Is the 2016 Macbook Pro equal to a 1996 or a 2004 supercomputer?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by RedTomato, Nov 11, 2016.

  1. RedTomato, Nov 11, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016

    RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
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    Location:
    .. London ..
    #1
    Seeing the 2016 Macbook Pro stats of 3.1GB/s read / 2.2GB/s write for SSD set me thinking.

    This is apparently as fast as the fastest DDR RAM, and the same speed as early DDR2 RAM, which was introduced late 2003.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDR_SDRAM#Specification_standards
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDR2_SDRAM#Specification_standards

    In other words, the top-end Macbook effectively has up to 2TB of DDR2 RAM onboard. That should be enough for most people.

    How does that compare to a supercomputer? ASCI-RED was built in 1996, was the world's fastest supercomputer until 2000, and ran till 2005. It took up 1600sq ft, (150m2), ate 850 kilowatts of power, and had 1.2TB RAM.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASCI_Red

    The Macbook Pro 2016 has effectively more (and faster) RAM and is slightly smaller and cheaper than the world's fastest supercomputer of 2000.

    But that's not all! Let's look at extending storage via Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt3 has 5GB/s bandwidth, and each port on the 15" model has full bandwidth, for a total of 20GB/s bandwidth. Assuming that I'm able to assemble a SSD array that comes somewhere near 20GB/s, we're now well into DDR3 and DDR4 RAM territory.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDR4_SDRAM#Modules

    (That 20GB/S is only the total I/O and would be split into 4 separate streams, one for each Thunderbolt port. The Macbook Pro's onboard RAM is fast enough to deal with routing 20GB/s of cleanly formatted data, but there might not be much spare CPU capacity to do much processing with the data stream.)

    If I was able to somehow take a pile of SSDs and RAID them together, what would we end up with?

    The worlds largest SSD is the Seagate 60TB SAS SSD, which apparently will cost around $40,000. I don't know the specs, but I guess it will be roughly SATAIII speeds or 500MB/s.
    http://arstechnica.co.uk/gadgets/2016/08/seagate-unveils-60tb-ssd-the-worlds-largest-hard-drive/

    Putting 40 of them together, for a mere $1,600,000 for the SSDs alone, will net me 2.4PB of space at around 20GB/s, putting the Macbook Pro in this completely unrealistic setup as having 70% more RAM-equivalent storage than the world's fastest supercomputer as of May 2016, China's Tianhe-2, which has 'only' 1.4PB RAM memory.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tianhe-2.

    Supposing I forget the idea of stacking 40 SSDs and demand that my setup must run off the Macbook's battery?

    I could buy a further 4 Macbook Pro's with the 2TB PCIe SSDs, take out the SSDs, put them into bus-powered miniature Thunderbolt3 PCIe SSD enclosures (that as yet do not exist, but OWC has similar miniature USB3 enclosures for the PCIe SSDs found in the 2015 Macbook Pro), and plug one into each port.

    That would give me 10TB of memory, in 5 independent pools, each pool running at 3.1GB/s, at a total of 15.5GB/s of read bandwidth and 11GB/s of write bandwidth, roughly similar to DDR3 RAM speeds. All running off the Macbook Pro's internal battery. I could put all this in a handbag and run it for an hour or two on a corner table at Starbucks.

    That, by the way, is half as much as the Earth Simulator, which was the world's fastest supercomputer in 2004, and had 20TB of RAM, but required a building 50m x 65m x 17m tall.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Simulator
     
  2. yillbs macrumors 6502

    yillbs

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    #2
    That's not quite how ram works buddy. You're whole argument was based on ram. Having a fast hard drive does not make it comparable to having that much ram. Moreover.... that CPU lol
     
  3. RedTomato thread starter macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #3
    Hard drives are yesterday's tech. We're way past that now.
     
  4. paaj, Nov 11, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016

    paaj macrumors member

    paaj

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
    #4
    At 1.3 tflops, it's about as powerful as the AMD 455. Crazy how small (or powerful) things have gotten since then. Of course, it has nothing on a new 93 petaflops supercomputer.
     
  5. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #5
    Not yet.
     
  6. yillbs macrumors 6502

    yillbs

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #6
    What does that even mean? you're taking into account hard drive speed with Ram spee.. they are not the same thing. Even if it were yesterdays " tech ".. it's STILL not the same thing lol. Read and write functions into a HAR DRIVE and read and write functions into ram server two very very different purposes. I think I KIND of got what you were saying, but from a literally standpoint, you're answer is no, they are not anywhere close to that of a super computer , even from 2004. no laptop ( more so a MBP ), has that much ram, or could even have that much ram with a single CPU / motherboard setup. Thus, it's not even remotely as powerful.
     
  7. protoxx macrumors 6502a

    protoxx

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #7
    The original supercomputer was the Cray 1 in 76 iirc. It was a on mip compute. Million instructions per second. Roughly the compute power of a Intel 386-16 in the mid-80's.

    The G4 was the first apple computer to do 1bip. Billion instructions per second. Running afowl of government restrictions for exporting supercomputers.


    What is a supercomputer is a moving target.

    For comparison: Original Macintosh powered by motorola 68000, was basically the same chip that later powered the original Palm hand computers in miniaturized form.
     

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