Has anybody had a deeper look into the different hardware components of a system and their influence on simulation performance? I think this would be really interesting, since most of us have a somewhat limited budget for such things and thus have to optimize their spending a bit. (otherwise, maybe we could just settle for this?: http://top500.org/blog/lists/2013/06/press-release/ :-) )
Some examples:
  • we found that using SSD drives can improve simulation performance quite significantly, but just picking the ‘best’ drive available is simply not possible (would cost us about 8000(!) €/800 GB right now)
  • ‘traditionally’ we use XEON processors for our simulation hardware; we have no real experience with core i7 or AMD CPUs. Is ECC really necessary for Infoworks simulations? Are there any other differences?
  • Will CPUs that are doing well in benchmarks (eg: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html) be the most desirable solution for Infoworks? Can Infoworks (ICM 2D apart) really make efficient use of, say a twin Xeon or an Opteron 16 core? For some 1D simulations we see no improvement when stepping up from 3 to 4 cores…
  • For combined 1D+2D simulations in ICM: should we rather focus on a heavy CPU and settle for a low cost cuda GPU, or get a high end GPU and add whatever CPU the remaining budget would still allow?


So my question would be: Given a certain budget, how do you choose your simulation hardware?