One of the more interesting server announcements we saw today was the 1U Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 server. The compact server packs four GPUs into a 1U server form factor. We have the mainstream Dell EMC PowerEdge R640 in the STH DemoEval lab, but the C4140 has a different focus, HPC.
Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140
The Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 is the latest incarnation of a 1U compute platform. These systems are popular because one can pack 16x GPUs in 4U of space. 10 GPU in 4-5U platforms while popular in many verticals are not as dense. For high-end HPC applications, the 4 GPU in 1U systems are extremely popular. What Dell EMC adds is the ability to run NVlink in the smaller form factor. NVlink has major performance implications because it adds significant performance benefits in terms of GPU to GPU bandwidth.
The previous generation Dell EMC PowerEdge C4130 made the new Top500 list via Simon Fraser University’s “Cedar” supercomputer which used NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs along with 146 PowerEdge C4130 machines.
GPU support is listed as both Pascal and Volta based GPUs. The CPU side is Skylake-SP based and there are multiple networking options. Interestingly enough, Dell EMC is using a dual Intel Xeon Scalable CPU platform with four GPUs. We have seen other designs such as the Tyan Thunder HX GA88-B5631 4x GPU in 1U platform that uses PCIe switches and a single Intel Xeon Scalable CPU.
At Supercomputing this year, there are a ton of AI-related solutions. The NVIDIA Tesla V100 “Volta” generation of GPUs. The NVIDIA Tesla V100 series is extremely popular as it adds the Tensorcore deep learning matrix multiply acceleration. These are a game changer in the deep learning space and we are seeing them at SC everywhere.