Computer spec (min) for OpenFOAM
Can someone provide a minimum or recommended specification for running OpenFOAM on a standalone machine, in terms of;
- processor (size, speed, no core)
- hard drive
- Ubuntu - version ?
I have a limited budget so please consider value for money.
Greetings Geoff and welcome to the forum!
I would say that the minimum requirement is to have a working 32 or 64bit x86 computer ;) In other words, to have a normal PC would be enough!
The real question is what do you really want to do with the computer and OpenFOAM? The reason is simple:
As for hard-drives, if the budget is limited, stick with the normal 1TB hard-drives and stay away from SSD flash disks.
As for graphics card, it also depends on the sizes of the meshes you're going to use. For now, you can stick with a machine that uses an integrated graphics card, but you should plan for an upgrade in about 2-6 months for adding a good graphics card to it, which is when you possibly will need to do heavy post-processing.
As for Ubuntu... it's hard to say. Ubuntu 12.04 was released a few days ago, which should become the new standard for "stable long term Ubuntu installation", specially if you're buying a really new machine. But since 12.04 is very new, OpenFOAM hasn't been thoroughly tested with it. So, if you're buying the machine this week, you better install 11.10 for now. But in a months time, 12.04 should be a safe bet.
The last issue is: how tight is the budget? I ask this because technically it's possible to use OpenFOAM with a 250-300€ machine...
Use & Budget
I am planning for this machine to be dedicated to OpenFOAM usage and my budget is about Euro1,200 (USD1,600). What is key;
Unless there is a big difference in prices from where I am to where you are, then for 1200€ you shouldn't have to worry much about what to buy! It can't buy you a workstation, but it can buy you a pretty decent PC! Of course it also depends if 1200€ is for the whole machine (tower+monitor+keyboard+mouse) or just the the tower.
A very quick window shopping gave me this and it's only an idea:
The SSD would help give you a faster base for the operating system and running cases, but it isn't crucial. The 3TB hard-drive can be used as storage space but it should work pretty well as system hard-drive as well.
Another detail is the i7-3770 CPU, which is the non-overclockable CPU. It's cheaper than the i7-3770K version, which is overclockable. Basically, overclocking should only be used if you're already familiar with the concept and/or have someone to help you make a good stable overclocked machine.
FYI: "overclocking" means that instead of the CPU running at 3.4GHz, it could be overclocked to perhaps 4.4 or 4.6GHz. But once again, this requires experience on this subject.
Now it's only a matter of playing around with what you really want, but like I said: for 1200€, you shouldn't have to worry too much.
But the best is to contact your local dealer for computers and state that you want a very good and fast CPU, with 16GB or more RAM would be perfect. The list above should be a good base for what you might want.
There is also the possibility of buying an AMD CPU instead of Intel, but I don't know how the real performance is when comparing between two similar machines running OpenFOAM.
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