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What computer should I use to run Stata/MP?

Stata/MP is a flavor of Stata that can perform symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) on a computer with multiple processors or cores.

Although Stata/MP licenses are not platform specific, the following operating systems are supported:

A computer’s processor is often called the central processing unit, or CPU. Computers can have multiple CPUs, and Stata/MP takes advantage of this design to process data faster.

Also available are computers with processors that contain multiple cores. A core is the computation engine of a CPU, consisting of integer and floating-point processing units. Thus a computer with one dual-core processor is similar to a computer with two processors. In fact, Stata/MP does not distinguish between CPUs and cores; it is designed to use systems with up to 64 cores—be they single core (one per CPU), dual core (two per CPU), or multicore (many per CPU).

Most manufacturers sell multiprocessor computers as servers. Thus your choice is to buy either a desktop computer with a multicore CPU or a server computer with multiple processors, each of which might or might not be multicore. Having more processors/cores means that Stata/MP will run faster.

Be aware of the term “hyperthreaded”, however. Stata/MP runs faster on hyperthreaded processors, but not as fast as it would if you had full cores instead of hyperthreads. Computers with multiple hyperthreaded processors are suitable for Stata/MP. The number of real processors is the critical factor.

Both Intel and AMD manufacture chips appropriate for Stata/MP. Either run a modern Windows operating system (Vista, 7, or newer) or run Linux.

Mac Intel-based dual-core computers are appropriate for Stata/MP. Stata/MP supports OS X 10.6.8 or newer.

Regardless of the system you buy, the most important thing you can do is to ensure that you have enough memory to hold 1.5 times the maximum dataset size you plan to use.

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