Chipmaker Nvidia, known for graphics processors designed for video gaming, is expanding to a new market with the recent launch of a third product line called Tesla, a general purpose GPU (or GPGPU). The core of each Tesla device is a GeForce 8-series GPU; however, they are supercomputing-targeted devices and lack the graphics outputs on the back panel, which apparently allows Nvidia to increase the clock speed on Tesla.
While the actual clock speed of the Tesla GeForce GPU is kept under wraps, Nvidia said that one processor (used in the C870 add-in card) is good for a performance of 518 GFlops, two processors (used in the deskside supercomputer D870, which integrates two C870 cards) will bring 1 TFlops; the Tesla GPU server with four processors will hit 2 TFlops.
Nvidia’s Tesla goes head to head with ATI’s similar general purpose GPU stream processor card, following the same concept to make the massively processing capability provided by shader processors available to run arbitrary code instead of graphics code.
Nvidia hopes Tesla will be used in high-performance computing environments such as geosciences, molecular biology or medical diagnostics where multiple times the amount of processing power in a typical server is required and immense amounts of data needs to be accessed simultaneously.