nTopology Computer Set Up: Optimizing Performance

This article is solely an opinion on what an 'Ideal' computer set up would look like to run nTopology at peak performance. This is above and beyond the minimum system requirements (which will run nTopology smoothly). This is designed to guide customers who are looking to maximize computer performance. 


nTopology performance is most impacted by CPU core count and speed. For that, the CPU AMD Threadripper 3970x and 3990x are both excellent. The difference between them is the memory access speed. Note that the 3990x may be difficult to keep cool, and has so many cores that sometimes it upsets legacy software. If you have to use old programs as well, the 3970x is more robust for that.


For fast topology optimization, a lot of RAM is required. At least 64 GB, but we see some huge models (ie. 5M+ elements) consuming 128 GB of RAM. More the merrier, really, but it depends on how big of models you are interested in running. The higher core count CPUs generally require more RAM to run well anyway. A 256 GB DDR4-3600 CL18 kit can be had for good prices these days and would be ideal.


nTopology doesn't currently support multiple GPUs. It will run but only utilize one GPU. So we would recommend buying one better GPU, rather than multiple ones. Modern Nvidia GPU's work best, including the 3080/3090, Titan RTX, and the Quadro RTX 5000 and up are great choices. A previous generation 2080ti or 2080 would also be excellent.

SSD & More

Again, the CPU is (currently) where the bulk of our computations take place. For the rest of the computer, a fast SSD (preferably M.2 connection) will help files open faster, and the computer to generally feel snappier, and having a large capacity (or even secondary) drive to save those big TopOpt files might be helpful. And of course an adequate power supply and cooling solution for the components you end up choosing. If you prefer Intel CPUs, those are great too, but we have noticed some performance consequences with Dual Xeon configurations, and therefore don't recommend them. The single-socket Xeon-W processors are usually better.


Again, this is a guideline we like to keep in mind when maximizing computer performance in nTopology. Hopefully, this will help you decide on some features for your workstation build. 


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