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Purchase Template: Workstation for statistics (Stata, R) and some simulation

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#1 Measure for Measure

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 05:30 PM

Laptop or Desktop? Desktop.

My budget for the new computer is: $750-$2000. That's quite a range. If OEM, much closer to $750. But I'll consider a custom manufacturer, eg Puget Sound.

What are the primary uses for this computer (IE: mail, web browsing, programming, games, etc)? Home office: Programming, regressions in Stata, a statistics package. Also web, some multimedia (You tube in big screen). No games.

Most days, any quad core would be fine. Occasionally I do simulations though, which can run for hours or even days. At that point a faster processor (ie i7) would be nice. Currently using Intel Core i7 4790 @ 3.60GHz. Hoping to go a little faster, but...

12-16GB RAM.

What software do you intend on using on the computer? Stata, R, MuPad, spreadsheet, Web.

Do you play games? If so, what type of games? No. So integrated graphics are fine.

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? Yes, I multitask.

Do you store a lot of pictures or music on the computer? Some. Min: 1 TB HD. 2 TB is ok.

Will you be overclocking? No.

Location for online shopping/shipment/prices? Amazon. Here's the unit I'm thinking of now, an $881 Lenovo 510A https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B06WWQKCJV/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I3HY6VSB7Y7O99&colid=110VCGJQTPINL&psc=0

How many monitors are you planning to use? One. I'll have 2 desktops hooked up to a DELL 2408WFP (1920x1200@59Hz) monitor.

Do you need peripherals? OS? Windows 10. Pro would be nice, but I guess Home is acceptable.

Any particular reason why you are upgrading? My Lenovo K450e BSODs: problem emerged after 2 years ownership, 1 year out of warranty.

Other issues
  I want a quiet PC, which doesn't mean silent. My 2015 Lenovo K450e is fine, with  a 2TB platter HD and no SSD. My 2009 Dell Inspiron 546 (2.30 gigahertz AMD Phenom 9650 Quad-Core) is noisier than I would like. According to a 2012 article Lenovos and ASUS tend to be quieter while Dells and HPs are noisier. But that article was written over 5 years ago. I understand that AMDs tend to run hotter than Intel chips, requiring some form of cooling.
  A custom PC shop would presumably provide me with a PC quieter than I need for about $1000 more than I would like. But there would be other advantages as well, eg a quality power supply.
  Lots of USB ports are nice. Both in back and front. Media card reader is nice. DVD burner still useful.
  Warm fuzzies from a custom shop is nice, but prices give me cold feet. If I knew of a local shop, I'd think about it.  System warranty is a must, so I don't want to build my own.

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#2 Drillingmachine


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Posted 14 January 2018 - 10:38 AM

 I understand that AMDs tend to run hotter than Intel chips, requiring some form of cooling.


No, Intel chips run much hotter than AMD chips. That has been case for years now mainly because Intel decided to use toothpaste under CPU heat spreader.


Because you cannot build yourself, are there any other places you can buy customized machine.


Also AMD stock coolers are quite good and silent today. Here's example of Intel's stock cooler



No wonder Intel no longer supplies stock cooler except for low end parts.

Edited by Drillingmachine, 14 January 2018 - 10:40 AM.

#3 Measure for Measure

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 03:19 PM

My AMD information is current as of, oh, a decade ago. :)

Thanks for the update.


Passmark tends to indicate that AMD chips are a better value. They are also less affected by the recently reported hardware bugs, though they are unscathed. Perhaps I should lean in their direction. Do they have any downside that I should know about?


Any recommendations for custom manufacturers are welcome. Most (not all) are understandably oriented towards gaming though.



ETA1: I see AMD's Ryzen processor received solid reviews when it was released last year, particularly in workstation settings. Nice.



The processors are vulnerable to Spectre but not Meltdown. A patch was released last week; more will follow.



ETA2: My copy of Stata is single-core, though that may change in the future. Ryzen's strength is apparently multi-threading, so I might not see great performance advantages from it in all contexts.

Edited by Measure for Measure, 14 January 2018 - 04:09 PM.

#4 Drillingmachine


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Posted 14 January 2018 - 04:12 PM

Passmark is obsolete software, something I would not use to evaluate CPU performance.


About only downside on AMD CPU's is fairly poor AVX performance. As there are still not much use for AVX, that hardly matters. Then there are many positives for AMD like cooler operation, better SMT (Intel calls that Hyper Threading) implementation, better build quality, much better platforms and longer lasting platforms.


I have no personal experience of custom manufacturers. Most make gaming machines and it's quite strange they only offer "nice looking" gaming cases.


AMD is only vulnerable to Spectre 1 variant. Just to be sure, AMD is offering firmware patches to Spectre 2 although it hasn't been proven Spectre 2 works on AMD CPU's.

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