Nvidia's DGX-1 supercomputer packs the horsepower of 250 servers

The new computer gets its power boost from eight Tesla P100 GPUs

Nvidia's DGX-1 supercomputer packs the horsepower of 250 servers. Credit: Nvidia

Nvidia's DGX-1 supercomputer packs the horsepower of 250 servers. Credit: Nvidia

Your electric bills could soar if you kept Nvidia's monster DGX-1 computer running continuously for one month.

The DGX-1 supercomputer can deliver the computing power of 250 two-socket servers in a desktop box, claimed Nvidia, which introduced the system Tuesday at its GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California.

The computer can deliver about 170 teraflops of performance, and multiple boxes on a rack could deliver 2 petaflops of performance. The fastest computer in the world delivers a peak performance of about 10 petaflops.

Nvidia says DGX-1 is about 56 times faster than a server with two Intel Xeon-E5 2697 v3 chips, which can deliver about 3 teraflops of performance.

The computer is designed for deep learning, which Nvidia is emphasizing for self-driving cars, robotics and supercomputing. Nvidia claims the DGX-1 can be trained for tasks like image recognition and will perform significantly faster than other servers. Autonomous vehicles and robots can identify objects by cross-referencing them with images residing in cloud-based deep-learning systems that use computers like the DGX-1.

Ironically, the DGX-1 runs on two Intel Xeon chips, though Nvidia didn't provide exact CPU details. But it's the other components like the computer's GPUs that provide the serious horsepower.

At the center of DGX-1 are eight Tesla P100 graphics processing units, which are based on the company's new Pascal GPU architecture. Nvidia introduced the graphics cards and architecture at GTC, and they are the fastest ever made by the company.

The Tesla P100 features several new technologies that give it a horsepower boost. It has a new NVLink interface that can transfer data at 160Gbps (bits per second), which is five times faster than PCI-Express.

It also has HBM2 (High-Bandwidth Memory 2) memory, which is made using FinFET technology, in which memory chips are stacked on top of each other. Each GPU has 16GB of HBM2 memory, totaling 128GB for the entire supercomputer.

Samsung, which makes HBM2, estimates the memory bandwidth at 256GBps (gigabytes per second), which is two times faster than HBM. AMD uses HBM in its current Fury GPUs, but is moving to HBM2 later this year.

The new computer's many GPUs will require a lot of energy, and it will support power supplies drawing between 800 and 3200 watts. Nvidia didn't say whether the system would be air or liquid cooled.

It's a small system that draws a lot of power, so it'll need a special cooling system to dissipate the heat, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

The DGX-1 also has dual 10 gigabit ethernet slots and 7TB of SSDs for storage and caching. Deep-learning software, algorithms and development tools will be available with the computer.

The price for the computer wasn't immediately available, but the system can be ordered from Nvidia.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags serversdatacentersnvidiasuper compuerDGX-1

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?