research machine

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

I need to put together a PC for research use (mechanical engineering),
so something with decent number crunching power (for doing computational
fluid dynamics like CFX, http://www-waterloo.ansys.com/cfx/) and pretty
good graphics (to run, comfortably, CAD packages like
www.solidworks.com). I was thinking along the lines of a highish spec
AMD Athlon 64, 1Gb RAM, fairly quick HDD etc. Hmmm.. or intel.. hmmmm..
he thinks..

Can anyone suggest an appropriate spec for a budget (inc VAT) of about
£1000? Alternatively, I am not convinced about the benefits of
homebuilding for this particular application.. are there any packaged
brands that are half decent (Dell always strike me as a bit gimmicky)..
what about hp/compaq?

With thanks
Dave
6 answers Last reply
More about research machine
  1. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    "Dave" <davehowey@hotmail.co.uk> wrote in message news:ctqghs$ed0$1@jura.cc.ic.ac.uk...
    > I need to put together a PC for research use (mechanical engineering),
    > so something with decent number crunching power (for doing computational
    > fluid dynamics like CFX, http://www-waterloo.ansys.com/cfx/) and pretty
    > good graphics (to run, comfortably, CAD packages like
    > www.solidworks.com). I was thinking along the lines of a highish spec
    > AMD Athlon 64, 1Gb RAM, fairly quick HDD etc. Hmmm.. or intel.. hmmmm..
    > he thinks..
    >
    > Can anyone suggest an appropriate spec for a budget (inc VAT) of about
    > £1000? Alternatively, I am not convinced about the benefits of
    > homebuilding for this particular application.. are there any packaged
    > brands that are half decent (Dell always strike me as a bit gimmicky)..
    > what about hp/compaq?

    You may want to consider ECC memory:
    Memory is the weakest link in a standard PC configuration with
    respect to data integrity. According to a white paper published in
    January 2004 by Tezzaron Semiconductor, a PC with 512MB of
    memory running 24 hours a day will sustain a memory error about
    every 10 days. (Reference:
    http://www.tezzaron.com/about/papers/Soft%20Errors%201_1%20secure.pdf
    See Appendix B, Calculations, on page 6).

    -- Bob Day
    http://bobday.vze.com
  2. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    "Dave" <davehowey@hotmail.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:ctqghs$ed0$1@jura.cc.ic.ac.uk...
    > I need to put together a PC for research use (mechanical engineering),
    > so something with decent number crunching power (for doing computational
    > fluid dynamics like CFX, http://www-waterloo.ansys.com/cfx/) and pretty
    > good graphics (to run, comfortably, CAD packages like
    > www.solidworks.com). I was thinking along the lines of a highish spec
    > AMD Athlon 64, 1Gb RAM, fairly quick HDD etc. Hmmm.. or intel.. hmmmm..
    > he thinks..
    >
    > Can anyone suggest an appropriate spec for a budget (inc VAT) of about
    > £1000? Alternatively, I am not convinced about the benefits of
    > homebuilding for this particular application.. are there any packaged
    > brands that are half decent (Dell always strike me as a bit gimmicky)..
    > what about hp/compaq?
    >
    > With thanks
    > Dave


    Not sure about CAD since I don't do it; but a budget like that is more than
    enough to have a good PC for such research use. I also do some in dynamic
    models though it might not be that much simulation with number crunching
    like
    your work; however I built the PC myself.


    Here is the least you may want:

    1. CPU: AMD 64, 939 socket or Intel P4 top speed, 3.4 GHZ or more -- I
    prefer Intel.

    2. Motherboard: Asus brand.

    3. RAM 1GB or 2GB.

    4. 160 GB hard disk -- right now, SATA has not much advantage than PATA.

    5. Graphic card: nVidia 6800GT -- this is up to £500, or for less
    expensive, 6600GT.


    That may be good enough for you.
  3. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    > Not sure about CAD since I don't do it; but a budget like that is more than
    > enough to have a good PC for such research use. I also do some in dynamic
    > models though it might not be that much simulation with number crunching
    > like
    > your work; however I built the PC myself.
    >
    >
    > Here is the least you may want:
    >
    > 1. CPU: AMD 64, 939 socket or Intel P4 top speed, 3.4 GHZ or more -- I
    > prefer Intel.
    >
    > 2. Motherboard: Asus brand.
    >
    > 3. RAM 1GB or 2GB.
    >
    > 4. 160 GB hard disk -- right now, SATA has not much advantage than PATA.
    >
    > 5. Graphic card: nVidia 6800GT -- this is up to £500, or for less
    > expensive, 6600GT.
    >

    Hi thanks for your email. I've been looking into it and my university
    has it sown up with HP so that might be the best route to get a good
    machine. I'm currently looking at an XW4200 HP workstation with P4, 1Gb
    RAM. Gfx card choice is between various versions of Nvidia Quadro and
    Ati FireGL. That latter looks quite good.. any thoughts?

    Dave
  4. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    "Dave" <davehowey@hotmail.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:ctquvh$ijf$1@jura.cc.ic.ac.uk...
    >> Not sure about CAD since I don't do it; but a budget like that is more
    >> than
    >> enough to have a good PC for such research use. I also do some in dynamic
    >> models though it might not be that much simulation with number crunching
    >> like
    >> your work; however I built the PC myself.
    >>
    >>
    >> Here is the least you may want:
    >>
    >> 1. CPU: AMD 64, 939 socket or Intel P4 top speed, 3.4 GHZ or more -- I
    >> prefer Intel.
    >>
    >> 2. Motherboard: Asus brand.
    >>
    >> 3. RAM 1GB or 2GB.
    >>
    >> 4. 160 GB hard disk -- right now, SATA has not much advantage than PATA.
    >>
    >> 5. Graphic card: nVidia 6800GT -- this is up to £500, or for less
    >> expensive, 6600GT.
    >>
    >
    > Hi thanks for your email. I've been looking into it and my university has
    > it sown up with HP so that might be the best route to get a good machine.
    > I'm currently looking at an XW4200 HP workstation with P4, 1Gb RAM. Gfx
    > card choice is between various versions of Nvidia Quadro and Ati FireGL.
    > That latter looks quite good.. any thoughts?
    >
    > Dave

    Personally I would still build my own. At least you know what goes into it
    and can upgrade it yourself at a later date. If Hewlett Packard are
    anything like the old Compaq's they use a lot of propriety bits (like
    motherboards) which means you can't buy an off the shelf replacement if it
    goes wrong or you want to upgrade. They also butcher windows and make their
    own "tweaks" which in my experience just make it run slower.

    A clean build with clean hardware is the way I would do it.
  5. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Dave wrote:
    > I need to put together a PC for research use (mechanical engineering),
    > so something with decent number crunching power (for doing computational
    > fluid dynamics like CFX, http://www-waterloo.ansys.com/cfx/) and pretty
    > good graphics (to run, comfortably, CAD packages like
    > www.solidworks.com). I was thinking along the lines of a highish spec
    > AMD Athlon 64, 1Gb RAM, fairly quick HDD etc. Hmmm.. or intel.. hmmmm..
    > he thinks..
    >
    > Can anyone suggest an appropriate spec for a budget (inc VAT) of about
    > £1000? Alternatively, I am not convinced about the benefits of
    > homebuilding for this particular application.. are there any packaged
    > brands that are half decent (Dell always strike me as a bit gimmicky)..
    > what about hp/compaq?
    >
    > With thanks
    > Dave

    A 64 bit process will not benefit you at all unless you are running a
    64bit compatible Linux distribution and then again all of the
    applications you intend to use have to be complied for the 64bit
    architecture for you to receive performance benefits. Currently your
    bog-standard Windows does not support 64bit architecture.

    SuSE (Novel) have a 64bit version that has got very good reviews.
    RedHat also do a 64bit version.
    Check out www.linuxworld.co.uk for a full list of distributions or
    www.linuxiso.org

    There are Linux CAD packages and a mountain load of software for
    research purposes, most of it really economical.

    Linux just does it.

    I can see on www.dell.co.uk they have a Dimension 5000 with flat screen
    for £589 all included. Up the ram to 2 gigabyte and you will have a
    powerful beast well inside budget. It's a quick fix and from what I know
    of Dell computers you will have trouble upgrading it in the future but
    it should do what you want for the next 18 months.
  6. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    > A 64 bit process will not benefit you at all unless you are running a
    > 64bit compatible Linux distribution and then again all of the
    > applications you intend to use have to be complied for the 64bit
    > architecture for you to receive performance benefits. Currently your
    > bog-standard Windows does not support 64bit architecture.

    Yes, I am aware of this and thinking of the 64 bit version of Suse
    linux. One of my colleagues here rates it over red hat for 'work'
    stuff.. not exactly sure why but we'll see.

    I've decided to go self build, here's my spec.. any comments?

    CASE: Antec Sonata UK 380W PSU ATX
    MEMORY: Corsair Memory TWINX1024-3200C2PT PC3200 2x512MB CL2 Silver
    GFX: ATI FireGL V3100 128MB PCI-E DVI-I Retail
    HDD: Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 10 200GB SATA150 7200rpm 8MB Internal
    PROC: AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Socket 939 512Kb Inc Fan
    MONITOR: Iiyama E435S-B 17" TFT Display Black LCD
    MOBO: Asustek A8N SLI Socket 939 nForce 4 SLI PCI-E ATX
    DVD: NEC DVD+-R/RW 16x Dual Layer IDE Black

    + keyb and mouse of course

    One thing I'm not totally clued up on is memory.. I want to get 2x512Mb
    matched sticks of branded, Dabs.com don't really sell them matched (well
    apart from the corsair one above). Preferably ECC but they don't appear
    to have that matched. Unfortunately I am limited to Dabs.com for various
    reasons!!

    Dave
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