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Gerry Rough
 
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2008-12-15 20:46:51
last modified: 2008-12-15 20:49:31

With the new CUDA enabled SETI beta out for testing, it seems crunchers will eventually have to decide which graphics/video cards are good for BOINC systems to take advantage of the new technology. So, which graphics cards out there take full advantage of GPU technology? From what I've seen, 250 MB of graphics memory should be good enough (for those of us who don't game), but is 512 MB better or is that really too much? Which ones are the good low end cards for those on a budget, and which are the pricey cards, and is there any extra bang for the BOINC buck? Also, which ones are good for the lappy?

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2008-12-15 20:58:54

can't tell you what will be best for YETI - i'll never crunch that stuff. for GPUgrid you will want to go for an GTX260 (216 shaders). there are several projects promissing to come up with an app for Nvidia cards soon, so there might be some rapid changes in the near future according to what's going to be the biggest bang for the buck..
abuze
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2008-12-15 23:02:46
last modified: 2008-12-15 23:06:09

The cheapest graphic card that can run GPUGrid is the 9800 (9600 can run it too but it takes too long, you'll have problems with the deadline if the computer isn't on all the time).

On the lowest 9800, it takes 15-18 hours to finish a task, but that gets you 3,232 points. I think that's the best points/$spent that you can get. Of course, if money isn't an issue, you can always go for a more powerful one, or for more than 1 - you could run multiple GPU units if you have more than 1 GPU.
Gerry Rough
 
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2008-12-16 00:53:55

Of course, if money isn't an issue, you can always go for a more powerful one, or for more than 1 - you could run multiple GPU units if you have more than 1 GPU.


Surely you jest runing more than 1 WU at a time! Do you recommend 250 Mb of memory for the card, or 500Mb?

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abuze
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2008-12-16 09:05:58
last modified: 2008-12-16 09:23:42

Hmm, i thought i had 256, but now i see i got 512. GPUz says: GeForce 9800 GT, GPU G92, Bus PCI-E 2.0x16, 112 Shaders, GPU clock 600MHz, Memory 900 MHz Shader 1500 MHz.

On this i get a workunit done at around 16-17 hours, as i said. I don't know what time you'll get on 256 MB RAM, but the price diffrence should be very little i think.
Actualy, i can't even find a 9800 with 256.


Edited: 17 hours were the old WU's, i finish the new ones at a little over 11 hours.
Rakarin
 
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2008-12-17 04:22:32

Here's a handy dandy FAQ from the GPUGrid BOINC project.

http://www.gpugrid.net/forum_thread.php?id=316

I have a 9800 GT, but I use it for the Folding@Home GPU client. In general, more memory is good (most OS's are starting to offload the display to video memory), and more pixel shaders is good. They way these cards work is actually like the Cell processor. You have a central control processor, then lots and lots of pixel shader units. Each shader unit is a tiny, highly specialized processor. Between the different models, instead of making major improvements between the primary processors, they just add more and more pixel shaders (and often more memory).

I do recommend... if you run this, make sure the computer has good circulation, and make sure the video card has free space around it for air to circulate. Also, every month or two, power everything down and blow the dust out with compressed air. The gamers at work tell me that every couple months, they can see the difference when they clean the card's heat sync and fan.

Another thing, and this is important, check the power supply's wattage against the max draw of the video card. Newer video cards have some crazy power requirements, and most dual card systems have power supplies ranging from 1 kilowatt, to 1.25kW or 1.5kW. Read the issues with older Folding@Home clients. Basically, they had no internal throttling, ran the card at 100%, and for some people this was overdrawing against the power supply and shutting down the machine (non-gracefully, obviously). You will notice on most video card packaging now, on the system requirements, the power supply wattage is in the large print section, along with processor speed, and no longer in the fine print.

Hope that information was somewhat useful.
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