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I would recommend getting the most RAM you can, and nice fast processor. Cosmos will take advantage of multiple cores.
Take a look in the performance categories, there are lots of posts about spec'ing a computer for solidworks, and what is good for solidworks is good for cosmos.
As for parts vs. assemblies, it depends on what you are trying to simulate. If you are only going to simulate single parts, the system does not have to be the best. Solution time increases drastically when you start to analyze assemblies with contact conditions.
I cannot comment on thermal/frequency/non-linear analysis as I only do linear static analysis.
Hope that helps.
The more the better in my opinion. I run dual quad-core processors (3.16 GHz)and 16GB of ram, and have still had non-linear analyses run for over 60 hours. Kinda annoying when you spend $15K on a workstation.
We are runiing a Dell T7400
2 E5341s (Quad Xeon)& 16G mem
We do siesmic for telecom racks.
This setup does quite well for that
purpose (Random Vibe loaded down rack
Have another mache that is P4 says Xeon (E3100)
that is quite poor at running these as is my E6750 at home
so the Xeons (real) seem to be the ticket
SW2009 Sim & Flo
Assuming mechanical simulations run a similar path to CFD, I just built an i7 Extreme 3.2GHz box with 12GB for $2700 and it's 20% faster than my Quad Core Extreme QX9650 3.0GHz on the exact same FloWorks simulation (18hrs vs. 22.5hrs). I haven't seen anything to date that shows anything except SPEED, SPEED, SPEED, it's all about GHz.
Simulation solving doesn't utilize multiple processors so don't let IT guys talk you into a slower chip with more cores, you'll regret it.