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Old   June 22, 2020, 07:34
Default Suggestions on the hardware configuration
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Hi all,


I am planning to purchase a new desktop for my Lab for numerical simulations using Fluent v.16.2 and 18.1 (with no restrictions on the number of cores (research license)) and XFlow v.2020x (with restrictions of 32 cores), and more likely CCM+ in the near future.

I would be working on multiphase (Euler-Lagrange, Euler-Euler and free surface flow) problems, conjugate heat transfer as well as street canyon based problems. Mostly, I would prefer LES simulations over the number of cells in a range 8 to 12 millions (or more). Our budget is around $5,000. The time step size may go below 1.0e-5 second in some simulations, with total runtime of 20-50 seconds.

What I have learnt from this forum is that the performance of AMD Epyc series is ahead of the Intel (due to scalability issues with Intel). However, my first priority would be Intel, in the range of $5K. Is it possible to have a configuration with a decent scalability and overall performance? All options are invited.
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Old   June 22, 2020, 08:13
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Let's assume those 5000$ would all go towards hardware, and not into the pockets of a big OEM. Then the fastest Intel-system you could buy would look like this:

SSI-EEB case - 100$
Power supply - 130$
NVMe SSD 2TB: 300$
CPU coolers - 160$
Graphics card - 250$
Motherboard: ASUS WS C621E Sage - 550$
CPUs: 2x Xeon Silver 4216- 2100$
RAM: 12x16GB DDR4-2400 dual-rank - 950$

That's about 4550$, so some budget left for additional hard drives or whatever else you might need.
Stepping up within Intels portfolio is next to impossible due to budget constraints. The next higher performing CPU that makes some sense is the Xeon Gold 6226R, which costs over 1500$, and requires faster (=more expensive) memory.
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Old   June 22, 2020, 13:44
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Dear Flotus1, thanks very much for your reply and suggestion regarding the system configuration.


Xeon Gold 6226R seems to be a better choice, and for this I will have to increase my budget by another $1k (now, a total of $6K). Could you please recommend hardware required for the 2 x Xeon Gold 6226R processor?

Just out of curiosity, will the above configuration (with a total of 32 cores) perform better (especially the scalability) than if I go for 1 x AMD EPYC 7F72 (24 cores)? This AMD model seems to be promising. If yes, could you please provide me the configuration for this as well? In this, is it possible to use a dual socket motherboard with only one processor installed and the other slot left blank for adding up another EPYC 7F72 in the future?
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Old   June 22, 2020, 14:14
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Quote:
Could you please recommend hardware required for the 2 x Xeon Gold 6226R processor?
All you need to change are CPUs and memory. 12x16GB DDR4-2933 dual-rank.

Quote:
Just out of curiosity, will the above configuration (with a total of 32 cores) perform better (especially the scalability) than if I go for 1 x AMD EPYC 7F72 (24 cores)?
Yes, it will show better scaling than any single CPU, and also higher overall performance.

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is it possible to use a dual socket motherboard with only one processor installed
Yes, you can do that. Just be careful which CPU socket you pick. Most of the stuff on dual-socket motherboards is connected to one socket.

It would be negligent of me not to ask two questions here:
1) Why Intel? Just playing it safe, or any other reasons?
2) Why the 7F Epyc CPUs? They may outperform their non-F counterparts slightly, but at the cost of much worse price/performance. Even cheaper Epyc CPUs like 7302 outperform Intels high frequency models on a per-core performance metric: Xeon Gold Cascade Lake vs Epyc Rome - CFX & Fluent - Benchmarks (Windows Server 2019)
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Old   June 23, 2020, 09:28
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Alex, thanks a lot. This information was really helpful for me.


1. Why Intel? Just playing it safe, or any other reasons?
Actually, I may jump to GPU based simulations in the future. I am not very much sure if AMD configuration would support Nvidia (CUDA cores), and to what extent. Secondly, no one in my circle (including myself) have used AMDs.


2. Why the 7F Epyc CPUs? They may outperform their non-F counterparts slightly, but at the cost of much worse price/performance.
That's correct Alex, and I agree with you on this.



Just a small thought....
If one uses 2x Epyc 7302 (a total of 32 cores) with 128 gb ram (8gb x 16), and 2 x Xeon Gold 6226R (a total of 32 cores) with 96 gb ram (8gb x 12) on the other hand, which among the two would be faster on the simulation (physical) run time? I could not locate any benchmark report on these two variants (if it isn't, whats your view on this?). Secondly, which among these two configurations would turn out to be cost effective.


Your views on the above would mean a lot to me to make a final decision.
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Old   June 23, 2020, 10:35
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Your choice of CPU has no impact on CUDA support.
Funny sidenote: Just look at what Nvidia did with their DGX systems, which is at the absolute high end of what is currently possible with GPU acceleration. They used AMD Epyc CPUs due to their higher overall PCIe bandwidth.
There are other factors to consider though. If you are building a system yourself with 2 AMD Epyc CPUs, your only motherboard choice is Supermicro H11DSi. Which only has two PCIe x16 slots, which are both connected to CPU1. So not ideal in case you want to use multiple GPUs.
Then again, there are quite a few obstacles to overcome when using GPU acceleration in software like Fluent or CCM+. One of them are extremely expensive GPUs. To be frank: if you are on a budget of 6000$ now, GPU acceleration won't be a viable option. A Quadro GV100 costs around 10000.

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If one uses 2x Epyc 7302 (a total of 32 cores) with 128 gb ram (8gb x 16), and 2 x Xeon Gold 6226R (a total of 32 cores) with 96 gb ram (16gb x 6) on the other hand, which among the two would be faster on the simulation (physical) run time?
Epyc will definitely be faster. Even after fixing the memory population of those Xeons to e.g. 12x8GB, my money would still be on the Epyc solution. The difference won't be huge, but current Xeons just can't compete with the memory bandwidth and cache size advantage of Epyc Rome. At least for CFD workloads.
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Old   June 24, 2020, 13:11
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Alex, thanks very much for making the things clear
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