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Best HPC machine for <$15,000?

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Old   July 24, 2012, 13:53
Default Best HPC machine for <$15,000?
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Hello all,

I am looking into purchasing a new HPC machine to primarily run FLUENT and/or Star-CCM+. Do you have any recommendations for the most optimal machine for <$15,000? A decent warranty is essential. Something like the following (better or similar) would be ideal:

-64 core AMD
-128 GB memory (2 or 4 GB/core)
-10 TB simple storage (no RAID)
-256 MB graphics card (or better)

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Old   July 25, 2012, 18:36
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Such a machine can be had for ~7000 USD. If you don't know what to do with your money, go for some E5-2670 Xeons (two or three nodes with dual cpu in each), will probably eat the bulldozer based opterons.
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Old   July 26, 2012, 15:29
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Those monster quad and octo socket AMD machines with dozens of cores are particularly bad for CFD. There is not enough memory bandwidth to feed all of those cores, and even if there was, you don't want to have to buy licenses for all of them.

I spent around $12k on my cluster, which is 15 individual quad core i7 machines with cheap DDR Infiniband. Sound's like this isn't what you want to do, but I would stay away from the Opterons and do Xeon-E5's as scipy said.
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Old   August 23, 2012, 15:56
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Im with these two guys really.

There are a lot of different ways you can spend that money to get great performance (some better than others), but you gotta look at how much of your own sweat you want to put in, or if you pretty much want something of the shelf. But there are so many things to consider.

One thing im not sure about is the 256Gb graphics? I am not sure if star or fluent supports gpu processing (Im pretty sure ansys cfx does so maybe fluent) but that might be worth looking in to. (Check licencing for it too, I know ansys make you pay heaps more to use gpu computing). If it is available to you something like the Tesla C2075 might be worth the investment.

But ignoring that, I would imagine you would need a better graphics card then that even just to render in the post processing stage, if youre going to drop 15g on a system at least spend a grand on a decent graphics card if you are going to use it as a general purpose workstation.

But like they said, if you want something quick and easy the Xeon-E5's are the way to go.
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Old   August 23, 2012, 23:06
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I think fluent will utilize a GPU for ray tracing on certain radiation models, but thats it, it won't do very much for you for any other calculation. Like Stuart says it will probably cost 20K in licensing and have to be a $4000 Quadro 6000 or Tesla GPU. It's defiantly not worth it, and not even worth looking into. That being said....can you even buy 256MB graphics cards, sounds like complete garbage; the cheapest graphics card I've ever bought was like $45 USD and was a 1GB.
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