[mpich-discuss] Hardware / Performance Recommendations?

Lou Picciano loupicciano at comcast.net
Wed Dec 18 12:31:31 CST 2013

MPICH Friends, 

Could we ask for some insights/recommendations on what hardware your sites are using in delivering these MPI(CH) workflows?
We've been doing proof-of-concept work thus far on readily-available commodity systems; in the near future, would be doing all custom builds, so are able to keep an 'open mind'!

At this point, we're looking into all SuperMicro, ECC memory, Intel Xeon E2nnn v2 series CPUs, and perhaps looking into leveraging nVidia GPUs as well.

Are there any big gotchas? Or no-gos?

What would opinions be on the Faster-ClockSpeed-vs.-More-Cores argument?

Is there a good argument in favor of the most expensive Xeons over more commodity i7 'consumer grade' CPUs (ECC aside)? Or as compared to Athlon multicore chips?

Is the negotiation over network (10GB) trivial enough that adding more (smaller) nodes might be roughly equivalent to building monster servers? Ie, are there any numbers comparing the More-nodes-fewer-cores-each to the 1-node, many-cores approach? (Think we know the answer to this one, roughly, but are wondering if there are any hard numbers we could use in our planning decisions).

Are there any specific hardware pieces / controllers / interfaces to be avoided?

I realize it's hard to make such assertions in a vacuum - ie, without more specifics about the workflow - but we don't have these fully nailed down yet. Nor will we have the opportunity in the very near term to apply much code optimization expertise. 

For the moment, we're projecting for clustered fortran workflows - but would like to hear observations/insights into how best keep options open. 

Many Thanks for Insights, Lou Picciano

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