HP joins Nvidia's Grid alliance

HP will equip a Gen8 Proliant blade server with speedier graphics boards

Hewlett-Packard has joined Nvidia's growing Grid alliance, equipping a Gen8 Proliant blade server with graphics boards that can speed up and lower the cost of virtual desktop deployments.

Nvidia's Grid boards consist of multiple graphics processors and work with virtualization software from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware for quick delivery of desktop images and graphics to remote clients in a distributed computing environment. HP is adding Nvidia boards to its Proliant Gen8 WS460c blade server.

The WS460c blade server with Nvidia's Grid components will be available later this year starting at less than US$9,000, HP said. IBM, Dell and Cisco Systems are also Grid partners.

Virtual desktops are typically delivered to remote PCs and devices so that they can access centralized data and applications residing on the servers. Virtualization is considered key technology for efficient use of server resources, and graphics processors enable fast delivery of virtual desktops, which helps cut electric bills. For example, graphics boards can deliver multiple Windows OS images to thin clients and do so faster than CPUs.

The Grid boards support Nvidia's latest K1 and K2 graphics processors based on the Kepler architecture, which is the same GPU design in some of the world's fastest supercomputers. HP previously offered Quadro processors in its Proliant WS460c Gen8 blade, and the new boards should increase the number of virtual machines that can be deployed.

Grid also improves delivery of graphics to remote clients, said HP in a statement. HP has said it expects to replace workstations with graphics-card-rich blade servers that can remotely deliver high-end graphics to thin clients.

Nvidia also expects Grid boards to be used for delivery of games over the cloud.

The Grid K1 board has four entry-level Kepler GPUs, uses 130 watts of power and has 768 cores. The K2 is faster with two high-end Kepler GPUs and 3072 cores, but it uses 225 watts of power.

HP also announced the t820 Flexible Series Thin Client, which the company called its "most powerful thin client." It has optional Core i5 or Pentium processors and other features found in corporate desktops such as fiber-optic networking, Intel's vPro remote management technology, and VGA and DisplayPort video outputs. Advanced Micro Devices Radeon HD 7650A MXM graphics card built on a mezzanine chip is another option, and it will enable the thin client to support multimonitor display.

The thin client will be available in November starting at $669, an HP spokeswoman said via email.

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