Prodrive and nCore HPC announce RapidIO-based BrownDwarf SuperComputer

The BrownDwarf supercomputer leverages TI’s Keystone-II, which integrates multiple ARM® Cortex-A15 MPCore processors, and TMS320C66x digital signal processors (DSPs) that feature embedded RapidIO Gen2 endpoints. BrownDwarf’s three-shelf ATCA-based system delivers 70 teraflops of performance with 144 AMC-based nodes and 4032 processing cores. Taking into account the entire system power consumption, including processing, interconnect, and infrastructure, this equates to a very impressive 6.4 gigaflops per watt. In addition, the supercomputer is designed to easily scale using open standard RapidIO-based inter-cabinet switching, creating large multi-cabinet systems with up to 64K computing nodes

nCore HPC and Prodrive selected the Integrated RapidIO interconnect for the key benefits in throughput, latency, reliability and overall system power utilization that could not be achieved with Infiniband- or Ethernet- based approaches. The BrownDwarf system uses RapidIO switches that offer 20 Gbps of bandwidth per port, 100 ns cut through latency, 300 mW per 10 Gbps of data, up to 240 Gbps of non-blocking switch performance, and built-in reliable transmission. These performance, power, and reliability advantages are essential for supercomputer applications that leverage the power-efficient BrownDwarf platform.

“Our goal was to bring to market the most energy-efficient supercomputer,” said Ian Lintault, Managing Director of nCore. “We leveraged IDT’s RapidIO Gen 2 switches and TI’s RapidIO-equipped Keystone-II devices to create the highest-performance, lowest-power, non-NIC-based network fabric – an achievement that would not have been possible with InfiniBand® or Ethernet systems used by traditional supercomputing vendors. The BrownDwarf is expected to be in the top tier of the Green 500 world’s most energy-efficient supercomputers .”

“We have successfully deployed IDT’s RapidIO Gen2 switches for many customers across various embedded markets,” said Pieter Janssen, CEO at Prodrive. “Our past successes allowed us to quickly leverage the ATCA-based infrastructure for the BrownDwarf platform, going from concept to product launch in fewer than 6 months. RapidIO Gen2 is a key element of our computing solutions strategy and provides a graceful path to upgrade with RapidIO 10xN at 40 Gbps per port.”

“RapidIO is key to the multi-processor peer-to-peer processing needs that are emerging in both supercomputing and data center applications,” said Tom Sparkman, vice president and general manager of the Communications Division at IDT. “With the growth of processor-to-processor traffic in these applications, IDT’s RapidIO switches bring the critical attributes of embedded systems to offer improved system-level performance, throughput, latency, and energy efficiency.”

The IDT CPS-1848 and CPS-1616 belong to a broad portfolio of industry-leading RapidIO switch and bridge offerings. IDT provides a wide selection of port and lane count devices that allow customers to tailor their switch selection to the application. For more information about IDT’s RapidIO solutions, visit

nCore HPC’s BrownDwarf supercomputer will be available to qualified customers in the second half of 2013. Prodrive offers other form-factor developments or quick-turn customized solutions. Visit and for more information. The BrownDwarf Supercomputer is being demonstrated at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Leipzig, Germany at booth 663 from June 17-20, 2013.