Oak Ridge cans Nvidia based Fermi supercomputer

Fermi power use the culprit

Nvidia world iconREMEMBER THE TRIUMPHANT WIN for Fermi at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory that Nvidia heavily touted at its GTC conference keynote? The supercomputer project was just killed for power reasons. Fermi power reasons. Whoops.

That keynote ‘win’, shortly followed up by the showing of faked boards, was the highlight of an otherwise dull show, but it was used to show the potential of Fermi. Faked boards aside, putting GPUs into HPC clusters and supercomputers is what Nvidia has staked much of it’s future on. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) win was a massive PR statement, even if it was unlikely to net Nvidia any money directly.

These ‘wins’ tend to be ‘sold’ at breakeven or a loss when all the numbers are added up, but they provide some very compelling selling points for smaller and more lucrative corporate clusters. It was a halo that would have been used to sell many more Fermi and Quadro boards over the next few years.

We said “would have been” because word has reached us that the win is now dead and gone. Stone cold dead. Actually, the blame is being put on Fermi and it’s power use, so it might not be stone cold, maybe burnt to death by hot stones. In any case, Dear Leader is now zero for two in the ‘wins’ he touted at GDC. Fermi is massively delayed, underpowered, hot, and the stopgap GPUs are so good that Nvidia won’t push them directly. Talk about opening a can of whoop-ass!

We plan on asking Nvidia for a comment about this, but it has recently decided not to respond to us any more, so don’t hold your breath for an update. If it does come, it will be posted here.S|A

Update: Neither person at Nvidia responded to the request for comment. They did however respond to other sites in a timely manner, and respond to other emails from SemiAccurate since then, so we can only assume their lack of response was purposeful.

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate