FASTRA II GPU desktop supercomputer

By | December 15, 2009

What can you do with 7 NVIDIA GPU cards, a custom ASUS motherboard, enhanced Linux kernel, and a lot of power supplies? You can generate a lot of heat but more importantly, you can build your own desktop supercomputer.

Say hello to FASTRA II, a custom-made desktop computer with 12TFLOPS of processing power housed inside a custom designed PC case. The computer is the brainchild of computer vision researchers at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. The team constructed the computer to aid in their work on developing new computational methods for tomography. The hardware of FASTRA II is as follows,

The FASTRA II design contains six NVIDIA GTX295 dual-GPU cards, and one GTX275 single-GPU card. To fit all this hardware in a single PC case, a special cage was designed for the graphics cards, which are connected to the motherboard by flexible riser cables. To satisfy all 13 GPUs, The system has four power supplies. At full speed, it can outperform a moderately sized cluster of state-of-the-art CPUs. And guess what… this system costs less than 6000 euros!

With FASTRA II, the researchers can construct 3D models from X-ray data in just 15 minutes. In the past, using a cluster of quad-core PCs, the same job would take days to complete.

In the below video, Dr. Joost Batenburg introduces FASTRA II to us all. The video is well worth watching.

You can get more information about FASTRA II at the official website here.