Community
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
sandyda
Beginner
52 Views

MPI and Intel Quad Core 2 processor

I am planning to buy a Intel Quad Core 2 ( not Xeon ) processor to build a simple desktop for some research and development. I am interested in parallel and distributed computing and I want to explore MPI programming.

I am planning to install 32bit Linux on the hardware.

I could not find any clear documentation whether there is support for MPI libraries on the Quad Core 2 (q6600) processor. Everwhere I read people are either using a Xeon processor in 64bit architectures.

Can someone please clarify whether I can use Q6600 for full-fledged MPI support. What are the pros and cons?

Thanks in advance,

San
Sunday, September 02, 2007 11:42:48 AM
0 Kudos
5 Replies
TimP
Black Belt
52 Views

Well, full-fledged within the limitations of the 32-bit OS.
pro for 32-bit OS:
you may get by with slightly less RAM
less complication than switching between 32- and 64-bit MPI on 64-bit OS
con
likely not to take full advantage of quad core
can't make much use of more than 2GB (that's a problem for 4 core MPI)
you haven't given any reason for using 32-bit OS
sandyda
Beginner
52 Views

Thank for the clarification. Yes, I do not have a good reason not to use 64bit. I just haven''t installed a 64bit Linux nor do I have any experience with it. But it's not reason enough not to use it.

The next question would be hardware support for 64 bit Linux. I think my chosen Intel hardware has drivers for Linux - D975BX board w chipset and Q6600 procs. I just need to search Linux forums to see compatibel drivers for other hardware.

Although this is not a place to discuss about Linux hardware, I am limiting the conversation here. But any references would be helpful.


TimP
Black Belt
52 Views

As far as standard hardware components are concerned, the 64-bit linux versions are at least as well tested as the 32-bit ones. If you're a fan of ancient distros, or mixing no-longer-supported hardware with current platforms, you could expect as much difficulty with 32-bit as with 64-bit.
jimdempseyatthecove
Black Belt
52 Views

San,

If you intend to use a shared memory (SMPI) system then why not use OpenMP. Although message passing (MPI)will work on this system there is no advantage on the quad core system(other than having multiple virtual address spaces) and you have the disadvantage of the message passing overhead.

If you want to get in to MPI as opposed to OpenMP or other threadding environments then perhaps you should consider using two dual core systems or four single core systems. This will give you a better feel for MPI. With two dual core you could also test out a blend of OpenMP and MPI.

Jim Dempsey

TimP
Black Belt
52 Views

With applications which are suitable for MPI, and sufficient development, MPI should out-perform OpenMP on quad core. I would agree with Jim to the extent that MPI is seldom worth the additional effort unless you want to run on multiple nodes. Intel Cluster OpenMP begins to bridge the gap, and might out-perform OpenMP in some cases on quad core.
For applications which may want to run either OpenMP or MPI, and aren't seriously limited by buss bandwidth, dual Quad core systems often are recommended, such as Intel Clovertown (Xeon 53xx) or the soon to be announced AMD competitor. I've heard of retail pricing as low as $2100.
Reply