# Number crunching machine on a small budget?

I'm looking for as much computational power as possible for maybe 2-3 grand.

This looks like a nice setup fit to the purpose, but I thought it would be good to ask and see what other people know or have been doing. (fyi I'm not really a hardware guy myself)

You should take a look at this set-up. It is a fairly cheap way of handling "number crunching" type situations without spending too much money. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.12/beowulf.html" [Broken]

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3 grand will get you a lot of compute power. AMD's new 6 core chips can be had for $200 (it's called the 1055t, I think?), throw one of those on a$100 motherboard with 4GB of RAM (also about $100) for each node with the standard power supply/case/networking/storage stuff and you'll have a pretty good setup. A system using hex core chips should be cheaper and more efficient than one consisting of many dual core machines since there's much less duplication of hardware. I've actually got the new Hex core and I am pretty happy with it. I wouldn't use a 1050t or 1090t for number crunching when you got 2-3 grand to spend. Right now the best flop for the buck is the new g34 chipset from AMD. Nothing else is really going to come close unless you get a good deal some used stuff. I start with a good dual socket G34 mobo; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131643 with two of these; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819105266&cm_re=magny-_-19-105-266-_-Product Then buy a good PSU, some TB drives, and then spend the rest on some 1333 DIMMs. Thanks everybody for the input! I didn't even know they made 8-core chips. :p So far this is what I'm planning to order, which hopefully accounts for everything: Component: ASUS KGPE-D16 Dual Socket G34 AMD SR5690 SSI EEB 3.61 Dual 8/12 Core AMD Opteron 6000 series Server Motherboard Price: 439.99 + 10.18 Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131643 Component: AMD Opteron 6128 Magny-Cours 2.0GHz 8 x 512KB L2 Cache 12MB L3 Cache Socket G34 115W 8-Core Server Processor Price: 305.99 (x2) Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819105266&cm_re=magny-_-19-105-266-_-Product Component: Chenbro Case RM21706 (RM21706T-T) 2U DP with, 6 x Hotswap HDDs, SAS/SATA BP, Zippy Power Supply 510W (PS-P2G-6510P-T), Ideal For General Purpose Server - OEM Price: 314.99 Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...123142&cm_re=zippy_psu-_-11-123-142-_-Product Component: Dynatron A5 60mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler Price: 33.99+2.99 (x2) Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...cm_re=amd_g34_heatsink-_-35-114-112-_-Product Component: Athena Power CA-SWH01BH8 Black Steel Pedestal Server Case 2 External 5.25" Drive Bays Price: 269.99 + 27.91 Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811192058 Component: ASUS DVD-E818A6T/BLK/B/G Black 18X SATA DVD-ROM Drive - Bulk Price: 16.99 +6.98 Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...135202&cm_re=dvd_drive-_-27-135-202-_-Product Component: TRENDnet TEG-PCITXR 10/ 100/ 1000/ 2000Mbps PCI Copper Gigabit Network Adapter 1 x RJ45 Price: 13.99 + 2.99 Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...139&cm_re=network_card-_-33-156-139-_-Product Component: ASUS EN8400GS Silent/P/512M GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card Price: 24.99 Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121360 Component: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive Price: 59.99 (x2) Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...&cm_re=sata_hard_drive-_-22-136-319-_-Product Component: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM Price: 105.99 (x10) Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...3_desktop_memory_model-_-20-231-275-_-Product Total: 2994.82 Why do you have two cases on your list? Also, the 510watt PSU included in that one case might be a little underpowered. I would recommend something in the 600+watt region which will also give you a bit of room for growing. I would get something like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817255056 A single 5970 will give you nearly 5 Teraflops on 32-bit float. If you're looking for number crunching this will crunch numbers laughably faster than anything else that has been proposed, and at a fraction of the price. It does require knowledge in GPU programming paradigms. That's knowledge you will want to pick up sooner or later in any case. Topher said: Why do you have two cases on your list? Also, the 510watt PSU included in that one case might be a little underpowered. I would recommend something in the 600+watt region which will also give you a bit of room for growing. I would get something like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817255056 Oh, yes, that was a mistake! Thank you! Negatron said: A single 5970 will give you nearly 5 Teraflops on 32-bit float. If you're looking for number crunching this will crunch numbers laughably faster than anything else that has been proposed, and at a fraction of the price. It does require knowledge in GPU programming paradigms. That's knowledge you will want to pick up sooner or later in any case. Well, let's say GPU programming is on my to do list, but it may be a while before I get to it. However, that is some pretty impressive output from the 5970. Maybe it would be worth getting one upfront as a bit of hovering encouragement to learn CUDA. :p Pattonias said: Have you considered renting time on a super-computer? This would provide way more data for the amount of money that you are wanting to invest. Here is an example company. I'll be doing that when necessary, this will just makes it necessary a little less, and there's quite a few advantages besides$/FLOP to having a machine on hand. It's also one of those things where you have a budget to buy some hardware, so hardware is what you buy!

Oh, yes, that was a mistake! Thank you!

Well, let's say GPU programming is on my to do list, but it may be a while before I get to it. However, that is some pretty impressive output from the 5970. Maybe it would be worth getting one upfront as a bit of hovering encouragement to learn CUDA. :p
Bear in mind that for CUDA you'd need an Nvidia graphics card (unlike the 5970 which is an ATI/AMD one, though there's always open CL, whih might be the better option for the future).

GPUs do give you a lot of power for the money but sometimes the PCI-E pipeline can significantly bottleneck computation time if using of card memory. So while the cost of the card(s) may be cheap, the cost of the mobo may not be.