Intel 'Harpertown' chip rules supercomputer list

Intel Xeon processors dominate the semiannual top 500 list overall.

Intel Xeon processors--particularly the "Harpertown" variety--dominated the top 500 supercomputer list. But IBM's Power chips made a strong showing as usual at the very top of the list. AMD's Opteron processor landed in the No. 1 and No. 4 ranked systems.

Top 10 processors in Top500 supercomputer list
Top 10 processors in Top500 supercomputer list

The Top500 List--updated twice a year--of supercomputers was released Wednesday. Intel's Xeon, AMD's Opteron, and IBM's Power chips vied for most of the spots in the list.

The most dominant chip was the Intel Xeon E54xx series "Harpertown" processor. Appearing in 116 systems for 23.2 percent of the total. The largest for any single processor model.

The Xeon 53xx series "Clovertown" processor was next, appearing in 92 systems for 18.4 percent of the total. Following Clovertown was the Xeon 51xx series "Woodcrest" processor with 18.2 percent of the total.

Harpertown and Clovertown are quad-core processors, Woodcrest is dual-core.

In the No. 4 slot was the AMD Opteron dual-core chip (8.4 percent), followed by the X54xx series of Intel Harpertown processors (7.8 percent), then by the PowerPC 440 (4.22 percent).

(Note: Combining the Intel Harpertown E54xx series and X54xx series boosts the total for this chip model to 31 percent.)

The IBM Power processors passed the AMD Opteron family and "are now (again) the second most common processor family with 68 systems (13.6 percent), up from 61 systems (12.2 percent) six months ago," said.

AMD's strongest showing was in the top five supercomputers. Opteron processors played a major role in the No. 1 IBM Roadrunner system, which connects 6,562 dual-core AMD Opteron chips as well as 12,240 IBM Cell chips (on IBM Model QS22 blade servers).

See: IBM's Roadrunner breaks petaflop barrier, tops supercomputer list .

The No. 4 Sun Microsystems' SunBlade system uses over 62,000 cores running inside AMD Opteron quad-core processors running at 2.0GHz.

The No. 2 and No. 3 systems were based on IBM PowerPC 450 chips.

Other Top500 processor highlights:

  • A total of 375 systems (75 percent) are now using Intel processors. This is up from six months ago (354 systems, 70.8 percent) and represents the largest share for Intel chips in the Top500 ever.

  • 56 systems (11 percent) are using AMD Opteron processors, down from 78 systems (15.6 percent) six months ago.

  • 283 systems are using quad-core processor based systems.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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