature Q&A with Cray on the CX1 at HPCwire.