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Old 2011-07-12, 18:26   #1
Rodrigo
 
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Default Is this a good PC to try for GPU computing?

I was thinking that before I start working on the GPU Computing sticky/wiki, it would help to have hands-on experience with the process. A theoretical, ivory-tower understanding can only take you so far.

So I'm looking at this system (http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/d...097981&lang=en) as an inexpensive way to get my my hands dirty and my feet wet. What do you think? Given the PC's design, I'd of course be looking at getting a low-profile card. Ultimately, I suppose that I could use one core to drive the GPU and the other core for Prime95.

Thanks for your thoughts on this!

Rodrigo
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Old 2011-07-12, 19:44   #2
henryzz
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The onboard graphics isn't usable for GPU computing, the power supply is too small to add a graphics card, the cpu is old(core 2 based) and only 2 cores plus you would be paying for all the useless extras that come with a hp pc.
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Old 2011-07-12, 19:59   #3
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Are there literally no CUDA-capable graphics cards that could go into this PC, given the power supply and interior space? Keep in mind that I'm not trying to break crunching records here, but simply to get some hands-on experience doing the GPU Computing thing.

The reason I'm keen on this model (if it's at all workable for our purposes) is that Staples is selling it this week for $100 off the regular price.

Rodrigo

Last fiddled with by Rodrigo on 2011-07-12 at 20:00
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Old 2011-07-12, 23:21   #4
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The onboard graphics isn't usable for GPU computing, the power supply is too small to add a graphics card
Yeah, first thing I looked at was the power supply. The GTX 580 is a great video card, and that alone can draw 300 watts. The rest of the computer is very underpowered also.

Also, don't be misled by the GTX 590, which has twice as many processors (1024) as the GTX 580 (512). The 590 gets very, very hot, and is not nearly as over-clockable as the 580. I've built systems where the client preferred three expensive GTX 580 cards rather than go with a single GTX 590. The reasons where numerous but I will spare you the details.

If you want serious performance aimed at GPU computing, I would recommend an i7-2600K (Sandy Bridge) which you can easily overclock to 4.8 or 4.9 GHz with decent air cooling. Go for a GIGABYTE UD7 board if you want to support multiple GTX 580 video cards, and don't skimp on the power supply. Get a decent 1200W puppy from CORSAIR.

You won't be disappointed, until the electric bill arrives.
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Old 2011-07-13, 01:56   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodrigo View Post
Are there literally no CUDA-capable graphics cards that could go into this PC, given the power supply and interior space? Keep in mind that I'm not trying to break crunching records here, but simply to get some hands-on experience doing the GPU Computing thing.

The reason I'm keen on this model (if it's at all workable for our purposes) is that Staples is selling it this week for $100 off the regular price.

Rodrigo
This beast has a 220W Power supply...you need about 300W to support my CUDA- minimal GT210. That's the killer.... unless you feel like upgrading the PS, in which case get at least around 400W and a GT440....but I didn't think you were up to that kind of fooling around, maybe you could get your staples "geek squad" to do it for you.
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Old 2011-07-13, 21:14   #6
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This beast has a 220W Power supply...you need about 300W to support my CUDA- minimal GT210. That's the killer.... unless you feel like upgrading the PS, in which case get at least around 400W and a GT440....but I didn't think you were up to that kind of fooling around, maybe you could get your staples "geek squad" to do it for you.
Well, I'm learning a lot about this whole concept, even if most of the lessons are of the negative kind -- what doesn't work, what can't be done...

The initial motivation for doing the "how-to" was that it looked to me like GPU computing could be a real revolution for the Mersenne-prime hunting community. The idea was to help relatively casual GIMPS participants to bump up their existing systems' throughput without having to jump through a lot of hoops, by providing the information they'd need to select the right video card for their computer, and then explaining which GPU software could do what kind of work and how to use it. In my case, for instance, I was thinking that maybe this could help my older PCs to increase their contributions to a level comparable to that of more modern CPUs, without breaking the bank.

Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case. For my Pentium II, for example, it looks like there are no Windows 98 drivers for CUDA-enabled graphics cards, even if I could find one such to go in the PCI slot.

It's becoming clear to me that this isn't a project for the comparatively casual user who might go as far as popping in a video card, and that therefore my whole concept is seriously flawed. Unless one happens to already have a PC that's recent and powerful enough, then above and beyond the GPU purchase one needs to be willing either to have major surgery performed on one's existing PC, or to shell out for a new rig that approaches gaming specs. The prospects for popularizing the idea of GPU crunching seem to be rather more limited than I'd thought, at least at the present time.

Thanks for helping me to realize that.

Rodrigo
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Old 2011-07-13, 21:35   #7
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Originally Posted by Rodrigo View Post
Unless one happens to already have a PC that's recent and powerful enough, then above and beyond the GPU purchase one needs to be willing either to have major surgery performed on one's existing PC, or to shell out for a new rig that approaches gaming specs. The prospects for popularizing the idea of GPU crunching seem to be rather more limited than I'd thought, at least at the present time.
What you have to realize, Rodrigo, is the only reason we have such amazing GPU technology available to us today is because of all those Gamers out there who will spend serious coin for the slightest edge (or for the "eye-candy").

No disrespect intended, but it is naïve to think that anyone could take advantage of the computational abilities of such hardware without "kitting out" for similar supporting infrastructure.

And let's not even talk about the resulting electrical bill!
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Old 2011-07-13, 23:33   #8
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What you have to realize, Rodrigo, is the only reason we have such amazing GPU technology available to us today is because of all those Gamers out there who will spend serious coin for the slightest edge (or for the "eye-candy").

No disrespect intended, but it is naïve to think that anyone could take advantage of the computational abilities of such hardware without "kitting out" for similar supporting infrastructure.

And let's not even talk about the resulting electrical bill!
chalsall,

I'm not knocking gamers at all. That's what they like to do with their money. The constant quest for bigger and faster makes for interesting reading in their magazines.

But it is a letdown to discover that the requirements for GPU crunching are so, um, exacting. I have a stock tower PC with a dedicated ATI video card playing both cable and recorded high-definition programming in Windows Media Center via HDMI to our 55" LCD TV (plus Prime95 on four cores). It has the original PSU -- no upgrade or expense was needed.

I wasn't looking to get people to set number-crunching records with super-duper systems, but merely to help them do more with the PCs they already have. From that perspective it didn't seem unreasonable to think that, in an ordinary PC, one might drop in an accordingly less powerful video card and still enjoy some improvement in GIMPS performance. Not naive, necessarily, but apparently wrong, as it turns out.

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Old 2011-07-14, 00:47   #9
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Rodrigo:
The problem I see with your approach is that I disagree with your idea of "an ordinary PC". I don't know exactly what that is, but I wouldn't expect to find anyone here with anything older than Win XP. My Win98 machine is for a special technical need. And the PC that wouldn't support you was the one Staples couldn't get rid of, and had to knock down the price to sell...obviously due to the undersized power supply. The GTX210 dropped into my 5 year old XP desktop, no problem.

Go to Staples, or Best Buy, or Office Max, put a GTX440 in your hand, and ask which PC you need to support it...then compare what you get pointed at to the available range...I think you'll find it's a mid-range machine. If you are going to spend your $$, go ahead and ask in person....and if you want that small form factor, then say so, see if they know which cards support small slots and such.

People that want small PCs get iPads, iPhones, and 'droids.
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Old 2011-07-14, 00:58   #10
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Rodrigo:
The problem I see with your approach is that I disagree with your idea of "an ordinary PC". I don't know exactly what that is, but I wouldn't expect to find anyone here with anything older than Win XP. My Win98 machine is for a special technical need. And the PC that wouldn't support you was the one Staples couldn't get rid of, and had to knock down the price to sell...obviously due to the undersized power supply. The GTX210 dropped into my 5 year old XP desktop, no problem.

Go to Staples, or Best Buy, or Office Max, put a GTX440 in your hand, and ask which PC you need to support it...then compare what you get pointed at to the available range...I think you'll find it's a mid-range machine. If you are going to spend your $$, go ahead and ask in person....and if you want that small form factor, then say so, see if they know which cards support small slots and such.

People that want small PCs get iPads, iPhones, and 'droids.
I'm so lame I have an ipod only and , no cellphone.
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Old 2011-07-14, 03:25   #11
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Rodrigo:
The problem I see with your approach is that I disagree with your idea of "an ordinary PC". I don't know exactly what that is, but I wouldn't expect to find anyone here with anything older than Win XP. My Win98 machine is for a special technical need. And the PC that wouldn't support you was the one Staples couldn't get rid of, and had to knock down the price to sell...obviously due to the undersized power supply. The GTX210 dropped into my 5 year old XP desktop, no problem.
Christenson,

Here's an example of what I call an ordinary PC. It's my current work machine -- an HP a6512p (http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/d...roduct=3766893). This tower runs Windows Vista Home Premium (i.e., newer than XP) on a Pentium Dual CPU E2200. It was not cheap, or on sale, or on the clearance rack when I bought it in 2008. It's neither a slimmed-down box nor a loaded gaming rig. In other words, it's an ordinary PC.

Yet even this machine has but a 250W power supply, which doesn't reach the minimum requirements of any of the candidate graphics cards we've mentioned. So right off the bat, my perfectly serviceable system would require a PSU upgrade.

Rodrigo
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