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bradley August 26, 2009 10:36

Recommendations for OpenFOAM computer

For various reasons I cannot run OpenFOAM at work at present. I would like to use the software, so now plan to buy a computer to use basically as a dedicated OpenFOAM machine. I can cope with simulations running slowly, and need the machine to be (at this stage) as cheap as possible, preferably also a laptop.

Does anyone have any suggested minimum specification for such a machine, does OpenFOAM require a high-spec machine or could I use something cheap and nasty for now?

Apologies for my ignorance, I do not have much experience outside of large commercial codes running on Windows.


akidess August 26, 2009 13:15

In theory, you can run it on anything that will run linux. Even a netbook would work. Depending on the complexity of your simulations it will just take a while for your simulations to complete. A dual core CPU and 2 gigs of RAM is pretty good for smaller simulations (e.g. the tutorials).

gschaider August 26, 2009 15:29

Look for the SLAX-Live-CD that is discussed elsewhere on this forum and use it to test whether Linux and OpenFOAM runs on the machine you want to buy

bradley August 27, 2009 12:25

Thank you both for your replies, very useful!

dchallen August 28, 2009 08:07

As other people have said, plenty of memory and fast, possibly multicore, CPU are good. Unless you intend to be doing visualisation of complex models you wont need high-end graphics, low-end Intel video hardware will be fine. In fact, Intel hardware is usally better supported "out-of-the-box" by most Linux distributions. As gschaider said, the LiveCD is very useful for testing that all hardware (the most common problems are WiFi, graphics and suspend/resume) is supported without having to touch the computer's hard disk.

If you're looking to save money, don't go for the highest clockspeed, latest generation CPU. The newest, fastest hardware always tends to be 30-50% (numbers I pulled out of thin air) more expensive than the next one down, while only being, say, 10% faster.

As for memory, you can never have too much, and it is very cheap at the moment. See how much your most complex models use, and ask yourself how much your models will grow (yes, this question is almost impossible to answer ;) in the future, then buy more.

- Dan

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