Office Compute Server Suggestions

Hey everyone,

I’m a PhD student at a lab in Bergen, Norway (coding/information theory and crypto). Several of the people in the lab are running heavy simulations (currently on their laptops/desktops) so we’re planning to buy a compute server to be shared by everyone in the lab. The plan is for people to SSH in and run whatever simulations they have. We can basically use as many cores and as much memory as we have. We’ve not done this before so I promised to look into it. We’re looking to spend around $5K or less. This is a pilot project for us so it’s better to spend less and observe how it’s used before we commit to spending a lot.

I’m very interested to hear if you have any suggestions. Since we need little reliability (can just re-run the simulations) consumer hardware could be a good choice. Maybe Threadripper? Or would you go with something more enterprise like Xeon? Prototyping software is often done on one core so it can be a bit painful to have very many slow cores compared to a few fast. Optane is an interesting option since it could give fast caching for the people that need lots of memory.

Thanks a lot for reading this far. Again, any suggestions or thoughts are appreciated!

look into Multi-Socket Amd Epyc based servers?

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AMD EPYC™ 7451 and spend the rest of the money on RAM?

2,5k€ for the CPU and the rest on RAM should be the way to go.

If you don’t need all the bells and whistles from the Enterprise Features of EPYC, maybe go with TR4?

I’m not sure but you could get 2 2990wx on a 2 socket MoBo so 64C/128T for ~3k€ and spend the rest on RAM and there you go.

That would be the best solution for maximum CPU Performance in your budget.

Thanks for the suggestions. That’s certainly an option. Not sure I need all the features of Epyc but it does look promising. Do you have a specific server in mind?

Thanks for the reply. Epyc looks promising I think. Do you have a specific server in mind? I don’t think there are dual socket TR4 motherboards?

Epyc comes to mind. Intels offers are very expensive.

No there are not. Would be interfering with AMDs server offerings.

Would look at supermicro offerings.
As for buying a fully built server, you would have to look into local retailers.

If you were to build it yourself:

Part Price (aprox.) Description
H11DSi 520€ two socket mainboard
Epyc 7401 2000€ 24 core 3GHz (careful, the varient with the P at the end only supports 1 socket)
Supermicro 743TQ-1200B-SQ 500€ Case with 1200W PSU

Leaves ~2000€ for CPU cooler, harddrives and RAM. A second CPU or a higher core count one will break the budget or options for future expandability.

  • 2X AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX (32C/64T, 4.2GHz, 80MB cache, 250W, sTR4, 12nm) 3600€

The Question is: Does Threapripper work on EPYC MoBo?

MazeFrame layed it out properly tho, that’s the way to go without breaking new ground.

AMD Epyc is definitely the way to go, great performance per dollar as your workload should be highly multithreaded. You may also benefit greatly from adding a GPU (or two) if your software supports GPU offloading.

I also wouldn’t immediately discount going through a traditional server OEM (Dell, HP, etc.) for the base configuration (CPU, PSU, and maybe RAM) and adding your own storage after you receive it. You will instantly get a better warranty in terms of failed part replacement speed, and generally you’ll also get a 3yr warranty instead of 1yr for consumer gear. They generally make a huge profit on the addons (HDDs, NICs, etc.) and you will be surprised how competitive they are on chassis, CPU, PSU, (sometimes) RAM compared to building your own, with much less headache.

Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys :slight_smile:

We ended up buying an EPYC-based server from Dell.
PowerEdge R7425
2x AMD EPYC 7451 2.3GHz/2.9GHz, 24C/48T, 64M Cache(180W) DDR4-2666
12x 16GB RDIMM, 2667MT/s
1x 960GB SSD SATA Read Intensive 6Gbps 512n 2.5in Hot-plug Drive
Broadcom 57416 2 Port 10Gb Base-T + 5720 2 Port 1Gb Base-T, rNDC

After some negotiating we paid about 77k NOK (about 9k USD) for the server, rails and a cable arm excluding VAT.

So far everything is working very well :slight_smile: