updated 11:40 am EDT, Mon July 3, 2006
Five of the world's top 500 supercomputers are based on Apple's Xserve technology, according to a new report. The twenty-seventh listing of the semi-annual Top 500 of the world's fastest supercomputers shows that Apple's aging Xserve line is still strong, but slipping a bit. The list was released just ahead of speculation that Apple is prepping an update to its Xserve line that would bring Intel's new Xeon "Woodcrest" processors to the line of professional servers. Macworld UK reports that each of the five Xserve-based systems have fallen slightly in the rankings with ground-breaking Apple clusters such as Colsa's Mach 5, down 6 spots from 15th position in last November's list to No. 21. In addition, Virginia Tech's System X, now in 28th place, is down from No. 20 six months ago and No. 14 last June, according to the report.
The University of Illinois' Turing system is now listed as the 114th fastest supercomputer, down from its No. 85 ranking, while the University of California's Dawson features is now No. 462 (down from No. 303) and Bowie State University's Xseed is ranked No. 468 (was No. 304). The report notes that Intel processors are used in the largest number of systems in the listing (301), while IBM's PowerPC-based Power processors--similar but not the same as the PowerPC chips found Apple's Xserve--are used in 84 systems. AMD's Opteron processors are No. 3 with 81 systems using the Intel-alternative CPU.
Macworld UK notes that the top position was once again claimed by the BlueGene/L System, a joint development of IBM and DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration. The supercomputer has held the number one position for the last 18 months on three different Top 500 lists.