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AMD Wins Supercomputer Race For Now With Jaguar

The TOP500 organisation has announced that the Jaguar is now the world's fastest supercomputer and is currently located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

The upgraded Jaguar mammoth - which is a Cray XT5 model - is powered by AMD's six-core Opteron server processors that will deliver up to 2.3 petaflops worth of theoretical peak performance and 1.75 petaflops on the popular Linpack benchmark.

Around 224,000 cores - 33700 processors - have helped the Jaguar surpass the Roadrunner, the IBM-built supercomputer, which had been remaining at the top spot for more than one year and was the first one to break through the one petaflop barrier.

Interestingly, the third fastest supercomputer, the Kraken, which is currently at the National Institute for Computational Sciences at the University of Tennessee, also uses AMD Opteron processors and has a top computational speed of 0.832 petaflop.

Roadrunner was built using Opteron and Cell processors and AMD is expected to extensively use dedicated ATI GPUs. Chinese-based Tianhe-1 for example uses more than 5000 RV770 GPUs (and as many Intel Xeon processors) that altogether reach 0.56 petaflop.

The TOP500 list of supercomputers is dominated however by AMD's archrival, Intel. But AMD will have a better chance next year when it will launch a new range of microprocessors, dubbed Magny-Cours, that will pack even more cores (8, 12 and 16 respectively) per CPU.

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The list compiled show that Intel and IBM are still far more predominant that AMD. Yet this could all change over the next few years with sixteen-cores processors being released by AMD. These could help Jaguar surpass the four-petaflop barrier over the next two years.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.