Finding a powerful PC for multishell preprocessing/tractogrpahy

Dear experts

We are going to buy a new desktop computer for preprocessing/tractography of multishell data and I really appreciate if someone could help us to find a powerful machine.

P.S. I have been using Ubuntu virtual machine installed on windows 8 so far.
Here is my current PC specification:
Processor: Intel ® Xeon® CPU E5-2640 v3 @ 2.6 GHz
RAM: 32 GB
System type: 64 bit operating system, x64-based processor

Thanks in advance.

Hi Hamed,
Since nearly all MRtrix commands are multi-threaded, I’d recommend buying a Xeon CPU with as many cores as you can afford, even if the speed per core is slower.

Our general purpose machines have motherboards with dual 8-core CPUS (i.e. 16-cores, 32 threads). However the fans are quite noisy, so it’s not something you would want sitting on your desktop.

I’d also recommend at least 128GB of RAM (or at least a board with enough RAM slots so you can upgrade in the future). If you ever plan on performing Connectivity-based fixel level statistical inference it can require over 100GB of RAM for high resolution (or up-sampled) datasets.

If it’s going to be a desktop machine, then I’d recommend a GeForce-based Nvidia card (not the Nvidia quadro workstation cards). I’d recommend at least 2GB of GPU memory. More memory will enable you to view tractograms with more streamlines.

Hope that helps,

Thanks Dave.

The price for your general purpose machine will be ~7000 euros. :slight_smile:
I think we will opt for a Desktop with probably 10-12 cores (normally there are 8 cores).

We have some trouble regarding the card which I appreciate if you can help.
Our university works with Dell and apparently they cannot provide the GeForce-based Nvidia card! Do you think we can buy the card ourselves and install it easily?
I also checked very quickly and found the price range of 100-1000 euro for the card. Could you please help us with a card with reasonable price that would do the job.

What about the screen? Do I need a especial one?


We have the same problem. Dell generally provide the nvidia option only on their workstation-grade desktop, and then you only get the option of nvidia’s workstation-grade GPUs: their overpriced Quadro range…

You have several options: one is to use a high-end AMD/ATI card. If you’re on Windows or MacOSX, that wouldn’t be a problem at all, their software drivers should work fine (their hardware is generally viewed as being very good). If you’re planning on working on Linux (which we’d generally recommend given that’s what most of us are using), then nvidia is generally a better option, as their drivers are typically pretty solid. That said, AMD/ATI have improved their Linux support quite a bit lately, and there’s plenty of people working with these cards with no problem at all, so I don’t think there’s that much of a difference nowadays.

If you did want to go for a nvidia card with a Dell system, the simplest is probably to go for the cheapest card you can get on the system you’re interested in, and swap it out for a mid/high end nvidia GeForce card - just make sure the system chassis can take a full-size card (i.e. avoid those small form factor cases). I tend to opt for the top of the previous generation of their product, as the drivers on Linux tend to lag behind a bit - plus you get a lot more bang for your buck that way. Personally, I run a GeForce 780 GTX, which was already not the latest generation 3 years ago when I got it - but it performs very well.

Nope, whatever you’re happy with. Although I’d generally recommend at least a full HD resolution display (you’ll struggle to find anything less nowadays anyway), with full 24 bpp colour depth, and in-plane switching (IPS) for a wide viewing angle.

Thanks Donald for replying even during your leave! :slight_smile: