1. Joined
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    07 Mar '15 20:23
    For Christmas 2012, I got a Dell desktop XPS8500. It has 24 gbs of system memory, Intel i7 3770 processor--runs up to 3.9 ghz. 1TB hard drive..Windows 7 professional, I think it only has 4 cores... Dell doesnt even sell very many i7 computers,,,just i5 & i3 ones. I would like to get a lot more CORES and way faster processor... any suggestions of name brand?
  2. Joined
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    07 Mar '15 20:25
    Forgot to mention, I'd like to dedicate a couple of old computers to run SETI analysis for alien signals....
  3. Cape Town
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    07 Mar '15 21:29
    Originally posted by woadman
    Forgot to mention, I'd like to dedicate a couple of old computers to run SETI analysis for alien signals....
    Then go for graphics cards not cores.
  4. Cape Town
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    07 Mar '15 21:32
    Originally posted by woadman
    For Christmas 2012, I got a Dell desktop XPS8500. It has 24 gbs of system memory, Intel i7 3770 processor--runs up to 3.9 ghz. 1TB hard drive..Windows 7 professional, I think it only has 4 cores... Dell doesnt even sell very many i7 computers,,,just i5 & i3 ones. I would like to get a lot more CORES and way faster processor... any suggestions of name brand?
    That would still be considered the very top of the range here. I have not seen new desktops sold with anything more than 8gb ram. I recently upgraded mine to 16, but it doesn't make a lot of difference. Obviously servers often have more.

    The biggest performance boost is a solid state drive. If you haven't got one, then get one before considering anything else.

    For games and SETI, its all about the graphics card.
  5. Joined
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    07 Mar '15 21:54
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    That would still be considered the very top of the range here. I have not seen new desktops sold with anything more than 8gb ram. I recently upgraded mine to 16, but it doesn't make a lot of difference. Obviously servers often have more.

    The biggest performance boost is a solid state drive. If you haven't got one, then get one before considering anything else.

    For games and SETI, its all about the graphics card.
    I haven't set-up the SETI thing yet..I didn't know it has much graphics..I thought it just processed data to determine if signal is intelligent or not..
  6. Joined
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    07 Mar '15 22:471 edit
    Originally posted by woadman
    For Christmas 2012, I got a Dell desktop XPS8500. It has 24 gbs of system memory, Intel i7 3770 processor--runs up to 3.9 ghz. 1TB hard drive..Windows 7 professional, I think it only has 4 cores... Dell doesnt even sell very many i7 computers,,,just i5 & i3 ones. I would like to get a lot more CORES and way faster processor... any suggestions of name brand?
    The only way to get more cores with Intel is to get a xenon server processor [8-core]...
    which will set you back a few grand.

    For what you want though, as twhitehead correctly says, is more GPU power.

    very simply...

    CPU cores are optimised to do big complicated calculations sequentially.

    GPU cores are optimised to do simple calculations massively in parallel.

    For tasks like SETI@Home you want lots a parallel processing, which means big GPU
    utilisation. [NVidea geforce cards excel at this in particular]

    http://www.pcworld.com/product/1218238/xps-8500-mini-tower-desktop.html

    The downside of your pc is you only have 1 GPU expansion slot, and only 460W power
    to play with.

    So you are limited in how much GPU power you can add.

    That said, I don't know why you would want to upgrade your PC to run SETI@Home in the
    first place?


    If you ever want a new PC [and the one you have atm is plenty powerful enough for
    most things you might want to do] don't buy one, build one...
    Or go to a smaller computer specialist that does custom builds and can build you something
    without breaking the very fragile components.

    It's better value for money, and you avoid getting junkware/bloatware.
  7. Joined
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    07 Mar '15 22:48
    Originally posted by woadman
    I haven't set-up the SETI thing yet..I didn't know it has much graphics..I thought it just processed data to determine if signal is intelligent or not..
    It's not graphics intensive.

    But GPU's have many many more cores than the CPU does, and tasks like
    SETI@Home work best if you parallel process rather than sequential process.
  8. Standard memberDeepThought
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    08 Mar '15 00:29
    Originally posted by woadman
    For Christmas 2012, I got a Dell desktop XPS8500. It has 24 gbs of system memory, Intel i7 3770 processor--runs up to 3.9 ghz. 1TB hard drive..Windows 7 professional, I think it only has 4 cores... Dell doesnt even sell very many i7 computers,,,just i5 & i3 ones. I would like to get a lot more CORES and way faster processor... any suggestions of name brand?
    That's a pretty high end processor. You have 4 processing cores, but because each core can run two threads at once using hyperthreading [1], you can have 8 simultaneous threads. This is an Ivy Bridge processor, it has fused multiply add for AVX, but it's only AVX 1, which means that it's missing some instructions relative to the bleeding edge.

    Woadman: Should I get an AVX 2 machine?

    DeepThought: No.

    Woadman: Why not? Isn't AVX 2 better.

    DeepThought: Sure, but whenever you buy a machine you can be guaranteed that in a years time a more powerful one will come out. So you may as well wait until you actually have a good reason to buy a new machine before doing so. Unless you can afford new computers every year then just stick with the old one until you have a good reason to buy a new one. That piece of kit is a good machine and should last you another three to five years. When you get a new machine in three to five years time it will be better than the one you'll get if you buy a new one now.

    The i7 Haswell processors have 6 cores, 8 if you get an extreme edition one. The very latest ones codenamed Broadwell currently only have 2 cores. So wait for that reason. If you start saving up for it now you'll be able to get an extreme edition processor in 3 to 5 years time, and that'll have at least 8 cores - probably more as that seems to be the way they're going. AVX 2 registers are 256 bits wide - no wider than what you have. Intel indicated that in the future they'll be making the registers even bigger 512 or 1K wide. You may as well wait for that.

    [1] Just a note on hyperthreading. It doesn't quite run twice as fast. The processor has a collection of execution units. If the two threads running on a core both want to use the same execution unit at the same time then, obviously, they can't and one of the threads has to wait. It depends on one wanting to so an AVX 2 floating point multiplication (say) and the other wanting to do integer add (say).
  9. Joined
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    08 Mar '15 01:24
    Ah, I hadn't spotted the new gen i7's went above 4 cores on client facing CPU's...
    It's about time Intel started offering more than 4 cores.

    However it still won't help woadman as his MOBO wont support gen 5 processors.
  10. Standard memberDeepThought
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    08 Mar '15 05:27
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Ah, I hadn't spotted the new gen i7's went above 4 cores on client facing CPU's...
    It's about time Intel started offering more than 4 cores.

    However it still won't help woadman as his MOBO wont support gen 5 processors.
    Yep, that's correct as far as I can tell, he'll need a new motherboard. I think the new motherboards can support faster memory as well. The last time I bought a machine I got it from Yoyotech (www.yoyotech.co.uk) as you can specify all the components.

    I had a look and the quoted prices are for the fastest most expensive components are:

    Extreme Edition i7 5960X with 8 cores is £845.99
    An Asus Rampage V Extreme Socket 2011 (assuming I'm looking at the right motherboard) costs £344.99
    16Gb of DDR4 memory at 3000MHz costs another £249.99 (the board can take 64 Gb but I don't know the price, probably 4x that)

    So far £1440.97

    Processor fan 49.99 (Air cooled) ~£100 (Water cooled)
    Seasonic 1250W power supply £179.08
    Box is another £99.99 (Cheapest was about £30 most expensive £150ish)

    £320ish

    4 Tb Hard drive would be about £109.99
    1 Tb SSD £319.01

    Graphics cards aren't necessary the processor has an on-chip card, but he can spend any amount of money. The cheapest is £39.99 and perfectly adequate.

    Probably the best one was £2759.99
    AMD - 6GB GDDR5 Sapphire Firepro W9000-31004-29-40A, It claims 1Tflop double precision
    The most expensive Nvidia one was £3209.99
    NVIDIA Quadro 6000 by PNY - Graphics card - Quadro K6000 - 6 GB GDDR5 - PCIe 2.0 x16 - DVI, 2 x DisplayPort - retail VCQ6000-PB, but can only do 500 gigaflops double precision.

    Ignoring the graphics card, by the time he's bought the best processor, motherboard, and memory he's spent so much money he may as well buy a new machine.

    A mere £2,000 - £5,000. This is why I compromise and don't insist on the absolute fastest. It's also a reason to wait a few more years. You'll get that kind of power from standard components by the time his current machine starts getting long in the tooth.

    Obviously, by making do with a normal i7, a not quite top of the range motherboard, a normal hard drive or a smaller SSD, slightly slower memory, and a sane graphics card you can get a really good machine for £700 to £800.

    In any case, the machine he has is really good. I'm actually a little envious of it. Woadman just plain does not need a new computer.
  11. Cape Town
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    08 Mar '15 06:49
    Originally posted by woadman
    I haven't set-up the SETI thing yet..I didn't know it has much graphics..I thought it just processed data to determine if signal is intelligent or not..
    You can get up to 1000 times as many points from a GPU.
    http://usa.lanex.com/?page_id=110

    The CPU is still useful, and you can let the machine do some CPU projects too, but the bulk of the work is best done on the GPU.

    I used to do SETI in the 90s, but long ago decided it was a bad idea. The results are not urgent. Its better to just wait 10 years and do the whole global project on one smart phone.
    Your PC today can do in one hour what my PC 20 years ago did in one year.
    SETI uses computing power and electricity that could be better spent elsewhere.

    Rather put your efforts into something like Rosseta@home that is contributing to cures for diseases - and for which time is more important.

    I would rather cure cancer sooner than later. Proving that there are no alien radio beacons in our immediate neighborhood can wait a few years.

    Rosseta@home last time I looked does not have a GPU version.
  12. Joined
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    08 Mar '15 14:23
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Yep, that's correct as far as I can tell, he'll need a new motherboard. I think the new motherboards can support faster memory as well. The last time I bought a machine I got it from Yoyotech (www.yoyotech.co.uk) as you can specify all the components.

    I had a look and the quoted prices are for the fastest most expensive components are:

    Extreme ...[text shortened]... ly good. I'm actually a little envious of it. Woadman just plain does not need a new computer.
    Agreed, His machine is only a little less powerful than mine, and mine's a £1200 gaming monster.

    Barring it dying I would be looking for it to last at least another 5 years.

    Come back to us in ~2020.
  13. Standard memberDeepThought
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    08 Mar '15 15:59
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Agreed, His machine is only a little less powerful than mine, and mine's a £1200 gaming monster.

    Barring it dying I would be looking for it to last at least another 5 years.

    Come back to us in ~2020.
    Its better to just wait 10 years and do the whole global project on one smart phone.
    twhitehead
    I'm quite entertained by that concept.

    Intel have what they market as a tick-tock approach to processor development. First they work out the manufacturing process on a known architecture (tick). Then the work out a new architecture on a known manufacturing process (tock). This gives them an advantage relative to ARM as ARM only do the architecture and have no control over the process as they design the processors they don't make them. ARM's advantage is that it's a RISC processor and all the instructions are the same size which drastically simplifies the frontend - the machine doesn't have to work out where instructions start and end.

    I might have the tick and tock the wrong way round. But I think tick is manufacturing process and tock is new architecture. I did a little reading on Wikipedia to catch up on what Intel are doing.

    The Haswell processors (tock) with 6 or 8 cores are designed for enthusiasts and gamers. The standard ones, even the i7s, only have 4 cores. The Broadwell project (tick) shrank the channel width from 22nm to 14nm and was beset by problems, and were released behind schedule. They are intended for mobile applications and won't have more than 2 cores.

    Skylake (tock) will come at the end of this year and will include new instructions. On some of the processors they intend there to be SIMD registers 512 bits wide. As far as I could tell they'll only be available on Xeon branded processors - but I don't think that that is finalised. As things stand they've only announced 4 core processors for the i7. In the past when they've done that they've later released "unlocked" variants of the processor with more cores.

    Then Cannonlake (tick) will shrink the process to 10nm.

    My advice is don't bother with a Broadwell processor, unless you're buying a laptop of some description. If one needs a machine now get a Haswell machine. If one's prepared to wait then see what the Skylake processors are like. The Haswell processors probably (they don't normally but they're running Haswell and Broadwell in parallel because of the delays to Broadwell) will still be available and one can choose which of the three architectures are best suited to one's purposes.

    It could well be worth waiting for Canonlake or whatever they call the micro-architecture after that as the new AVX-3.2 512 bit vector instructions will be likely to be available on more of the processors, they may even make the SIMD vectors wider or add instructions.

    Obviously one should also check out AMD, ARM 64 bit and whatever other processors are around as well. It really depends on requirements, if your trading with China MIPS is worth considering as they adopted that as a national architecture to ensure processor independence. If all one's going to do with it is play online chess and chatter in forums then a 5 year old notebook like the one I'm writing this post on is perfectly adequate.
  14. Joined
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    08 Mar '15 17:50
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    That's a pretty high end processor. You have 4 processing cores, but because each core can run two threads at once using hyperthreading [1], you can have 8 simultaneous threads. This is an Ivy Bridge processor, it has fused multiply add for AVX, but it's only AVX 1, which means that it's missing some instructions relative to the bleeding edge.

    Woa ...[text shortened]... o so an AVX 2 floating point multiplication (say) and the other wanting to do integer add (say).
    Thanks for the good information..guess I'll not upgrade just yet....maybe only get a top notched video card and solid state HD.
  15. Joined
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    08 Mar '15 22:58
    Originally posted by woadman
    Thanks for the good information..guess I'll not upgrade just yet....maybe only get a top notched video card and solid state HD.
    Technically its Solid State Drive [SSD] and not Solid State Hard Drive.

    A Hard Disk Drive [HDD] is a data storage device that uses spinning metal or
    glass disks containing a magnetic materiel to store data. And were called
    HARD disk drives to distinguish them from FLOPPY Disk Drives [FDD].

    A Solid State Drive is a data storage device that uses [typically] solid state
    NAND flash memory to store data.

    And if you are looking to get an SSD then I would recommend Samsung's offerings
    as the best buy at the moment. 840 for budget, 850 pro for top performance,
    in whatever size your budget and requirements stretch too.

    I generally recommend an SSD 256GB for the OS and main programs, and a 1TB+ HDD
    for actually storing the data and less important programs. This tends to give the best
    value for money system. You just need to remember to relocate the normal data storage
    locations [my documents ect] to the HDD to make the process automatic.
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