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Old June 23rd, 2006, 06:07 AM   #1
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super computer for digital grading and vfx?

Ok, after seeing the APEXX8 from boxx tech annoucement at nab, i was interested to know if there is any other super computer on the market ? and maybe cheaper than the Apexx.
A comp who can handle 2k digital grading, compositing, and editing.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 06:54 AM   #2
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I would wait for the "Cell" workstation from Sony [as used in PS3], from a tech point of View fulfils the requirements that would deem it to be a supercomputer (Allegedly) (which is that it requires a computer to push above 1 TFLOPS).


Anhar


Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PS3

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLOPS
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Last edited by Anhar Miah; June 23rd, 2006 at 07:01 PM.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 07:14 AM   #3
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Let's see what Apple comes up with for a Power Mac replacement...
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 01:36 PM   #4
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SGI specialises in high performance computers. Its computers have been used in products like Discreet/Autodesk Inferno, Jaleo, and some other high-end packages.
Unfortunately their performance edge is eroding. Right now, Discreet has been moving away from its reliance on SGI since SGI has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Its Flame product for example has been replaced by a dual Opteron (dual core?) IBM workstation running Linux and with a high-end Quadro graphics card (I believe that's roughly the specs).

They could have probably easily gone to a 4-way or 8-way system (for 8 or 16 cores total)... but presumably didn't do that either because:
A- The Inferno is a higher-end product and they want to leave room for it.
B- Performance is very good anyways.

From the little that I have read, Flame on Linux is just as fast (if not faster) than Flame on SGI. The reason for this is because GPUs can perform magnitudes faster than a CPU (but only at certain tasks). The wikipedia article linked to gives some brief information on that.

2- At the end of the day, you're looking at particular combinations of software AND hardware that are fast at what you want to do. A GPU may be capable of much greater performance than a CPU (something like 20X), but that's no good if you want to run a database, or if your software doesn't take advantage of GPU acceleration.

3- There are other companies making 8-way Opteron systems, at a little lower price. Not sure if they are suitable for film/video use. Because most of the 8-way motherboards are designed for the server market, sometimes the motherboards don't accept graphics cards if they're not PCI.

If you can DIY or find a vendor to custom-build you a workstation, the following motherboard will accept a pciE graphics card I believe:
http://www.amdboard.com/iwill_h8502_8way.html
BOXX may even be using that motherboard. (Just speculation though. They probably use a motherboard you can buy, unless they are getting such huge volume that they can get an OEM to make a motherboard model for them.)
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Old June 24th, 2006, 09:00 AM   #5
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thx, exactly what i was seeking for answers !
yeap i want to go DIY and custom build one.

the only thing which bother me is that i want to keep my quadro fx 4000 but it's an AGP 8X version ( still 2000 $ ), and all the new motherboard don't have agp anymore but pci-e; how can i manage that?
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Old June 24th, 2006, 09:14 AM   #6
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You may want to investigate reconfigurable computing with FPGA.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search
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Old June 24th, 2006, 07:47 PM   #7
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Ok, since I'm a "Jack of All Trades", I did meddle a bit with Computer Architect Design, and I had designed a complete new system (in theory) where by its calculations in not measured in "Hertz" more like actual speed of electrons (e.g. speed of light), you see where as almost all computers have a "Fetch, Decode, Execute" cycle my system has a "Question-Answer" cycle only (Similar to a ZISC, system but with another twist:).....

Anyway I digress, I don't have the money nor time to build my wonder Computer, alas like all my ideas I would not be surprised if I wake up tomorrow to see someone actually materialise it, ha it would not be the first time that happened!

Anyway A supercomputer would be welcome, I guess Us guys in the DCC (Digital Content Creation) segments are the only people that REALLY need the extra CPU. Unlike consumers who buy the latest and greatest for the sake of it and never do anything more than surf the net or write emails, bah its like watching a family owner buying a race car but never actually taking onto a race course:)

Anhar
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Old June 24th, 2006, 11:48 PM   #8
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Jim:
Theoretically you can build your own supercomputer (or high performance workstation)... i.e. re-code the software to be accelerated by FPGAs/ASICs... but it probably won't actually be practical. In the case of FPGAs, the code has to be specifically run on one. And you'll need custom hardware built, unless you go with the DRC solution (which slots into a motherboard instead of an Opteron processor)... in which case, you have to port the application to Linux.

Quote:
thx, exactly what i was seeking for answers !
yeap i want to go DIY and custom build one.

the only thing which bother me is that i want to keep my quadro fx 4000 but it's an AGP 8X version ( still 2000 $ ), and all the new motherboard don't have agp anymore but pci-e; how can i manage that?
Jeremie, I would first figure out what software you want to run. Then figure out the best hardware configuration of that software.
Some support network rendering... in which case, your best approach may be a render farm (many computers, not just one).
Some take advantage of the GPU and don't need a Quadro. A $700 graphics card might outperform your Quadro.
Some just depend on the CPU.

This is likely the most *practical* thing to do. I'm guessing you want real-world performance, not theoretical performance.
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