In its first major announcement since the acquisition by AMD, SeaMicro unveiled its SM15000 server. This is an updated version of the standard 10U SeaMicro chassis with 64 compute card slots. The new SM15K can accept both Intel Ivy Bridge and AMD Piledriver based processor cards. Despite being AMD owned, SeaMicro is committed for generations to come to supplying both Intel and AMD based servers. Seamicro still supports Intel based clusters to make sure that they do not alienate some of their customers. In virtualized environments, moving around VMs only works well if you standarize on Intel or AMD. So Seamicro will still build Intel based clusters for next years.

SeaMicro is particularly proud of the fact that its processor network fabric can support other CPUs outside of AMD/Intel as well. Despite the flexibility SeaMicro believes that ARM's Cortex A9 isn't very interesting, but in late 2013/early 2014 ARM could have a part out that's compelling.

The Ivy Bridge cards use quad-core Xeon E3-1265v2 CPUs, while the new Opteron cards feature 4-module/eight-core Piledriver CPUs. The full rundown of specs are below:


According to SeaMicro, 6 racks of classic servers and storage which would consume 40 kW can be replaced with 2 racks containing SeaMicro SM15000s, which consume only 20 kW at half the price.

In 10U, you get 64 sockets, each with a new octal Piledriver Opterons at 2.8 GHz (or 2/2.3 GHz). That is 512 Cores in 10 RU,  64 GB per scoket, 4 TB per system. With the Xeon, the fastest CPU is a quadcore 3.1 GHz (256 cores per system) supporting 32 GB of ram per socket, 2 TB per system.

SeaMicro has extended its Freedom Fabric to now work outside of the chassis as well. Using external storage expansion you can get up to 1408 disks (HDD/SSD) or up to 5PB of storage connected to a single server.

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  • Casper42 - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    I can get with Chassis or Enclosure or even Cluster, but calling this a "Server" just sounds odd.
  • Beenthere - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    Since some folks have already built Llano APU powered servers with excellent success and very low power consumption, I would not be surprised to see SeaMicro develop a Trinity (and it's successors), powered server system for those who want impressive low power consumption with good performance.
  • madmilk - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    I don't see how Trinity is ever appropriate for a server. The iGPU is practically useless - too slow for any kind of HPC use, and unnecessary for other applications. Piledriver Opterons should be more power efficient and support things like registered memory.
  • Medallish - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    Well the Trinity iGPU is pretty efficient, if you throw a bunch of them in a low power server, even the iGPU's should have a place.
  • bill.rookard - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    That's something I'd like to see as well, and it would have a place. Remember, what you're talking about in a server situation is many times a 'headless' system (ie: no monitor/keyboard/mouse) so there's no need for a graphical interface (command line only). As such, there's plenty of die space (the iGPU) just sitting idly by instead of being utilized - and it's all still fitting in the 15-30w TDP.

    So instead of wasting the iGPU, put it to use. Putting Trinity into a quad-configuration would come in at 60-120w TDP (lower than Bulldozer) - provide 16 cores and 4 decent IGPU's (which Bulldozer lacks). With the dynamic power control, you could go as low as 1 core, 1iGPU and scale it as needed up into what I would consider a pretty powerful machine.
  • madmilk - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    You need to consider performance AND low power in efficiency.

    I would consider these comparable on absolute CPU and GPU performance, assuming very good parallelization:

    My examples use Xeons, but Piledriver Opterons may be a viable alternative:

    1) 20x Trinity (80 Piledriver "cores" @ 2.3GHz + 7680 VLIW4 cores @ 500MHz)
    2) 4x Xeon E5 8-core + 2x 7970 (64 SB-E threads @ 2.3GHz + 4096 GCN cores @ 900Mhz)

    Just counting CPU/GPU TDPs, they are very similar, with the 7970 system actually slightly ahead:
    1) 20x 35W = 700W
    2) 2x 95W + 2x 230W = 650W

    Keep in mind that to run 20x Trinity, you also need 20x motherboards, memory, disks, etc. all of which consume power. It's also much more difficult to keep 20 systems up and productive compared to one or two. Seamicro's cluster concept alleviates the problem somewhat regarding hardware and power, but it does not solve the software side at all.
  • yankeeDDL - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link


    GPUs are very useful in compute servers.
    There are entire supercomputers built with GPUs ( so if you are going to use software appropriately written to be accelerated by GPU, the Trinity's version of this "cluster" is going to kick Ivy Bridge where it hurts.
    It all depends on the applications: it is clear that for CPU-intensive applications Ivy Bridge has a significant advantage, but these are not machines that are intended to run MS Word ...
  • madmilk - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    You are right in saying GPUs can be useful. However, your comparison is missing the point. Instead of using solely Trinity or Ivy Bridge, you could use an ordinary processor and a couple of Tesla cards (as the supercomputer you linked to does), which would use 5x the power per server but give you 50x the GPU performance.
  • Medallish - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - link

    Again if you look at the efficiency there's still a good case for using a cluster of APU's where you utilize both CPU and GPU's the fact that you can build something better will always be true, but efficiency wise a cluster of Trinity GPU's is not something to scoff at.

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