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AXIS Recommended Equipment

A Quick Guide to Hardware and Operating Systems

(Revised Sept 28th, 2015)

What's changed recently?

Intel recently introduced their latest processors based on the "Skylake" architecture. These processors are packaged as the "Core i7-6XXXXX" and are available for laptops, desktops, and workstations.  On the server side, the E5-26xx V3 processors released in late 2014 remain our top recommendation at this time.  Servers based on the Broadwell-EP architecture - marketed as the Intel Xeon "V4" - are expected to replace the existing chips in Q4 2015 or Q1 2016.

AMD is no longer competitive for AXIS users.

Advice

Please call Phil Gold (416-250-2596) or Rob Sweezie (416-250-2599) for up to the minute information or advice, since the situation changes quickly.

Processors

AXIS makes strong demands on the floating-point capabilities of your processor, so we will always advise you to buy the best floating-point performance you can afford.

1. Notebooks

Intel Quad-Core Chips

We recommend these Core i7 chips (Broadwell - i7-5XXXX, or Skylake - I7-6XXXX) for the highest possible performance in a laptop today when using distributed processing. 

    Core i7-6920HQ  2.90 GHz
    Core i7-6820HQ 2.70 GHz
    Core i7-6700HQ  2.80 GHz
    Core i5-6440HQ  2.60 GHz
    Core i7-5950HQ 2.90 GHz
    Core i7-5850HQ 2.70 GHz
    Core i7-5700HQ 2.70 GHz

2. Desktops

Intel Six-Core Chips

The following six core chips (Haswell) carry our top desktop recommendation for six core processors.  No six core Broadwell or Skylake processors are available.

    Core i7-5960X 3.00 GHz
    Core i7-5930K  3.50 GHz

Intel Quad-Core Chips

The following four core chips (Haswell - i7-4XXXX, Broadwell - i7-5XXXX, or Skylake - i7-6XXXX) also carry our top desktop recommendation for 4 core processors.

    Core i7-6700K 4.00 GHz
    Core i7-6700 3.40 GHz
    Core i5-6600K 3.50 GHz
    Core i5-6600 3.30 GHz
    Core i5-6400 2.70 GHz
    Core i7-5775C 3.30 GHz
    Core i5-5675C 3.10 GHz
    Core i7-4790K 4.00 GHz
    Core I7-4790 3.60 GHz
    Core i7-4770K    3.50 GHz
Core i7-4770   3.40 GHz
    Core i5-4670K 3.40 GHz
Core i5-4670 3.40 GHz

3. Workstations and Servers

Racks of dual-processor servers are a popular choice for scaling AXIS under Distributed Processing and Grid Computing. Where space is at a premium, Blade servers do an excellent job. Please note that disk drives capacity and speed are critical in these applications – please call for details.

Intel Xeon

Please see our GridLink Recommended Equipment page for a full discussion of server hardware and recommendations.  

Our top Xeon recommendations are as follows: 

    Xeon E5-2697 v3   2.60 GHz 14 cores
Xeon E5-2690 v3  2.60 GHz 12 cores
    Xeon E5-2685 v3 2.60 GHz 12 cores
Xeon E5-2660 v3 2.60 GHz 10 cores
    Xeon E5-2667 v3 3.20 GHz 8 cores

Note: Due to the extreme workload placed on the drive systems in multi-processor servers and the availability of higher clock rates in smaller servers, we strongly recommend 2 processor servers over 4 processor or 8 processor servers

Run Times (Recommended processors are shown with an asterix *)

This table should be used as a rough guide only.

Notebook Processors

Clock Speed

Time

       

Core i7-3610QM

(quad-core)

2.30 GHz

5686 secs

Core i7-3615QM

(quad-core)

2.30 GHz

5686 secs

Core i7-3635QM

(quad-core)

2.40 GHz

5458 secs

Core i7-3720QM

(quad-core)

2.60 GHz

5066 secs

Core i7-3740QM

(quad-core)

2.70 GHz

4903 secs

Core i7-3820QM

(quad-core)

2.70 GHz

4903 secs

Core i7-3840QM

(quad-core)

2.80 GHz

4756 secs

Core i7-3920XM

(quad-core)

2.90 GHz

4625 secs

Core i7-3940XM

(quad-core)

3.00 GHz

4511 secs

       
Core i7-4900MQ (quad-core) 2.80 GHz 4617 secs
Core i7-4910MQ (quad-core) 2.90 GHz 4551 secs
Core i7-4930MX (quad-core) 3.00 GHz 4485 secs
Core i7-4940MX (quad-core) 3.10 GHz 4410 secs
       
Core i7-5700HQ* (quad-core) 2.90 GHz 4491 secs
Core i7-5850HQ* (quad-core) 2.70 GHz 4617 secs
Core i7-5950HQ* (quad-core) 2.90 GHz 4491 secs
       
Core i5-6440HQ*   (quad-core) 2.60 GHz 4220 secs
Core i7-6700HQ* (quad-core) 2.80 GHz 4094 secs
Core i7-6820HQ* (quad-core) 2.70 GHz 4157 secs
Core i7-6920HQ*  (quad-core) 2.90 GHz 3952 secs
       

Desktop Processors

Clock Speed

Time

Core i5-2500   

(quad-core)

3.30 GHz

5184 secs

Core i7-2600

(quad-core)

3.40 GHz

5070 secs

Core i7-2700

(quad-core)

3.50 GHz

4926 secs

Core i7-3820

(quad-core)

3.60 GHz

4553 secs

       
Core i7-970      (six-core) 3.20 GHz 4309 secs
Core i7-980X   (six-core) 3.33 GHz 4147 secs
Core i7-990X   (six-core) 3.46 GHz 4034 secs
       

Core i5-3570 

(quad-core)

3.40 GHz

4360 secs

Core i5-3570K   

(quad-core)

3.40 GHz

4360 secs

Core i7-3770   

(quad-core)

3.40 GHz

4360 secs

Core i7-3770K (quad-core) 3.50 GHz 4263 secs
       

Core i7-3930   

(six-core)

3.20 GHz

3660 secs

Core i7-3960X 

(six-core)

3.30 GHz

3545 secs

Core i7-3970X  

(six-core)

3.50 GHz

3349 secs

 

 

 

 

Core i5-4570 (quad-core) 3.20 GHz 4550 secs
Core i5-4670* (quad-core) 3.40 GHz 4335 secs
Core i5-4670K* (quad-core) 3.40 GHz 4335 secs
Core i7-4770* (quad-core) 3.40 GHz 4335 secs
Core i7-4770K* (quad-core) 3.50 GHz 4211 secs
Core i7-4771* (quad-core) 3.50 GHz 4211 secs
Core i7-4790* (quad-core) 3.60 GHz 4094 secs
Core i7-4790K* (quad-core) 4.00 GHz 3684 secs
       
       
Core i7-4930K* (six-core) 3.40 GHz 3446 secs
Core i7-4960X* (six-core) 3.60 GHz 3255 secs
       
Core i5-5675C* (quad-core) 3.10 GHz 4409 secs
Core i7-5775C* (quad-core) 3.30 GHz 4190 secs
       
Core i5-6400* (quad-core) 2.70 GHz 4912 secs
Core i5-6600* (quad-core) 3.30 GHz 4019 secs
Core i7-6700* (quad-core) 3.40 GHz 3901 secs
Core i7-6700K* (quad-core) 4.00 GHz 3315 secs
       

Servers / Workstations

Clock Speed

Time

Opteron 2356

(2 quad-core processors)

2.30 GHz

6813 secs

Opteron 2360

(2 quad-core processors)

2.50 GHz

6261 secs

 

 

 

Xeon X5550 (2 quad-core processors) 2.66 GHZ 4422 secs

Xeon X5560  

(2 quad-core processors)

2.80 GHz

4238 secs

Xeon X5570  

(2 quad-core processors)

2.93 GHz

4054 secs

Xeon W5580 

(2 quad-core processors)

3.20 GHz

3686 secs

Xeon W5590 

(2 quad-core processors)

3.33 GHz

3594 secs

Xeon X5677   (2 quad-core processors) 3.47 GHz 3465 secs
Xeon X5687   (2 quad-core processors) 3.60 GHz 3373 secs
Xeon X5650   (2 six-core processors) 2.67 GHz 2986 secs
Xeon X5660   (2 six-core processors) 2.80 GHz 2839 secs
Xeon X5670 (2 six-core processors) 2.93 GHz 2692 secs
Xeon X5675 (2 six-core processors) 3.06 GHz 2582 secs
Xeon X5680 (2 six-core processors) 3.33 GHz 2472 secs
Xeon X5690 (2 six-core processors) 3.46 GHz 2399 secs

 

 

 

Xeon E5-2660 (2 eight-core processors) 2.20 GHz 2381 secs
Xeon E5-2670 (2 eight-core processors) 2.60 GHz 2086 secs
Xeon E5-2680 (2 eight-core processors) 2.70 GHz 1910 secs
Xeon E5-2690 (2 eight-core processors) 2.90 GHz 1773 secs
Xeon E5-2687W (2 eight-core processors) 3.10 GHz 1687 secs
       
Xeon E5-2667 v2 (2 eight-core processors) 3.30 GHz 1515 secs
Xeon E5-2658 v2 (2 ten-core processors) 2.40 GHz 1718 secs
Xeon E5-2680 v2 (2 ten-core processors) 2.80 GHz 1473 secs
Xeon E5-2690 v2 (2 ten-core processors) 3.00 GHz 1375 secs
Xeon E5-2695 v2 (2 twelve-core processors) 2.40 GHz 1547 secs
Xeon E5-2696 v2 (2 twelve-core processors) 2.50 GHz 1450 secs
Xeon E5-2697 v2 (2 twelve-core processors) 2.70 GHz 1315 secs
       
Xeon E5-2667 v3* (2 eight-core processors) 3.20 GHz 1242 secs
Xeon E5-2660 v3* (2 ten-core processors) 2.60 GHz 1252 secs
Xeon E5-2685 v3* (2 twelve-core processors) 2.60 GHz 1160 secs
Xeon E5-2690 v3* (2 twelve-core processors) 2.60 GHz 1160 secs
Xeon E5-2697 v3* (2 fourteen-core processors) 2.60 GHz 994 secs
       

These tests can be quite sensitive to the types of jobs run in AXIS, and to the disk drives and memory systems in the PC. For multiple processors and cores, distributed processing is turned on using the automatic helper option.

Performance Impedimentsts

I also want to draw your attention to some factors that can stand between you and good performance:

  • Hyper-Threading: We strongly recommend that you turn off Intel Hyper-Threading when running on Intel processors. Our testing shows it will adversely affect AXIS run time.
  • Real time virus checking: This can cause a massive slowdown in AXIS run times – up to four times slower. It can also make AXIS unstable, leading to random crashes, since it can lock files AXIS needs to open. We require you to add the directories that AXIS writes to into your exclusion list if you run real time scanning. These directories include the directory where AXIS is installed, the SPARE directory, the Dataset Path and the location of the Import / Export database. For details please see: www.ggy.com/support/kbase/kbdetails.asp?searchterm=&articleid=271
  • Formula Tables Accelerator: To get the best performance if you are using Formula Tables, remember to turn on the Formula Tables Accelerator.
  • Network bandwidth and latency: We recommend a fast network. We require at least 1Gbps for distributed processing or GridLink. To check whether your network is providing good performance, you can run this simple test. Run an AXIS Calendar Year Recalculation batch job, without distributed processing, on identical datasets residing in two locations – first in the same machine where AXIS is running, and then in a location across the network. If the two times vary by more than 5%, then you have a problem. Please contact GGY for details.

Memory

For desktop or laptop computers, we recommend a minimum of 2 GB of memory per physical processor core.  A 6 core processor, for example, would require 12 GB of memory.

If you are running GridLink or the StochasticTools module, you will need extra memory. These products require at least 4 GB of memory per processor.

Please note that even if you have enough memory we strongly advise you to not run any disk or processor intensive applications while performing AXIS runs. AXIS itself is going to use the maximum amount of CPU power and disk bandwidth available - especially when distributed processing is used. As a result, other applications running concurrent processes may affect performance and cause AXIS to become unstable.

Hard Disks

AXIS allows you to export assumptions and projections. This can take up a lot of disk space. We suggest a minimum of 250 GB for a laptop and 500 GB for a desktop computer, not because AXIS needs this much space, but because these disks are extremely inexpensive today. The AXIS System files take up about 400 MB.

Monitors

AXIS requires a screen resolution of 1024 by 768 (XGA) and preferably much higher.

For a laptop we recommend at least a 14-inch screen and for a desktop at least a 19-inch LCD screen – the bigger the better.

CD-ROM and DVD-ROM

We distribute AXIS and all updates via the Internet. If you do not have a good Internet connection we can supply AXIS on a CD. This CD can be read in any optical drive.

GPGPU (General-purpose computing on graphics processing units)

Our System Design team continues to research, monitor and test emerging technology in the GPGPU space that may be used to accelerate certain AXIS calculations. Currently the serious limitations of this technology in terms of memory, programming language and compiler support are such that it is not practical in AXIS today. The GPGPU technology is evolving rapidly, as is the language and compiler support, so we are optimistic that there will be a point at which we can provide support for GPGPU technology in an effective way. We will continue our research efforts in this area.

Operating Systems

We currently support and recommend Windows 2012 Server (including R2) and Windows 7 / 8 on the desktop. Window 10, which was released on July 29th, 2015, contains significant changes to the UAC security system which are causing issues with AXIS.  Until these are resolved, AXIS must be run "as administrator" on Windows 10.  We are actively working on resolving these issues - please contact GGY for further details on Windows 10 compatibility. 

As of the Feb 2015 release, Windows XP and 2003 Server are no longer supported for use with AXIS.  Please see KB Article 1866 for further detail on the requirement changes introduced in this version.

Note that Microsoft Windows Operating Systems are available in 32 bit and 64 bit versions. We recommend the 64 bit versions because they allow the use of large amounts of memory, while 32 bit versions are limited to 4GB.

As of the Feb 2015 release, AXIS requires Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.1.  This version can co-exist with version 3.5 SP1 which is required for previous versions of AXIS.  Please note that this component is free of charge and is available for download from Microsoft web site.

Information for IT Professionals

For further information for IT Support click here:  www.ggy.com/faq/techinfo.asp

Recommended Hardware for a GridLink Farm

You may be considering a 12 core farm or a 2048 core farm, or something in between. We strongly recommend you to consider your future needs before setting up even a small farm, so that you can continue to use the hardware you choose now as part of the larger farm you may need tomorrow.

Click here to review the GridLink Hardware Requirements.

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