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Old   October 29, 2013, 21:16
Default Want computer solution for Ansys Fluent
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Hello, I'm gonna post and ask the question as spending the last 10 min with the search bar/google hasn't got me an answer that's truly answers my problem.

The Problem:
Right now, I'm running a i5-660, 8GB ram to do some Ansys Fluent CFD. I notice huge lag when I'm done a CFD calculation and go looking at flow pathlines and flow vectors in the "Graphics & Animation". It lags when it loads the graphical display, and when I try to interact with it in terms of moving, rotating, and zooming.

Here's a video demonstrating my issue:

When I used Fraps to capture this, CPU would jump around between 0-30%, and appears to be dependent on merely mouse movements.
  • In the 1st clip, generating the visualization causes CPU to range around 45%. After it's done, rotating the visualization is completely smooth.
  • In the 2nd clip, rotating the visualization causes huge stutter, refresh rates of 1fps and slower. Generating a visualization here bumps the CPU to near 100%.
  • In the 3rd clip, a live animation of flow lines stutters and lags. On top of that, the CPU is also running at near 100%.
From these observations, my hypothesis is that my graphics card has nothing to do with the performance of these types of renders and graphics interactions. I tried plugging the monitor with both my dedicated graphics card (ATI HD 4450) and the motherboard's on-board graphics with no difference in performance.

I'm looking for a better computer solution that is under <$1000, but am really looking for the best value (Price-Performance Ratio). At first, looked at consumer PC, and then at server computers (Dell Poweredge, HP Proliant, and similar servers)

So far, I'm attracted to the idea of this HP Proliant DL160, listed on eBay for merely $450. That includes x2 Xeon L5639 and 48GB DDR3.

My thoughts on this:
  1. I will solely use this for computational calculations, so, many of the downside relating to graphics shouldn't bug me, like gaming.
  2. It has no HDD or OS, but that shouldn't be a huge problem at all, I think.
  3. Looking at CPU Benchmark, it has a score of 9,207, which is not bad compared to that list.
  4. The onboard motherboard graphics supports only 1600x1200 resolution, but it also has a PCI-E x16

The questions I have:
  1. Maybe I should've asked this earlier, but because I'm lagging for the 'Graphics & Animation' for results viewing, does that mean I only need to upgrade my graphics card and everything searched and said won't really help with my initial problem?
  2. Does the mere fact that this was designed and packaged together to be used a server computer mean that its treated much differently than a consumer desktop pc?
  3. The listing specs says it supports OS for 'RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)', 'SUSE Linux Enterprise Server', 'VMware ESX Server', and 'Citrix XenServer Enterprise'. Does that mean I can't run Windows 7 or Windows Server OS? I know Ansys supports RHEL, but I'm not familiar with it at all, and would prefer Windows Server if I have to, but Windows 7 being the best option.
  4. From the description, because it has a PCI-E x16, does that mean I can use a graphics card for better resolution/monitor support? I have access to an nVidia Quadro NVS 295.
  5. Finally, last general question, what other computational solutions do you guys have to suggest?

Here is a link to the server I found:
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