Nvidia reaches high on graphics performance with Tesla K80

Nvidia's in 2016 will release graphics products with the NV-Link interconnect, which is five times faster than PCI-Express 3.0

Nvidia's PC graphics chips may draw all the attention, but supercomputing chips are driving the company's GPU technology ahead.

The company on Monday announced an updated Tesla K80 graphics card, which is its fastest graphics product to date. Tesla is used in some of the world's fastest supercomputers to solve pressing scientific questions.

The K80 is based on technology similar to that used in GeForce PC graphics cards, but with some memory and throughput tweaks. The graphics card can be used by engineering companies to simulate visual models, or by oil and gas companies for geological research to find the best drilling sites. Tesla has also been used in servers to deliver virtual desktops to remote clients.

The K80 delivers 8.74 teraflops of single-precision performance compared to 5 teraflops on Nvidia's flagship GeForce GTX 980 desktop graphics card. The K80 also has two times the performance and memory bandwidth of its predecessor, the K40, which was announced around the same time last year.

In 2016, Nvidia is promising even faster graphics products based on Pascal architecture, a new on-chip communication technology. Through a new interconnect called NV-Link. GPUs will be able to exchange data faster, which will facilitate better performance. Nvidia says NV-Link is five times faster than the PCI-Express 3.0 interconnect, which is used in most servers and PCs.

Nvidia's Tesla is one of many server accelerators available. Intel sells the Xeon Phi chip, while Advanced Micro Devices offers FirePro cards for servers and workstations. Software needs to be written specifically to take advantage of these processors, and Nvidia offers its CUDA parallel programming framework for Tesla.

One knock on GPUs has been the amount of power they chew up in processing. As a result, they have to be used for specific tasks.

The K80 chip is broken up into two graphics processors, which share the balance of processing. Combined, the chip has 4,992 processing cores, 24GB of GDDR5 memory and memory bandwidth of 480GBps. A technology called GPU Boost can kick up performance for specific applications in bursts to deliver better results.

Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Quanta and Cray will use the K80 GPUs in servers. Servers from HP and Dell will run on Intel's Xeon CPUs.

Dell's PowerEdge C4130 is a 1U server that looks more like an appliance and will be able to accommodate up to two K80 cards. A number of C4130 servers could be used as cabinets to build a supercomputer, said Jimmy Pike, chief architect for Dell's enterprise solutions group.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Graphics boardsservershardware systemsComponentsnvidia

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?