Project Dark Star

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
MacBidouille has an interesting item today on something called Dark Star that's a G5 system with up to 64 processors. Here's my translation of the google translation:



ð -[Rumor] APPLE and IBM attacking SGI. - Lionel - 08:43:37



We showed you yesterday that Panther could manage quantities N of processors and tons of RAM.

Several concurring sources confirmed the rumors which we already had on this subject in the past.

APPLE and IBM would manufacture together machines with N processors where N will go up to 64 G5s! The project is named Dark Star in-house.

Each processor will have 4 [memory slots] for a maximum memory allocation of 16GB (when modules of 4GB are available). The configuration with 64 CPUs will thus support up to 1TB (terabyte) of RAM.

It will be possible to install in these machines several ATI video cards and to use them in parallel to ensure a very top of the line result.

Prototypes in 8, 16, 32 and 64 CPUs already run very well.

The machines will be equipped with an aluminium case very similar to that of G5 if not the same size.

Pre-production should start next month, although it won't go on sale until the end of the year with Panther server.

The prices will go from $12,000 for the low end version at 8 CPUs up to $50,0000 for the top-of-the-line with all the options.

Some will find this project risky. Know that APPLE and IBM would already have pre-sold machines to certain customers of which here some names:

- Industrial Light and Magic

- Raytheon

- General Dynamics

- Genentech

- Amgen

- Pixar

- NASA

There are still other customers like large American companies.



But don't forget, they are only rumors for the moment.

MacBidouille
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 88
    keyboardf12keyboardf12 Posts: 1,379member
    I wonder if this fits with the external chasis rumors from a short while back?
  • Reply 2 of 88
    zazzaz Posts: 177member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by keyboardf12

    I wonder if this fits with the external chasis rumors from a short while back?



    If you call the new Render Farm Building on the Campus an external chassis, sure....
  • Reply 3 of 88
    curiousuburbcuriousuburb Posts: 3,325member
    Dark Star *orchestral voices chorus*.



    Quote:

    Doolittle: Don't give me any of that intelligent life crap, just give me something I can blow up



    ---



    [Pinback wants the bomb to disarm.]

    Pinback: All right, bomb. Prepare to receive new orders.

    Bomb#20: You are false data.

    Pinback: Hmmm?

    Bomb #20: Therefore I shall ignore you.

    Pinback: Hello...bomb?

    Bomb #20: False data can act only as a distraction. Therefore, I shall refuse to perceive.

    Pinback: Hey, bomb?!

    Bomb #20: The only thing that exists is myself.

    Pinback: Snap out of it, bomb.





    classic film.



    as for the news of Multi-Processing MegaMacs (not purely a cluster, it sounds like a Rack mount or new chassis), any estimates of how many fans a 16 CPU G5 box would run?



    SGI won't really sweat until GPU and media I/O options for the Mac start adding zeros to their polygon and texture specs. quite a gap still exists.



    still... very positive news, and quite likely that at least PIXAR would get such mules
  • Reply 4 of 88
    keyboardf12keyboardf12 Posts: 1,379member
    Quote:

    f you call the new Render Farm Building on the Campus an external chassis, sure....



    Pixar?



    Who?
  • Reply 5 of 88
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Rolo

    Prototypes in 8, 16, 32 and 64 CPUs already run very well. The machines will be equipped with an aluminium case very similar to that of G5 if not the same size.



    64 G5s in a standard sized tower?
  • Reply 6 of 88
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,273member
    Apple doesn't need to be entering this market. It is simply not a Core Competency. They have enough holes in the consumer lineup to plug before I'll believe their working on Supercomputers.
  • Reply 7 of 88
    keyboardf12keyboardf12 Posts: 1,379member
    did you hear fred yesterday about that same subject. is it me or did he hem and haw just a little when the analyst brought it up.



    could sept. be the time for action in that area?
  • Reply 8 of 88
    jonathanjonathan Posts: 312member
    eeheeeheeheeeheeheeheeheheeeeheehee.



    that is all.
  • Reply 9 of 88
    keyboardf12keyboardf12 Posts: 1,379member




    Smeagol 2?
  • Reply 10 of 88
    yevgenyyevgeny Posts: 1,148member
    Dark Star the movie. An odd film that is actually pretty funny given its low budget. Even more odd is that it was written and directed by John Carpenter. Go figure. Nice to see some creativity in the "secret project namimg" division at Apple.
  • Reply 11 of 88
    yevgenyyevgeny Posts: 1,148member
    I'm sorry, but there is NO way that you are going to be able to fit 8 processors in the same aluminum case (let alone 64). The aluminium would be red hot! Either there are several die shrinks on the way, or the part of fitting it into an Al case is pure speculation.



    16, 32, and 64 way would be cool, but with so few buyers, it would be very difficult to get volume up high enough for Apple to pay off their R&D and to sell them at a decent price. I think that 4 or 8 way systems are much more likely (you can market 4 way systems to the high end of the pro market). Overall, it would be a cool idea, but I question if it makes financial sense for Apple to develop such massively parallel machines. Does the market justify it, or would this work to make a new market?
  • Reply 12 of 88
    ompusompus Posts: 163member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    Apple doesn't need to be entering this market. It is simply not a Core Competency. They have enough holes in the consumer lineup to plug before I'll believe their working on Supercomputers.



    I don't suppose you're suggesting that consumer machines on 7455s currently constitute a "core competency" of Apple.



    As for plugging the holes in the consumer lineup, you would have Apple do what? Take the lash to Motorola?



    You play the cards you're dealt. Right now, Apple has a solid, Unix-based operating system capable of SMP on a kick-ass processor. Better to have Apple building graphics supercomputers than twiddling their thumbs waiting for Motorola to get their act together.
  • Reply 13 of 88
    yevgenyyevgeny Posts: 1,148member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Rolo



    Some will find this project risky. Know that APPLE and IBM would already have pre-sold machines to certain customers of which here some names:

    - Industrial Light and Magic

    - Raytheon

    - General Dynamics

    - Genentech

    - Amgen

    - Pixar

    - NASA







    ILM: Nope. As far as I remember, they are SGI only. I doubt that they would jump ship from SGI and I doubt that SGI would let them jump ship (they would prefer to give out free hardware than to loose ILM as a client)



    Raytheon/General Dynamics: Who knows? I don't know what they are doing that would require so many G5's.



    Genetech/Amgen: Sure, these guys would jump on board, but why would they go for these systems over a rack of 1U G5's? They don't need all their CPUs to be in the same box anyway, so 64 CPUs would have to be cost competetive with 32 G5 servers.



    Pixar: I think that the same problem comes up for Pixar as for Genetech and Amgen. What is the compelling reason going with 64 CPUs in one box over a rack of XServes?



    NASA: I am not famililar with what they would need so many CPU's for.





    General question: What bus on earth could satisfy 64 Altivec units????? There is no point in having so much silicon available if you can't feed it?
  • Reply 14 of 88
    yevgenyyevgeny Posts: 1,148member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Ompus

    I don't suppose you're suggesting that consumer machines on 7455s currently constitute a "core competency" of Apple.



    As for plugging the holes in the consumer lineup, you would have Apple do what? Take the lash to Motorola?



    You play the cards you're dealt. Right now, Apple has a solid, Unix-based operating system capable of SMP on a kick-ass processor. Better to have Apple building graphics supercomputers than twiddling their thumbs waiting for Motorola to get their act together.




    I don't have problems with Apple spending all its time on such R&D projects so long as the motherboards for future powerbooks and iMacs are already designed and just waiting for new chips. This might actually be the case (given how stagnant chip upgrades have been- I would imagine that the Mobo teams have been waiting for work to do). Maybe the Mobos are all designed and just waiting for new G4's and ide shrunk G5's to become available. It could be. I still am not so sure that a 64 way machine fits into Apple's markets.
  • Reply 15 of 88
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    This makes perfect sense. This is not a small market, its huge, especially if you factor in web servers. Panther Server + G5 will be an awesome transaction server combo and although it won't beat linux + Intel on price it will sure as hell beat Intel + MS, HP, Sun, and er...IBM in the lower end.



    On the visualisation front it is interesting that SGi are moving away from their own graphics cards to use ATI. Its very possible that a parallel G5/ATI set up could provide serious visualisation capabilities at a 'peanuts' price.



    From a marketing point of view some serious 'iron' could do wonders for Apple's image. The new G5 case is an obvious declaration of intent.
  • Reply 16 of 88
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    I don't see either 64 chip in one box, but i can see a cluster solution with G5 servers linked together by a High end wiring connection.



    G4 cluster allready exist and are linked via Gigaethernet. perhaps Apple can make a better version of this clusters.
  • Reply 17 of 88
    coscos Posts: 99member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Yevgeny

    I'm sorry, but there is NO way that you are going to be able to fit 8 processors in the same aluminum case (let alone 64).



    Speaking hypothetically of-course... but what if MacBiddle misunderstood the information that led to this article and what they perceived as multiple processors was instead a combination of chips with multiple *cores* of which were put in multiple chip configurations?



    If each of those chips had 8 cores and shipped with 8 processors that would give us the equivalent of 64 processors.



    As long as we're playing math games, lets assume that they could put 16 cores in chip, then they would only need to ship a quad processor tower to achieve the equivalent of 64 processors.



    With the introduction of .9 nanometer process, the G5 will be MUCH cooler, but with multi-core configurations the same cooling system would have to remain in place as the chips would probably get as hot if not hotter than the current G5s.





    (On a side note... anyone know how many posts I have to make before my member name status progresses to the next level? I'm sick of just being a plain old "member.")



    "I'll show you my member, if you show me yours..."
  • Reply 18 of 88
    macroninmacronin Posts: 1,174member
    You folks are (mostly) a bunch of silly twits...



    The article says 'The machines will be equipped with an aluminium case very similar to that of G5 if not the same size.'



    This would indicate that any new chassis would be larger than, but look alot like, the current G5 chassis...



    As for ILM using only SGI, bullshitte...!



    ILM has been using Macs forever, they just don't advertise it...



    Why? That would be 'the Jedi Agreement' between SGI & ILM, way back in the day... ILM pimps for SGI, claiming that SGI is what they use for all feature work; SGI gives over 'free' workstations & renderfarms...



    As for the whole "What?!? US$6,000.00 for a crummy quad CPU workstation?!? Outrageous!" line of thought... Hmmm, US$6,000.00 for a quad G5 workstation? Where do I put my creditcard #...!?! That is a really great deal...



    ;^p
  • Reply 19 of 88
    jante99jante99 Posts: 539member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MacRonin

    You folks are (mostly) a bunch of silly twits...



    The article says 'The machines will be equipped with an aluminium case very similar to that of G5 if not the same size.'



    This would indicate that any new chassis would be larger than, but look alot like, the current G5 chassis...







    What I can't put 64 G5s in my cube? Outrageous. What has the world come to? It's absurd that Apple doesn't design their computers so they can be upgraded in the future!
  • Reply 20 of 88
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    You know, this reminded me of an idea Programmer was tossing around: If you have a plug in the back of a PowerMac connected directly to a HyperTransport bus, you can cable several machines together at motherboard-bus speeds, and in very real terms achieve a variant sort of NUMA architecture, only with much less engineering hassle, and dead-simple upgradeability.



    This would not be clustering. It would blow clustering away. So if Apple can get OS X Server talking to 64 processors, they could reach that limit in practical terms without shipping more than a dual-CPU configuration (because, of course, each CPU will have two cores soon). Of course, if they did ship a quad-CPU box, that would be even more effective.



    If Apple is really doing this, say goodbye to blades and clusters. It's much easier for me to imagine that they are doing this than building 64-CPU monster boxes, frankly. They might even be doing something like a blade configuration, with a rackmountable housing that can hold up to 64 CPUs (single or dual blades), and some system to ensure that adding and removing blades is no more difficult than adding or removing hard drives in an Xserve RAID.



    Oh, and Dark Star is also a Grateful Dead song.
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