[gmx-developers] Gromacs hardware

Brendan Moran annirack at shaw.ca
Mon Apr 25 23:48:37 CEST 2005

David wrote:

>I don't want to discourage you, but you are probably aware of what the
>competition looks like: I'm about to order some new Dual Opteron boxes,
>with Dual Core chips. That'll give me 4 chips @ 2GHz in a 1U box. Such a
>box would cost roughly $4000, depending on clock speed...
>Assuming 1 FPGA does 1 flop per clock, you'd need roughly 15 of them to
>be competitive with the 4 way Opteron box. So let's say you have the
>design ready and it can go into production. How much would it cost to
>produce a board with those? How many can you fit in on a regular PCI
I know that directly competing with multi-opteron systems would be next 
to impossible.  That wasn't really the idea of what I want to do.  I 
want to produce a system that would speed up some of the more time 
consuming portions of gromacs.  That's why I called this a coprocessor 
to start with.  The idea was never to have an array of FPGAs processing 
*instead* of a server.  It is to have one FPGA per instance to augment 
what a server can already do.

If cost is worrying to you, FPGAs have come down greatly in proce over 
the past year.  It is now possible to get moderately good FPGAs for $10 
@ 1k units (cyclone II, spartan III)

Brendan Moran

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