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Hardware recommendation? AMD X2, Phenom, Core2Duo, Quadcore?

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Old   April 22, 2009, 09:10
Default Hardware recommendation? AMD X2, Phenom, Core2Duo, Quadcore?
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Dear all,
I started learning CFD recently and found that my 900MHz Pentium III is no fun anymore.

Because I am overwhelmed by the possible choices of recent hardware, I'd like to ask you for a few starting points. Have you recently bought new hardware that fits with a student's budget? If you do recommend its cost-performance ratio for getting started with OpenFOAM, I'd like to read about your setup.

My current preference is an AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ for the CPU. At less than 50$ it has more than half the Dhry/Whetstones of the cheapest Core2Duo with Benchmarks available (E8400 at 180$). The memory bandwidth of systems with these CPUs is very similar.

Do you discourage me from getting an AMD X2 4800+ for some reason?
Is there any significant difference between Intel and AMD design in general and the Core2 Duo/Quadcore/Phenoms/X2/X3... in particular that makes them especially cost efficient or inefficient for CFD like for example cache layout, memory bottlenecks or memory bus width?
And finally, do the same hardware recommendations hold for OpenFOAM like for example for FLUENT? There were some reports about bad scaling behaviour of OpenFOAM - does this require emphasize on different CPU performance aspects compared to other CFD software?

I might follow up with another question on mainboard and RAM recommendations, but given you had 150$ (250$) for CPU, mainboard and 2GB RAM altogether, which parts would you buy for starting with OpenFOAM on small-medium (<1 million cells) cases?

Looking forward to a few comments

PS: I don't find SciMark results for the cheap AMD X2. This doesn't mean they failed the benchmark, does it?
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