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Thread Subject:
upgrade RAM vs CPU

Subject: upgrade RAM vs CPU

From: Joshua

Date: 9 Aug, 2010 13:38:04

Message: 1 of 8

i use matlab a lot, and i run a mac. the new mac pro's came out today, so i am debating where to allocate my resources (ie, RAM, SSD, CPU, cores, 64-bit matlab, etc.). in nearly all my scripts, the most time consuming operations are: .*, exp, ln, sqrt, etc. essentially, element-wise operations. the size of my arrays tends to be about 100x100 doubles.

my plan is to go to an apple store, install matlab on a bunch of different mac pro's with different specs, and see which things seem to make a difference. but, perhaps somebody here knows what i could expect.

i imagine since my operations are all element-wise, multicores would help. but, the arrays are not that large, so the overhead might make it not worth it.

any insight on these matters would be much appreciated.

Subject: upgrade RAM vs CPU

From: Andy

Date: 9 Aug, 2010 13:49:04

Message: 2 of 8

"joshua " <jv.work@jhu.edu> wrote in message <i3p0bs$s5r$1@fred.mathworks.com>...
> i use matlab a lot, and i run a mac. the new mac pro's came out today, so i am debating where to allocate my resources (ie, RAM, SSD, CPU, cores, 64-bit matlab, etc.). in nearly all my scripts, the most time consuming operations are: .*, exp, ln, sqrt, etc. essentially, element-wise operations. the size of my arrays tends to be about 100x100 doubles.
>
> my plan is to go to an apple store, install matlab on a bunch of different mac pro's with different specs, and see which things seem to make a difference. but, perhaps somebody here knows what i could expect.
>
> i imagine since my operations are all element-wise, multicores would help. but, the arrays are not that large, so the overhead might make it not worth it.
>
> any insight on these matters would be much appreciated.

1. What are the specs of your current machine?
2. What is the budget for the new machine?
3. Are you absolutely set on a Mac?
4. Would you consider building the machine yourself?

Subject: upgrade RAM vs CPU

From: Sean

Date: 9 Aug, 2010 13:56:20

Message: 3 of 8

"joshua " <jv.work@jhu.edu> wrote in message <i3p0bs$s5r$1@fred.mathworks.com>...
> i use matlab a lot, and i run a mac. the new mac pro's came out today, so i am debating where to allocate my resources (ie, RAM, SSD, CPU, cores, 64-bit matlab, etc.). in nearly all my scripts, the most time consuming operations are: .*, exp, ln, sqrt, etc. essentially, element-wise operations. the size of my arrays tends to be about 100x100 doubles.
>
> my plan is to go to an apple store, install matlab on a bunch of different mac pro's with different specs, and see which things seem to make a difference. but, perhaps somebody here knows what i could expect.
>
> i imagine since my operations are all element-wise, multicores would help. but, the arrays are not that large, so the overhead might make it not worth it.
>
> any insight on these matters would be much appreciated.

Well a 100x100 double is 80000 bytes which is nil so it doesn't sound like RAM is your limiting factor. I would think a faster processor would be your best bet. Also, I would HIGHLY doubt the Apple Store will let you load any executable file on their computers. You probably would need an institutional license to load MATLAB on these computers anyway and I HIGHLY doubt they want you adding a head count to their license for the 3 minutes you're going to use it. I'm basically saying don't waste your time at the Apple Store.

Subject: upgrade RAM vs CPU

From: Joshua

Date: 9 Aug, 2010 15:04:05

Message: 4 of 8

"Andy " <myfakeemailaddress@gmail.com> wrote in message <i3p10g$acq$1@fred.mathworks.com>...
> "joshua " <jv.work@jhu.edu> wrote in message <i3p0bs$s5r$1@fred.mathworks.com>...
> > i use matlab a lot, and i run a mac. the new mac pro's came out today, so i am debating where to allocate my resources (ie, RAM, SSD, CPU, cores, 64-bit matlab, etc.). in nearly all my scripts, the most time consuming operations are: .*, exp, ln, sqrt, etc. essentially, element-wise operations. the size of my arrays tends to be about 100x100 doubles.
> >
> > my plan is to go to an apple store, install matlab on a bunch of different mac pro's with different specs, and see which things seem to make a difference. but, perhaps somebody here knows what i could expect.
> >
> > i imagine since my operations are all element-wise, multicores would help. but, the arrays are not that large, so the overhead might make it not worth it.
> >
> > any insight on these matters would be much appreciated.
>
> 1. What are the specs of your current machine?

macbook pro, early 2008, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
osx 10.5.8,
MATLAB Version 7.6.0.324 (R2008a)

> 2. What is the budget for the new machine?

not well defined. big differences in processing power are worth money. 3-4k would be nice for desktop, i've got displays and storage already.

> 3. Are you absolutely set on a Mac?

i guess not absolutely. i like mac for many reasons, i can't handle windows anymore. i guess i could handle some linux distro, if i could get the same speed for <<$. i haven't looked much at speed comps of macs vs. linux, although i know my mac runs matlab MUCH slower than my windows boxes.

> 4. Would you consider building the machine yourself?

not really, i have enough cash and not enough need for speed that i don't think i'd save enough to make it worth my while. i don't need the fastest thing in the world, i just want something pretty fast that will work ALL the time. i am happy to pay to not have to deal with troubleshooting hardware compatibility issues (i used to build my own machines, though not so well, i guess).

Subject: upgrade RAM vs CPU

From: Joshua

Date: 9 Aug, 2010 15:05:22

Message: 5 of 8

> Well a 100x100 double is 80000 bytes which is nil so it doesn't sound like RAM is your
> limiting factor. I would think a faster processor would be your best bet. Also, I would
> HIGHLY doubt the Apple Store will let you load any executable file on their computers.
> You probably would need an institutional license to load MATLAB on these computers
> anyway and I HIGHLY doubt they want you adding a head count to their license for the 3
> minutes you're going to use it. I'm basically saying don't waste your time at the Apple Store.


i thought i could install a trial version. maybe i'll call them first....

Subject: upgrade RAM vs CPU

From: Andy

Date: 9 Aug, 2010 15:22:04

Message: 6 of 8

With a core 2 duo processor and 4GB of ram, I don't quite see how operations on 100x100 double arrays are a problem. Are you dealing with millions of them? What are your MATLAB applications? You can spend $1000 getting a powerful desktop that will be much faster than your 2-year-old Macbook Pro, or you can spend $3-4k and get a ridiculously powerful machine. But you should only do that if there is a real need for the difference in computing power.

I'd also suggest that the higher your budget, the more you should consider building the machine yourself. You'll pay a high premium to computer manufactures for specialty hardware like top-end processors. (You'll pay a premium on the parts, too. But it's not as much and you can save money on the rest of the components.)

Subject: upgrade RAM vs CPU

From: Joshua

Date: 9 Aug, 2010 15:53:04

Message: 7 of 8


> With a core 2 duo processor and 4GB of ram, I don't quite see how operatiodddns on 100x100 double arrays are a problem. Are you dealing with millions of them? What are your MATLAB applications?

lots of particle filtering. so, for each data set, with about 1000 time steps, we have O(1e3) operations on 100x100 double arrays. and i have hundreds of data sets, so we are talking about O(1e5) operations. not horribly huge or time consuming, but it takes over night on my current setup, and i'd like it to take much less time.

 > You can spend $1000 getting a powerful desktop that will be much faster than your 2-year-old Macbook Pro, or you can spend $3-4k and get a ridiculously powerful machine. But you should only do that if there is a real need for the difference in computing power.>
 
> I'd also suggest that the higher your budget, the more you should consider building the machine yourself. You'll pay a high premium to computer manufactures for specialty hardware like top-end processors. (You'll pay a premium on the parts, too. But it's not as much and you can save money on the rest of the components.)

well, since i have access to a proper cluster and such, i really don't need a super fast workstation. just something that is easy for me to configure and use on a daily basis, that is not too expensive.

my real question is: given the base mac pro, $1.0-1.5k will get me either: a faster processor, more cores, 32GB of RAM (3rd party), or a SSD. for my ops, which makes the most sense? i'm getting a sense that it is faster processor....

Subject: upgrade RAM vs CPU

From: Andy

Date: 9 Aug, 2010 16:00:22

Message: 8 of 8

I think I'd agree the processor will make the most difference, although I can't say whether more cores or faster (fewer) cores would be better for your particular application.

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