The Inquirer has a detailed piece on AMD losing a deal with Sun to power one of Asia’s most powerful super computer with Barcelona chips.  Instead, Sun is replacing it with 45nm Penryn core based systems.  Obviously, if this is true, this could have a large impact on AMD’s hold of the HPC market going forward.

However, the accumulated delays and performance target misfirings did affect the confidence of the rest of the world, it seems. We talked recently about AMD’s Asian supercomputing wins and their delayed fulfilment. One of those was a large, 150+ TFLOPs central Korean research supercomputer at their famous KISTI institute nestled among the hot springs.

The original AMD-based spec that Sun Microsystems won the deal with some 9 months ago, revolved around many 2.5+ GHz Barcelona quad core CPUs. As you know, a 2.5 GHz Barcelona would, with 10 GFLOPs peak per core, provide 40 GFLOPs peak per chip, or some 4,000 chips (over 500 eight-socket systems) to come close to the performance goal. The above mentioned HPC performance benefits with total bandwidth, SMP scaling and large pages and so on would have a factor in deciding, too – especially since all that happened before Intel’s 45 nm stuff was out there.

This would have been the largest supercomputer at the time in Asia, and a major statement of confidence in AMD platform, keep in mind.

We all know what happened next, both with the performance and the deliveries. And, the inevitable followed – the last I heard recently was Sun staff were busily replacing AMD with new 45 nm Intel specs, and the Koreans will, now, have Intel “eight-brain chips” – to use BBC Teletubby-IQ wonderspeak, “thinking” inside their, and probably Asian, largest supercomputer in these few months.