By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
There are workstations and there are enterprise-class workstations. Super Micro Computer makes enterprise-class workstations — high-end workstations to be precise. For that matter, Super Micro Computer may well have made the servers that are running the data center or the cloud computing infrastructure that you use every day. Serious stuff for compute-intensive jobs is what they do, so I could not help but notice when the company announced a new NVIDIA Maximus certified addition to its SuperWorkstation line the other day. Let’s take a look at this.
But first, Super Micro has made a good reputation for itself in a number of ways, although two in particular stand out. One: nimble. They are masters of leveraging the latest technologies right away. Dovetailed with that is that they have built loyalty by delivering your system right away. Second: Energy efficiency is a mantra at Super Micro. Whether its cooling systems, power supplies, or whatever, components are used to their fullest potential but optimized to conserve power. As an aside: I’m not sure if this still happens, but company execs once wore green ties to symbolize their eco-consciousness.
Now, the SuperWorkstation 7047GR-TRF. It’s built around the company’s high-end X9DRG-QF server board. It supports dual Intel Xeon E5-2600 family processors, up to 512GB of memory, and up to 20MB cache. It has one fixed 3.5-in. drive bay, eight hot-swappable 3.5-in. SATA drive bays, three 5.25-in. peripheral drive bays, and a slew of PCI slots. There are I/O ports for networking, video, and serial communications as well as nine (!) USB ports.
With this as its base, the SuperWorkstation then integrates an NVIDIA Quadro graphics processing unit (GPU) and four NVIDIA Tesla C2075 co-processors. The Quadro GPU takes care of design and visualization tasks and the Teslas handle compute-intensive matters. That means when you hit run on a simulation or rendering, the GPU and the Teslas do most of the work. Since the Xeon then is mostly free, you can get back to being productive and, say, design something without experiencing those really annoying system slowdowns that you thought were natural over the years. And NVIDIA Maximus certification means that the SuperWorkstation should be able to handle engineering apps like ANSYS and SolidWorks with aplomb.
In short, Super Micro Computer’s SuperWorkstation 7047GR-TRF seems a strong contender in the world of engineering and scientific personal supercomputing. You can learn more about it in today’s Pick of the Week write-up. It’s something else.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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EDITOR S NOTE: Updated on June 21, 2012 to correct an inaccuracy concerning application certifications in an earlier version.