Re: [R] Powerful PC to run R

From: Barry Rowlingson <>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 12:14:23 +0100

On Fri, May 13, 2011 at 11:38 AM, Michael Haenlein <> wrote:

> I'm now thinking about buying a more powerful desktop PC or laptop. Can
> anybody advise me on the best configuration to run R as fast as possible? I
> will use this PC exclusively for R so any other factors are of limited
> importance.

> Michael Haenlein
> Assocaite Professor of Marketing

 As a Professor of Marketing surely you buy whatever Apple tell you to?

 Seriously, 'as fast as possible'? No financial constraints? Then spend several billion in a factory and some hardware developers to run R on bare silicon. Too much? Spend a million on a data centre and stuff it full of rack servers, and some software developers to make your algorithms run in parallel on the cluster.

 Secondly, speed is massively dependent on exactly what you are doing. Some jobs are I/O-bound, they can only go as fast as they can read in or write out data. Some are limited by available RAM, and start swapping bits of memory to hard disk, slowing things up. Some are CPU-bound and can go faster by plugging in a faster processor. Some are bound by internal bus speeds, and can't shuttle information between RAM and CPU fast enough. The solution to each of these problems is different. For example, there's no point in buying an 8-core CPU if your programs can only use 1 core at a time, and you don't think you'll be running 8 programs at once.

 Conclusion: for a desktop PC, get as much fast RAM, the fastest CPU and the quickest HD you can find. That should cover all the possible bottlenecks.

Barry mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. Received on Fri 13 May 2011 - 11:16:51 GMT

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