HPE flaunts El Capitan supercomputer blade with AMD’s Instinct MI300 — projected to be world’s fastest when finished this year

A server blade from the upcoming El Capitan supercomputer was shown off at the ISC High Performance event in Hamburg, Germany. The server blade’s front cover was stripped off, revealing all of the internal components — including the extremely potent AMD Instinct MI300 APU.

This is the second time we’ve gotten to see the El Capitan’s MI300’s compute chips in all of their glory. The blade itself, dubbed the HPE Cray Supercomputing EX255a accelerator blade, is no larger than a single-slot 1U blade chassis. But in that small size it manages to pack a whopping eight MI300 chips. The eight chips are densely packed inside of the blade, featuring copper internal heat spreaders and full metal heatsinks with copper cooling pipes covering all of the PCBs below each APU.

(Image credit: ComputerBase)

Each blade packs two 4-socket node cards (boards) capable of carrying two MI300 APUs per card. Each sever is also capable of packing one additional NVMe SSD if needed, and carries four to eight injection ports designed to connect to El Capitan’s HPE Slingshot-11 networking system.

Once it’s deployed this year, El Capitan is poised to be the world’s fastest supercomputer — and dethrone the AMD-based Frontier supercomputer. At the heart of the new machine is AMD’s bleeding-edge MI300 APU, which is one of the most advanced microchip processors in the world right now.

Just one of AMD’s MI300 APUs packs 24 Zen 4 CPU cores, a beefy CDNA3-based GPU, and eight stacks of HBM3 sporting a total of 128GB of capacity. The chip is the largest chip AMD has ever produced, with nine compute dies in total. AMD utilized TSMC’s 5nm process for the CPUs and GPUs along with 6nm-based dies for the 3D-stacked dies.

The El Capitan supercomputer is being built by HP Enterprise and will be based on its Shasta architecture and Slingshot-11 networking sub-system which has been used in outgoing supercomputers including the Frontier.

El Capitan will be the fastest supercomputer in the world when it debuts with boasting 2 exaflops of computing power. For reference the Frontier boasts 1.1 exaflops of power, making the El Capitan nearly twice as fast as its older counterpart.

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