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ANSYS Workstation FAQ

Q: Where should I prioritize my budget to get the best performance?

A: ANSYS Mechanical and Fluent is able to utilize both the CPU and GPUs to complete your simulations. Although it supports GPU acceleration, our analysis of the benchmarks available on ANSYS.com indicate that it is better to spend your budget on more CPU power before worrying about using a more powerful GPU

Q: How well does ANSYS simulation software scale with more CPU cores?

A:  The short answer is: extremely well! It is nearly impossible for any software to perfectly scale to the point that doubling the number of cores doubles performance, but both ANSYS Mechanical and Fluent are very effective at utilizing higher numbers of cores. Because of this, we offer both single and dual CPU configurations that allow up to 44 CPU cores.

Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of a dual CPU workstation?

A: The main advantage of a dual CPU workstation is that it allows you to have an extremely high number of CPU cores - our dual CPU system allows for anywhere from 20 to 44 cores. This can give you anywhere from a modest 30% increase in performance to almost four times the performance of our single CPU workstation. The downside of a dual CPU workstation is that it is physically larger and not ideal for general CAD or 3D modeling tasks. These tasks tend to be what is called "single threaded" which means that they cannot utilize more than one or sometimes two CPU cores. Since the CPUs used in these dual CPU configurations run at relatively modest frequencies this means that you will have much lower performance compared to a single CPU workstation that is half (or even less) the cost.

Q: Do I need to use a Tesla/Quadro card or is GeForce OK?

A: ANSYS only officially certifies the use of Quadro and Tesla cards, but these cards are also slightly more reliable and the drivers are a bit more stable. Because of this, we highly recommend using a Quadro or Tesla card in your ANSYS workstation.

Q: How much system RAM do I need?

A: The amount of RAM you need is going to depend on the solver you are using and the complexity of your simulation:
Direct (Sparse) solver - 10-20GB per million DOFs.
Iterative (PCG) solver - 1GB per million DOFs.
Modal (Eigensolvers) solver -15-20GB per million DOFs.

Q: Should I use an SSD?

A: Yes! SSDs are much faster than traditional hard drives and in many cases can give a noticeable difference in performance if you use the drive to solve large models. In fact, modern SSDs are so fast that many of the old recommendations of using a RAID array no longer apply. There are still times when a RAID of drives for the extra performance is beneficial, but it is much rarer today than it was in the past.

Q: Do I need a Xeon CPU?

A: In the past, Xeon CPUs were more robust than their Core i5/i7 counterparts. Today, however, there is very little functional difference between the two Intel product families for workstations. In fact, the largest difference is simply the fact that the Xeon E5 family includes CPUs that allow for dual CPU configurations and higher core counts. Our ANSYS workstations use Xeon CPUs primarily due to the higher core counts compared to the standard Core i7 line.

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