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Hardware survey

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I've been playing with performance for DB3 recently (benchmarks mostly to figure out what sort of CPU budget I have to work with if I want reasonable sim sizes to run at reasonable rates), and also considering buying a new computer, so it seems like a good time to talk about hardware.

My plan right now is to get some hexcore monstrosity and something like the Titan GPU, half for games and half for DB3, and build DB3 to target that hardware specifically.  There'd be a dumbed down version that ran straight C# and would work on any machine, but for any real sims you'd need to be running on something similar.  Which would mean AVX and double-precision DirectCompute.  Both technologies are only supported in very recent hardware, though.  For AVX, you'd need either a Sandy Bridge or later Intel processor (so Q1 2011) or a Bulldozer or later AMD (Q3 2011 or later).  For Direct Compute, you'd need a card that ran at least DirectX 11, which means cards from about Nvidia Geforce 400 series or later (Q1 2010).  And it would need to support double precision, which not all cards do (I can't find hard data on which cards do and don't).

So, what sort of machines are people running now?  What sort of rigs do people expect to have in, say, 2-3 years?  Would anyone be willing to splurge on an insane machine if it meant they could run large Darwinbots sims?  Basically I don't think I have the time/interest to support more than one hardware platform, so I'm looking at supporting the high end of the current hardware market and hope that when I actually finish, the hardware is more common.

But if no one is going to have a machine like that even a few years from now...  I'll still probably do it, but I'd feel bad about it :)

Ugh... My Vista is crawling on the ground with 1GB RAM and 2.0 processor...  :blueblob: I should be getting a new laptop soon, but it will most likely have the smae or worse specs.

I forget that some people have laptops as their main/only devices.  Memory isn't much of a concern, but it's probably going to chug without a decent CPU no matter what.

I have:
Processor: AMD Athlon II X4 635: 2.9ghz quad core (@3.3) (no AVX  :( )
Memory: 12 gigs (@1600)
GPU: AMD Radeon HD 5770 1 gig ram
         With OpenCL support and DirectCompute 11  :balloon:

(I read OpenCL has cpu fall back, not that I am suggesting it.
 I really wasn't suggesting, I heard it had more bugs.)

I was originally going to go with OpenCL, but the driver support for it on GPUs is kinda terrible.  On my system, if the OpenCL kernel hangs for too long, the whole system becomes unresponsive and windows goes blue screen.  I don't really want to mess with that :/

The other option is CUDA, but I'd hate to lock people in to NVidia hardware.


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