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Jacek May 27, 2002 07:06

Motherboard and Graphic Card
Hello everybody,

do you know good and fast graphic cards for Gambit and Fluent. Which graphic cards have got drivers under Linux (RedHat and Debian)? Which motherboard for Athlons MP does work stable and is very good for Linux (RedHat and Debian)?

Have you got some experience with above computer's parts?



Jonas Larsson May 27, 2002 09:24

Re: Motherboard and Graphic Card
About graphics cards - about half a year ago we tested Fluent & Gambit on RedHat 7 with nvidia based cards (Quadro 2) and Fire-GL based cards. The nvidia linux drivers worked much better together with Fluent, and we went with the Quadro 2 cards when we bought more computers recently. This was on on a P4 platform (Dell Precision 530 running RedHat 7.2).

We haven't had the opportunity to test the latest Quadro 4 cards yet, but that is what I would buy now.

About other alternatives; I don't think that 3dLabs Wildcat cards are supported under Linux (those are fast otherwise). I don't know about ATI Radeons or Matrox, but I'd guess that they are slower than the Quadro 4 alternative, anyone tried them with Fluent & Gambit on Linux?

Jacek May 27, 2002 09:39

Re: Motherboard and Graphic Card
Thank you for answer,

The Quatro 2 a bit expensive for me (about 500 $ or more). From cheaper graphic cards level I meant GeForce 2 or 3. I am planning to buy one of them and I have no idea which. Have you heard about them under Linux operating system?

What about motherboard, have you heard about it with Athlon Processors? I have some informaitons about Gigabyte, Tyan, Asus dual motherboards but which will work stable and for a long time?



Jonas Larsson May 27, 2002 15:09

Re: Motherboard and Graphic Card
The GeForce cards and the Quadra cards use the same drivers so my guess is that you will be happy also with a GeForce based card - it certainly has a better price/performance ratio if you are on a tight budget.

I have not run Fluent on any Athlon based machines so I can't help you there I'm afraid - I think that there are a few threads about this in the discussion forum archives though. Use the site-wide search engine to find them.

Jonas Larsson May 28, 2002 03:59

Re: Motherboard and Graphic Card
Here is a nice review of 11 GeForce based cards:

Jacek May 28, 2002 04:02

Re: Motherboard and Graphic Card
Thank you very much,

Now I am wondering what to choose, dual motherboard for athlons or dual motherboard for pentium III tualatin up to 1.4 Ghz.

PC based on athlons will be cheaper as I saw prices as based on PIII tualatins. But the main thing is that PIII have got 512 kB cache L2 in comparison with Athlons and they are slower because the fastest PIII is 1.4 GHz - Athlon MP 1.67 GHz.



Scott Whitney May 29, 2002 17:25

Re: Motherboard and Graphic Card
I'm just curious if you considered dual Xeons? I wouldn't have mentioned it until I saw you put 1.4 GHz PIII as an option. As far as I can see a 2.2 GHz Xeon and a 1.4 GHz PIII is about the same price ($300 each online). The official Intel prices are $294 for the 1.4 GHz P3 and $262 for the 2.2 GHz Xeon in lots of 1000 (thus in the long run the Xeon will be cheaper). Of course motherboard and memory costs will differ...

Most benchmarks I've seen show that the P4 and the P4 based Xeon do less work per clock than the P3. However these are based on games and not based on CFD. In fact that general idea isn't at all true with Fluent version 5. Fluent's website has 7 benchmark simulations run with an 0.8 GHz and 1.0 GHz P3 and a 1.4 GHz and 1.7 GHz P4 (or Xeon since they have the same core they are the same speed). In 6 of the tests the P4 based computers did more per clock! Thus extrapolating the P3 data, the 1.4 GHz P3 would perform worse than the 1.4 GHz P4 in 6 of the 7 tests.

Thus I'd expect a dual 2.2 GHz Xeon machine to be about 50% faster than a dual 1.4 GHz P3 machine at about the same price.

As for AMD, the clockspeed has stalled recently and they just can't push the Athlon much faster. I wouldn't think the 1.67 GHz Athlon MP could beat a 2.2 GHz Xeon. Unfortunately Fluent doesn't test Athlon chips...

Any video card will run (assuming you have the drivers). If your images are complex, then you might have to wait while it renders your Fluent results - but 5 seconds here and there isn't too bad. I'd suggest you stay away from Nvidia cards labeled MX - as they are usually quite slow. But anything else will work - the more you spend the faster it will be.

Scott Whitney May 29, 2002 17:34

Re: Motherboard and Graphic Card
I forgot to add one thing though regarding prices. Major companies (like Dell) make a killing on dual computers. For example Dell will add in a second 2.2 GHz Xeon for $1100 even though you could do the same thing yourself for $300. So don't buy a dual Xeon from any major company if you are worried about price.

A few small companies (like Colfax-International for example) will build the dual machine without that rediculous markup. I just looked and saw a dual 2.2 GHz Xeon with 1 GB of RDRAM for $2500 (no monitor) while Dell charges $3800 for the same thing. Of course if you are good with computers you could build it yourself for $2000.

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