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F1 Supercomputing championship: Toyota ditches Itanium CPUs

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F1 Supercomputing championship: Toyota ditches Itanium CPUs

Zagreb (Croatia) – Hot on the heels of our F1 Supercomputing story, we received an email from Franklin Dallmann, president of supercomputer vendor Dalco, with an update to the system used by the Toyota F1 team. Toyota got rid of its Itanium 2 system and replaced it with an AMD Opteron supercomputer.

Dallmann’s input provided some interesting information that sheds some light on the supercomputing capabilities in an industry that is very secretive.


BMW Sauber F1 Team: Albert2, Albert2 Upgrade

First and foremost, we learned that BMW Sauber’s supercomputer was designed and integrated by Dalco: Albert2 suceeded Albert1 (named after Albert Einstein). The first generation (which was purchased by teh Sauber team) used AMD Opteron processors. Back then, AMD was not an official sponsor of Sauber, but leveraged the use of Opteron processors for marketing and PR efforts. When Intel came on board, Albert1 turned into Albert2 using 512 Xeon 5160 processors (Woodcrest dual-core for a total of 1024 cores). Albert2 was claimed to be about 5.5 times faster than Albert1.  The system was listed at rank 166 in the most recent Top 500 supercomputer list with a peak performance of about 12.3 TFlops.

According to Dallmann, Albert2 was recently upgraded with 45 nm Harpertown processors as well as twice the sockets. Make that 4096 cores.  
“The BMW Sauber F1 team doesn’t want to disclose any performance related parameters,” Franklin stated. “On [TG Daily’s] list it would clearly take the pole position”.

Panasonic Toyota F1 Team: Ditching Intel Itanium for AMD Opteron

Our original story was based on the information that the Panasonic Toyota Formula 1 team was still using a 320-socket system with Intel Itanium 2 processors. Now we know that Toyota has switched to AMD.

Toyota was previously sponsored by Intel, but it appears that they said good-bye to the blue team and now emulate Ferrari and Renault. Dalco received the contract to build the new system.

Toyota’s supercomputer has 625 processor sockets, integrating 1250 AMD Opteron cores. If Toyota decides to upgrade the system to AMD quad-cores and double sockets as well, the F1 team with the largest budget might finally be able to win something – the HPC performance crown.

F1 Supercomputer Championship 2008 (updated, based on constructors points):

BMW Sauber F1 Team: Dalco Albert2, 1024 sockets, 4096 cores (Intel Xeon)
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro: Acer/IBM/Racksaver, 1000+ processor sockets (upgrading to QC Opteron)
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: Silicon Graphics Altix, 512 sockets, 1024 cores (Intel Itanium 2)
AT&T WilliamsF1 Toyota: Lenovo (Unnamed), 332 Sockets, 664 cores (Intel Xeon)
Panasonic Toyota F1 Team: Dalco, 625 Sockets, 1250 cores (AMD Opteron)
ING Renault F1 Team: Appro Xtreme-X2, 1024 sockets, 4096 cores (AMD QC Opteron)
Red Bull Renault: IBM, 512 sockets, 1024 cores (upgrading to AMD QC Opteron)
Scuderia Torro Rosso Ferrari: N/A (uses Red Bull infrastructure)
Honda F1 Racing: SGI Altix ICE, unknown number of socket/cores, water-cooled Quad-Core Intel Xeon
Super Aguri Honda: N/A (uses Honda F1 infrastructure)
Force India Ferrari: Rental system (unknown specifications)

The global F1 circus continues this weekend at the Circuto de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain.

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