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How does this build look for a simulation / number crunching machine?

Last response: in Systems
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October 22, 2012 3:29:28 PM

Hi everyone,

I am looking to build a new work computer for finite element simulation. Lots of disk activity; lots of memory required; processor will be running continuously for days. When it's not being used for finite element modeling, it will be used for other processor-intensive simulation and CAD work. Graphics performance is not a big concern.

Full tower case size is fine, this is just going to be sitting on a desk. Also not too concerned about the noise level since a lot of the processing will be done overnight while the room is empty.

For the hard drive setup, I was thinking of a few options - currently leaning towards C or D:

A: SSD for system disk / currently running analysis; big HDD for longer-term storage of analyses. RAID 1 for both drives.

B: SSD for system disk / currently running analysis; big HDD for longer-term storage of analyses. Same hardware setup as option A but RAID 0 for system / current analysis; RAID 1 for longer-term storage. I would prefer RAID 1 for system / current analysis disk but I cannot seem to find a clear answer of whether RAID 1 actually, in practice, increases performance in the same manner that RAID 0 does.

C: SSD for system disk; SSD for current analysis; big HDD for long-term storage. System disk in RAID 1; current analysis disk in RAID 0; long-term storage in RAID 1.

D: SSD for system disk and current analysis; big HDD for long-term storage. System/current analysis disk is four SSDs in RAID10.

Price is not a big issue, but let's try to keep it under $8000 or so.

Here's my tentative parts list:

Part Name
Description
Cost Quantity Extended Cost
Link


case
Lian-Li Full ATX Tower Case
219.99 1 219.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

power supply
Antec CP-1000, 1000 watt PSU
149.99 1 149.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

motherboard
EVGA SR-X 270-SE-W888-KR, 2X LGA2011, 96gb memory supported
649.99 1 649.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

processor
Intel Xeon E5 - 1660
1069.99 2 2139.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

heat sink / fan
Thermaltake Frio
66.99 2 133.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

memory
G. Skill Ares Series 32GB (4x8 GB)
144.99 3 434.97
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD (system / current analysis)
OCZ Vertex 4 VTX4-25SAT3-256G, 256GB SSD
209.99 4 839.96
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD (data)
Seagate Barracude STBD2000101, 2 TB drive
119.99 2 239.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD drive
ASUS 24x burner
19.99 1 19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

video card
GIGABYTE GV-N670OC-2GD
399.99 1 399.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total cost: $5449.80


Any input?

Thanks,
Michael
October 22, 2012 3:39:54 PM

I only have a few comments.

1) Don't skim on the cooler, get something like a H100. It's small and you can stick the radiator anywhere.
2) Stay away from OCZ, get a corsair.
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October 22, 2012 3:45:16 PM

squirrelonfire said:
I only have a few comments.

1) Don't skim on the cooler, get something like a H100. It's small and you can stick the radiator anywhere.
2) Stay away from OCZ, get a corsair.


Actually H100s are horrendous - the fans included are very loud and very poorly constructed and offer no noticeable performance increace. You're better off going with a Noctua D14. However a Classified SR-X won't support either because of how close together the CPU sockets are. You'll need some serious custom liquid cooling to cool that kind of configuration, air and plastic water blocks are not an option in this case.

The Vertex 4 is a fine drive, Corsair drives are very unreliable because of the Sandforce controller. used. The only Corsair drive that's worth anything is the new Neutron series.

For that PSU I'd suggest a Seasonic X1250 Gold over the Antec - it would be a lot better and is fully modular.

You will need an XL-ATX case to run a SR-X, but I'm not sure the one picked will be big enough. The NZXT Switch 810 will house it, as will the Cooler Master Cosmos II. Check the dimensions before ordering.
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October 22, 2012 3:46:59 PM

Maybe look at the simulation software to see if it takes advantage of gpu processing as most number crunching runs way faster on gpu than cpu's and you could spend your money better.
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October 22, 2012 3:52:24 PM

8000 is a lot. but ok then

grab 2 of these
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

motherboard. dont bother with evga. not worth the price
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

memory. get 4 kits if you think you can use it all
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...(Desktop%20Memory)-_-G.SKILL-_-20231507&AID=10440897&PID=3938566&SID=


SSD is fine. he doesnt know that vertex 4s are reliable

case. you need something that is SSI EEB compatable
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hard drives. they are cheaper here
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=66010&vpn=ST2000DM001&...

power supply. dont need it to be that big
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=62224&vpn=P1750BNLG9&m...

if this is a true workstation, you should be getting a workstation card like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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October 22, 2012 4:26:42 PM

TheBigTroll said:
cooler. not exactly sure if it would be a tight fit or not but it will cool very well
http://www.mwave.com/mwave/SKUSearch_v3.asp?px=FX&scrit...

price match it at us.ncix and get free shipping


You can't use a D14 on an SRX because of how incredibly close the CPU sockets are. Water blocks aren't an option either. You will need custom cooling for this kind of CPU configuration.
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October 22, 2012 5:47:31 PM

i didnt suggest a SR-X.i was using a asus z9 it makes no sense to suggest a SRX for server usage

and yeah i guess. something smaller like a hyper 212 or a 612 could do the job
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October 22, 2012 5:58:55 PM

I do a lot of simulations at work too. Can you get one of the big 8 processor machines? IE E5-2687? And I'd go with 64G ram. This system will be generating some heat. Go with a gold or platinum rated Power Supply.
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October 22, 2012 6:06:14 PM

you dont need that much efficiency but i do get what you are trying to say as this computer would be sucking a lot of juice. 80+silver is pretty close to gold so i would spend 30 more bucks for 2-5% more efficiency
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October 22, 2012 6:53:53 PM

TheBigTroll said:
i didnt suggest a SR-X.i was using a asus z9 it makes no sense to suggest a SRX for server usage

and yeah i guess. something smaller like a hyper 212 or a 612 could do the job


Yeah but any dual processor motheboard is going to generate massive amounts of heat, it'd be best to get a custom liquid loop with at least a three-fan radiator. Anything else won't cut it at this point. Normally I'm against liquid cooling but this is one rare exception where it's almost mandatory.
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October 22, 2012 6:58:15 PM

Are you only looking at building only, not buying? You could buy a workstation with two E5-26xx CPU's in this 8k price range.

Are you sure that GPU is a good option for your CAD software? I would have expected to see something like: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I don't see any major issues albeit for what looks like a "work" PC you have some budget in things that don't matter. Personally with your needs I would just go spend 8K on a good workstation with a warranty. This has the specs I would expect to see around your price range: http://www.workstationspecialist.com/workstations/ws_28...

HP Makes a z620 workstation that you might look into as well.
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October 22, 2012 6:59:22 PM

well hmm...

you could stick a triple rad on the top of the cosmos 2 and a 240 rad in the front or possibly even another 240 rad in the basement. should be more than enough to handle the 300w TDP of the 2 8core chips
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October 25, 2012 2:20:46 PM

TheBigTroll said:
8000 is a lot. but ok then

grab 2 of these
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

motherboard. dont bother with evga. not worth the price
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

memory. get 4 kits if you think you can use it all
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...(Desktop%20Memory)-_-G.SKILL-_-20231507&AID=10440897&PID=3938566&SID=


SSD is fine. he doesnt know that vertex 4s are reliable

case. you need something that is SSI EEB compatable
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hard drives. they are cheaper here
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=66010&vpn=ST2000DM001&...

power supply. dont need it to be that big
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=62224&vpn=P1750BNLG9&m...

if this is a true workstation, you should be getting a workstation card like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cooler. not exactly sure if it would be a tight fit or not but it will cool very well
http://www.mwave.com/mwave/SKUSear [...] ia=BL10087

price match it at us.ncix and get free shipping



Thanks everyone - I think I will go mostly with the build suggested by TheBigTroll. I am switching the graphics card to a Tesla C2075 [ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ], since that is supported by my application (ANSYS) for GPU computing. Also, moving to a more efficient power supply http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=66656&vpn=P11050BEFX&m... , this is gonna be running under pretty heavy loads for extended periods of time.

Should I use a second graphics card as well, something like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ? The Tesla only has a single DVI output.

It looks like cooling is still a bit debatable - would two of these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... do the trick?
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October 25, 2012 2:41:35 PM

I agree with G-Unit, closed loops are not great the amount of cash you are dropping go custom loop.

As to your RAID setups RAID 1 can give increased read times but lowered write times. If you are talking SSD's though thats pretty relative infact putting them in RAID in the first place is arguably a waste in speed terms but maybe a good idea in terms of redundancy/backup. Ultimate there would be RAID 10 but that requires 4 drives and like I said with SSD's the speed increase is arguably pointless. If you can afford it from your options I would go for D but also put the long term storage in RAID 1
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October 25, 2012 5:36:38 PM

wr6133 said:
I agree with G-Unit, closed loops are not great the amount of cash you are dropping go custom loop.

As to your RAID setups RAID 1 can give increased read times but lowered write times. If you are talking SSD's though thats pretty relative infact putting them in RAID in the first place is arguably a waste in speed terms but maybe a good idea in terms of redundancy/backup. Ultimate there would be RAID 10 but that requires 4 drives and like I said with SSD's the speed increase is arguably pointless. If you can afford it from your options I would go for D but also put the long term storage in RAID 1


Yeah especially since you're running a dual CPU configuration - you would need at least two blocks for that, a single one just wouldn't cut it. Not even the Silverstone TJ11 - as gigantic as it is - has the mounts for that kind of configuration. You need custom or nothing since dual CPUs will generate enormous amounts of heat.
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October 25, 2012 7:23:31 PM

When you guys are talking about a custom cooling setup, what exactly are you talking about? Specifying and assembling all of the cooling components? Or getting something like http://www.swiftech.com/h2o-x20-edge-hd.aspx and fitting it? Either way, do you have any recommendations for what to get to cool this thing?
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October 25, 2012 7:54:23 PM

mjc865 said:
When you guys are talking about a custom cooling setup, what exactly are you talking about? Specifying and assembling all of the cooling components? Or getting something like http://www.swiftech.com/h2o-x20-edge-hd.aspx and fitting it? Either way, do you have any recommendations for what to get to cool this thing?


The Edge is definitely a step above a closed liquid loop like an H100. A real custom loop consists of the following parts - and a good setup can run you $400 - $500+. Those parts are - radiator pump, fans, tubing, gel, CPU and GPU blocks.
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October 26, 2012 12:04:59 PM

I'll have to see if the k5000 is supported by ANSYS for GPU computing - the articles that I've seen say that only the Quadro 6000 and the Tesla series are supported.
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October 26, 2012 7:36:38 PM

well the k5000 is a quadro card.
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!