(Image credit: ORNL)

The Top 500 list of the fastest supercomputers in the world was released today, and AMD continues its streak of impressive wins with 121 systems now powered by AMD’s silicon — a year-over-year increase of 29%. Additionally, AMD continues to hold the #1 spot on the Top 500 with the Frontier supercomputer, while the test and development system based on the same architecture continues to hold the second spot in power efficiency metrics on the Green 500 list. Overall, AMD also powers seven of the top ten systems on the Green 500 list.

The AMD-powered Frontier remains the only fully-qualified exascale-class supercomputer on the planet, as the Intel-powered two-exaflop Aurora has still not submitted a benchmark result after years of delays. In contrast, Frontier is now fully operational and is being used by researchers in a multitude of science workloads.

In fact, Frontier continues to improve from tuning — the system entered the Top 500 list with 1.02 exaflops of performance in June 2022 but has now improved to 1.194 exaflops, a 17% increase. That’s an impressive increase from the same 8,699,904 CPU cores it debuted with. For perspective, that extra 92 petaflops of performance from tuning represents the same amount of computational horsepower as the entire Perlmutter system that ranks eighth on the Top 500.

Holding the top spot on the Top 500 is an important milestone, but many of the other AMD-powered systems are also at the top of the list — supercomputers powered by AMD CPUs continue to hold four of the top ten spots while Intel and IBM power two of the top ten apiece. AMD also powers 12 of the top 20 fastest systems in the world.

Intel’s CPUs still dominate the list with a higher total number of systems on the Top 500 than AMD. However, AMD continues to expand its share, with 21 of the 44 new systems on the list over the last year powered by AMD silicon. To put things in broader perspective, AMD CPUs powered 13 supercomputers on the list in 2016 but now have reached 121 largely powered by its newer EPYC processors. Meanwhile, Intel declined from 454 machines in 2016 to 360 today, with many of those powered by Xeon chips dating back nearly a decade.

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Top 500 Supercomputer List AMD CPU Powered Intel CPU Powered
2016 13 454
2023 121 360

Frontier also ranks first in the world in the HLP-MxP benchmark, a measure of HPC and AI performance in mixed-precision workloads, with 9.95 exaflops (an improvement over its previous score of 7.9 exaflops). Meanwhile, the AMD-powered LUMI supercomputer holds the second spot with 2.2 exaflops.

Frontier also placed second in the HPCG benchmark, which focuses more on system-level performance than Linpack, with 14.05 HPCG-Pflops. The AMD-powered LUMI took second place with 3.41 HPCG-Pflops, while Fugaku retained its top spot with 16 HPCG-Pflops. 

AMD’s continued push into the upper ranks of the Top 500, Green 500, HPCG, and HLP-MXP benchmarks, and its share of the new systems, highlights that its CPUs have a performance advantage over competing entrants from Intel. As we have repeatedly seen, the trends and technology in the Top 500 tend to bleed down to the broader data center market, painting a promising picture for AMD’s EPYC server chips over the next year. 

Up next for AMD? The 2-exaflop El Capitan supercomputer that is projected to take the #1 spot from Frontier. This system will be powered by AMD’s revolutionary Instinct MI300 silicon that blends CPUs and GPUs into the same processor package to forge an exascale APU. That system is due to be operational in late 2023. 

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Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom’s Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.

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AMD Now Powers 121 of the World’s Fastest Supercomputers

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