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Old   September 7, 2012, 03:57
Default What Hardware for CFX
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Hi folks!
OK! the last time I was here was to help a customer with openfoam...and I came to the right place

I still have the same customer, but these days he is tending to use ansys CFX more and more.....

I am completely in the dark here when looking at building a new computer for him that is going to cope with the type of demands CFX can have?

At the moment he has the following:
Chassi: Ace Midtower Game Edge 990
Motherboard: Asus P6X58D-E
Processor: Intel Corei7 950 3.06GHz 8mb s-1366
Memory: 12GB Corsair XMS3 Intel i7 PC12800 - 1600MHz
PSU: Corsair GS800W
Grapics: Asus Radeon HD6870 1GB memory
Main Harddrive: Intel SSD 510 SATA/600
Storage drive: WD Green 1TB SATA/300 32mb

He mentioned to me about wanting to buy CFX to work on a 8core processor...

Can someone give me an idea of what we are looking at to build the right computer?

I built the above for him, but he didn't really put any demands on me for better performance....

Looking at what these programs do etc - thinking the new computer should at least have EEC memory for reliability....

Any help or ideas gratefully received

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Old   September 7, 2012, 08:55
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CFX has essentially the same demands for computing resources as Openfoam.

Most CFD cases need the fastest CPU you can buy, and about 2GB RAM per core. It is often better to run two CPUS (or even two independant computers) rather than a single CPU with the same number of cores. Hard drive speed does not matter much for CFD, so no need for SSD.
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Old   September 7, 2012, 09:35
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Hi ghorrocks
Thanks for that...
Have been looking at this board from Asus
What do you think?

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Old   September 7, 2012, 13:32
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You could save a lot of money skipping the ECC, as CFX uses iterative solving the need for ECC is debatable.
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Old   September 8, 2012, 07:25
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I agree with Erik. Spend the money on the CPU as that is the key bit of the syste, for CFD. Then put in enough memory and HD, and go cheap on everything else.

But remember that the cost of hardware in CFD is a tiny fraction of the cost of a commercial license. So if you are on a commercial license you might as well buy a top of the range machine as the software is the real cost and you have to maximise return on that investment.
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Old   September 8, 2012, 07:57
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Hi guys!
Thanks for the info....
Thing is most of the dual processor boards I have been looking at are ECC memory.....
But I thank you for your time...

As far as I know my customer has a commercial license...

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Old   September 8, 2012, 12:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghorrocks View Post
But remember that the cost of hardware in CFD is a tiny fraction of the cost of a commercial license. So if you are on a commercial license you might as well buy a top of the range machine as the software is the real cost and you have to maximise return on that investment.

SO TRUE! I wish my workplace would realize this, I run a $46K license on my $1,400 P.O.S. Dell!!!
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Old   September 9, 2012, 06:25
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Well, you have a good case to go to management and ask for a major computer upgrade. The results your $46k license returns is being compromised and takes longer to save a few thousand bucks - a false economy. Slip a few "return on investment", and other management buzz words and you should be right
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Old   September 10, 2012, 22:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghorrocks View Post
Well, you have a good case to go to management and ask for a major computer upgrade. The results your $46k license returns is being compromised and takes longer to save a few thousand bucks - a false economy. Slip a few "return on investment", and other management buzz words and you should be right
You are absolutely correct, but we are non-profit scientific research, so nobody cares about anything that makes logical sense. We have guys using on 10+ year old computers because "it ain't broke yet." so all I would hear is no because we have a tight budget right now, and what division or project pays for this or that; it's a whole different world.
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Old   September 14, 2012, 04:03
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Hi again!

OK! My customer uses cfx5...but the equipment is old and slow....
What motherboard, processor, graphics card etc are we looking at to run this baby?

I have been reading at ansys something about i7 processors not being supported?....

Any help will be gratefully appreciated!

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Old   September 14, 2012, 05:00
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My laptop has a M 620 i7 processor and CFX runs fine on it.
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Old   September 14, 2012, 06:07
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Your problem size, element count and the physics is going to matter the most.

Check out DELL T7500 series workstations.
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Old   September 14, 2012, 07:56
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Have a look at the spec.org website, expecially the CPU2006 results page. For CFX single processor the SPECfp2006 benchmark is the one. For multi processor performance you can get it from SPECfp2006rate but you need to do a little number crunching.

In my experience these numbers are pretty good estimates of CFX performance.
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Old   September 14, 2012, 10:41
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Hi guys!
Thanks for the info!

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Old   September 19, 2012, 05:41
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Hi again!
Here is what would get my customer started and there is a lot of potential for upgrades:

Motherboard: Asus Z9PE-D8 WS
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_2011/Z9PED8_WS/

Chassis: ANTEC PERFORMANCE ONE P280 XL-ATX
http://www.antec.com/product.php?id=704504&fid=6&lan=us

Processor: 2x INTEL XEON E5-2620 6-CORE 2.0GHZ 15MB S-2011
http://ark.intel.com/products/64594/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-2620-15M-Cache-2_00-GHz-7_20-GTs-Intel-QPI

Ram: CORSAIR 32GB DDR3 VENGEANCE QUAD 1600MHZ CL10 (4X8GB)
http://www.corsair.com/en/memory-by-product-family/vengeance/vengeance-32gb-quad-channel-ddr3-memory-kit-cmz32gx3m4x1866c10.html

PSU: CORSAIR HX 1050W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V PSU
http://www.corsair.com/en/power-supply-units/hx-series-power-supply-units/hx-series-hx1050-power-supply-1050-watt-80-plus-gold-certified-modular-psu.html

Hard drives: INTEL 520 SERIES 2.5" 240GB SSD SATA/600 MLC 25NM BULK
http://ark.intel.com/products/66250/Intel-SSD-520-Series-240GB-2_5in-SATA-6Gbs-25nm-MLC
WESTERN DIGITAL VELOCIRAPTOR 3.5" 1TB 10K RPM SATA/600 64MB
http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=20

Graphics: 2x ASUS GEFORCE GT 640 2GB DDR3 PCI-E VGA/DVI/HDMI
http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/NVIDIA_Series/GT6402GD3/

Processor Cooling: CORSAIR H80 HYDRO CPU COOLER S-775/1155/1156/1366/2011/AM2+/AM3
http://www.corsair.com/cpu-cooling-kits/hydro-series-water-cooling-cpu-cooler/hydro-series-h80-high-performance-liquid-cpu-cooler.html


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Old   September 19, 2012, 06:15
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The E5-2620 CPU scores a 64 on the baseline CPU2006fp. It is also 6 cores. CPUs with this many cores are generally pretty hopeless when running with 6 processes. So save some money and go for a faster CPU with less cores. When the computer shop tells you to buy a CPU with more cores for speed you shoudl ignore them, they don't know what is good for CFX.

I would go for the E5-2643 or some other 4 core processor. Probably cheaper and it will run faster (79 on the same benchmark).
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Old   September 23, 2012, 03:21
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Hi ghorrocks!

I was actually thinking of the processor you named, but that is more expensive and not easy to get here....?

I will have another look at that and let my customer know......

I was a bit worried about the 6core and you have confirmed my suspicions....

Thanks for your time!

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Old   September 27, 2012, 11:24
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Hi guys,

Just thought I’d register to post as this is a frustrating topic for many. At the minute, the best setup for a CFX (not fluent, not other CFD, not Mechanical) is two Xeon E5-2643 processors. I have gathered this information from personal research, ANSYS HPC seminars and also some industrial contacts. Here is why:



  • CFX is coupled, fluent etc (for the most part) is segregated. This method of solving the equations in unison is incredibly memory bandwidth intensive. There for memory bandwidth, frequency are important and the E5 series cannot be touched on this in dual processor arrays.
  • The SPEC fp benchmarks do not capture this, I have not looked in detail but I suspect the 4 CFD problems used are segregated type solutions
  • Higher core CPUs, (6 and 8 core from the E5 series) do not have any extra bandwidth for the processor. This is from also confirmed by ANSYS themselves: a 4 core processor will show a higher per-core performance than 6 core processor from the same family
  • Did I mention they are less than half the price of the 'higher end' models So if you need more power, buy two machines and a gigabit interconnect will do fine for 2 machines. Quad socket motherboards are not yet refined enough for this purpose.


Im pretty sure if you are buying a single socket machine then there are other better processors but if you are only needing a single socket machine then you arent needing the level of high performance that such in-depth processor selection matters!


Cheers,

Len

Last edited by Big Len; September 28, 2012 at 03:15. Reason: Slight change to statement
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Old   September 27, 2012, 13:29
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Thanks for the info Len, It is much appreciated.

I agree that the extra cores past 4 are somewhat worthless for CFX. Just for the record, I have a 3930K @ 4.4GHz and 2133MHz ram and during benchmarking of large models I saw no improvement at all going from 4 to 6 cores, obviously it is memory bandwith limited. (I did see an improvement in mechanical though)

One question, why would the 4 core processor complete the job before a 6 core or 8 core, IF they were all running 4 cores AND IF they both had the same frequency? Shouldn't they be the same then?

I realize you get a much better value going with the 4 core, and a high frequency; and the other cores of a 6 or 8 core would be wasted if you only ran 4. But I don't understand your statement "a 4 core processor will complete a job before a 6 core processor from the same family" Unless on a dual socket machine it does not split the processes evenly between the two processors, and using two 4 core processors forces it to do so?

Something else to think about if it applies to you:
The only reason I got a 6 core is because when using all 4 cores of a 4 core processor the computer is pretty much worthless for anything else. With the 6 core I can run on 4 and still actually use my computer for other stuff if I want. When I had a 4 core, I only ran on 3 for this very reason.
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Old   September 27, 2012, 15:00
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Misunderstood the question there for a minute

Um I need to look again at the info I have on my work computer and I'll post up tomorrow

Last edited by Big Len; September 27, 2012 at 15:42. Reason: whoops
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