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Value for money PC Config for CFD

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Old   May 14, 2013, 02:27
Lightbulb Value for money PC Config for CFD
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Sunjay Kurian
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Without the formalities, I'm going to jump to the query:

Setup 1
i5-3570K (dual channel memory), Z77 Mobo, 16GB 1600 Mhz RAM, SSD 128 GB

Setup 2
i7-3820 (quad channel memory), X79 Mobo

Q1 - Setup 2 is obviously more expensive & would cost about 20% more (OVERALL PC pricing with monitor, CPU, everything) than my budget. But the question lies, would I get more than 20% improvement in performance for CFD models?

Q2 - Do both setups would require more cooling requirements? If yes, can you mention any worthwhile options? Would I require RAM cooling too (I'm thinking 'no' bcos I'm not going beyond suggested RAM speeds in both setups?

Q3 - Any suggested brands for RAM? Would a Corsair XSM3 4X4GB do?

Q4 - I heard that investing in X79 is beneficial since I got 8 ram slots, & can upgrade to quad mem processor later. Can I put the i5 on the X79? Would that be useful on flexibility perspective?

Q5 - I'm pretty sure, I would need about 600w PSU. Can anybody suggest a good decent value for money PSU (PC is going to be run heavily).
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Old   May 14, 2013, 15:06
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As for Q5 a would suggest one of XFX Core edition PSUs. They have maxed out power on +12V and are dirt cheap. I have 550W and it is great.
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Old   May 14, 2013, 15:34
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I built something similar to your Setup 1, but in retrospect perhaps Setup 2 would have been better. The two extra memory channels will make much more than 20% difference in CFD performance. Also, you can get RAM that is faster than 1600, up to 2400 on some 4 socket boards. With the modern multi-core CPU, for most practical CFD calculations, the bottleneck seems to be the memory much more than the CPU. I've run comparisons between AMD and Intel (very different CPU architectures) systems - if the memory system is the same, the CFD performance is nearly identical. And this is the i7's great advantage, it has the extra memory channels.
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Old   May 14, 2013, 16:22
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Q1 - Setup 2 will get you ~ 50% more performance, highly dependent on many things of course.
And Yes faster memory could net you some impressive gains as well. I saw 9% and 17% speedup with 1866 and 2133MHz Memory respectively.

Q2 - No need for RAM cooling.
Q3- If you are not overclocking than just about any cooler will do fine.
Q4 - corsair and gskill make nice kits, just read reviews and check to make sure the RAM/motherboard are qualified to work together.
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cfd home pc, i5 processor, i7 processor, vfm

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