Which system should I use?
This is sometimes a hard question to answer. In some cases, the software you need to use answers the question for you. For example, NVivo is only available on Windows and our license for Stata/MP is only for Linux. In other cases, the answer is not as clear. Below are some differences that may help you decide.
For list of software available on each platform, check out our Research Software page.
CPU and RAM
Servers in both systems have substantial CPU core count and RAM. On Windows and standalone Linux systems, all CPU cores and RAM are shared. If you happen upon a heavily used server, you may experience slow performance. On the Linux cluster (compute.cla.umn.edu) you request CPU cores and RAM that are exclusive to you.
Windows is generally a more graphically oriented interface and this can make it easier to use. Our Linux systems also have a graphical interface but often the real utility comes from writing scripts that run from the command line.
If you're more familiar with using one system over the other and everything else being equal, it may affect your choice.
Maintenance times and frequency differ between the two systems. This may affect your choice if you want to keep a session active for a long time.
Still Not Sure?