Dell adds a GPU expansion pack

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The Data Center Solutions (DCS) team at Dell have added another box to their PowerEdge C servers, announced back in March. According to a blog post at Dell, the new PowerEdge C410x was designed to satisfy the requirements of a Dell DCS oil and gas customer. The C410x doesn’t come with processors or memory — it is just a PCIe expansion box, designed to power and cool up to 16 NVIDIA Tesla M1060 or M2050 computing modules in 3U, and can be paired with up to 8 host servers.

Dell logoThe Data Center Solutions (DCS) team have an Oil & Gas customer that is always looking to push the envelope when it comes to getting the most out of GPGPU’s in order to deliver seismic mapping results faster.  One of the best ways to do this is by increasing the GPU to server ratio.  In the market today, there are a variety of servers that have 1-2 internal GPUs and there is a PCIe expansion chassis that has 4 GPUs.

What we announced today is the  PowerEdge C410x PCIe expansion chassis, the first PCIe expansion chassis to connect 1-8 servers to 1-16 GPUs.  This chassis enables massive parallel calculations separate from the server, adding up to 16.48 teraflops of computational power to a datacenter.

The blog post comes with a video walkthrough by the engineer who designed it — a marketing tool that Dell uses pretty effectively in my opinion. The focus is on putting GPUs in the C410x, but you could imagine slotting a bunch of Fusion-io storage in there, or even networking cards, for interesting I/O heavy applications.


  1. Joe "the C410x architect" Sekel says

    Yes, the need to fit sixteen GPGPUs (and the associated power and cooling requirements) determined the overall format of this 3U chassis. However, during its definition, we always anticipated a more generic usage as a remote PCIe expansion chassis with x16 PCIe plumbing throughout. It is a fairly straightforward leverage of this platform to accommodate PCIe plug in cards such as NICs, IB cards and even PCIe-based flash cards. Typically, anthing that can plug into one of our PowerEdge C server slots can also be plugged into one of the C410X slots. When the host server boots, it will find and enumerate these devices in the C410X (loading appropriate drivers) just as they would be enumerated in that host server’s local slot(s).