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Xbox 2 is an IBM & SGI supercomputer

 
 
Per Ekman
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      11th Feb 2004
"MS" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> > Good joke! What was the GFLOPS/s rate of game consoles like PS2, Xbox and
> > Xbox2?

>
> Well, you should learn how to read:
>
> "The Xbox has 80 Gigaflops of computing power. That's equivalent to the
> power found in a Cray C94 supercomputer."


It's bullshit, the C94 had a peak of 4GFLOPS (double precision, which
the Xbox certainly can't match). The C94 does 35GB/s on STREAM TRIAD,
I'd be surprised if the Xbox can do 3GB/s. And the C94 is from
1991...

*p
 
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kevin getting
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      11th Feb 2004
On Tue, 10 Feb 2004, xTenn wrote:

> "kevin getting" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> > On Tue, 10 Feb 2004, xTenn wrote:
> >
> > <snip>

>
>
> You took everything I said and just restated it - are you a consultant?


That will be $20 please.

I agree with your point but I got there along a different train of
thought.

 
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xTenn
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      11th Feb 2004

"kevin getting" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> On Tue, 10 Feb 2004, xTenn wrote:
>
> > "kevin getting" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> > news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> > > On Tue, 10 Feb 2004, xTenn wrote:
> > >
> > > <snip>

> >
> >
> > You took everything I said and just restated it - are you a consultant?


>
> That will be $20 please.
>
> I agree with your point but I got there along a different train of
> thought.
>


Well, you did state that:

"The vector units in the PS2 are fully programable, though lack in
performance compared to modern video cards. However, modern video cards
are not as programable as the vector units on a PS2. This puts the vector
units on the PS2 as a general purpose CPU side, thus falling under
regulations of the time."

The difference you seem to be stating is that the greater programmablity,
even though it is weaker than modern video cards (as you state), gives it
some status as a possible (though not plausible) SuperComputer participant
for year 2000. On this point we do differ, since I would like to put forth
that even in year 2000 video cards were supporting microcode that controlled
the functionality and characteristics of the GPU. After all, how many times
did you have to change a video driver?



 
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Tony Hill
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      11th Feb 2004
On Tue, 10 Feb 2004 11:23:02 +0000, Andrew <spamtrap@localhost> wrote:
>On 10 Feb 2004 03:00:40 -0800, (E-Mail Removed) (Phil) wrote:
>
>>NO technically it was a super computer then as far as the law was
>>concerned and that could've caused problems for Sony had said
>>regulations not been updated.

>
>What is the definition of supercomputer then?


The definition of a "supercomputer" is, and always has been, a moving
target. What's more, the definition depends a lot on who you ask,
even within the community of people that actually work on such things
there is significant disagreement between just what it takes to be
called a "supercomputer".

Legally speaking though, the US has export controls based on "Millions
of Theoretical Operations per second, or MTOPS". This is, of course,
a totally meaningless measure of a computer's performance (possibly
even a tiny bit worse than MIPS) and it dates back to the 1970's (or
perhaps even earlier?). The US also defines a few different levels of
countries, each level having a maximum number of MTOPS for computers
being sold to them.

In the late 1990's the regulations had become TOTALLY out of whack.
Common, every-day desktop PCs and game consoles had indeed started to
surpass the MTOPS figure for the most high-risk countries (which
included places like India, Russia, China, Vietnam, etc. When Apple
brought out their PowerMac G4, they used this totally ridiculous
regulation as an advertising claim that they were selling a
"supercomputer", which was of course total bullshit. Fortunately the
MTOPS maximum has been increased once or twice, though they are still
using that pointless measure of performance from what I can tell.

Of course, since most supercomputers being build these days are now
superclusters, the regulations have become even more meaningless than
before. Now a company can freely ship thousands computers to a
distributer in some other country who will then assemble these
together to form a cluster-style supercomputer. Through in an extra
level or two in the distribution chain and this sort of thing becomes
more or less impossible to enforce.

-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
 
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Tony Hill
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      11th Feb 2004
On Tue, 10 Feb 2004 06:57:59 -0500, "xTenn"
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>"Phil" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>> NO technically it was a super computer then as far as the law was
>> concerned and that could've caused problems for Sony had said
>> regulations not been updated.

>
>Get Real. If that was the case then every NVidia and ATI graphics card
>available at the time (2000) would have been a supercomputer. You are
>propagating more of the Sony propaganda machine bs. There are SOOOOO many
>reasons why a single PS2 game console would not be considered one, common
>sense not the least thereof.


Before the regulations were changed in 1999, the PS2 would have been
pushing the limits of what was legally called a "supercomputer". You
are quite correct in saying that this defies common sense, you have
that pillar of defying common sense, the US government, to thank for
that one!

As you guess, desktop PCs were also starting to meet or exceed the
regulations as well. Apple made a big advertising campaign about this
when they released their Powermac G4 systems.

The low water mark for what gets the "supercomputer" label has been
pushed up a few times now, though they're still using the same
measuring stick and are still defying common sense.

>There has been an attempt (at NCSA at that) to create what would qualify a
>supercomputer from PS2 shells, but it takes 70 (yes, 70) consoles to
>qualify. For the record, it takes less PCs to reach the same threshold.
>The major reason the PS2 was used is because of the Linux kit (which
>thankfully allows access to the vector units) and cheap hardware, NOT
>because of extremely powerful hardware.


Actually it's really rather useless hardware for the majority of
supercomputing tasks.

>There are quite a few good resources on the web about super computing, not
>the worse of which is from the projects here at the University of Tennessee
>and Oak Ridge National Laboratories - but then you are probably not familar
>with BLAS or LAPACK, are you? At least check out the LINPACK tests on
>common computing hardware to become familiar with how things really rank
>from a simplistic linear equation standpoint. Check out this PDF if the
>topic of performance interests you WITHOUT the hype:
>
>http://www.netlib.org/benchmark/performance.pdf


To the best of my knowledge, the PS2 is just not capable of doing
double-percision floating point calculations. That, combined with
extremely limited memory, lack of ECC on memory, no local storage,
terrible I/O capabilities and the total lack of any meaningful
high-speed interconnect for the system makes the PS2 more than a bit
useless as a real supercomputer. If anyone was trying to make a
"supercomputer" out of PS2s they were doing it as 1-part joke, 1-part
neat little toy experiment. Even if the boxes were free it wouldn't
be at all worthwhile wasting ones time on such a design, regardless of
what any US export regulations said at a time.

-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
 
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Mikael Sillman
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      11th Feb 2004
> > "The Xbox has 80 Gigaflops of computing power. That's equivalent to the
> > power found in a Cray C94 supercomputer."

>
> It's bullshit, the C94 had a peak of 4GFLOPS (double precision, which
> the Xbox certainly can't match). The C94 does 35GB/s on STREAM TRIAD,
> I'd be surprised if the Xbox can do 3GB/s. And the C94 is from
> 1991...


-So you think that nVidia has just been lying on it's PUBLIC WEB-PAGE for
nearly 3 years without anyone but you noticing and figuring that they're
lying?

Right...


 
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M.C.D. Roos
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      11th Feb 2004
Mikael Sillman wrote:
> -So you think that nVidia has just been lying on it's PUBLIC WEB-PAGE for
> nearly 3 years without anyone but you noticing and figuring that they're
> lying?


So you think that whatever the marketing department says, is the truth?


> Right...


Right again .

greetings,
Michiel


 
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Tony Hill
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      11th Feb 2004
On 11 Feb 2004 13:22:11 +0100, Per Ekman <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>"MS" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>
>> > Good joke! What was the GFLOPS/s rate of game consoles like PS2, Xbox and
>> > Xbox2?

>>
>> Well, you should learn how to read:
>>
>> "The Xbox has 80 Gigaflops of computing power. That's equivalent to the
>> power found in a Cray C94 supercomputer."

>
>It's bullshit, the C94 had a peak of 4GFLOPS (double precision, which
>the Xbox certainly can't match).


The XBox has a peak of 733MFlops double precision, or just shy of
3Gflops single precision in the CPU (SSE boost single precision
performance a lot, but the chip doesn't support SSE2, so no double
precision).

The 80 gigaflops number is, as you mentioned, complete bullshit. It's
all from the GPU, which can't be used for general purpose programming.
It also can't do double precision, and it definitely does not even
have 80GFlops peak even if it could do all of those things.

The GPU of the XBox runs at 233MHz and has 4 pipelines. Therefore, to
get the 80GFlop number, nVidia is saying that each pipeline can do 85
floating point instructions at a time. I have absolutely no idea how
they managed to get such a ridiculous number, but it has absolutely no
bearing on reality.

At an absolute maximum you're looking at 233MHz x 4 pipelines, each
capable of handling 4 chunks of single precision data at a time
(128-bit wide vector) and maybe being able to do two flops at once (eg
a multiply-add). That would give you some sort of theoretical maximum
of 7.4 GFlops. Of course, the real number is actually zero flops
since it's not programmable. Also there is no possibility of doing
any double precision on this, so it gets a fat 0 GFLops there.

In any case, end result is that the total processing umph of the XBox
CPU+GPU is a theoretical 10 GFlops of single precision, or 0.73 GFlops
double precision. The PS2 gets 6.4GFLops single percision and almost
nothing double precision.

> The C94 does 35GB/s on STREAM TRIAD,
>I'd be surprised if the Xbox can do 3GB/s.


XBox has 400MT/s memory (200MHz DDR) with a 128-bit interface. Max
theoretical bandwidth is 6.4GB/s. But most of that bandwidth goes to
the graphics processor (makes sense, that's where the bandwidth is
needed). Max theoretical bandwidth to the CPU is 133MT/s and 64-bit,
or 1.06GB/s. If you could run some sort of STREAM TRIAD on the GPU,
it could probably get well over 3GB/s, but on the CPU you aren't even
going to hit 1GB/s.

> And the C94 is from 1991...


Err, wasn't it from 1994? Hence the 'C94' name? Still hardly a
current product.

-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
 
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Per Ekman
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      11th Feb 2004
"Mikael Sillman" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> > > "The Xbox has 80 Gigaflops of computing power. That's equivalent to the
> > > power found in a Cray C94 supercomputer."

> >
> > It's bullshit, the C94 had a peak of 4GFLOPS (double precision, which
> > the Xbox certainly can't match). The C94 does 35GB/s on STREAM TRIAD,
> > I'd be surprised if the Xbox can do 3GB/s. And the C94 is from
> > 1991...

>
> -So you think that nVidia has just been lying on it's PUBLIC WEB-PAGE for
> nearly 3 years without anyone but you noticing and figuring that they're
> lying?


I _know_ that the statement is misleading and I know that I'm not the
only one who knows it. I also know that marketing and reality seldom
connect so this is hardly something particular to nVidia.

> Right...


Do your research and prove me wrong then.

*p

 
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Linux on SGI User
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      11th Feb 2004
"mosys" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<SsPVb.4777$(E-Mail Removed)>...

> my take on this is:
>
> In terms of floating point performance and graphics muscle, the Xbox 2
> should outdo a 16-pipe SGI InfiniteReality2 or IR3 machine from the late
> 1990s.
>
> Even Silicon Graphics themselves have turned to ATI for the highend
> Onyx4 UltimateVision systems, which will employ upto -32- ATI R3XX VPU
> cores.
>
> I am guessing Xbox 2 should have at least 5-10 times the graphics muscle
> of a R300 / Radeon 9700. or perhaps 3-4 times that of the upcoming R420.



reality is that any machine which run the linux is already
supercomputer. linux makes supercomputers for everyone.

also fact that linux on playstation with BEOWULF outperform every sun,
sgi, and hp machine shows proof this.

so with linux on xbox this is very true about supercomputer.
 
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