Frequently asked questions
Question 1: Why only 8 cores? My IT thinks I should buy a PC with more cores.
No problem. We can build it! The problem is, we are optimizing our PCs for YOUR software and we don't often fine that more cores are the solution to your processing problems.
A: Reason 1: That 24 core PC is likely a Xeon with 2 6 core processors. It is tricky for software developers to write software that utilizes two chips. Networking professionals who optimize software to run on multi-processor servers have to optimize most software so that it runs in parallel on multiple processors. In our tests we have seen lower performance of many commercial software packages when we use 2 of the same Xeon processors than when we run with just 1.
A: Reason 2: How did they add 2 6 core processors to 24 cores? Intel uses mechanisms where each physical core can operate as 2 "logical" cores. Under high load applications like digging through complex genomics and proteomics data these physical cores have all the work they can handle. They essentially function just like single cores. In the end your "24 core Xeon" is really functioning with 6 low speed cores. Typical Xeon cores run from 2.0 to 2.4 Ghz. All of our chips run above 3.0 Ghz, with the AMD PileDriver chip in the Proteome Destroyer tearing through your data at 5.0Ghz. The Haswell E architecture in Intel's new chips (released September 2014) changes this quite a bit. The hyperthreading mechanisms in Xeon chips pale in comparison to the raw speed the new Intel I7 chips produce. They are hyperthreading, but they are doing it much more efficiently and this translates directly to gains in your processing speed.
A: Reason 3: If you look at the bottleneck in your workflow you'll find it has little to do with the processor. There are two main ways this data is processed. The first is to load the files into RAM. Our systems use the highest speed RAM chips available and are configured in quad- and octo- channel configurations for the fastest possible speed. The second strategy is to constantly read/write from RAM to the hard drive. This is where we focus the most effort. By optimizing this step we find boosts in speed that can not be obtained even by overclocking the processors or adding more cores.
Question 2: My IT department would like a full specification list for your product.
A: No. We're a new kind of computer company. We are building high end computers that are specifically optimized for your applications. We use high end components that can be obtained directly off the shelf. A lot of work goes into R&D to make these PCs fast for what you need them to do. If we give you a complete specifications list your IT guy could build this PC a little cheaper and we'd get nothing for the work we've put into developing this build. This would be akin to us seeing you discuss your unpublished data and submitting it in PLOS before you could get through the review process in Nature.
Question 3: I don't think what you offer is powerful enough for our needs.
A: Contact us.(firstname.lastname@example.org) We are specifically focusing on a few products that we think will be perfect for most scientists and we optimize these with free trials of commonly used software packages.
Question 4: The software we need for processing isn't commonly used, will your builds be sufficient for it?
A: We can predict how some software will work on our builds based on the free trial software we have from most manufacturers, but this won't be as good as a real experiment. Contact us and we can build a PC for your specific application. Part of what you are paying for when you buy from us is the optimization aspect. Give us access to your software and we will build the best PC possible for your applications
Question 5: When will I get my computer?
A: This varies by what we have in stock at any given time. It will typically be in your hands in 1-2 weeks of receipt of your purchase order.
Question 6: Can you ship to Europe?
A: We can ship to anywhere. We'll have to check with FedEx and UPS for the specific costs for your area. We have products on 3 continents right now and 4 countries. In 2015 we plan to get the rest of them.
Question 7: Can I demo one of your PCs?
A: Yes, with some limitations. We do not keep all of our products running on site. Once we've finished R&D on a unit we contract that build out to our contractor in Cleveland Ohio. What units we have on-site available for demo will change from time to time. Contact us (email@example.com) and we'll see what we can do.