Nallatech has developed a coprocessor card that allows companies to integrate FPGA into any devices or system they are developing. Nallatech’s new coprocessor card can work with Tesla’s GPU accelerators (developed by Nvidia) and the Xeon Phi processors and coprocessors that are developed by Intel. The boards were initially developed for a customer in the oil and gas industry.
There are similarities in the architecture between all three devices. All three devices are build to increase memory bandwidth, capacity, and improve the performance on parallel applications.
The new 510T coprocessor uses a mix of standard DDR4 and Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) memory to provide the right mix of high bandwidth, low capacity memory with high capacity, relatively low bandwidth memory to give a better performance profile versus just having a mix of FPGA and DDR4 on the same card.
The 510T board is composed of two Altera Arria 10 GX 1150 FPGA. Each FPGA can process up to 10 teraflops (calculations per second) per device. Between each FPGA is a block of HMC memory. This is a fast and shared memory space and which the two FPGA can use at the same time.
The 510T was created in response to some key needs highlighted by oil and gas customers that Nallatech currently works with. The devices are used to find oil buried underground. Compared to the previous GPUs the customers relied on, the FPGA-enabled board reduced memory bandwidth bottlenecks and has access to larger memory capacities.
The Nallatech card costs around $13,000 at the list price. Nallatech president and founder Allan Cantle does not believe the FPGA-enabled boards are a replacement for GPUs. Using an FPGA means it takes longer to program. Nallatech is being realistic about the competition and knows some customers will prefer the GPUS. Cantle believes there are instances where an FPGA will be preferred to a GPU. When there are manipulation problems – compression, encryption, and bioinformatics. Plus current FPGA are much faster than a GPU.
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Image was also obtained from Nallatech