ATI Astropulse Cruncher - help me choose


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Message 1220522 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 5:53:55 UTC

I don't know where to start looking and I'm hoping someone can help bring me up-to speed quickly.

The setup:

I'm currently crunching AstroPulse on AMD CPUs only.

I would like to crunch AstroPulse-only on ATI-GPUs only.

My nVidia cards I'd like to leave doing what they do.

I have four motherboards with three PCIe slots each.

The last slot is a "x4" PCIe slot.

In midtower cases, that slot is just barely above the power supply. (no dual slot card is going to fit)

Currently, my fastest CPUs are taking 50,000-60,000 seconds to crunch a typical AstroPulse work unit.

The ATI model numbering is as confusing as nVidia's and I don't know what I'm looking-at, even when I stare right at specifications.

I would like to find a low profile card, preferably with passive cooling, that could do at least as much AstroPulse work as a six-core CPU can in the same amount of time. (so in 60,000 seconds, I can process six WUs)

The goal is not to buy the fastest ATI video card I can afford.

The goal is to spend as little money as necessary, use as little electricity as possible, and completely replace the CPU as an AstroPulse cruncher; yet not reduce the amount of AstroPulse work my computers can do. If it increases the amount of work I can do, so much the better, but it isn't necessary.

The question:

Does this card exist; a low profile, low power card, capable of 6 AstroPulse WUs in 60,000 seconds, which is also inexpensive?

OR... am I better off spending 4 times as much money on one card that I would put in one "x8" slot that could be a dual slot card, that would do more work, and use the same or less electricity?

The useful comparisons I seem to be able to make all seem to include a discontinued AMD/ATI product, so I'm finding this a little confusing.

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Message 1220540 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 7:31:58 UTC - in response to Message 1220522.

I don't know where to start looking and I'm hoping someone can help bring me up-to speed quickly.

The setup:

I'm currently crunching AstroPulse on AMD CPUs only.

I would like to crunch AstroPulse-only on ATI-GPUs only.

My nVidia cards I'd like to leave doing what they do.

I have four motherboards with three PCIe slots each.

The last slot is a "x4" PCIe slot.

In midtower cases, that slot is just barely above the power supply. (no dual slot card is going to fit)

Currently, my fastest CPUs are taking 50,000-60,000 seconds to crunch a typical AstroPulse work unit.

The ATI model numbering is as confusing as nVidia's and I don't know what I'm looking-at, even when I stare right at specifications.

I would like to find a low profile card, preferably with passive cooling, that could do at least as much AstroPulse work as a six-core CPU can in the same amount of time. (so in 60,000 seconds, I can process six WUs)

The goal is not to buy the fastest ATI video card I can afford.

The goal is to spend as little money as necessary, use as little electricity as possible, and completely replace the CPU as an AstroPulse cruncher; yet not reduce the amount of AstroPulse work my computers can do. If it increases the amount of work I can do, so much the better, but it isn't necessary.

The question:

Does this card exist; a low profile, low power card, capable of 6 AstroPulse WUs in 60,000 seconds, which is also inexpensive?

OR... am I better off spending 4 times as much money on one card that I would put in one "x8" slot that could be a dual slot card, that would do more work, and use the same or less electricity?

The useful comparisons I seem to be able to make all seem to include a discontinued AMD/ATI product, so I'm finding this a little confusing.


I use an ATI 4850 to process about 5-10 tasks in a day, maybe more.
Unfortunatly it does not have passive cooling.

//TRuEQ
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Message 1220541 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 7:35:11 UTC

The hardest part with running ap tasks today is not running them if you ask me.
It's getting them from the server which most of the time has 1 or 0 tasks ready to send. I don't know if more ap tasks will be delivered in the future.
I am sure of that more computors will allow running ap tasks so we will be more people requesting them.

//TRuEQ
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Message 1220544 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 7:53:02 UTC - in response to Message 1220541.

The hardest part with running ap tasks today is not running them if you ask me.
It's getting them from the server which most of the time has 1 or 0 tasks ready to send. I don't know if more ap tasks will be delivered in the future.
I am sure of that more computors will allow running ap tasks so we will be more people requesting them.

//TRuEQ


I know what you mean and it's really kind-of weird. I want my FX-8120 to get lots of AstroPulse units for the next week or two. Yet it's another of my machines that gets the lion's share, day after day, and neither of them has a large reserve.

I've gone-out and looked at Newegg, and on ATI's website, but I'm not able to figure it out.

As an example from nVidia, my old GT 240 will run rings around a GT 520 and it better at crunching than a 440. It could also ou-tcrunch my 9800GT which looks better on paper. So, I don't know if an ATI 4850 might be better than an ATI 67xx, the "8" being the important number.

Can I go strictly from the GFLOPS comparisons?

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Message 1220564 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 9:42:15 UTC

HD 6450 should work.
Low power profile.

$45 at amazon.
Uses 27 Watts
OpenCL 1.1

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Message 1220613 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 14:02:05 UTC - in response to Message 1220544.

example: low profile and passive cooling http://www.hisdigital.com/un/product2-617.shtml, but i'm not sure it will do an AP wu in 10 kseconds = 6 in 60 kseconds.

2nd example : low profile and active cooling http://www.sapphiretech.com/presentation/product/?cid=1&gid=3&sgid=1088&pid=1352&psn=&lid=2&leg=0 and this one should do 6 in 60 kseconds.
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Message 1220708 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 18:30:30 UTC - in response to Message 1220564.
Last modified: 20 Apr 2012, 18:35:49 UTC

HD 6450 should work.
Low power profile.

$45 at amazon.
Uses 27 Watts
OpenCL 1.1


Thanks. I'm looking at this and the 6670.

EDIT - I love the whole 27watts-thing. That's almost working for free.

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Message 1220712 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 18:35:01 UTC - in response to Message 1220613.

example: low profile and passive cooling http://www.hisdigital.com/un/product2-617.shtml, but i'm not sure it will do an AP wu in 10 kseconds = 6 in 60 kseconds.

2nd example : low profile and active cooling http://www.sapphiretech.com/presentation/product/?cid=1&gid=3&sgid=1088&pid=1352&psn=&lid=2&leg=0 and this one should do 6 in 60 kseconds.


Am I more interested in the number of stream processors, or the number of texture units, or the clock speeds?

I may give the 6670 a go. At $90 I have to consider whether I could get better results by buying one $360 card.

BUT, and this is no small thing these days, if I have four cards spread-out over four computers, there's a chance that each computer will get some work for them to do, whereas if I have one "super-cruncher" there's a good chance that it will not have work more often than it will have work.

Thanks again.

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Message 1220747 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 20:00:10 UTC

I'm seriously ignorant about this. Help.

I'm seeing the Open CL version is 1.1 on one card 4.1 on another. The nomenclature is getting me down.

Since I would be using it strictly to crunch AstroPulse, do I care? Am I likely to find a new Astropulse application that requires a higher version of OpenCL?

I'm liking both the power consumption and the cheapness of the 6450.

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Message 1220748 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 20:07:10 UTC - in response to Message 1220747.
Last modified: 20 Apr 2012, 20:07:36 UTC

I'm seriously ignorant about this. Help.

I'm seeing the Open CL version is 1.1 on one card 4.1 on another. The nomenclature is getting me down.

Since I would be using it strictly to crunch AstroPulse, do I care? Am I likely to find a new Astropulse application that requires a higher version of OpenCL?

I'm liking both the power consumption and the cheapness of the 6450.

I think you are mixing OpenGL and OpenCL. The HD5xxx and HD6xxx cards are OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.1. The new HD7xxx cards are OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.2.
As the applications use OpenCL I doubt support for OpenCL 1.1 will be dropped any time soon. I'm not even sure of Raistmer has a HD7xxx card for developing at this time.
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Message 1220749 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 20:10:08 UTC - in response to Message 1220748.

I'm seriously ignorant about this. Help.

I'm seeing the Open CL version is 1.1 on one card 4.1 on another. The nomenclature is getting me down.

Since I would be using it strictly to crunch AstroPulse, do I care? Am I likely to find a new Astropulse application that requires a higher version of OpenCL?

I'm liking both the power consumption and the cheapness of the 6450.

I think you are mixing OpenGL and OpenCL. The HD5xxx and HD6xxx cards are OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.1. The new HD7xxx cards are OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.2.
As the applications use OpenCL I doubt support for OpenCL 1.1 will be dropped any time soon. I'm not even sure of Raistmer has a HD7xxx card for developing at this time.


That's exactly what I was doing (not recognizing "G" from "C"). My eyesight has changed a lot lately and I can't see very well with or without my glasses.

Thanks for un-confusing me.

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Message 1220750 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 20:13:11 UTC - in response to Message 1220749.
Last modified: 20 Apr 2012, 20:13:37 UTC

I'm seriously ignorant about this. Help.

I'm seeing the Open CL version is 1.1 on one card 4.1 on another. The nomenclature is getting me down.

Since I would be using it strictly to crunch AstroPulse, do I care? Am I likely to find a new Astropulse application that requires a higher version of OpenCL?

I'm liking both the power consumption and the cheapness of the 6450.

I think you are mixing OpenGL and OpenCL. The HD5xxx and HD6xxx cards are OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.1. The new HD7xxx cards are OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.2.
As the applications use OpenCL I doubt support for OpenCL 1.1 will be dropped any time soon. I'm not even sure of Raistmer has a HD7xxx card for developing at this time.


That's exactly what I was doing (not recognizing "G" from "C"). My eyesight has changed a lot lately and I can't see very well with or without my glasses.

Thanks for un-confusing me.

I do it all the time. I just caught the 4.2 and knew that was way to high to be OpenCL. So I verified the specs. If you haven't used it. The Wikipedia page comparing the GPU's can be rather useful.
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Message 1220752 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 20:17:12 UTC - in response to Message 1220748.

I'm seriously ignorant about this. Help.

I'm seeing the Open CL version is 1.1 on one card 4.1 on another. The nomenclature is getting me down.

Since I would be using it strictly to crunch AstroPulse, do I care? Am I likely to find a new Astropulse application that requires a higher version of OpenCL?

I'm liking both the power consumption and the cheapness of the 6450.

I think you are mixing OpenGL and OpenCL. The HD5xxx and HD6xxx cards are OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.1. The new HD7xxx cards are OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.2.
As the applications use OpenCL I doubt support for OpenCL 1.1 will be dropped any time soon. I'm not even sure of Raistmer has a HD7xxx card for developing at this time.


He does not have one, but if he develops a app, I can test it.
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Message 1220754 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 20:27:24 UTC - in response to Message 1220750.
Last modified: 20 Apr 2012, 20:30:18 UTC

I'm seriously ignorant about this. Help.

I'm seeing the Open CL version is 1.1 on one card 4.1 on another. The nomenclature is getting me down.

Since I would be using it strictly to crunch AstroPulse, do I care? Am I likely to find a new Astropulse application that requires a higher version of OpenCL?

I'm liking both the power consumption and the cheapness of the 6450.

I think you are mixing OpenGL and OpenCL. The HD5xxx and HD6xxx cards are OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.1. The new HD7xxx cards are OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.2.
As the applications use OpenCL I doubt support for OpenCL 1.1 will be dropped any time soon. I'm not even sure of Raistmer has a HD7xxx card for developing at this time.


That's exactly what I was doing (not recognizing "G" from "C"). My eyesight has changed a lot lately and I can't see very well with or without my glasses.

Thanks for un-confusing me.

I do it all the time. I just caught the 4.2 and knew that was way to high to be OpenCL. So I verified the specs. If you haven't used it. The Wikipedia page comparing the GPU's can be rather useful.


I was trying that, but like I explained earlier about nVidia, I find that not-knowing what to compare (as an AstroPulse predictor) is making all of my efforts futile.

I've noticed that BestBuy has a 6670 for $90. I may get one and see how it fits in more than one of my systems, and if it won't fit where I want it to, I'll add it to the system I have with the most space.

Then I can go through the learning curve of getting it to co-exist with nVidia cards and somehow make it crunch only AstroPulse and keep everything else from crunching Astropulse; then maybe I can buy multiple cards without feeling like I'm shooting in the dark.

The only downside I see to the 6670 is the way, way higher power consumption.

Thanks for your help.

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Message 1220811 - Posted: 20 Apr 2012, 22:24:13 UTC - in response to Message 1220748.
Last modified: 20 Apr 2012, 22:31:12 UTC

I'm not even sure of Raistmer has a HD7xxx card for developing at this time.

Well, you can be sure. I don't have HD7xxx :)

And about AP app and its future:
Current OpenCL build was port of Brook+ version with addition: mainloop was moved to GPU too cause OpenCL has FFT library.
Being Brook+ based initially it target quite old GPUs w/o scratch local mamory.
It takes advantage of huge register pool for ATi GPUs... but recently AMD decides to change this - number of registers available for workitem was greatly reduced. New drivers allocate less registers even on older GPUs (so many of us see warnings about lower performance). Definitely there will be new step to use scratch memory instead of registers. Such build will be HD5xxx and up compatible, HD4xxx will not get scratch memory support.

Regarding OpenCL 1.1 and 1.2 - 1.2 has few nice features to use so at some point there will be special build for OpenCL 1.2 probably but OpenCL 1.1 has everything to work quite effectively so will be supported too.
Hope this info will help to chose right GPU (in short - don;t by HD4xxx, go with HD5xxx and higher).

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Message 1220896 - Posted: 21 Apr 2012, 2:06:17 UTC - in response to Message 1220750.

Do I want a 2GB 6670, or a 1GB 6750?

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Message 1220903 - Posted: 21 Apr 2012, 2:16:34 UTC - in response to Message 1220896.

Nevermind. Bought the 6670 since it's single slot.

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Message 1221138 - Posted: 21 Apr 2012, 7:46:16 UTC - in response to Message 1220811.


Well, you can be sure. I don't have HD7xxx :)



Is this a case of you need one to be able to move forward and don't have it, or you just don't have one, but don't really need it?

And would any HD 7xxx qualify (like a 7750) or would you require one of the HD 7970 cards to be able to do what you do?


Regarding OpenCL 1.1 and 1.2 - 1.2 has few nice features to use so at some point there will be special build for OpenCL 1.2 probably but OpenCL 1.1 has everything to work quite effectively so will be supported too.
Hope this info will help to chose right GPU (in short - don;t by HD4xxx, go with HD5xxx and higher).


I bought the 6670 earlier today and will install it after I've had a nap.

Thank you for telling me what not to buy.

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Message 1222733 - Posted: 24 Apr 2012, 8:24:33 UTC - in response to Message 1220564.

HD 6450 should work.
Low power profile.

$45 at amazon.
Uses 27 Watts
OpenCL 1.1


I bought an ASUS 6450 from Amazon with (in my best Don Pardo voice) "FREE Super Saver Shipping!"

I don't know how much power it draws, but it isn't much.

This thing is going to clear the power supply by a few sheets of paper. Thin paper. But that's a good thing since the power supply fan will be moving a lot of air over that thin heatsink and the card's small enough to let the power supply breath around it.

I'm not sure which system I'm going to stick it in, yet, but I'm thinking I should try the one with the dual GTX 460s just because the 460s aren't bothering their power supply. For $44 it will be an interesting experiment.

Soon I'm going to have to figure-out how to send only AP units to the ATI cards, and only get AP work that's going to be sent to the ATI cards.

I know how to "kill" the GPU application, but I'm not sure it will keep BOINC from asking for work.

The $90 ATI card can do a WU in under 20k sec. If a $44 card does it in less than 40k seconds (and I expect it to) I'll be happy; especially if it is doing it for very little power consumption and makes exactly no/nada/zip/zilch noise.

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Message 1222783 - Posted: 24 Apr 2012, 12:44:12 UTC - in response to Message 1222733.
Last modified: 24 Apr 2012, 12:44:38 UTC

HD 6450 should work.
Low power profile.

$45 at amazon.
Uses 27 Watts
OpenCL 1.1


I bought an ASUS 6450 from Amazon with (in my best Don Pardo voice) "FREE Super Saver Shipping!"

I don't know how much power it draws, but it isn't much.

This thing is going to clear the power supply by a few sheets of paper. Thin paper. But that's a good thing since the power supply fan will be moving a lot of air over that thin heatsink and the card's small enough to let the power supply breath around it.

I'm not sure which system I'm going to stick it in, yet, but I'm thinking I should try the one with the dual GTX 460s just because the 460s aren't bothering their power supply. For $44 it will be an interesting experiment.

Soon I'm going to have to figure-out how to send only AP units to the ATI cards, and only get AP work that's going to be sent to the ATI cards.

I know how to "kill" the GPU application, but I'm not sure it will keep BOINC from asking for work.

The $90 ATI card can do a WU in under 20k sec. If a $44 card does it in less than 40k seconds (and I expect it to) I'll be happy; especially if it is doing it for very little power consumption and makes exactly no/nada/zip/zilch noise.

There are two different version of the HD6450. One with DDR3 and one with GDDR5. It looks like you got this card which is the one with DDR3.
While the DDR3 card does use less power the memory also run slower. The specs list 533-800 for DDR3 vs 800-900 for GDDR5. Also GDDR5 has an effective clock rate for 4x the clock vs 2x. So it should be interesting to see how the card runs.
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