Cray XT4 with quad-core Opteron

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Alongside AMD’s announcement today Cray is reminding everyone that it’s XT4 product — complete with quad-core Opteron inside — is supposed to ship “by year end.”

Cray logoOur customers are already achieving breakthrough results with the Cray XT4 system and quad-core technology will allow them to solve more complex problems faster, doing more accurate simulations,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. “The Cray XT4 system was designed with quad-core performance in mind and we have seen early examples of excellent scalability and sustained performance with Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors and our advanced Cray SeaStar(TM) interconnect network. Quad-core will give new customers a big boost in performance and a substantial total cost of ownership win. It will do the same for our current customers at a low incremental cost, extending the useful life of their existing Cray XT3(TM) and XT4 systems.”

My center is one of the customers that Cray lists as having pre-ordered the machine. While the XT4 does indeed use AMD’s new quad-core chip, it does not use the Barcelona design. It uses Budapest, which was not discussed by AMD today (at least not that I saw; if you saw something, please leave a comment).

I found this comment interesting

“We upgraded from single-core to dual-core in the field very smoothly, and we anticipate being able to do the same with the Cray XT4 system with quad-core support,” said Buddy Bland, Project Director of the Leadership Computing Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “We are already running machines with 23,000 processor cores, and we have high expectations about our impending quad-core delivery.”

Buddy definitely had a better experience that we did. That same upgrade from single to dual-core in our XT3 took us twice as long as Cray originally planned (though they have taken substantial steps to learn from that stream of unfortunate events).

[Update: I spoke with a high-level official at Cray about the timing of the announcement. Turns out there won’t be a Budapest launch event, so if Cray was going to announce support for AMD’s quadcore platform, this was the time to do it.]