Reprogrammable Coprocessors For Any Opteron Server
April 24, 2006 2:40 AM
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The DRC module plugs directly into a Socket 940 AMD Opteron motherboard
DRC has announced its newest FPGA that drops into AMD's Socket 940
The Register has a fairly
in depth look
at one start-up's attempt to capitalize on AMD's HyperTransport interface -- a reprogrammable coprocessor that can drop into any Socket 940 socket. The company, DRC, built its programmable coprocessor on Xilinx Virtex4 field programmable gate array integrated circuits.
For specialized industries, a dynamic coprocessor is exactly what the doctor ordered; low overhead for extremely specific tasks such as vector math or collision detection. Companies already pay thousands to millions of dollars to have such overly specific algorithms ported to custom FPGA processors, but the kicker for DRC is that the chip can be integrated into a multi-slot Opteron server running the correct software.
Each series of coprocessors
unveiled by the company
uses the standard HyperTransport (HT) interface to communicate with the main processor. The low end coprocessor, the DRC100-L60ES, uses a 200MHz by 8-bit HT link. DRC's two high end modules, the DRC100-L60 and the DRC110-L160 both use a 400MHz by 16-bit interface instead. DRC coprocessors range in size from 50,000 to 140,000 programmable gates and all three can utilize 6.4GBps between the Xilinx FPGA and the DDR400 memory bank.
Each DRC module starts at about $4,500. Competing proprietary systems from SGI and IBM easily cost four times that and generally require additional proprietary hardware and contracts to support.
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RE: Seperate socket?
4/24/2006 10:39:21 AM
sorry, you don't know what you're talking about
It would probably be more helpful if you explained to him where he is mistaken...just a suggestion for next time m8.
In general, these co-processers (coP) are used for very specific functions. However, what you are thinking about (anti-virus, etc...) are specific apps not functions. It's extraordinarily expensive to make these coPs (~$10k each), so they would obviously not be practical in any desktop/consumer use...
A good example of a coP would be a dedicated Vector Processor
In this case, you would be able to add the power of a vector processor to that of a general purpose processor and communicate with the cache of the general processor at HT speeds. This is infinately more efficient and faster than add-in cards or running many more general processers.
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