So I'm a researcher who works with emergent modeling, particularly genetic algorithms and neural networks. My lab needs a powerful computer for our research and I've convinced my boss that building a custom box from components (as I've done for my personal computers) would be the best use of money (as opposed to more Dell garbage).
The modeling is extremely parallel and is coded to be infinitely scalable to n number of cores. Every core I add to the run increases the speed by about 1x (use of full quad core ~= 3.5x faster than use of single core on that processor). Also, the code is relatively efficient so even ~2 GB allocated to the program at runtime would be more than enough.
I've gotten around $3000 allocated to the build, though I may be able to push a bit higher.
- A server motherboard with 4x quad core Xeons. (of course they don't make quad LGA 771 as far as I know).
- Wait and hope that the rumors I've heard about an 8 core "yorkfield" chip are true. (we need it built within 2-3 weeks).
Conclusions Thus Far
- A server motherboard with 2x quad core Xeons (LGA 771).
More about :build massively parallel algorithm research
Definitely get a good/decent server board LGA771 (aren't all of them dual socket?) FBDIMMs are expensive, but if you don't need too much then it's not really a problem.
Haven't checked the AMD side of things with servers, so they might* be better price/performance wise.
Video is usually taken care of by the mobo, so no problems there. Case might be tricky, Something big and of decent quality but not with all the bells and whistles. the powersupply will have to be high quality, and a UPS will probably be wanted.
Case: All the motherboards I've looked at are normal ATX. Any ideas for a specific case? I'm looking for something with exceptional airflow. No LEDs / clear sidepanels / other "showy" stuff please, after all, it is a research machine.
CPU Cooler / Heatsink: Since the processors are rather close together I can't use a Thermaltake Big Typhoon like I'd want to (I have one in my personal machine). Any suggestions on something smaller, but also very powerful. Keep in mind that the processors will be running at 100% load for days if not weeks at a time.
Motherboard: The best rated on newegg looks like it is made by Genericorp by slave children in Indonesia. Whats a solid brand?
Power supply: I'm partial to using an Enermax. Would their 500W model be sufficient?
Memory: I like Corsair. They happen to make nice, highly rated FB-DIMMS.
Video card: I'm considering sticking in a 8600GT. Its only $100 and I want to take as much of a load off of the processors as possible.