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Brian_P February 16, 2010 18:17

Low Budget PCs for CFD
Hello all,

I am a new graduate student modeling wind turbine blades. I am currently simulating Fluent on a dell xsp 435mt system. The simulation is run in parallel with 2 processes. The sim. usually requires 4-5 gigs of memory and cpu runs around 40%, and takes 8-10 hrs to converge. The dell has a 4 core processor with 8 threads, does this mean I can run 8 or 4 processes to speed up sim. time. We have an academic liscense, would that limit the number of processes?

Also have permission to buy a pc for CFD and wind tunell apps in the new lab, with bugdet around $1000. Any recomendations?

Also am thinking of upgrading PC at home for CFD, with a budget of <800$



nhales February 20, 2010 13:35

Hi, I'm in a similar situation and was wondering about this. Trying to decide between a cheap Q8300 based system like this:
or the more expensive i7 based system with hyperthreading.
I know hyperthreading can give you a boost if you have spare CPU cycles, but I don't know if you get spare cycles with CFD apps. You would need to specify 8 processes to use all 8 threads. Perhaps you could benchmark it for us on your Dell? Once with HT turned off and 4 threads, once with HT on and 8. HT turned on with only 4 threads would almost certainly slow it down.


Brian_P February 20, 2010 22:23


The more I have read about the q8300( sounds like an end of the line part), the more I think may spend a bit more and go with i5 750, then I have something upgradeable. I have looked at building my own, dont think cheapest way to go, HP has some pretty discounts to go along with the student one. Can get into an i5 quad with 6 gigs for about $720.

Anyone see cheaper?

As far as the dell, I believe our academic liscense limits us to 2 processes, I have tried 4 but could not get software to run. I believe I can talk the advisor into upgrading the license. Then I can report results.



Brian_P February 21, 2010 16:59

For cheapskates like me that are interested. Dell inspiron 580, i5750 6GB ram, 1 terrabyte hd, 1gb graphic card, 21.5"


I figure I can always upgrade motherboard if I need more than 8gb memory.


sazabi2001 June 4, 2010 11:28

I'm now using i7 920 + ASUS P6TD + 12GB DDR3

the whole system spent less than $2000~ (with a GTX280 + HP2275W for gamming -_-1#)

Planing to put another $2000 to get 980X and 24GB DDR3 in the same motherboard, hopefully it can double the speed and project size~

Brian_P June 4, 2010 13:30

I like my 620$ investment. Did buy a portable drive for backup, need to get speakers and probally increase memory. Still a cheap date though

tcarrigan July 9, 2010 19:16


I'm also doing some wind turbine CFD and faced a similar situation early on. I managed to purchase a pretty beastly machine for my simulations for around $1000. I've listed the specs below:

- ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
- Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Power Supply
- Intel Core i5-750 2.66GHz Quad Core --->> Overclocked to 4.0GHz!!!
- CORSAIR XMS3 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz
- EVGA GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit DDR3 Video Card
- Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive --->> CentOS 5.5 and Windows 7
- LG DVD Burner Black SATA

So this system is around $1000, and it works great. I've overclocked the i5 to 4GHz stable and replaced the stock cooler with a nice Coolermaster. I partitioned the hard drive and put CentOS and Windows 7 on it. I also managed to pick up dual 22" Acer monitors for an additional $340.

I'm continuously running Fluent simulations on all 4 cores and it never seems to get hot even with the overclock.

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