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Hi All, I'm currently building a scientific workhorse on the new dual processor xeon nehalem series, and I have a couple of questions about setting linux up correctly on this ...
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    Linux setup for Scientific Workhorse


    Hi All,

    I'm currently building a scientific workhorse on the new dual processor xeon nehalem series, and I have a couple of questions about setting linux up correctly on this system.

    The first choice is what version of linux to use. I've been out of the linux on desktop game for awhile (3 or 4 years), so I'm not sure where everything stands. I know the choice of linux variant is highly subjective, but if somebody could suggest something based on my needs listed below, i would appreicate it.

    1. The system will be running dual quad-core processors with hyperthreading (16 cores in all), is this natively support by all kernel/distros now?

    2.) The system will also have dual monitors, I know this was horrible when i used to have a radeon video card, but the new computer will be using an nvidia 9600, so as I understand this is fairly straightforward?

    3.) I will be using an SSD as a system drive. Do all variants correctly support SSDs now? Should i be using a non journalised file system (ext2?) for SSDs, and are there any other options i should make sure to set up?

    Other than these needs, I don't think there is anything extraordinary. I'd like the OS to be stable and not come with a lot of bloatware. I will probably be using either Gnome or Xfce as a windows manager, and I'd like to set this up to avoid a lot of writes to the ssd (/home and /swap will be on another HDD).

    Thanks for your help,

    ~Lyuokdea

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    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    I'm running a very similar system, though since I built it 15 months ago it is running Penryn processors. If I were building it today, I'd get the Nehalem chips. Anyway, I have an Intel S5000XVN motherboard, dual E5450 Penryn CPU's, 8GB ECC RAM, 8TB sata/esata storage, nVidia 8800GT video running dual 24" 1920x1200 displays. This is about as close to your system as possible, I think.

    So, on to software. I am running CentOS 5.3 (community version of RHEL). RHEL is the foundation for Scientific Linux and Fermi Linux (though they are still at 5.2), so that should be pretty good bonifides for a scientific workstation.

    Don't install the xen kernel. The native nVidia drivers are really good, especially if you use CUDA to take advantage of the GPU's for number crunching, but they don't work with the xen kernel. If you need a VM manager, try Sun's VirtualBox - it's free and works very well. I use it with Linux, XP, Solaris, and QNX as guests - sometimes all at the same time.

    I hope this helps. For CentOS, go to www.centos.org - The Community ENTerprise Operating System.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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  5. #4
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    I have a 16 core, 64-bit AMD system, an 8 core 64-bit AMD system, and an 8 core 32-bit Xeon system. I've run Fedora on them all, going back to FC7 with the Intel system, and FC10 on all three now. I recommend it highly. Basically, every other version of Fedora tends to be very stable and driver-capable, and the development tools are cutting edge.

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    I just installed Ubuntu 9.04 on my Dell D630 laptop. Works perfectly, including WiFi, BlueTooth, GB enet, etc. I still haven't installed the nVidia drivers (it uses an nVidia chip set and handles HD external displays), but I am very impressed. It installed without a complaint, and seems to be very stable. I even got remote desktop sharing going without any problems (a simple GUI form), so I can remote-control it from my workstation if I need. Anyway, I'm going to be playing with that quite a bit over the coming weeks until I have it just where I want it...
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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