What is the easiest way to get around needing a Intel I7 processor?
November 20, 2012 1:29 PM   Subscribe

I have to run a program (.exe) that needs to run on a processor with the SSE4.2 instruction set. I have several computers all with AMD or older Intel chips but none that have this instruction set. A new set up with a fancy I7 is really expensive, is there another option I am not aware of?

I have a piece of compiled code used for electrical modeling. It uses these proprietary instruction sets likely to speed up the calculations on really huge matrices. I checked with a couple people and have only been able to test that the code works on a friends new Intel processor based set up but it is his main computer and it wouldn't work to spend many hours working on a model. I did some quick research and it is out of my budget to build a new computer just to run this code.

Is there another option I don't know about? Some sort of emulator work around or cloud computing option? Any thoughts on the cheapest possible computer that has this instruction set?
posted by JayNolan to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This message from July 2012 seems to indicate that an Amazon "medium" ec2 instance has sse4.2: https://forums.aws.amazon.com/message.jspa?messageID=362659

The older message (2011) says "large" instances have sse4.2:

Some additional info on running Windows in EC2: http://aws.amazon.com/windows/
posted by jjwiseman at 1:40 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Is your current machine self-built? Because you can get a Core i5 and a motherboard in a combo deal right now for $315 that's still a pretty solid performer and can likely re-use everything else from your current machine
posted by Oktober at 2:02 PM on November 20, 2012

Could your friend or someone else with an appropriate system just let you remote desktop in to work on it?

Alternatively you could go with renting a non-cloud dedicated server for a month and then canceling your account, if you can find someone who can confirm that their hardware has the right processor.
posted by XMLicious at 2:39 PM on November 20, 2012

SSE4.2 suport appears to be tied to microarchitecture generation, rather than being one of the features that Intel uses to differentiate among the different product lines within a given generation.

Therefore, while it debuted on i7 Nehalem it looks like it is available on all released i3 and i5 desktop processors. It is even available in the recent Sandy Bridge based models of the Celeron (G530-G555) and Pentium lines. You can find more details in the appropriate pages on Wikipedia.
posted by Good Brain at 8:35 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Good Brain has it. SSE4.1 and SSE4.2 were introduced with the Nehalem microarchitecture in 2008 and have been a standard feature of every Intel x86 "Core i*" CPU since then.

If the CPU is named "Core i3" "Core i5" or "Core i7" it will run your program. Also, newer Celerons will.

If you want to build on the cheap, here's a system with a Celeron that would run the program...

$90 Barebones system (Case, motherboard, power supply)
$49 Celeron CPU
$19 Memory

Strip a hard disk and CD drive from one of your old machines and you're up and running for ~$160.
posted by doowod at 10:39 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

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