Researchers at the University of Antwerp in Belgium have created a new supercomputer with standard gaming hardware. The system uses four NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics cards, it costs less than 4000EUR to build and thanks to NVIDIA’s CUDA technology it delivers roughly the same performance as a supercomputer cluster consisting of hundreds of PCs!

This new system is used by the ASTRA research group, part of the Vision Lab of the University of Antwerp, to develop new computational methods for tomography. The guys explain the eight NVIDIA GPUs deliver the same performance as more than 300 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz processors. On a normal desktop PC their tomography tasks would take several weeks but on this NVIDIA-based supercomputer it only takes a couple of hours. The NVIDIA graphics cards do the job very efficiently and consume a lot less power than a supercomputer cluster.
The equivalent of a supercluster made up of …
  • AMD Phenom 9850 processor + Scythe Infinity CPU cooler
  • 4x MSI 9800GX2 graphics card
  • 4x 2GB Corsair Twinx DDR2 PC6400 memory
  • MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard
  • Samsung Spinpoint F1 750GB HDD
  • ThermalTake Toughpower 1500W Modular PSU
  • Lian-Li PC-P80 Armorsuit case
  • Windows XP 64-bit
… and using CUDA to run the GPUs in parallel, there is no SLI in this rig!

Drop by DV Hardware for the interview, pictures and a YouTube video.