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Criteria new computer

asked 2011-05-25 10:07:41 -0500

roland gravatar image

Hi, technology changes rapidly, and after a few years everyone has to make a choice about new hardware. Now it is my turn...

I could not find many guidance via Google besides some very specific questions and answers on ASKBOT, Sage-support or Sage-devel. Most related are ask.sagemath.org/question/546/good-computer-for-fast-computation and (ask.sagemath.org/question/352/difference-of-performance-bewteen-a-core-i5-and)

What are reasonable standards today? What is nice, but not overdone? What is student level, semi-serious, and top-of-the-bill? What are criteria to buy now, or to wait for say 3-6-9 months? Is the Windows experience tool handy? Many related questions.

Based on the above suggestions: 1) Sage is single core: duo core or 4 core seems also good, isn't it? 2) 16G. Does Windows 7 + VMWARE (32bit) or Ubuntu (64bit) need it? 3) SSD is still. But does it increase speed? Value for money? 4) Are there different requirements for integer MIPS, floating point MIPS, specific applications? 5) Any other considerations, as internet speed?

The same questions, but asked differently. What is nice, but not overdone, for: a) Some integer, floating point or symbolic computations (calculation up to 15 minutes, memory usage < 30Mb)? b) Same as a), but calculations of 8 hours (mainly Cython) and a lot to save?

A third approach is budget related. If your budget is $300,400,500,750,1000,... What are the main issues to consider? (N.B.: Europe is more expensive). Is it just mainly Sage or it is a multipurpose machine. Last: simple PC will do, and heavy stuff possible via sagenb / KAIST (and maybe cloud)? Or should I wait for (multi-core) Cygwin?

Many different questions, but some guidance would be appreciated. For me heavy tasks as gaming, video , photo and music are not relevant. Up till now it seems that Intel Core i7-200k 3,4Gzh 8Mb, 16 G memory with 120SSD+60SSD will do. I can use two OS. But makes it sense? Thanks in advance for your support!

(It may be an idea to have a sage page for it, because it seems to me that it is a general question relevant over time for many).

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Based upon the request to be more specific, I would appreciate some guidance on the following two questions: 1) On for instance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benchmark_(computing) various benchmarks are mentioned. Which are most suitable for me (Sage user) to compare configurations? 2) What improvements can I expect using currently (i) 2 Quad CPU Q6700@2.67Hz 6GB DDR2-800 with Windows 7 and VMWare, versus (ii) Intel Core i7-200k 3,4Gzh 8Mb, 16 G DDR-1333 with 120SSD (Windows+VMWare/Sage 32bit) + 60SSD (Sage 64bit/Ubuntu 11.04)?

roland gravatar imageroland ( 2011-05-26 10:52:16 -0500 )edit

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answered 2011-05-25 17:19:14 -0500

Kelvin Li gravatar image

updated 2011-05-26 21:09:16 -0500

This is a big topic that cannot be appropriately addressed in a single Q&A entry, or on a single Sage Wiki page. The key to getting a specific answer is to detail your real use case(s), rather than listing a bunch of hypothetical ones. The two Ask Sage questions (which you mentioned) illustrate this point.

If you are looking for general guidance about pros/cons of different hardware specifications and various computer setups, unfortunately Ask Sage is not the appropriate place for your questions. There are many other forums, websites, and even books on this broader subject.

Generally speaking, there will be performance overheads when running in virtual machines (VMware, VirtualBox, etc). Also, Sage currently does not work on Cygwin. The ideal, most efficient, and easiest-to-manage setup is to simply run Sage on Linux on bare hardware, without virtual machines or Windows or Cygwin.

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Thanks for your explanation. As a non native speaker, it occurred to me that FAQ encourages people to ask questions which address issues of more general interest than addressing a personal issue. I misinterpreted this guidance, and I'm sorry for any inconvenience or irritation caused. N.B.: I'm somewhat puzzled about the difference between ASKSAGE and Sage-Support (general help and support on using Sage, e.g. installation, usage, functions, syntax, etc.)

roland gravatar imageroland ( 2011-05-26 10:48:47 -0500 )edit

From my understanding, Ask Sage is meant to be a Question & Answer site, whereas sage-support is discussion-oriented. The questions on Ask Sage should be of general interest to the Sage community. However, questions should be rather specific. Your original question was really a giant collection of questions.

Kelvin Li gravatar imageKelvin Li ( 2011-05-26 21:04:14 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2011-05-25 10:07:41 -0500

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Last updated: May 26 '11