SGI Altix Surpasses Competitors by Up to Eight Times in New HPC Challenge Benchmark Tests

Altix Dominates 64-Processor Servers From IBM, Cray and Sun, While

1,008-Processor Altix Captures Lead in Three Key Tests

Mar 31, 2005, 00:00 ET from SGI

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Silicon Graphics
 (NYSE:   SGI) today announced its award-winning SGI(R) Altix(R) 3000 system has
 beaten comparable servers from IBM, Cray and Sun on performance tests that
 comprise the new HPC Challenge Benchmark. The results reveal that SGI Altix
 delivers as much as eight times the performance of IBM servers and four times
 the performance of Cray supercomputers in key categories.
     Results submitted March 2 by SGI show that a 64-processor SGI Altix system
 bested similarly configured servers from IBM, Cray and Sun on five of the HPC
 Challenge (HPCC) Benchmark's list of eight tests. The HPCC benchmark extends
 the Linpack benchmark used to determine the well-known Top 500 list of the
 world's fastest supercomputers.
     "The most relevant measure of a system's real-world capability is
 application performance, which tends to rely on several aspects of the system
 architecture," said Jeff Greenwald, senior director of product management and
 marketing, SGI. "The HPC Challenge Benchmark cuts a wide swath across many
 metrics, offering a more balanced indication of how a system will deliver for
 real-world users in real-world conditions. This additional information will
 provide customers with a well-rounded profile of a system's capabilities."
     The 64-processor SGI Altix not only swept the competing servers on
 different combinations of five performance metrics, but Altix also beat all of
 these systems on two HPC Challenge tests:  G-PTRANS, which measures the global
 communication rate achieved during a matrix transpose operation; and G-FFTE,
 which measures the floating-point performance of one-dimensional Fourier
 transforms, a common component of scientific computing codes.
     On floating-point-intensive calculations as measured by G-FFTE, for
 instance, Altix outperforms the IBM pSeries 655 by more than eight times. And
 in HPCC's Random Ring bandwidth test measuring data transfer bandwidth, Altix
 performs nearly four times faster than the Cray XD1 at 64 processors.
     Altix also outperformed IBM, Cray and Sun with the fastest minimum system
 latency, underscoring the Altix system's superior communication architecture,
 in tests of non-synchronous "Ping-Pong" data transmissions between nodes. The
 Altix is the first supercomputer-class system to break the one microsecond
 barrier with a score of 0.993 on the MPI Ping-Pong latency test as measured by
 the HPC Challenge benchmark. The Altix result is nearly twice as fast as the
 nearest competitor's.
     SGI Altix demonstrated superior scalability by surpassing all other
 competitors, no matter the configuration, in three key HPC Challenge tests:
 G-HPL (High-Performance Linpack), G-PTRANS, and G-Random Access, a key
 measurement of how well a system can update its memory. The results, submitted
 on March 29, were achieved using two, 504-processor Altix systems integrated
 via the high-speed SGI NUMAlink(TM) interconnect and located at the National
 Center for Supercomputing Applications.
     Complete results are available at:
     The HPC Challenge benchmark suite measures a range of HPC computing
 functions, including floating-point performance, memory bandwidth, memory
 access, and communication latency and bandwidth. Unveiled in 2003, the suite
 was developed under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy, the National
 Science Foundation, and the DARPA High Productivity Computing Systems program.
     With its powerful global shared-memory architecture, SGI Altix systems
 handle large data sets with ease, helping to enable customers to achieve
 groundbreaking improvements in life sciences, manufacturing, oil and gas
 exploration, homeland security, earth and environmental sciences research.
 Leveraging a proven 64-bit Linux(R) environment and powerful Intel(R)
 Itanium(R) 2 processors, Altix has consistently set numerous records for sheer
 performance, and for its ability to efficiently run manufacturing, engineering
 and scientific applications across hundreds of processors in a Linux operating
 environment. SGI Altix holds the highest result on the STREAM(1) shared memory
 bandwidth test, and is one of the fastest and most efficient supercomputers in
 the world as shown by the TOP500 list.(2)
     For more information, visit
     SILICON GRAPHICS | The Source of Innovation and Discovery(TM)
     SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc., is a leader in high-performance
 computing, visualization and storage. SGI's vision is to provide technology
 that enables the most significant scientific and creative breakthroughs of the
 21st century. Whether it's sharing images to aid in brain surgery, finding oil
 more efficiently, studying global climate, providing technologies for homeland
 security and defense or enabling the transition from analog to digital
 broadcasting, SGI is dedicated to addressing the next class of challenges for
 scientific, engineering and creative users. With offices worldwide, the
 company is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and can be found on the Web
     NOTE:  Silicon Graphics, SGI, the SGI cube, the SGI logo and Altix are
 registered trademarks, and The Source of Innovation and Discovery and NUMAlink
 are trademarks of Silicon Graphics, Inc., in the United States and/or other
 countries worldwide. Intel and Itanium are registered trademarks of Intel
 Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.
 Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in several countries. All
 other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
     Editor's Note
     (1) STREAM benchmark results are available at:
     (2) Current Top 500 results are available at
      Ginny Babbitt