[Beowulf] gamers: evil or just useless? ;)

Mark Hahn hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca
Tue Aug 8 15:41:14 PDT 2006

as you know, the video card industry was taken over by gamers 
several years ago, and now the technical demands of FPS games
call all the shots (so to speak).  ATI and NV still sell "engineering"
cards, but it's always hard to tell what their value proposition is,
especially since they come in so much less sexy shipping boxes.

first GPUs, now NICs?  http://www.bigfootnetworks.com/ appears to be 
an actual linux-based coprocessor marketed as an offload NIC for gamers.
weird, but true!  from their whitepaper, I can't tell whether their 
performance numbers are sane (2500 UDP "calls" per second sounds very
underwhelming...)  will game vendors actually write code specific 
to this nic?  obviously, a lot of effort is spent writing GPU code,
but presumably that's because GPUs provide multiple orders of magnitude

but having a linux coprocessor with 64M local memory and a GB port, hmm.
imagine doing RDMA this way, or performing reductions in the coprocessor.
or using Gamma on top of it.  sort of a shame it doesn't come with 2+
separate GB interfaces, actually...

regards, mark hahn.

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