I use MATLAB to run large population models. I represent populations as matrices which may have as many as 4,000 rows and up to hundreds of columns. Some simulations may track up to hundreds of matrices. I often subject the matrices to basic math operations in which entries are treated as scalars (e.g., exp(A), A.^2, etc.), or to commands such as sum, cumsum, max, flipdim, and sortrow.
I have the opportunity to buy a new computer on which to run these simulations, and I want to buy something that will run my simulations as quickly as possible. My organization is committed to the Mac platform. I would like to keep the total price in the US$4,000 to $8,000 range (after an institutional discount), although I could go slightly over if there were good reason to do so. On the other hand, I don’t want to throw money away on hardware that won’t make a meaningful difference in simulation speed.
The IT office at my institution has recommended:
12-core with 2x 6-core Intel Xeon 2.4GHz processors
ATI Radeon HD 5770 – dual output
(~$3,400 base price; upgrade to 2.66GHz +$1,000; 3.06GHz +$2,000)
2x 1TB drives (to change to 0.5GB Solid State +$800 per drive)
2x Dell UltraSharp U2711 69cm(27") monitors (~$1,400)
Does this seem reasonable? Is it worth the extra money to get the faster processors? Are there things I should cut because they won’t help very much, or add because they will?