Intel Xeon Phi Co-processor Cards

The Intel Xeon Phi co-processor cards are one of the latest additions to the x86 Intel family and they are aimed to make multi-threading easier and more efficient. They bring huge improvements to parallel performance. Here is more about them.

With Intel Xeon Phi- Co-processor Cards Every Computer Becomes a Supercomputer

The Intel Xeon Phi co-processor cards are (obviously) cards, though the co-processor part might be causing a little confusion. In the case of the Intel Xeon Phi co-processor cards, co-processor shouldn’t be taken literally. Basically, each of these cards is a separate PCI card and it can run more than 50 x86 cores. Each of the cores can run Linux and any x86 software. In this aspect these are standalone cards. However, in order for them to function, they need to be overseen by an independent CPU. This is why they are called co-processor cards – because they need a separate processor to co-operate with.

Intel Xeon Phi co-processor cards are especially suitable for highly threadable tasks. Their main advantage is that they work with a pure x86 programming model, which means you won’t have to rewrite code in order to make it compatible. Every piece of software that runs on a x86 CPU will run on Intel Xeon Phi co-processor cards without additional modifications. This is a huge advantage, especially when you consider chips from other manufacturers that require serious code modifications if you want to port an application.

Intel Xeon Phi co-processor cards compete directly with Nvidia’s CUDA and AMD’s OpenCL. Both CUDA and OpenCL are cheaper but since they do require code rewrites, all in all Intel Xeon Phi co-processor cards are the more cost-efficient option, even though they are priced a bit higher.

Intel Xeon Phi- Co-processor Card Series

The Intel Xeon Phi co-processor cards come in three series – Intel Xeon Phi Co-processor 3010, Intel Xeon Phi Co-processor 5100, and Intel Xeon Phi Co-processor 7100. The series have a lot in common but each of them has a different number of cores, different speeds of each core, and a different maximum memory size. Each of the three series comes in two varieties that are almost identical with some minor differences, such as maximum memory bandwidth or max TDP.

Intel Xeon Phi Co-processor 3100

The Intel Xeon Phi co-processor 3100 is the least powerful and the cheapest of the three. It has 57 cores each of which runs at 1.100 GHz. The card has a maximum memory size of 6GB and a maximum memory bandwidth of 240 GB/s.

Intel Xeon Phi Co-processor 5100

The Intel Xeon Phi co-processor 5100 is the mid-range card in terms of power and price. It has 60 cores each of which runs at 1.053 GHz. The card has a maximum memory size of 8GB and a maximum memory bandwidth of 320 and 352 GB/s for its two varieties, respectively.

Intel Xeon Phi Co-processor 7100

The Intel Xeon Phi co-processor 7100 is the most powerful and the most expensive of the three. It has 61 cores each of which runs at 1.238 GHz. The card has a maximum memory size of 16GB and a maximum memory bandwidth of 320 and 352 GB/s for its two varieties, respectively.

With Intel Xeon Phi co-processor cards parallel computing and high performance become even easier. These cards are really powerful but the best is that they are affordable, so even for a small company they won’t break the budget.

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