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Epic powerbuild

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May 3, 2011 4:42:58 PM

Hello,

I am a scientist and I have to process huge 3d datasets and build very large molecular models from the data. This is a tremendous workload for CPUs, and rendering images and movies of the data and models really strains the GPU. I would like to build a ridiculous machine with 12-24 (or more!) fast processor cores, at least 2 very high end GPUs in crossfire or SLI mode, and at least 24 Gb of RAM. Can anyone suggest a build that would do this? Performance is all that matters (i.e. cost is not an issue).

Thanks,
Peter

More about : epic powerbuild

a b à CPUs
May 3, 2011 4:49:30 PM

I think you arent asking the right place.You could go and contact Dell, HP or some manufacturers to get a more specialized opinion on your requirements.
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a b à CPUs
May 3, 2011 4:52:39 PM

HP has a long history of government projects from US to China.
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a c 103 à CPUs
May 3, 2011 5:31:19 PM

Intel makes 10 core 20 thread processors and AMD make 12 Core CPUs. I would suggest you speak to the makers of the software you want to use as it may be optimised for certain hardware especially the GPUs. Also you say cost is not an issue do you want to spend <$5000 on a huge powerful tower or a server or >$1,000,000 on some sort of super computer
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May 3, 2011 6:09:54 PM

simon12 said:
Intel makes 10 core 20 thread processors and AMD make 12 Core CPUs. I would suggest you speak to the makers of the software you want to use as it may be optimised for certain hardware especially the GPUs. Also you say cost is not an issue do you want to spend <$5000 on a huge powerful tower or a server or >$1,000,000 on some sort of super computer


Simon,

I would like to spend $5-10k on a very powerful tower. We have access to supercomputers for molecular dynamics simulations, but that's not what I'm doing. I am working with visualization of very large 3d models and datasets, and much of the computational load is surface rendering which I assume is allocated primarily to the GPU. I believe the software I'm using is optimized for Nvidia GPUs. Does that help?

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a c 103 à CPUs
May 3, 2011 9:31:04 PM

OK this is beyond my knowledge and you most likely already know more than me but what I can tell you is:
Nvidias best gaming card is the 580 and 2 of them in SLi is some serious muscle. They also do professional series cards which may or may not be more suited to your use this is an example of a very high end one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... thay also do something called Tesla 20 series GPUs which I have no idea what they are really but they have alot more memory than gaming cards see http://www.nvidia.co.uk/page/personal_computing.html .
As for the CPU I think a server chip is most likely what you need and I have no idea about them. If a highend desktop CPU is more sorted then it has to be between the i7 980X and the i7 2600K performance is similar and the 2600K is quarter the price you can check comparisons for specific tasks here http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/39?i=142.157.287.99.... Another thing to take into account is AMD are releasing Bulldozer chips on June 12th which may be better and Intel are releasing Sandy Bridge E sometime this year which will definitely be better than the ones I have mentioned. Sorry that about all I can tell you. Good luck
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a b à CPUs
May 3, 2011 10:12:20 PM

This type of project is definitely outside my area of expertise and knowledge... however... You'll probably want Intel Xeon CPUs in there. I know it's possible to get motherboards with 2 CPUs on them. Tom's just did a review of (afaik) the first Xeon Sandy Bridge CPU
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/xeon-e3-c206-workst...

As for GPU power, it does depend on the software. Professional cards like Tesla are often optimized for 3D creation programs and the like, although gaming cards can be used as well. As for what would be best, I don't know but I would assume in this case the professional series of cards are what you want.
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a b à CPUs
May 3, 2011 10:20:12 PM

Buy a Dell Precision workstation with Zeon and professional graphics.


WWW.DELL.COM
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a b à CPUs
May 3, 2011 10:24:27 PM

ultascience said:
Simon,

I would like to spend $5-10k on a very powerful tower. We have access to supercomputers for molecular dynamics simulations, but that's not what I'm doing. I am working with visualization of very large 3d models and datasets, and much of the computational load is surface rendering which I assume is allocated primarily to the GPU. I believe the software I'm using is optimized for Nvidia GPUs. Does that help?


That doesn't tell us if you need a $800 video card or a $4000 video card. You need to find out what is recommended for that kind of work from a professional with experience running that stuff.
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May 3, 2011 11:56:14 PM

geekapproved said:
That doesn't tell us if you need a $800 video card or a $4000 video card. You need to find out what is recommended for that kind of work from a professional with experience running that stuff.
Precisely. I run computational fluid dynamics simulations on a tower workstation at work. I have dual Xeon E5680 CPUs and 24GB DDR3-1333 RAM. When picking out my system I needed to find out from my software manufacturer what would better support my build, more CPU or more GPU. I found out that my visualizer was completely written in Java and that I needed all the CPU I could get, while any GPU that could drive three 2560x1600 displays would be fine. OP, Go to your manufacturer and find out what hardware will most benefit your software!
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May 3, 2011 11:59:52 PM

Also, I was told by my software vendor that if I needed any more resources than that, that I would need to move to enterprise-class hardware and set up a distributed solver system with multiple Dell/HP racks worth of CPU power... So If you're on the hunt for CPU, and your software supports distributed processing, then that's the way to go. You need to contact the vendor to find out.
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May 4, 2011 2:03:04 PM

wolfram23 said:
This type of project is definitely outside my area of expertise and knowledge... however... You'll probably want Intel Xeon CPUs in there. I know it's possible to get motherboards with 2 CPUs on them. Tom's just did a review of (afaik) the first Xeon Sandy Bridge CPU
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/xeon-e3-c206-workst...

As for GPU power, it does depend on the software. Professional cards like Tesla are often optimized for 3D creation programs and the like, although gaming cards can be used as well. As for what would be best, I don't know but I would assume in this case the professional series of cards are what you want.


Thanks for the advice Wolfram. I will definitely check out the professional cards. My current tower is in fact running 2 Intel Xeons for a total of 8 cores and I would like to improve on that, but if the best I can do with a single tower is greatly improve the graphics processing capabilities I'll go for it because I think it would help significantly.
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May 4, 2011 2:05:49 PM

geekapproved said:
Buy a Dell Precision workstation with Zeon and professional graphics.


WWW.DELL.COM


I am currently running a Dell Precision workstation with 2 Xeon processors, and it's not cutting it.
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May 4, 2011 2:13:39 PM

Best answer selected by ultascience.
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a b à CPUs
May 4, 2011 4:10:19 PM

It's not cutting what? Then they are either older slow zeons or your limited by the gpu.

What I'm talking about is newer zeons.

Your chinsy "Gaming computer" budget of $5-10K isn't going to cut it if you want a "EPIC POWERBUILD". LOL

The cpu's alone are $4-5k, EACH.
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May 4, 2011 5:00:19 PM

geekapproved said:
It's not cutting what? Then they are either older slow zeons or your limited by the gpu.

What I'm talking about is newer zeons.

Your chinsy "Gaming computer" budget of $5-10K isn't going to cut it if you want a "EPIC POWERBUILD". LOL

The cpu's alone are $4-5k, EACH.


The workstation that I'm using is equipped with 2 Xeon X5650s. These processors were launched in Q1 of 2010, so it's still pretty new and one of the best processors manufactured by Intel and they sell for about 1k each. I was hoping for a build that could handle 4 of these instead of 2, along with 2 or more top-notch video cards. I was hoping that people on this board could suggest specific hardware along those lines (like Simon did)

And BTW, they are "Xeon", processors, not "Zeon". You don't come off with any credibility when you don't even know how to spell the name of the processor you are recommending. Maybe you should do a little research before you get on these boards and hand out "expert" advice and make condescending comments about peoples' budgets.
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a b à CPUs
May 4, 2011 5:13:19 PM

Like I said, they are older slower XEONS. Even the newer Nehalems are discontinued.

Condescending comments about your budget? LOL

You can't buy a Mercedes with Kia money dude, that's not condescending, that's reallity. You said you wanted 24 cores. I'm sorry if the truth hurts, but the Nehalem Hexa-cores were $4K each, you would need 4 of those for 24 cores.


The best advice I can give is wait for the new 10 core cpus and get a couple of those.
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May 4, 2011 6:26:06 PM

geekapproved said:
Like I said, they are older slower XEONS. Even the newer Nehalems are discontinued.

Condescending comments about your budget? LOL

You can't buy a Mercedes with Kia money dude, that's not condescending, that's reallity. You said you wanted 24 cores. I'm sorry if the truth hurts, but the Nehalem Hexa-cores were $4K each, you would need 4 of those for 24 cores.


The best advice I can give is wait for the new 10 core cpus and get a couple of those.



The Xeon X5650s have 6 cores, so 4 of those would give me 24 cores, and at 1k each would fit nicely in the budget. A couple of high end Nvidia cards or a professional card like Simon suggested would likely provide the GPU power I'm after. With the RAM, mobo and other components it may go a bit over the 10k number, but it's still in the ballpark.

It looks like I'm honing in on a build here, just need to find a good mobo that can support 4 Xeons, but I won't bother asking about that on this forum. Thanks for those of you (mainly Simon) who actually gave useful advice.

And it's Dr. Scientist, GeekApproved ;) 



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a b à CPUs
May 4, 2011 8:32:11 PM

Those are pretty weak, only 2.66ghz, they are also based on older architecture. Whatever, so $4100 for the cpu's. A high end workstation card will run you another $3-4K, then a mobo....well your a Scientist, you see where this is going.

Maybe if you tried the "BUSINESS COMPUTING" part of the forum you might find people that know more about "EPIC POWERBUILDS" than the people who roam the "CPU's AND COMPONENTS" section so that us Mortals that suggested dual Xeon systems, that are in your price range by the way, don't look so stupid.

FYI
:hello: 
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a c 99 à CPUs
May 9, 2011 3:03:14 AM

ultascience said:
The Xeon X5650s have 6 cores, so 4 of those would give me 24 cores, and at 1k each would fit nicely in the budget. A couple of high end Nvidia cards or a professional card like Simon suggested would likely provide the GPU power I'm after. With the RAM, mobo and other components it may go a bit over the 10k number, but it's still in the ballpark.

It looks like I'm honing in on a build here, just need to find a good mobo that can support 4 Xeons, but I won't bother asking about that on this forum. Thanks for those of you (mainly Simon) who actually gave useful advice.

And it's Dr. Scientist, GeekApproved ;) 


The Xeon X5650s are dual-processor CPUs. You'd need Xeon MPs like the 7500 series or the new Westmere-EX Xeon E7-4xxx/E7-8xxx units to run more than two of them in the same board. That would give you more cores but generally lower clock speeds and a LOT higher cost. Xeon MPs that are faster than the X5650s cost somewhere in the $3000 to just under $5000 apiece. You would pretty much have to buy one of those units pre-built from some OEM as the motherboards and cases that can fit the motherboards are very uncommon. The only motherboard I know of that is not sold only as part of a pre-built server and fits LGA1567 chips is a Supermicro board that is about 19" square, and thus fits in no case that I know of.

I'd take a hard look at the 12-core Opterons 6100s if I were you. They are much more common and much less expensive than Xeon MPs, and actually do perform pretty decently against all but the most expensive Xeon MPs. CPU prices run from about $700 for a 1.9 GHz unit to about $1500 to a 2.5 GHz unit, and the 2.5 GHz unit would meet or beat pretty much all of the Xeon MPs in most tasks except for the $4000-ish 10-core Westmere-EXes. Building a quad Opteron 6100 machine yourself is also very doable since the motherboards are much more common than quad Xeon boards and are available in a fairly standard albeit large size. If you want to go that route, I can give you some help as I know people who've done quad Opteron 6100 machines.

Alternatively, you could also think about clustering. I did some HPC work a few years ago and running MPI-enabled applications on a cluster of 128 dual-CPU dual-core machines was what we did to get run times down into the semi-sane ranges. Granted a 48-core Opteron or 40-core Xeon setup probably is about as fast as the entire cluster we had back in that day- they were Pentium D-based Paxville Xeons with GbE interconnects, so otherwise put, scaled poorly.
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May 9, 2011 1:33:19 PM

MU_Engineer said:
The Xeon X5650s are dual-processor CPUs. You'd need Xeon MPs like the 7500 series or the new Westmere-EX Xeon E7-4xxx/E7-8xxx units to run more than two of them in the same board. That would give you more cores but generally lower clock speeds and a LOT higher cost. Xeon MPs that are faster than the X5650s cost somewhere in the $3000 to just under $5000 apiece. You would pretty much have to buy one of those units pre-built from some OEM as the motherboards and cases that can fit the motherboards are very uncommon. The only motherboard I know of that is not sold only as part of a pre-built server and fits LGA1567 chips is a Supermicro board that is about 19" square, and thus fits in no case that I know of.

I'd take a hard look at the 12-core Opterons 6100s if I were you. They are much more common and much less expensive than Xeon MPs, and actually do perform pretty decently against all but the most expensive Xeon MPs. CPU prices run from about $700 for a 1.9 GHz unit to about $1500 to a 2.5 GHz unit, and the 2.5 GHz unit would meet or beat pretty much all of the Xeon MPs in most tasks except for the $4000-ish 10-core Westmere-EXes. Building a quad Opteron 6100 machine yourself is also very doable since the motherboards are much more common than quad Xeon boards and are available in a fairly standard albeit large size. If you want to go that route, I can give you some help as I know people who've done quad Opteron 6100 machines.

Alternatively, you could also think about clustering. I did some HPC work a few years ago and running MPI-enabled applications on a cluster of 128 dual-CPU dual-core machines was what we did to get run times down into the semi-sane ranges. Granted a 48-core Opteron or 40-core Xeon setup probably is about as fast as the entire cluster we had back in that day- they were Pentium D-based Paxville Xeons with GbE interconnects, so otherwise put, scaled poorly.


Nice! Thanks for the great advice, I will definitely look into this build.
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