Nvidia Teams With HP To Offer Massive "GPU Starter" Kit

Nvidia and HP have developed a limited edition GPU Starter Kit meant to provide a drop-shipped means for anyone interested in developing for HPC applications. The term 'starter kit' is very nearly a misnomer, as the package deal provides a system more than sufficient to get the ball rolling.

The system contains eight ProLiant SL390 G7 servers, packed full of 24 M2070 GPUs, 16 CPUs, and its preconfigured with CUDA 4.0. The servers, presumably loaded with quad-cores, offer a respectable 32-cores of additional CPU power in addition to the copious amounts of GPU performance. The M2070 GPU that's included in the package is a Fermi-based part, with 6GB of RAM per GPU.

According to Nvidia, the $99,000 retail price tag is 50 percent below the typical list price. The kit also contains unspecified development tools that have been provided at substantial discounts, as well. "Growing demand for GPU computing has fueled the need for a fully integrated, robust and affordable development platform that enables developers to easily create new, accelerated applications," said Sumit Gupta, manager of Tesla products at NVIDIA.

"As a result, NVIDIA and HP developed the GPU Starter Kit to remove some of the last hurdles to the mass adoption of GPU computing -- namely, the cost and time of system implementation."


After years of going it virtually alone in the GPGPU world, Nvidia finally has company from AMD and Intel. AMD's focus, for now at least, is primarily in the consumer space, where its Fusion APUs are winning market share in mobile and desktop hardware. The company's push into workstations and HPC is going to be more measured. Although AMD's long-term plans call for APUs to move on-die at every level, the company will continue selling CPU-only server processors probably up to the point where it unveils a unified address space and truly shared computation resources for CPU and GPU.

Intel, of course, has direct aspirations in this space, but with Knights Ferry relegated strictly to development status, NV has a bit of time. Knights Corner, the 22nm iteration of Knights Ferry, won't debut until next year at the earliest. Whether or not the company will be able to transfer its early-mover advantage into a sustained lead in the market remains to be seen.