Nvidia boosts server performance with new Tesla GPU

Nvidia claims new Tesla M2090 GPU is the fastest HPC processor

Nvidia on Tuesday announced the Tesla M2090 graphics processor, which the company calls the world's fastest "parallel processor" for high-performance computing.

The M2090 is a graphics processing unit that has 512 cores and is able to perform specific math and scientific calculations up to 30 per cent faster than its predecessor, the Tesla M2070 GPU, which has 448 cores. The M2090 can deliver peak performance of around 1330 gigaflops, according to the company.

The M2090 is targeted for use in high-performance computers, a company spokesman said. Each M2090 core operates at a clock speed of 1.3GHz, compared to the 1.15GHz core speed of M2070. The GPU can support up to 6GB of memory.

GPUs are in some cases considered faster than CPUs, and a larger number of servers are now harnessing the parallel processing capabilities of CPUs and GPUs to perform complex scientific and math calculations. The world's fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A system at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin, China, uses Nvidia's Tesla GPUs and Intel's Xeon processors to deliver 2.5 petaflops of performance.

The M2090 is targeted at government, life sciences and engineering organizations that run highly parallel applications, the Nvidia spokesman said.

The GPU will be available in servers such as the new HP ProLiant SL390 G7 server, the company said. The spokesman said the price and availability of M2090 GPUs will depend on system makers that build the product into servers.

Applications also need to be written for parallel execution across CPUs and GPUs. Nvidia offers CUDA, a set of tools for developers to write applications in parallel on the company's GPUs. Nvidia GPUs also support OpenCL, an open-standard parallel programming framework which is also backed by companies including Advanced Micro Devices, Intel and Apple.

Nvidia offers a range of graphics processors including the GeForce for consumer products and Quadro for enterprise products. On the Tesla front, Nvidia faces competition from Advanced Micro Devices, which offers the FirePro and Firestream line of graphics products for servers.

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