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Message boards : Problems and Help : Sweet Spot for hardware? Cost/Work Unit?

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Profile CoffeemanProject donor
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Message 130010 - Posted: 31 May 2019 | 1:41:05 UTC


I am thinking to get a few used computers and have them work on PrimeGrid full time. Is there a sweet spot with desktops that have a nice graphics card, but are not necessarily new computers - what do I look for? How to get the most bang for the buck?

Does GPU matter more then CPU? What about RAM, and hard disk speed?

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321 LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,777,242)Cullen LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,501,108)ESP LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,201,415)Generalized Cullen/Woodall LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,036,673)PPS LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (6,148,228)PSP LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,169,383)SoB LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,521,831)SR5 LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,301,780)SGS LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,069,139)TRP LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,007,966)Woodall LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,006,951)321 Sieve Gold: Earned 500,000 credits (827,004)Generalized Cullen/Woodall Sieve (suspended) Jade: Earned 10,000,000 credits (10,037,204)PPS Sieve Jade: Earned 10,000,000 credits (10,305,147)Sierpinski (ESP/PSP/SoB) Sieve (suspended) Ruby: Earned 2,000,000 credits (2,000,053)TRP Sieve (suspended) Ruby: Earned 2,000,000 credits (2,030,160)AP 26/27 Jade: Earned 10,000,000 credits (10,253,048)GFN Sapphire: Earned 20,000,000 credits (25,217,853)PSA Double Bronze: Earned 100,000,000 credits (170,758,062)
Message 130011 - Posted: 31 May 2019 | 2:23:38 UTC - in response to Message 130010.


I am thinking to get a few used computers and have them work on PrimeGrid full time.

Ah, I see you have been bitten by the PrimeGrid bug. Wellcome to the family, most of us here are infected as well, and we love it!

:)


Is there a sweet spot with desktops that have a nice graphics card, but are not necessarily new computers - what do I look for? How to get the most bang for the buck?

Does GPU matter more then CPU? What about RAM, and hard disk speed?

Jokes aside, the hardware depends on what you want out of Primegrid.

-Most of the projects here are CPU only (and you can check that at your preferences page), so if you want to contribute to those subprojects, more CPU = more better. For the many LLR projects out there, you'll want an Intel CPU, and prefferably a 4th gen or higher one, as those have FMA3 and can crunch tasks much faster. Additionally, HyperThreading isn't of much use to those projects outside of maybe feeding a GPU, so worry about physical cores more than threads. With those 2 in mind, I suggest looking for PCs with an i5 4xxx.

-Now, as much as we love our CPU subprojects, there are those that are better crunched by GPUs, so let's focus on that. Generally speaking, Nvidia cards are more power efficient and thus preffered over AMD's. Additionaly, I'd say it's not worth it to go with anything below Maxwell (aka Gtx 9xx or 750ti) nowadays due to that same reason. Finnaly, cost is going to be your main concern here, and you really get value out of your money with a low cost Gtx 950 as much as you do getting an RTX 2070: figure ou how much you want to spend and go from there.

Those are the general guidelines, and if you want a balanced build, that's what you're looking for. But if you want to taylor to a particular subproject, we can tweak those for you. And if you want help figuring out what each thing does and why you may / may not care to work on it, feel free to ask, we'll be happy to answer.

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Message 130016 - Posted: 31 May 2019 | 8:02:05 UTC
Last modified: 31 May 2019 | 8:02:56 UTC

If you stretch to a new system, the Ryzen 3000 CPUs about to go on sale in just over a month could be VERY interesting.

Based on current public information, I'd expect them to eat LLR tasks quickly and at comparable or better power efficiency to Intel. This is assuming the upgrade FP units bring them to parity with Intel, they are ball park competitive on clocks and cheaper per core. Also due to the large L3 cache, that should mitigate ram bandwidth limitations from feeding this many cores. So might not be needed to buy expensive fast ram to get the most of it. I do intend to get one as soon as practical after launch, and bench it.

If you're looking to buy something now, avoid current Ryzens if you want to do LLR. Best value/balance CPUs would be Intel quad cores of Skylake (6th gen) or newer generation, paired with fast ram. Dual cores are ok too, but you will encounter difficulty feeding 6 or 8 core models for bigger LLR tasks. Ok for smaller ones. If looking older generation Haswell/Broadwell is almost as good (4th-5th gen). At the oldest Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge (2nd gen-3rd gen) are kinda ok but they lack an instruction added in 4th gen that means they're a bit slower, but if you look at used server level kit of that generation you could get a dual socket with 16 cores total and brute force it. Power bill might go up a bit though. I wouldn't seriously consider anything older than that.

Ram: quantity doesn't matter much as long as you have enough to run what you want. My cruncher systems typically have 8GB and never run short. Do make sure to have dual channel ram (or more if supported). Speed really helps on bigger tasks on quad core Intels.

Disk: doesn't matter as long as you have enough space. I run systems with 40, 64GB SSDs bought when they were more expensive.

I don't focus on GPU tasks so can't really comment much there, other than latest Turning generation does seem very fast and power efficient, but it is new and not so cheap...

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Message 130029 - Posted: 31 May 2019 | 17:30:19 UTC - in response to Message 130011.


Thanks! I will start looking.

Profile CoffeemanProject donor
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Cullen LLR Bronze: Earned 10,000 credits (18,023)321 Sieve Bronze: Earned 10,000 credits (51,230)AP 26/27 Silver: Earned 100,000 credits (109,161)
Message 130056 - Posted: 1 Jun 2019 | 17:21:29 UTC - in response to Message 130029.

Some people have dozens of computers. If bought new that is a considerable cost.

Wouldn't it be more cost effective to run a server-style setup, with a bunch of computers in a rack? Is that done by some? Can it be cost-effective if hardware is being bought new or would that be prohibitively expensive?

Teams could come together financially to invest in a more sophisticated setup.

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Message 130057 - Posted: 1 Jun 2019 | 18:07:24 UTC - in response to Message 130029.

If looking for more of a CPU cruncher, you may have luck looking for used server hardware, I ended up buying a used 2-node server with dual xeons in each node -- it's essentially two 16 core computers -- it is noisy as all hell, so maybe consider that if you have a garage / basement / soundproof room to put it in :)

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Message 130066 - Posted: 1 Jun 2019 | 23:23:05 UTC - in response to Message 130057.

If looking for more of a CPU cruncher, you may have luck looking for used server hardware, I ended up buying a used 2-node server with dual xeons in each node -- it's essentially two 16 core computers -- it is noisy as all hell, so maybe consider that if you have a garage / basement / soundproof room to put it in :)


Lol and what about the heat and electricity. Maybe a good winter time heater.

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Message 130079 - Posted: 2 Jun 2019 | 10:37:08 UTC - in response to Message 130057.

If looking for more of a CPU cruncher, you may have luck looking for used server hardware, I ended up buying a used 2-node server with dual xeons in each node -- it's essentially two 16 core computers -- it is noisy as all hell, so maybe consider that if you have a garage / basement / soundproof room to put it in :)


That's essentially what I bought a few years ago, I now have 5 dual quad core Xeon pc's that are "off lease" and bought on Ebay for about $250US each including shipping. They came with both cpu's, giving me effectively 16 cores thru hyper-threading, at least 20gb of ram and the box with all the hardware, except a gpu and hard drive, already in it. They are all in the 2.4 to 3ghz range for speed though so they aren't fast but for me they make it up in quantity of work done. 3 of them came with 850watt power supplies, proprietary of course, but with enough 6 pin connectors to put an Nvidia 1060 in them. 2 of them came with a smaller power supply with only a single 6 pin connector for the gpu so only has an Nvidia 750Ti in them. None of the power supply connectors was mentioned in the ad though but it didn't matter as I needed to increase my cpu crunching and they definitely fit the bill for me.

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Message boards : Problems and Help : Sweet Spot for hardware? Cost/Work Unit?

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