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Old 08-11-2009, 06:42 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by darsunt View Post
I am leaning towards getting Redhat.
Red Hat vs. Centos: They are basically the same thing (some names and pictures are different). You probably aren't too worried about the price difference (Centos is free, Red Hat isn't) and you might want the support included with Red Hat.
Personally I think the free support you can get here at LQ is better than the support you can get from Red Hat. Also I find any kind of restrictive license adds problems beyond the direct cost (whatever they do to stop other people from stealing it tends to also stop paying customers from having convenient use of it). If too many people believed that, we wouldn't have Red Hat and then we probably wouldn't have Centos either. But personally I would select Centos. Where I work we have used both and have never renewed Red Hat support on any system where it expired. We just switch to Centos.

We're looking at huge amounts of memory, 48G minimum, plus as huge a swap space as feasible. A professor mention 1 terabyte of space, but I don't know if that is possible. Maybe a swap space can be distributed over a couple of disks.
Ram prices are low enough that 48GB is very affordable. A motherboard that supports 48GB may be less affordable. Many are still limited to 16GB. But 48GB support doesn't mean an absurd price, just that you're not talking a bargain motherboard.
An extra terabyte of disk space is a pretty trivial cost and 64 bit Linux will allow you to configure a terabyte of swap space. But there are very few algorithms for which using a terabyte of swap space would make any sense. If you or your professor are not experts in that topic, you better assume that what you want to run is not one of the few algorithms for which a terabyte of swap makes sense.

It is also possible to map very large data files into your program's address space. In all cases that would work at least as well as using a terabyte of swap space (with a little extra programming effort). In some cases it might work a lot better. But there are still relatively few situations in which an operation on a terabyte of active data will be practical with 48GB of physical ram.

I wonder how slowly the computer will run crunching numbers that are multiple times larger than double precision.
I assume you mean many numbers that are many times larger than double precision. The two issues are separable. How much slower are GMP (GNU Multiple Precision) numbers vs. ordinary doubles. I don't know, but you can test that easily now (for the kind of values you want to work with). You don't need to wait for a 48GB computer. The access pattern to a very lot (terabyte) of data using just a lot (48GB) of physical ram can't be tested without the machine. But if you understand the algorithms it could be estimated.
Old 08-11-2009, 11:01 AM   #17
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We are looking at a Tyan or Intel mobo, they have a few boards with large enough capacity. My choices were restricted to Redhat or ms server 2008 because of compatability issues with the mobo, I want to only use an op system the manufacturer has tested and okayed. I've dropped 2008 because it seems too specialized, some versions are limited to 8G process size, also they are rather expensive.

Yes, both microsoft and redhat are not too helpful with these types of questions.

Centos would be worth a try. Hopefully it won't have any driver issues with the mobo, since it is so similar to Redhat.

I will discuss the swap space issue with the prof. If I can't get away from it I might give it a shot, and if it doesn't work I will reload the op system and reconfigure everything. This project is definitely trial and error, hopefully I can get rid of as much error before hand.

I will try to find out about those algorithms mentioned, and see if I have enough ability to use them. I've been trying to figure out a way to check out how these system specs would work.
Old 08-11-2009, 12:28 PM   #18
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If Red Hat would work with that motherboard, there is no doubt Centos will work, but there is also no significant doubt any recent x86_64 Linux distribution will work.

I forget what exactly ms server 2008 is, but if it works I'd be pretty certain ordinary 64 bit Windows XP would work.


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