AMD and Cray forge an Epyc supercomputing partnership

Score an Epyc win for AMD in the supercomputing space as Cray, a long-time partner of Intel, has decided to add Epyc 7000 series processor options to its CS500 line of clustered supercomputers.

AMD broke the news on Twitter alongside a press release by Cray, with the latter explaining that it has integrated and optimized its programming environment and libraries to enhance AMD's Epyc processor performance.

"Our decision to offer AMD EPYC processors in our CS500 product line is emblematic of Cray’s commitment to the community to deliver a comprehensive line of high-density systems with an optimized programing environment to deliver the required performance and scalability," said Fred Kohout, senior vice president of products and chief marketing officer at Cray.

The new Cray CS500 cluster configurations with Epyc inside provide four dual-socket nodes in a 2U chassis. Each node supports two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots (200Gb network capability) and both hard drive and solid state drive storage options.

AMD's Eypc 7000 series processors come with up to 32 physical CPU cores and support eight DDR4 memory channels per socket. That works out to two additional memory channels per socket compared to Intel's Skylake architecture.

"Cray's decision to offer the AMD EPYC processors in the Cray CS500 product line expands its market opportunities by offering buyers an important new choice," said Steve Conway, senior vice president of research at Hyperion Research. "The AMD EPYC processors are expressly designed to provide highly scalable, energy- and cost-efficient performance in large and midrange clusters."

Obviously this does not have a direct impact on gaming. Indirectly, however, this move potentially strengthens AMD as a whole and puts additional competitive pressure on Intel.

The partnership between Cray and AMD is limited to the CS500 product line, at least for now. Cray's product marketing director Chris Lindahl told HPC Wire that there are no current plans to use Epyc processors in the company's other systems, such as its XC series, CS-Storm, and Urika.

Still, this a solid win for AMD. The next step would be to get Cray to use its GPUs as well. That isn't in the cards at the moment, though Lindahl did concede that Cray continues to evaluate the situation, and that "there are a lot of considerations there."

Cray CS500 systems with Epyc hardware inside will be offered alongside Intel Xeon configurations this summer.