What GPU's do the experts recommend?


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Message 1223657 - Posted: 26 Apr 2012, 19:26:04 UTC
Last modified: 26 Apr 2012, 19:27:41 UTC

Hey guys, I have 3 systems that I would like to put a new GPU (or 2) into.

Firstly, I have a core 2 duo Inspiron 530 that has a ATI Radeon 2600 XT that it came with. I have been unsuccesful in getting windows xp, or windows 7 (i upgraded the system to Windows 7 64bit to see if that would help) to recognize the card. I have ran the Radeon drivers, the catalyst suite, etc.. and they keep giving the message that no compatible hardware is found. Funny thing is, the fan on the GPU is running when the computer is on so I'm not sure what that's about. I read somewhere that it could mean the RAM on the GPU is fried. Because I have the computer connected via the integrated graphic card's VGA port, when I boot the computer up, immediately after BIOS a screen comes up that warns me that I am using the integrated graphics and that I should connect to the DVI ports if I want to use the other graphics card. So basically i don't really know what the deal is with that card. I was hoping it would work so that I can run the lunatics app for ATI cards.
If anyone knows how to fix this I'd be happy to try, but otherwise I'd like to take that card out and add in a new NVIDIA card.

I also have a core 2 duo Vostro 220 that has no additional graphics card so I'd like a recommendation on what to put in there.

additionaly, I have an old p4 dell dimension 8250 that I just put a brand new HD into and its working great (as great as u could expct from a p4). This computer has the factory installed 128mb DDR ATI Radeon 9700tx, which I am pretty certain I can't use for crunching at all since it is ancient and only 128mb. If I could swap that one out for a different GPU I'd like to do so as well.

lastly, I also have a newer HP p6250t which is a dual core E5300 with no GPU, and I'd like to put something appropriate in there too.

So to review:

1. I need to either fix the Dell Inspiron 530's ATI Radeon 2600xt, or swap it for a different GPU.

2. Need a GPU for Dell Vostro 220

3. Need a GPU for P4 Demension 8250

4. Need a GPU for HP p6250t

What I need you guys to help me with is; what are the most AFFORDABLE and compatible NVidia cards for each of these systems. I need the cards ONLY for crunching for S@H so I don't need the most expensive gaming GPU etc.. All of these machines are just on my network of crunchers, I don't use them for anything else. I know how to install GPU's, but I don't know much else about them so I'm counting on you GPU phreaks to help :) Once I know what I need, I'll be hopping on Amazon or another site to grab them.

Many thanks guys.
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Message 1223660 - Posted: 26 Apr 2012, 19:33:33 UTC - in response to Message 1223657.

I have been unsuccesful in getting windows xp, or windows 7 (i upgraded the system to Windows 7 64bit to see if that would help) to recognize the card. I have ran the Radeon drivers, the catalyst suite, etc.. and they keep giving the message that no compatible hardware is found. Funny thing is, the fan on the GPU is running when the computer is on so I'm not sure what that's about. I read somewhere that it could mean the RAM on the GPU is fried. Because I have the computer connected via the integrated graphic card's VGA port, when I boot the computer up, immediately after BIOS a screen comes up that warns me that I am using the integrated graphics and that I should connect to the DVI ports if I want to use the other graphics card.


When you boot up the computer with the video cable connected to the video card (and not the integrated), do you get a display or not?

I also have a core 2 duo Vostro 220 that has no additional graphics card so I'd like a recommendation on what to put in there.

additionaly, I have an old p4 dell dimension 8250 that I just put a brand new HD into and its working great (as great as u could expct from a p4). This computer has the factory installed 128mb DDR ATI Radeon 9700tx, which I am pretty certain I can't use for crunching at all since it is ancient and only 128mb. If I could swap that one out for a different GPU I'd like to do so as well.

lastly, I also have a newer HP p6250t which is a dual core E5300 with no GPU, and I'd like to put something appropriate in there too.


First things first:

1) Are the power supplies in these computers up to snuff? Make sure they are powerful enough to handle a newer video card that may draw more power.

2) What type of connection do you need for each computer: AGP or PCIe?

3) How much are you willing to spend for the video cards?

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Message 1223665 - Posted: 26 Apr 2012, 20:04:09 UTC - in response to Message 1223660.

1. I will try to connect to the non-integrated (DVI) port tomorrow, as the computer is at my house and the cables are at my apartment I didnt get to try it yet.

2. For Vostro 220, PCI-E (here is the specs from Dell)
Expansion Slots:
PCI: 2 Slots
PCIe x1: 1 Slot
PCIe x16 (Graphics): 1 Slot
Power Supply: 300W


3. For Inspiron 530, PCI-E as well, and 300 W power supply.
PCI 2.3: two 124-pin connectors
PCI Express x1: one 36-pin connector
PCI Express x16: one 164-pin connector

4. The Dell Dimension 8250 has AGP and PCI, 250W power supply.

5. HP p6250t PCI-E capable, and 300 W power supply
PCI : 1
PCI Express x16: 1
PCI Express x1: 2

I pasted some of the PCI/PCI-E from the site just to be more precise

I'd spend around $100 each...I assume more expensive cards crunch faster? Does the size of the card really matter since BOINC only uses a certain amount per WU?


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Message 1223677 - Posted: 26 Apr 2012, 20:35:00 UTC - in response to Message 1223665.

2. For Vostro 220, PCI-E (here is the specs from Dell)
Expansion Slots:
PCI: 2 Slots
PCIe x1: 1 Slot
PCIe x16 (Graphics): 1 Slot
Power Supply: 300W


3. For Inspiron 530, PCI-E as well, and 300 W power supply.
PCI 2.3: two 124-pin connectors
PCI Express x1: one 36-pin connector
PCI Express x16: one 164-pin connector


For these two machines, I'd recommend any nVidia GPU that doesn't require an external PCIe power connector. Most cards that don't have the extra power connector are spec'ed to only draw the maximum wattage supported by the PCIe x16 slot itself and therefore should be fine on a 300w power supply.

4. The Dell Dimension 8250 has AGP and PCI, 250W power supply.


This one is going to be "iffy". The power supply would likely need to be replaced to support any newer card. You might be able to get in a low-powered PCI nVidia card, but I'm worried about the PSU.

5. HP p6250t PCI-E capable, and 300 W power supply
PCI : 1
PCI Express x16: 1
PCI Express x1: 2


Same as 2 and 3 above.

I'd spend around $100 each...I assume more expensive cards crunch faster? Does the size of the card really matter since BOINC only uses a certain amount per WU?


More expensive cards are going to have faster GPUs, more "cores", and wider video RAM buses. Essentially, yes, they crunch faster, and if they have enough spare power, can even be configured to crunch more than one workunit per card.

As far as "size" of the card, you unintentionally brought up a good point. Make sure that any card you buy can physically fit in the computer you want to put it in. More powerful cards can be quite large and not fit into smaller cases, though since you are not buying the high powered cards, this shouldn't be an issue.

But I'm assuming by "size" of card, you either meant the video RAM or the power of the GPU. For nVidia cards, 256MB is the stated minimum, but 512MB is rather common these days. Going with 1GB is OK, but it won't be used unless you configure BOINC to crunch more than one workunit per card - but you wouldn't want to do that on lower end cards.

So in summary, buy a card with at least 512MB of video RAM that doesn't require additional power connectors. If you're focusing on SETI@Home, you should probably buy nVidia-based cards and you'll really boost your workunit production tremendously.

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Message 1223683 - Posted: 26 Apr 2012, 20:45:31 UTC - in response to Message 1223677.

thanks for your help my friend, much appreciated :)
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Message 1223687 - Posted: 26 Apr 2012, 20:57:03 UTC - in response to Message 1223677.

by the way, if when i use a DVI cable to connect to that questionable Radeon 2600, find that it works, what would that mean? is it even possible that the display would be output without the drivers having recognized the card? (in device manager it is not listed, neither as an installed and properly working device, nor as hardware that needs a driver- no mention of it at all..
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Message 1223691 - Posted: 26 Apr 2012, 21:03:33 UTC - in response to Message 1223687.

If you get an image on the Radeon 2600, then that indicates that the card is physically working. If you get an image and its messed up, then likely the video RAM is bad. If you don't get an image, the GPU could have fried or the card is bad otherwise.


But yes, generally speaking, once you put in a new video card, you are supposed to plug the video cables into it and start using it right away (that's how it works for motherboards that don't have integrated graphics on the motherboard). Windows will use a standard output driver until a manufacturer driver is loaded. Sometimes, Windows won't detect the video device unless something is plugged into it.

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Message 1223696 - Posted: 26 Apr 2012, 21:12:52 UTC - in response to Message 1223691.

gotcha. guess i can take it from here, thanks again
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Message 1223749 - Posted: 26 Apr 2012, 23:11:51 UTC - in response to Message 1223696.
Last modified: 26 Apr 2012, 23:32:25 UTC


Just be sure to ask here again before you buy certain model.

I think in your case the optimum will be NVIDIA GeForce GT 430
(Lower - not good for SETI crunching (GT 520 is lower), Higher - not good for your PSUs and mechanical space)

(For PCI (not express)/AGP CUDA cards look:
http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/forum_thread.php?id=65362
http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/forum_thread.php?id=64196
)


Something like that (cost ~$60) (the first have faster memory):

http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/NVIDIA_Series/ENGT430DI1GD3LP/
http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/NVIDIA_Series/ENGT430DI1GD3MGLP/

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121397
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121471





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Message 1223770 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 0:08:22 UTC - in response to Message 1223749.

Hi BilBg, what is the main difference between the first and second cards you linked me to? They both have a GT 430 chipset I see, but it only looks like the second one is CUDA enabled?

I am presntly only familiar with CUDA because I have a GeForce 8800GTX in the system I am using right now, and that crunches using CUDA.

I noticed in the third and fourth links (the newegg.com links) that these cards are Fermi, what is the difference?

The cards you linked me to are fair prices, I don't mind paying $60, is this the best crunching card for my money in your opinion? If you think so, I will be ordering 3 of these PCI-E cards, and I will find something different (AGP or PCI) for the older system I had mentioned.

Lastly, is it safe to assume that the systems I have mentioned in this thread do not have sufficient PSU's for running two cards in a system? (say one in the PCI-E slot, and one in the PCI slot if its empty).
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Message 1223773 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 0:13:37 UTC - in response to Message 1223770.

I'm sorry, I just re-read your post, I see that the first and third cards have faster memory.
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Message 1223776 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 0:23:59 UTC - in response to Message 1223773.

Additionally, I might be willing to add a little bit of a better card into the Vostro 220 model system, as the core 2 duo E7500 @ 2.9GHz actually performs quite decently. If you could point out which card is a "Step up" (say in the range of $130-$150) I might go that route for that one system.
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Message 1223781 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 0:43:46 UTC - in response to Message 1223770.
Last modified: 27 Apr 2012, 1:12:23 UTC

I am presently only familiar with CUDA because I have a GeForce 8800GTX in the system I am using right now, and that crunches using CUDA.

I noticed in the third and fourth links (the newegg.com links) that these cards are Fermi, what is the difference?

You can't really find a "difference" as they are names of different things.

"Fermi" is the codename of NVIDIA GeForce 4xx/5xx GPUs
CUDA is the name of NVIDIA's computing technology present in all NVIDIA GPUs since 8xxx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_400_Series

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CUDA


EDIT:
The problem for 2 GPUs in one system or more powerful GPUs to buy is the 300/250 W PSUs and space on the motherboard/case.
Wait for other people to comment on this.

(or post/ask in "Number crunching" (with link to this thread), you will get more/faster answers)


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Message 1223783 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 0:46:02 UTC - in response to Message 1223776.

Ok as far as the older p4 with the AGP/PCI is concerned, they actualy have a PCI version of the GT 430 you suggested for the PCI-E systems, as well.

http://www.amazon.com/Zotac-ZT-40605-10L-nVidia-GeForce-GT430/dp/B005TIEC5C

If you think its a good idea BilBg, I'll grab one of thes PCI GT430's (sounds like a ferrari or something lol), 2 of the PCI-E GT 430's (the faster memory ones, the ones that are $59 on newegg), and perhaps something a little bit better for the Core 2 duo E7500 i mentioned. On your signal :)
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Message 1223784 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 0:50:29 UTC - in response to Message 1223781.
Last modified: 27 Apr 2012, 1:36:17 UTC

I see, Fermi is essentially the new generation of CUDA enabled GeForce cards, which assumably are improved. I will click off the same checkbox in the lunatics optimized app as I did for my 8800M GTX then. That was mainly why i was wondering :)
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Message 1223791 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 1:08:33 UTC - in response to Message 1223783.

On your signal :)

;) My signal is "Yellow", wait for several other people's responses before you get "Green" signal :)

Yes, the Lunatics' optimized CUDA apps are compatible with all generations of NVIDIA CUDA-capable GPUs
(unlike stock SETI which supplies 3 different apps to different CUDA GPUs/drivers)


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Message 1224020 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 18:10:34 UTC - in response to Message 1223791.
Last modified: 27 Apr 2012, 18:11:34 UTC

so far I ordered 3 of these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121397

will look for something else for the old p4 later, since i need something that can work with a 250W PSU. the Zotac gt430 PCI i was looking at needs a 300W so cant use that.

the only question that I have left is, what would be one or two "steps" (quality) above the cards i listed above? I may want to use one of the PC's i mentioned below for personal use as well as crunching so I thought I'd put something a little bit better than the other 3 that are just crunching machines. if anybody has a recommendation let me know because i'm not very knowledgeable on this, although I am trying to learn.
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Message 1224085 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 21:09:49 UTC - in response to Message 1224020.
Last modified: 27 Apr 2012, 21:10:29 UTC

Will a given GPU perform "better" on one system compared to another? for example, will the same exact GPU model accomplish tasks and such at a more efficient rate on a Core 2 Duo E7500 compared to a C2D E4500 etc..? Or is the computer's specs rather irrelevant in regards to how an independent GPU will function on one system vs another? Knowing this answer will help me delegate which systems I put GPU's in first, or if it just doesnt matter.
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Message 1224684 - Posted: 29 Apr 2012, 2:00:44 UTC - in response to Message 1224085.
Last modified: 29 Apr 2012, 2:16:00 UTC


Almost doesn't matter, maybe < 5% difference from RAM/CPU speed (transfers of data RAM <-> VideoRAM)

For "your own usage" GPU - see this list (ordered by "similar overall performance")
Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107-7.html

Benchmarks used:
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2012-vga-gpgpu/benchmarks,135.html


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Message 1224729 - Posted: 29 Apr 2012, 3:29:21 UTC - in response to Message 1224684.

Thank BilBg, also that chart was very useful.
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