Best Reasonably-Priced CPU for BOINC

MarkHNC
MarkHNC
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Topic 204109

I know I am both opening a can of worms and asking a very open-ended, subjective question, so I'll give quick context.  Tonight, I came home to find my primary (i.e. favorite) PC completely dark.  By way of eulogy . . . despite it's now advancing age (moderately overclocked AMD Phenom II X4 965), for a long time it was my most stable machine -- performing well at way more than just BOINC.  Between WinXP and then Win7, it generated almost 21M of my 34M+ BOINC points on Einstein, not to mention just shy of 6 years of computing for WCG alongside, since May 2012.  However, I don't have much time to mourn.  I will be ordering parts to replace the CPU, motherboard and RAM in the next 24 hours, so I can hopefully rebuild the replacement over the weekend.  (God help my credit card.)

I tried Googling variations on "best performing BOINC CPU", and was unsure about what I found that was relatively recent.

So I need considered/experienced advice to choose between AMD and Intel.  I intend to keep power usage/TDP and price reasonable, so it looks like AMD's best is the FX-8350 Black at 4.0 GHz and 125W currently available for 180 USD on Amazon, including Wraith cooler.  However, when I turn to Intel, the price jumps and the core (if not thread) count drops.  The i7-5820K gives me 6 threads at 3.3GHz, but the TDP jumps to 140W and the price to 390 USD at Newegg.  Is it worth going 50 USD more to move up to the i7-6800K?  Since I have to consider motherboards as well, I need to try to stay around 800 USD or less for CPU, cooler, MB and at least 16GB RAM.  From what I've read, Intel's processors can best AMD's despite lower frequencies.  I don't mind investing more in an Intel, as long as I can be sure that I'll get commensurate performance for my spend. 

Willing to offer pluses/minuses on these choices?  Can you point me to a thread here, or pages elsewhere?

Thanks!

archae86
archae86
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Personally, I would go rather

Personally, I would go rather lower priced in the Intel line, looking at i5 and i3 options, with significantly lower power than your current search point.

I would spend the money saved on the CPU on a Pascal-generation GPU card.  The GTX 1050 or the 3 GB GTX 1060 are surprisingly affordable and surprisingly low in power consumption used on the current Einstein applications.

I think that combination would get you both more bang for the purchase dollar and more bang per kilowatt hour.

Of course if your primary interest is in Gravity Wave searches, and you don't want to bet that an efficient GPU version will be offered any time soon, then I'd back off on my advice.

Keith Myers
Keith Myers
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If you want to stay a AMD

If you want to stay a AMD fanboy, go for the FX-8300 @ $105 (Amazon or Newegg) and overclock it to a stable 4.0 Ghz with just a multiplier and minimal VCC bump.  You get 8 cores (or really 4 X 2 cores/threads) and spend the savings on a good GTX 6GB GTX1060.  Just make sure you put it into a decent AMD 990FX motherboard with good 8+3 power delivery.  I'm having good luck with the ASUS M5A99FX Pro 2.0 motherboard ($127) and the FX-8300. If it doesn't come with the Wraith cooler, then spring for the CoolerMaster Evo Hyper 212 @ $35. This combo is supporting a pair of my old GTX 970 cards after I upgraded my main crunchers to GTX 1070 pairs.

 

 

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MarkJ
MarkJ
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I have a couple of i7-5820k's

I have a couple of i7-5820k's they are 6 core/12 thread @ 3.2Ghz. Not too bad performance but a bit of overkill. Even Intel recommend water cooling them, mine have Corsair H80i coolers but I replaced the Corsair fans with Noctua so it runs quiet.

Most of my farm is i7-6700 machines (4 core/8 thread) as CPU crunchers. If you can stretch the finances I would add a GPU such as a GTX1050 or the Ti variant.

AgentB
AgentB
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I'd agree with Archae's

I'd agree with Archae's comments about what tasks do you want it to crunch (assuming thats all it does) determines decisions.

I'm hazarding a guess it is this host with a  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 which died.

I guess the question is what has actually died - the CPU, PSU,  mobo (least -> most likely). 

Are you keeping the GPU, HDD and PSU?

I think i might just replace the mobo (assuming broken) with something cheap off ebay then take some time to build from ground up (new case etc) - maybe selling the old one when you have the new one built. I find mixing old stuff with new just makes new stuff unreliable.

If you are thinking about a CPU tasks alone,  there was a thread a while back which looked at some really cheap second hand Xeons which would run 16 or more threads each CPU, and dual CPU mobos are somewhat affordable.

My only addition would be make sure you have a quad channel memory as it does make a difference in performance especially when running large numbers of tasks concurrently.

MarkHNC
MarkHNC
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After a good night's rest,

After a good night's rest, during my 0500 caffeine, I remembered that similar unexplained phenomenon in the past had been down to a bad power supply.  I decided, before I dropped several hundred USD on new components, that I would test the power supply possibility.  So I left the day job early this afternoon, pulled the 650W from the misbehaving box, pulled the 500W from my media center PC, and installed the 500W into the miscreant.  Prime95 is approaching an hour and a half of runtime, while I couldn't get more than 5 minutes nominal load out of it, at best, before it had finally stopped booting at all.

Sadly, last evening, when desperation had kicked in, among the troubleshooting which I tried was a decision to pull and reseat the processor, so now I'm going to have to go through thermal compound break-in again (despite tinting).

So, my personal CFO side is very pleased, although the computer geek in me cannot help but be disappointed. Having (more or less) made peace with/resigned to spending the money, I was starting to look forward to having the faster performer.  Instead, I've just ordered a replacement power supply, but I thought I'd share what I learned from further online research.

Most of the give and take in forums regarding AMD vs. Intel seems to revolve around RAM speeds and number/type of PCIe lanes.  For example, where the documentation says that the max RAM speed on AMD FX 83xx is DDR3-1866, documentation says that i7-5820K is DDR4-2133 and i7-6800K is DDR4-2400.  Discussions (arguments) about PCIe often revolved around suitability for use (what number and types of PCIe devices were to be used).

Yes, the host you linked is the one with the GTX 650 (SC).  A fair number of the points garnered by that machine was when it was running a GTX 960 SSC 2GB.  However, as you suggested about the second-hand Xeons, I bought a reconditioned HP Z420 (host link) back around the first of October, which apparently had had its CPU switched out to a Xeon E5-2670v1 during reconditioning.  (That CPU is not listed in HP's documentation as being available on the Z420.)  The Z420 represents my first 24/7 dedicated cruncher.  I paid 369 USD, and then replaced the 8GB of RAM that came with it with Kingston 32GB DDR3-1600 ECC for 190 USD, which, in total, I considered a fair bargain.  At 2.6GHz, it is not the fastest, but with hyperthreading and quad channel, it is productive and relatively energy-efficient (PS is 600W 80 PLUS Gold).

I begrudgingly gave up my GTX 960 SSC (my schedule allows limited gaming these days), and put it in the Xeon box, and pulled the GTX 650 SC from a box that had onboard video, and put it into this Phenom box.  I had to face the fact that, with its faster bus/RAM, that Z420 would make much more of that GPU than the old Phenom box could when running Einstein tasks.  Besides, in the very rare "spare" time I take to game, I enjoy visiting the past in the modern ports of Freespace/Freespace 2, and that 650 seems to handle it well.

Thanks to all for taking the time to share advice.  Later on in 2017, I'm likely to put it to good use.

Michgelsen
Michgelsen
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It's a good thing you can

It's a good thing you can wait a little while before needing to buy a new processor. The new AMD Ryzen processors are right around the corner and will be offered up to 8 core / 16 thread parts, likely for much lower prices than the current Intel 8 core processors. This time however, the performance of the AMD parts will also be up to par, as the first benchmarks show. For crunching this is definitely something to look into.

Keith Myers
Keith Myers
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Michgelsen wrote:It's a good

Michgelsen wrote:
It's a good thing you can wait a little while before needing to buy a new processor. The new AMD Ryzen processors are right around the corner and will be offered up to 8 core / 16 thread parts, likely for much lower prices than the current Intel 8 core processors. This time however, the performance of the AMD parts will also be up to par, as the first benchmarks show. For crunching this is definitely something to look into.

Still some question about their relative performance against Intel equivalent.  Been lots of discussion about the pre-review tests conducted and whether they were exactly the same for each hardware platform. There have already been some admissions that they weren't.  Clock speeds weren't the same either. Only independent testing will prove out the new architecture and whether it will have an impact in the market at whatever price point they bring it in at. I hope Ryzen succeeds. Intel needs competition to challenge it.

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jay
jay
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Seti has some interesting

Seti has some interesting stats from their user database of CPU and GPU performance.

I am not sure of the comparison of their WU to Einstein WU,

but I think it is better than gaming stats.

https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/stats.php

Then select cpu Models and GPU models

 

Keith Myers
Keith Myers
Joined: 11 Feb 11
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Well by now, the new Ryzen 7

Well by now, the new Ryzen 7 CPU family has been well documented, reviewed and commented on.  Not a home run so far with regard to gaming, but VERY good performance on business, productivity and scientific applications. The best bang for the buck entry is the 1700 for $330.  It clocks just as fast as the other two higher priced SKU's for $170 less. Makes a good case for itself for equivalent or better performance than comparable Intel processors at 1/3 to 1/2 the cost. I believe that someone here at Einstein already has posted on the performance of the Ryzen CPU on FGRPSSE.

introducing-new-amd-ryzen

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Jim1348
Jim1348
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It is very nice for crunching

It is very nice for crunching purposes, but it is not clear how it does on AVX.  I have several machines on projects that don't need it, but some do, and maybe more in the future.

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