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Purchase Template: Need a computer for crunching large data files with R.

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3 replies to this topic

#1 AHoerner


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Posted 08 May 2013 - 04:21 AM

Introduction (template below): The R language has many advantages, but a big disadvantage is that it keeps just about everything it is doing in RAM. I will be working on some large problems using national Census data and, though I expect I will need to do memory profiling, memory management, and various virtual memory techniques, I want to minimize the problems I face, which mainly means getting as much RAM and disk space as possible on a shoestring. (This is a personal project. I do not have an organizational budget). I have collected about 1.5 terabytes of the data I mean to use, and expect that I will ultimately need to keep twice that on hand locally.  I don’t think I will need to use any files much larger than a gig or two, but I think processing them could extend the RAM requirements to 10 gig or more. I have found cheap machines that seem to suit my needs in terms of RAM and disk space, but they are all intended for intensive gamers doing graphics-heavy processing, and I suspect there are better machines out there for memory-intensive number-crunching. I am less concerned about speed. I want my stuff not to crash. It is OK with me if it sometimes has to run all night. Oh, and it should be able to run two or three big monitors at a tiome, but not for anything more graphics-intensive than a lot of open browser windows.


My budget for the new computer is:

Less than $1,000 if possible; up to $1,500 if not. I am just asking about the desktop. I have monitors.


What are the primary uses for this computer (IE: mail, web browsing, programming, games, etc)?

Statistical analysis of large data sets.


What software do you intend on using on the computer?

The R language; database software, maybe big spreadsheets, etc. Also, intensive web browsing for literature and understanding, often with 200 tabs or more open at a time.


Do you play games? If so, what type of games?



Do you tend to have a lot of programs running at the same time, or do you close every program when you are done using it?

Lots open at one time, mainly browser tabs, PDF documents, and spreadsheets.


Do you store a lot of pictures or music on the computer?

I do not intend to on this one. This will be my work machine. I may keep a dozen gig or so of music for background listening, but few pictures or movies.


Any help or advice folks could offer would be greatly appreciated. 

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#2 GreenGiant117


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Posted 08 May 2013 - 03:40 PM

so youre going to need a decent processor (multiple programs running at once) and a boatload of RAM.


I would look at an Intel i5/i7 series processor (somewhere in the 3-3.4GHz range, but nothing too fancy)

An extended ATX motherboard with 8 slots for RAM (or regular ATX if you can find it with 8 slots)

8 sticks of either 4 or 8 gigs of RAM (speed accordingly to motherboard... probably 1600 or 1866)

Any case that will fit your motherboard.

A mid-range last-years-model graphics card (will be helpful when having lots of data displayed especially in Excel on graphs and stuff)

A 500GB hard drive for system installation and programs

A 1-2 TB hard drive for data storage.


I can elaborate more if needed but I dont have time at the moment to dig for parts, this should hopefully get you started

#3 dmssargent


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Posted 11 June 2013 - 02:17 PM

Do you want to do DIY or buy it premade?

Digital Storm could be something to look in to.

#4 dmssargent


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Posted 11 June 2013 - 02:26 PM

I think the


upgraded with



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