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Old 06-06-2006, 09:04 PM   #1
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Australia
Distribution: openSuSE 11.0
Posts: 33

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Need to build a high-end number cruncher - how much memory can Linux handle?

Does anyone have any advice on building a high end workstation for memory-intensive number crunching?
I need to build a system for solving finite element (FE) models using Abaqus, a FE software suite.
This will require lots of memory.
Looking around I found that dual-core Opteron or Xeon 64-bit motherboards can accept up to 16 GB of memory.
I know Windows has a serious problem with using more than 4GB of memory even on a 64-bit system.
Does Linux have any practical limits when it comes to memory use? (The Abaqus software should be able to handle it.)

Any other advice regarding what other components I should be looking out for, what distro is best for this type of workstation (I use SuSE and am pretty happy with it on a 64-bit) etc. would be much appreciated.
Old 06-06-2006, 09:53 PM   #2
Registered: Feb 2005
Location: San Antonio, TX
Distribution: Gentoo
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If I remember correctly, and I should have looked at this while I was compiling my new kernel (just finished ), the largest it can handle is 64GB. Someone correct me if I'm off base, but I'm pretty sure.


Old 06-07-2006, 03:13 PM   #3
Registered: May 2005
Location: Denmark, Randers
Distribution: Debian, Suse Linux
Posts: 64

Rep: Reputation: 15
This post from 2003 as answer to the same question

Linux supports up to 4 GB (~2^32 bytes) of memory on 32-bit
architectures and 64 GB (~2^36 bytes) on x86 with PAE. No other
operating system can support more on 32-bit since it is a limitation of
the hardware.
On 64-bit systems, Linux supports up to 16 EB (~2^64 bytes) of memory,
which is about 16 million times more than the 1 TB limit of MS.

Current Linux 2.4 allows 32 CPUs for 32-bit arches and 64 CPUs on 64-bit
arches. However, this limit is (was?) being removed in 2.5, so you can
have up to 32767 CPUs, which should be enough for you right now.
(Note: I said _right now_, lest anybody make jokes about 640K limit)
Old 06-07-2006, 08:16 PM   #4
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Australia
Distribution: openSuSE 11.0
Posts: 33

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15

Thanks for the answers.
That's way more than I need, or indeed can afford, so I'm happy.


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