Adapted from an email that I sent out to a client:
I will give you my opinion on a good starting machine for doing pretty much any Flow Simulation. I can say this because I have worked with a number of customers over my 8+ years at SolidWorks. Note that any computer purchase (if one were to happen for you), that upgradeability (especially on RAM) of the system should be high in your considerations for future-proofing.
I would recommend going with a Quad core Intel i7 processor, which is the latest technology in CPUs from Intel; faster CPU speeds are preferable but the fastest speed chips come at a premium… economically speaking, one step below fastest or mid-range speeds are fine and money is better spent on more RAM. Dual-core CPUs are OK. If you can go for dual Quad cores, go for it. With any processors today, typically hyperthreading is enabled by default, my recommendation is to disable hyperthreading in the BIOS.
More RAM is better as implied earlier. I’d go with 8GB to start, and upgradeable to 16GB or more; 4GB is OK as a start. Obviously you’ll need a 64-bit OS to take advantage of the additional RAM, so Win7 64-bit is best moving forward; WinXP 64-bit is OK (for now).
A big bottleneck that many people do not consider is reading and writing data to hard drive, especially larger file sizes created by analysis. Laptops now offer SSDs which is where I would recommend customers to go, but again they come at a premium per GB. If SSD is not on your plates for now, then get the speediest spinning HDD available; laptop HDDs are not as speedy as desktop ones. If traditional HDD on a desktop, also consider RAID10 for speed and mirrored redundancy… requires 4 identical HDDs.
Video card is not a big requirement for the analysis side of things, but recommendations are to go with a SW approved graphics card (workstation grade, i.e OpenGL) & driver. Let design side of modeling determine what graphics card to use.
Hope this info helps! Attached find a WMV capturing the Intel CPU Performance gadget of my machine running a Flow Sim problem with 3.2 million cells.
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