[R] optimal hardware for computations in R?

Paul Y. Peng ypeng at math.mun.ca
Tue Mar 23 15:08:00 CET 2004

I recently ordered a computer which is intended to run both WindowsXP
and Linux (of course both versions of R as well). Before placing the
order, I discussed it with our system managers. They highly recommanded
a system with one P4 CPU with Intel's so called "hyper-threading"
technology over a system with two CPU's, and they claimed that both OS's
can take benefits from the "hyper-threading" technology. I haven't got
the machine yet and don't know how fast it is. At least this is another
option available.


Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
> On Tue, 23 Mar 2004, Amit Ghosh wrote:
>>I am planning to buy a new PC for computing simulations in R under
>>Linux. I was searching the web/mailing list-archives for useful hints
>>about the "optimal" choice of hardware - surprisingly I found no recent
> Most of seem to be buying dual Opterons, not least so we can potentially 
> access more than 4Gb.
>>As far as I know, R doesn't use threads, so I think that there should be
>>no benefit in choosing a dual-processor machine.
> It certainly can use a threaded BLAS.  You can also do two simulation runs 
> simultaneously (and surely you will be doing more than one run?).
>>So the remaining affordable choices seems to be Athlon XP, Pentium 4,
>>Xeon or Athlon64/Opteron. Are there any R-related benchmarks or should
>>one simply look about the "standard" benchmark-results (SPEC, etc.)? Any
>>hints or experiences would be appreciated!
> It really does depend on what exactly your computations do.  There are R 
> `benchmarks', but they are not typical tasks (for me, and probably for no 
> one else).
> I would buy either a dual Athlon MP or a dual Opteron, and not worry too
> much about this -- anything you buy today will look slow next year, and
> you are not likely to see differences as large as 2x on one processor.

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