SGI offers new low-end servers

SGI (Silicon Graphics) has launched a new server at the lower end of its Origin server range, writes Eric Doyle.

SGI (Silicon Graphics) has launched a new server at the lower end of its Origin server range, writes Eric Doyle.

The Origin 300 costs about half the price of an equivalent server in the Origin 3000 range but only scales up to a maximum of 32 Mips-branded processors, compared to the 512 that the Origin 3000 can scale up to.

Like the Origin 3000s, the new servers are based on SGI's Numaflex architecture. Numa (non-uniform memory architecture) systems allocate fixed blocks of memory to individual processors but also allow them to draw on memory allocated to other chips when necessary.

John Fleming, high-performance computing manager at SGI, said, "We are continuing to focus on our core markets in the media and technical sectors.

"These are areas where high-performance computing and visualisation and the accompanying need for complex data management are the key requirements.

"Sun and IBM are concentrating on the enterprise server space but the Origin 300 is designed as a departmental-level specialist server."

The basic module, which is 2U (3.5in) high, holds two or four 64-bit Mips processors with up to 4Gbytes of memory and two disc drives.

Two units can be connected back-to-back to give up to eight processors and more units can be added using a hub to connect up to eight units (32 processors).

Fleming said the processing performance is equal to a similarly configured Origin 3000 but the price performance is greatly enhanced.

A dual-processor Origin 3000 costs about £50,000 but an equivalent Origin 300 is only £24,000.

The company has also introduced a low-cost storage subsystem which can support eight 73Gbyte SCSI drives to give up to 584Gbytes of storage in a 2U-high casing.

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