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Dr Donald Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

Why quad Xeon? 95% of peak LINPACK on 40 cores!

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Dr Donald Kinghorn

Iíve been doing application performance testing on our quad socket systems and I am especially liking the quad Xeon box on our test bench. I realized that I havenít published any LINPACK performance numbers for this system (thatís my favorite benchmark). Iíll show the results for the Intel optimized multi-threaded binary that is included with Intel MKL and do a compile from source using OpenMPI. It turns out that both openMP threads and MPI processes give outstanding, near theoretical peak performance. Building from source hopefully shows that itís not just Intel ďmagicĒ that leads to this performance Ö although I guess it really is.

Posted in Hardware, Technology | 0 Comments
Lara Graham (administrative assistant)

Summer Newsletter

Posted on July 24, 2014 by Lara Graham

To the best of my knowledge, itís been at least six years since we've written about life behind-the-scenes here at Puget Systems. So weíre going to kick off a whole new generation of newsletters - focused more on the people and less the technology - as we dive into this summer season of 2014. I hope you enjoy this little glimpse of what working at Puget Systems is really like, day to day.

Posted in Company | 0 Comments
Brett Nordquist (Customer Happiness Engineer)

The Perfect Operating System

Posted on July 15, 2014 by Brett Nordquist

The first computer I purchased arrived at my home with two operating systems: DOS and Windows 3.1. Most full-fledged programs ran in DOS, including nearly every game in the early 1990s. Besides pool, the game I played most during my college years was called Links Golf which ran in DOS. Without Links Iím convinced my GPA would be at least a half grade higher. I offset my Links addiction by installing WordPerfect for DOS which allowed me to write reports from home instead of the schoolís computer lab

Posted in Industry, Software | 1 Comment
Dr Donald Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

POV-ray on Quad Xeon and Opteron

Posted on July 14, 2014 by Dr Donald Kinghorn

POV-ray is an open source ray tracing package with a long history. It has been a favorite system performance testing package since itís inception because of the heavy load it places on the CPU. It has had an SMP parallel implementation since the mid 2000ís and is often used as a multi-core CPU parallel performance benchmark on both Linux and Windows. So lets try it on our Quad socket many-core systems!

Posted in Hardware, Technology, Software | 0 Comments
Dr Donald Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

Hyper-Threading may be Killing your Parallel Performance

Posted on July 2, 2014 by Dr Donald Kinghorn

Hyper-Threading, hyperthreading, or just HT for short, has been around on Intel processors for over a decade and it still confuses people. Iím not going to do much to help with the confusion. I just want to point out an example from some testing I was doing recently with the ray-tracing application POV-ray that surprised me. Hyper-threading dramatically lowered the performance on a multi-core test system running Windows when running POV-ray in parallel.

Posted in Hardware, Technology | 7 Comments
Dr Donald Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

Install CUDA and PGI Accelerator with OpenACC

Posted on June 27, 2014 by Dr Donald Kinghorn

Iím going to walk you through a basic install and configuration for a development system to do CUDA and OpenACC GPU programming. This is not a detailed howto but if you have some linux admin skills it will be a reasonable guide to get you started. Weíll do a basic NVIDIA GPU programming setup including CentOS 6.5, CUDA development environment and a PGI compiler setup with OpenACC. The most interesting part may be the OpenACC setup. OpenACC is a relatively new option for GPU programming and allows for a directive (pragma) based coding model.

Posted in Hardware, Technology, HPC, Software | 0 Comments
Dr Donald Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

Quad Xeon vs Opteron, Zemax OpticStudio

Posted on June 18, 2014 by Dr Donald Kinghorn

We take a look at Quad Xeon and Quad Opteron performance and parallel scaling with Zemax OpticStudio including an analysis using Amdahl's Law. Based on this analysis we then make performance predictions for other processors.

Posted in Hardware, Technology, Software | 0 Comments
Brett Nordquist (Customer Happiness Engineer)

Taking Sides

Posted on June 16, 2014 by Brett Nordquist

Several times a year my father would score Utah Jazz tickets, and being the oldest son, meant I was the one to accompany him to Salt Lake City to watch the games at the old Salt Palace arena. I sat next to my father for the hour-long drive from our home in northern Utah and knew we were getting close when I could see the arena that looked like a large wedding cake. For the next two hours Iíd cheer on the Jazz against their rivals such as the Portland Trailblazers or the Seattle Sonics. The Jazz were my team and my loyalty knew no bounds. I wore Jazz jerseys, collected player cards, and could tell you how many assists John Stockton needed to overtake Magic Johnson as the all-time assists leader.

Posted in Industry, Technology | 2 Comments
Dr Donald Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

NVIDIA GPU Starter DevKit with OpenACC

Posted on June 2, 2014 by Dr Donald Kinghorn

NVIDIA Tesla K20 plus PGI Accelerator compilers with OpenACC in a package deal with a system. Yes, it's official. If you've wanted to do some development work with OpenACC on Tesla, this is a nice way to get started with a heavily discounted K20 and PGI compiler package pre loaded on a Peak Mini.

Posted in Hardware, Technology, Software | 0 Comments
Dr Donald Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

NVIDIA Jetson TK1 CUDA performance

Posted on May 23, 2014 by Dr Donald Kinghorn

Here's a quick look at CUDA performance on the NVIDIA Jetson Tegra K1 developer board.

Posted in Hardware, Technology | 2 Comments
William George (Customer Service Lead)

Our Favorite Games: Star Citizen / Arena Commander

Posted on May 22, 2014 by William George

There is a game in development I have been following for almost a year now, and which I am extremely excited about. For anyone who was into PC gaming back in the 90s, the genius behind the Wing Commander series of games and Freelancer has returned to the game scene, to create the Ďbest darn space simulator everí: Star Citizen. It is a very ambitious project, entirely crowd-funded, with almost $44 million raised so far from its fanbase. Because this game is being crowd funded, the development team has opened up to the gameís backers - giving information out in a consistent stream, and details that would normally only be delivered to a publisher that was funding the game. We are the publisher, in a sense, and getting to be this involved in the process of making a game is fascinating and engrossing to me.

Posted in Gaming | 2 Comments
Brett Nordquist (Customer Happiness Engineer)

My brief affair with the tablet

Posted on May 12, 2014 by Brett Nordquist

I recently returned from Las Vegas where I attended an Intel partner event. Over the course of three days, I was able to listen to many speakers give us their predictions for the future of computing. We were presented with demos of fancy all-in-one PCs, sleek new laptops as well as beefy workstations powered by quad Xeons. If Intel was building chips for it, we saw it or heard about it.

Posted in Technology | 3 Comments
Chris Stephens (Business Development)

4 Things To Do At A Linux Event

Posted on April 28, 2014 by Chris Stephens

This weekend a few of us from Puget Systems made the trip to Bellingham, WA for LinuxFest 2014. Two days of total immersion into the world of Linux and open source. Having recently made the plunge by setting up a native install of Ubuntu on my primary work machine, I thought this would be a great event to soak in the culture and goings-on of the free and open-source software (FOSS) community.

Posted in Technology | 0 Comments
Dr Donald Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

Quad Xeon 4600v2 Performance - Zemax OpticStudio14

Posted on April 23, 2014 by Dr Donald Kinghorn

Need the most compute capability you can get in a single box for a well written, multithreaded application? Weíll take a look at one such application, Zemax OpticStudio14, running on a quad socket Ivy Bridge Xeon system. Performance was excellent!

Posted in Hardware | 10 Comments
Dr Donald Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

LinuxFest Northwest 2014

Posted on April 22, 2014 by Dr Donald Kinghorn

The annual Northwest pilgrimage for the Linux faithful to the Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, WA is nearly upon us! Puget Systems is donating a great machine to the raffle, a Serenity mini with a commemorative case etching!

Posted in Hardware, Technology | 0 Comments
Dr Donald Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

NVIDIA HPC future directions

Posted on April 8, 2014 by Dr Donald Kinghorn

Where is NVIDIA heading with High Performance Computing hardware? Ever since Intel announced Xeon Phi Knights Landing as a stand-alone processor integrated at the board level as a full compute unit, I've been wondering what NVIDIA would do along these lines. It just makes sense that they would do something similar since getting the GPU off of the PCIe bus and tightly integrated with plentiful system memory would be a huge step forward for usability and performance. Here's my guess about where NVIDIA is heading.

Posted in Hardware, Technology | 0 Comments
Dr Donald Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

GTC 2014 Brief Recap -- content links

Posted on April 3, 2014 by Dr Donald Kinghorn

I had the pleasure of attending the NVIDIA Graphics Technology Conference ( GTC ) last week. Wonderful conference! If you have any doubts about the quality of the conference you are in luck. They have most of the content on-line, you can check it out yourself ...

Posted in Hardware, Technology, HPC | 0 Comments
Brett Nordquist (Customer Happiness Engineer)

The Continual Rise of the SSD

Posted on April 2, 2014 by Brett Nordquist

Just over a year ago I wrote how Solid State Drives (SSD) were soaring in popularity. At that time we offered a number of SSD models from Intel. But due to production constraints, we were on the verge of adding a few Samsung SSDs to the mix. Around this same time we began fielding a number of requests for Samsung SSDs. Once considered a luxury item, SSDs have moved into the mainstream within the past two years. Our customers tend to be tech savvy and performance demanding to the core. So I wasn't surprised to find widescale adoption of SSDs as I dove into the sales data.

Posted in Technology | 5 Comments
Chris Stephens (Business Development)

VMware User Group Conference

Posted on April 2, 2014 by Chris Stephens

I spent yesterday attending the Seattle stop of the VMware User Group (VMUG) Conference. It was a totally worthwhile event for catching up with all that is going on in the VMware world. If you didn't already know Puget Systems has been a VMware Partner for quite some time now, we even use a number of their products to run Puget Systems.

Posted in Technology | 0 Comments
Brett Nordquist (Customer Happiness Engineer)

Traffic: Puget Systems vs. Netmarketshare

Posted on March 29, 2014 by Brett Nordquist

We thought it would be fun to compare a few of the statistics gathered by Netmarketshare to those we track through Google Analytics for visitors to Puget Systems. According to Netmarketshare, they are the standard in tracking technology usage market share. They have been collecting and analysing data since 1999 and, while not without controversy, are highly regarded in their approach to ranking the most popular operating systems and web browsers.

Posted in Technology | 1 Comment
Chris Stephens (Business Development)

My first few weeks with Linux

Posted on March 27, 2014 by Chris Stephens

I posted a few weeks ago regarding my move to Linux. I received some great feedback from our readers, and encouragement to continue posting about my experiences. If there is something specific about the Linux experience you would like me to discuss, feel free to email me at cstephens@pugetsystems.com. Hopefully, you will find these posts helpful. Two weeks have passed since I walked away from Windows and a couple of things have really struck me in that time.

Posted in Technology, Software | 4 Comments
Jon Bach (President)

What Our Customers Have to Say About Windows 8

Posted on March 25, 2014 by Jon Bach

Windows 8 has been out for about a year and a half now, and it is common knowledge that Microsoft's newest operating system has received mixed reactions. The new start screen (I still have to stop myself from calling it Metro!) is a jolting departure from the user interface that Windows users have been accustomed to using since 1995. One unique thing we do here at Puget Systems, is we reach out to nearly all of our customers after they have had a chance to use their new PC. We ask them how it is working for them, and what we could have done better. We learn a LOT. So, what do our customers have to say about Windows 8, and what is Puget Systems doing to respond?

Posted in Technology, Company | 6 Comments
Dr Donlad Kinghorn (HPC and Scientific Computing)

Compute Performance: Ivy Bridge-E vs. Haswell

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Dr Donlad Kinghorn

How does the Ivy Bridge-E Core i7-4960X (Extreme edition) do against the Haswell Core i7-4770 running the Linpack benchmark? The Ivy Bridge-E 4960X is a great processor -- 6 cores, 4GHz max turbo clock, 4 memory channels, 40 PCIe lanes, big price tag ... However, the humble Haswell 4770 has it's AVX2 and FMA3 secret weapons which are really effective on linear/matrix algebra type of numerical computing problems. ...

Posted in Hardware, HPC | 0 Comments
William George (Customer Service Lead)

New Apple Mac Pro vs Genesis Workstation PC

Posted on March 7, 2014 by William George

By now, most folks have seen Appleís updated Mac Pro - or as I like to call it, the trash can. I kid, I kid! In all seriousness, though, we are often asked how our workstations - like the Genesis line - compare to the hardware Apple has put in the new, miniature Mac Pro. Read on to find out...

Posted in Hardware, Technology, Industry | 9 Comments
Chris Stephens (Business Development)

Windows to Linux

Posted on February 26, 2014 by Chris Stephens

This weekend I did something I never thought I would do: I moved away from Windows. I ran Windows 7 on a Traverse laptop since I came to work here almost 18 months ago, and personally since I was a kid, starting with Win 3.1x. After all that time amd experience I can't take it anymore. I have jumped ship and I am not coming back. This weekend I wiped my Windows install and loaded Ubuntu 12.04 LTS onto my primary drive. Physically, installing the new OS was easy; only after installing the OS did I realize there was a psychological effect I had not really counted on.

Posted in Technology, Software | 2 Comments
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