Flow Science supports FLOW-3D on most popular x86 32-bit and 64-bit platforms, including Windows and Linux.
We recommend 64-bit operating systems for running FLOW-3D simulations since the size of simulations is limited only by the computer’s installed memory, whereas 32-bit operating systems limit simulations to about 3 million computation cells.
Supported Operating Systems
32-bit Windows XP/Vista/7/8 & Server 2003/2008
64-bit Windows XP/Vista/7/8 & Server 2003/2008
32-bit Redhat Enterprise 4, 5 and 6
64-bit Redhat Enterprise 4, 5 and 6 & SUSE 10 and 11
For those interested in running the distributed-memory version of FLOW-3D, you can find more information about hardware and operating systems on the FLOW-3D/MP page.
FLOW-3D supports Open GL graphics cards. Most graphics card with OpenGL 2.0 support will work well with FLOW-3D. Look for graphics cards that specifically list OpenGL support for the operating system you're intending to use. Gaming graphics cards such as ATI's Radeon X-series and Nvidia's Geforce Series 6, 7, and 8 will perform well even for very large simulations. Workstation graphic cards such as ATI's FireGL and Nividia's Quadro cards will also work but usually cost more than gaming cards.
Both AGP and PCI-Express interfaces perform well. Onboard graphics such as Intel's 945GM Express Graphics can be expected to display graphics reasonably well for simulations up to a few million cells. For larger simulations, a dedicated graphics card with 512 MB of memory is recommended.
Please email Flow Science support for graphics card recommendations.
License Server Software
FLOW-3D uses FLEXlm for license management. If you choose to employ the FLEXlm floating manager on a Windows network, your network server must be running Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or 7, 8 and you must use a hardware key (dongle).
Memory and Processor Speed
A minimum of 2GB of RAM is recommended per core. For example, a dual processor, quad core machine should then have at least 16 gigabytes of memory. Note however that the amount of RAM required is highly problem dependent. For simulations with large domains, or with complex geometry requiring fine resolution, significantly more RAM than the required minimum will be necessary. Memory speed has a small affect on simulation time and typically 1333 MHz memory will provide the best cost/performance benefit.
Integrated graphics such as those commonly found on laptops may be adequate but discrete graphics capabilities are strongly recommended. At least 512 MB of graphics memory is also recommended.
Please email Flow Science support for more information.
Both Windows and Linux are available in 32 and 64 bit versions. If the available memory on your hardware is 2GB or less, there is no benefit to running a 64-bit operating system. If your hardware has 3GB of memory (or more), running a 64-bit operating system will allow large (> 6 million cells) simulations to be run. On 32-bit operating systems (Linux and Windows), simulations will be limited to roughly 3 to 4 million cells regardless of how much memory is available. On 64-bit operating systems, the size of the simulation is only limited by the available memory on the computer.
There is no noticeable difference in simulation time on Windows vs. Linux. Users should choose whichever operating system they are comfortable with.
Users who wish to customize any of the subroutines that Flow Science distributes as part of the standard installation will need a license for the Intel Fortran compiler, version 11.1. Users running on the Windows operating system will need either Visual Studio 2005, 2008 Pro, or Microsoft Platform SDK. Visual Studio 2008 is provided with Intel Fortran 11.1.