I write this entry because I have received several questions about it. Many students, engineers and researchers have consulted me about the necessary computer (processor and graphics card) to develop simulations using ANSYS or OpenFOAM. Like everything in life, this “depends”, depends on the type of simulations that you will develop, the hours of use, and if you only assign it for CFD or for other types of jobs. Let’s see in parts:
- For exclusive (professional) use of CFD with large amounts of mesh elements
If we dedicate ourselves daily to develop simulations of CFD using any software (commercial or free) we need a good workstation that allows us long hours of work (computer on 24/7); in these cases we need a server processor for example Intel XEON or AMD EPYC (latest series), although they do not have a high frequency in GHz, these processors have a large bandwidth which allows avoiding “bottlenecks” (which happen with Ryzen processors or I7, I9) in simulations with large mesh elements, in addition these processors are prepared to be running continuously. It is ideal to install 02 processors on a single board because we can scale the performance. Regarding the graphics card is important to choose an Nvidia QUADRO, these cards are also designed to support long hours of work and also allow a better visualization of 3D objects, if you have that card we added an NVIDIA TESLA V100 have for sure that You will have the best worksation of the market. The costs of assembling one of these computers is very high.
2. For CFD sharing with other Render applications, games, etc.
If we develop simulations with mesh elements smaller than 8 MM and we use other softwares such as Blender, 3DMax, Autodesk Inventor, Solidworks where we need to render, we can select a Ryzen Threadripper processor or an i7 or i9, these processors are multi-threaded (multi-threaded) threading) which allows other tasks to be done in parallel, however this option does not serve to develop CFD simulations (in other blog we will explain why), these processors do not allow to scale (put 02 processors in a single board) although its great advantage in The high clock frequency, are very useful for simulations with few mesh elements. Regarding the graphics card we can select an NVIDIA QUADRO although with the NVIDIA Geforce RTX also work well, with the latter you can use your workstation for high-end games.
3. For practice and learn CFD, making eventual use of the computer
If you are starting in the world of CFD and do not want to invest too much you can opt for “economic” processors that will allow you to develop smaller simulations of 1MM mesh elements without problems, 4-core processors are more than enough with NVIDIA Geforce GTX video cards.
Here we share a video of an assembly of a workstation with a processor RYZEN Threadripper 2950x of 16 cores (32 threads) with an NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2060 video card.