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Lenovo Puts Supercomputing on the Desktop
Lenovo Puts Supercomputing on the Desktop
By Mark Long / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
MARCH
24
2009

Lenovo has unveiled two new workstations for professionals in specialized fields such as computer-aided design, game development, and digital content creation as well as oil and gas exploration.

Lenovo's ThinkStation S20 and D20 can be configured to function as desktop supercomputers. Adding the Nvidia Tesla C1060 GPU platform to the workstations, Lenovo said, offers 240 additional cores of dedicated math-processing power to speed up complex calculations.

"Designers, engineers, developers and scientists require the highest levels in computing performance to help them produce breakthrough innovations," said Tom Tobul, Lenovo's executive director of enterprise, software and peripherals. "The new ThinkStation workstations deliver not only the utmost in performance, but also a user-centric design with an emphasis on quiet operation, even during heavy processing."

Turbo Boost Technology

Under the hood, the workstations are equipped with cutting-edge technologies, such as the user's choice of the latest Intel Xeon quad-core and dual-core processors, together with Nvidia's new Quadro line of professional graphics cards. Additionally, users have the option of choosing an ATI FirePro graphics card from AMD.

Lenovo's new machines also sport Intel's Turbo Boost technology, which is an innovative component of Intel's new Nehalem microarchitecture. The capabilities should make Lenovo's new workstations particularly attractive to video-game developers and other professionals in search of extra performance during peak processing periods.

Turbo Boost enables all active cores to intelligently clock themselves up in steps of 133 MHz over the design clock rate as long as the CPU is operating below its power, current, and temperature specification limits. Conversely, when any of the limits are reached or exceeded, Intel says the processor frequency will automatically decrease by 133 MHz until the processor is again operating within its limits.

However, perhaps the hottest option available is Nvidia's Tesla C1060 GPU, which delivers computational power of up to 936 billion floating-point operations per second (936 Gigaflops). Based on the massively parallel, many-core Tesla processor, Nvidia's C1060 GPU enables desktop workstations to perform intensive mathematical tasks in a way that is faster and more energy-efficient than a shared cluster in the data center.

With the Tesla C1060 GPU, complex computations are handled by Nvidia's Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) engine, which is accessible to software developers through the standard C programming language. The goal is to aid scientists, engineers and other professionals involved in running simulations, large-scale calculations, and image generation.

Going Green

Lenovo has adopted a green-design approach for both workstations, which are manufactured using 50 percent recycled content. The company says nearly 30 percent of the ThinkStation D20 comes from recycled content equivalent to the weight of approximately 19 plastic drinking-water bottles.

Lenovo says it has tested the ThinkStation S20 and D20 to ensure that they meet the necessary standards for more than 2,000 chemical tests required for Greenguard certification. Moreover, the new workstations also reportedly meet the new Energy Star 5.0 criteria that will take effect in July. For example, consumer products such as television sets that carry the Energy Star logo consume 30 percent less energy on average.

The ThinkStation S20 and D20 come preloaded with Windows Vista. However, the machines also offer support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2.

The new machines are slated to become available later this month at base prices that begin at $1,070 and $1,550, respectively. For those looking to buy a machine with supercomputer capabilities, "the cost to add the C1060 will be more than $2,000," said Lenovo spokesperson Kristy Fair.

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