No this isn’t about the song from Charlotte’s Web or the Scandinavian predilection for open sandwiches, it’s about the newfound choice in the HPC CPU market.

For the first time since AMD’s ill-fated launch of Bulldozer (their successor to Opteron) the answer to the question, ‘Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?’ doesn’t have to be ‘Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when you procure’.

In fact, it’s not just in the x86 market where there is now a genuine choice. Soon we will have at least two creditable ARM v8 ISA CPUs (from Cavium and Qualcomm) and IBM have gone all in on the Power architecture (having at one point in the last ten years had four competing HPC CPU lines – x86, Blue Gene, Power and Cell). In fact, it may even be Intel that is left wondering which horse to back in the HPC CPU race with both Xeons looking insufficiently differentiated going forward.

For the first time in at least five years, the need for comparative benchmarking, conducted as part of your pre-tender process, is looking to be an absolutely essential step to deliver the best value, rather than being viewed as something that provides a little more confidence that the vendors had tuned the MPI implementation.

At Red Oak we routinely track the evolution processor technology from all the vendors and have and relationships with and the capability to ensure that early pre-tender benchmarking can be carried out. Contact us to ensure that you aren’t left rueing a decision to restrict your procurement choice to an x86 platform.