Hows this for a nice deskside system … one of our Cadence boxen

For a partner. They made a request for something we’ve not built in a while … it had been end of lifed.

One of our old Pegasus units. A portable deskside supercomputer. In this case, a deskside franken-computer … built out of the spare parts from other units in our lab.

It started out as a 24 core monster, but we had a power supply burn out, and take the motherboard with it. So we switched to a newer motherboard and CPU, but its 16 cores now.

Then the memory. They wanted as much as we could put in. Well, 256GB should work (we hope).

And, of course, fast disk. As fast as possible. When I was done, this little deskside unit was cranking out 6GB/s writes and 10GB/s reads. So, yeah, fast. No NVMe (remember, spare parts, and I didn’t have any spare NVMe around … not quite true, one was in the unit that burnt out, and I wasn’t sure if it burned as well).

Then the graphics. A nice Nvidia card. Ok, I bought this because we didn’t have any modern ones in stock.

And of course, the fans. Gotta keep this beast cool. So we got large silent cpu coolers, and large high CFM at low RPM fans. It is hard to hear the unit, even when you are next to it.

Our SIOS OS, with a nice desktop interface. Our SIOS Analytics Toolchain with all manner of analytical tool goodness.

As I used to call it, it is a muscular desktop.

Way way (way) back when I started at SGI, my manager got me an awesome desktop unit … an R8000 based workstation. Everyone else had R4000 or R3000 based units. I had this floating point monster on my desk. And I used it. I ran lots of my thesis calcs there. It was easily 20 times faster than the old Sun boxes I had access to in the physics department. It was my original muscular desktop.

This one runs circles around that one. Really quickly. I remember my old MD code used to take 1 hour wall clock per time step. Week long runs were common for me. On the R8000, it would be 1 minute per time step (I had tuned the code a bit by then). On units about 10 years ago (AMD Opterons) I was down to 10 seconds or so per time step.

I’ve not done a modern comparison … I really should …

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