Supermicro shows off a Larrabee box

IDF 2011: Just don’t call it Larrabee in public

Supermicro LogoSupermicro has one new item on display at IDF this year, an Intel based GPGPU machine. In case you are wondering what GPU Intel makes, the 6016GT-TF with Intel MIC uses a Knights Ferry compute card.

Larrabee, Intel’s GPU, was canned a long time ago, and in it’s place is Knights Ferry, a ‘completely different’ part.  Knights Ferry(KF) is simply Larrabee C0, but that name has been banished from Intel, so this is something completely different, just ask. It doesn’t even have a DVI port, so how can it be similar?

Supermicro Larrabee

Knights Ferry + 1U Supermicro server

What you see above is not simply a nice Supermicro 1U server with two Intel KFs in it, it is, err, something completely different. Whatever it is in actuality, it is officially called a 6016GT-TF with Intel MIC. We can’t find that exact SKU on Supermicro’s site, likely because you can’t really buy a Larr….KF card at the local store, you need to more or less convince Intel that they should get one to you first. Then they may tell you how to buy them, or just give you a few.

In any case, Intel is now allowing KF to be shown off as a real part. Here at SemiAccurate HQ, we can’t come up with a good reason to want one of these at this point in time. If you don’t have one already, you would be much better off waiting for the 22nm Knights Corner, aka Larrabee 3, just don’t call it that.

Larrabee 3 will have a new and incompatible ISA, not a superset of LRB-NI, so the wait is justified. LRB-N-NI, or is it KCDCIL3IPWYD-NI (Knights Corner Don’t Call It Larrabee 3 In Public Whatever You Do – New Instructions), so climbing that upcoming learning curve instead will be time better spent. This is the long way of saying that if you need one, you have one already.

All that said, the Supermicro chassis and boards are exactly what they purport to be, a solid 1U 2-slot GPGPU chassis filled with two GPU compute cards. It will host two Westmere class CPUs, two 2-slot GPUs, 192GB of DRAM, and 3 3.5″ SATA drives. Instead of a 6016GT-TF with Intel MIC, you might want to consider a plain old no-option 6016GT-TF, and wait a bit for new Knight on the block.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate