AMD CPUs and GPUs power Frontier, the world's fastest supercomputer

The world's first official exscale supercomputer is here: Frontier -- powered by AMD EPYC CPUs and Radeon Instinct MI250X GPUs.

@anthony256
Published Mon, May 30 2022 7:16 PM CDT   |   Updated Mon, Jun 20 2022 1:03 AM CDT

The massively powerful new Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) supercomputer dubbed "Frontier" has broken the 1.1 exaflops barrier, becoming the first machine in the world to breach the historic exascale barrier.

The Department of Energy (DOE) will operate the new Frontier supercomputer in Tennessee, USA, with the system costing up to $1.8 billion to build and is now the world's fastest supercomputer, overtaking the Fugaku supercomputer in Japan. ORNL's new supercomputer is powered by AMD 3rd Gen EPYC CPUs and AMD's newest Radeon Instinct MI250X GPUs.

Inside, we have 74 purpose-built HPE Cray EX supercomputer cabinets with 9408 AMD EPYC CPUs for a total of (a bonkers) 8,730,112 processing cores, and 37,632 AMD Instinct MI250X GPUs with a power efficiency rating of 52.23 gigaflops/watt. There's 700PB of data storage with peak write speeds of an insane 5TB/sec (5000GB/sec).

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Frontier is entirely water-cooled, with a huge 6000 gallons (22,700+ liters) of water being pumped through the supercomputer every 60 seconds, while there's a huge 90 miles (around 145km) of networking cables inside of Frontier. Astonishing numbers.

  • 9408 AMD 3rd Gen EPYC "Trento" CPUs
  • 37,632 AMD Instinct MI250X GPUs
  • 9.2 petabytes memory split between HBM and DDR4
  • 37 petabytes of node-local storage
  • 716 petabytes of center-wide storage
  • 100% liquid cooled (using warm 85-degree water)
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Thomas Zacharia, the director of ORNL, said: "Frontier is ushering in a new era of exascale computing to solve the world's biggest scientific challenges. This milestone offers just a preview of Frontier's unmatched capability as a tool for scientific discovery".

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Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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