Want to know what a supercomputer feels like? Then try this 224-core monster server

supercomputer
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Timofeev Vladimir)
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European public cloud Scaleway has unleashed what it claims to be the most powerful bare metal (opens in new tab) server on the market right now. Its Bare Metal Ultimate Performance XL (opens in new tab) (UP-BM2-XL) server is a statement of intent as much as it is a halo product.

It's powered by eight Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 processors, each with 28 cores/56 threads clocked at up to 2.7GHz. Intel's recommended customer price for each is $10,009 - a significant premium due to the fact that it supports eight sockets.

There’s also 7.68TB memory (6.1TB of DCPMM Optane and 1.5GB TruDDR4), 20.6TB storage (six 3.2TB NVMe enterprise grade SSDs) and up to 25Gbit/s of available bandwidth.

The solution, Scaleway says, is “designed for on-demand intensive computing, In-Memory or transactional databases, and all workloads incompatible with horizontal scaling”, making it ideal for SAP and VMware. Given that ThinkSystem is mentioned in the technical specification list, we suspect the server (opens in new tab) used is a Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950.

Users are billed per hour rather than per month; at €29.99/h (£26.80/$35.60), it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. But then again, one of these Cascade Lake-SP Xeon CPUs (remember there’s eight of them) can reach 2TFlops/sec (theoretical peak performance on AVX-512 instructions).

20 years ago, the world’s most powerful computer was the Intel-powered ASCI Red. It had nearly 10,000 cores, a peak performance of 3.21TFlops and had a cool price tag of $55 million.

Scaleway operates six datacenters across Europe and focuses on web hosting (opens in new tab), dedicated servers (opens in new tab) and colocation (opens in new tab).

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.