Considering buying new GPU just for seti@home

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Imran Abdul-Majid

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Message 1885920 - Posted: 25 Aug 2017, 6:25:17 UTC

I am running a Z400 Workstation, which is using all it idle time (which is 23 hours a day) for seti@home. I tried to enable the GPU for calculations, however I found out that the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 card in my machine is not CUDA compatible. Was thinking of buying one of the following cards:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003X26T7K/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I2PZDWHY13AUX0&colid=39LAW72ZIBSEH

or

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003X26T70/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I110YGAHERISV8&colid=39LAW72ZIBSEH

Question: what kind of computational performance enhancement can I expect if I get one of these? Seems like both have the same ranking on the following page:

https://developer.nvidia.com/cuda-gpus

Is adding a new GPU enhancing the computation significantly? Looking for a advise around percentage improvements.

Thanks for your help.


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Message 1885921 - Posted: 25 Aug 2017, 6:31:03 UTC

Unless you specifically need a Quadro card for its intended purpose in that workstation, you would get more computational performance from a simple traditional graphics card from the latest Pascal family. Something like a GTX 1060. That card would compute rings around your linked Quadro cards multiple times.
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Message 1885928 - Posted: 25 Aug 2017, 6:50:25 UTC - in response to Message 1885920.  

Question: what kind of computational performance enhancement can I expect if I get one of these? Seems like both have the same ranking on the following page:

For your work, either one would provide a significant boost over your current hardware, however for Seti crunching, they are both rather old architectures (Fermi- after that was Kepler, then Maxwell, and now Pascal).
If you could get it at an excellent price, a Kepler based card would be the absolute minimum to consider IMHO, otherwise go for a Maxwell based card. Would be a lot cheaper than any of the current series, however they have excellent performance, and they also use much, much less power than previous architectures.
A K600 or K620 (Kepler based) would be better than the 4 or 5000 series you are considering, however- The Quadro K2200 appears to be the original Maxwell based Quadro card and would be better than the previous cards, otherwise any of the Quadro M series cards (probably best described as Maxwell 2) if you can get them at a good price.

For Seti crunching, Single Precision is all that's required, so the Quadro series cards aren't necessary- however if you need that for work, then I guess you'll need to spend that extra money to keep working, as well being able to crunch.
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Message 1885932 - Posted: 25 Aug 2017, 7:54:51 UTC

I would look at the current generation GTX1060 which looks as if its price is about the same as the Quadro 5000 you've found on Amazon, are current generation. For a bit more step up to the GTX1080 or GTX1080ti, which are the current "beast of choice" among the top ten SETI computers. These are current production, and "go like stink".

Given that these are often owned by "money no object" people I think you can make your own judgement - I looked at a single P5000 (£2000) vs three (four) GTX1080 (£500 each) when specifying the current number three cruncher which has three GTX1080. The trio worked out less expensive, and faster than a single P5000 (in SETI-real terms) so the trio won (I really must get round to acquiring a PCIE header and another GTX1080...)
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Message 1885959 - Posted: 25 Aug 2017, 11:15:11 UTC - in response to Message 1885920.  

I am running a Z400 Workstation...
As I and others have found running the HP Z 400 series boxes, power can become an issue due to the lack of connectors. You will have to decide on which card will work best for your application (Quadro or GTX) and then see about which one(s) you can power sufficiently. I have a Z400 running 2 top end GTX1060s, and they each have an 8 pin power connector, which I used a 6 pin to dual 8 pin power Y splitter cable. I wasn't real comfortable doing that, but it's been running for a month as an open box and I check it almost every day, physically feeling the splitter cable connections for any sign of undue heat. Everything appears to be normal, so I am guessing that being a 1060, it is still getting the significant portion of it's power needs while crunching met from the PCI-e connector on the motherboard. So, my takeaway is be cognisant of the power requirements of whatever card you are considering putting into that box, because the Z400 isn't really designed for running multiple high or even mid power drawing cards.

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Imran Abdul-Majid

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Message 1886182 - Posted: 26 Aug 2017, 10:47:42 UTC

Thank you all for your replies.
The Z400 I have is not being used for any work. It does not even have a monitor connected to it (bought it from the office when the computer park was upgraded). The PC is placed in a storage area and I am connecting to it using Windows Desktop sharing. Beside seti@home the only other application running on it is the Plex media software. There are currently 2 cards in the machine: a NVIDIA graphic card which is not CUDA compatible and a SATA controller for the hard drive.
I am happy to install a few graphic controllers to see if I can boost the computation capabilities. I looked at this one – based on the recommendation from Grant (SSSF) - and it seems like a decent start for me:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MO4RDBY/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=IXZB6YKPXHZND&colid=39LAW72ZIBSEH
It looks like it does not need a power connector as it draws the power from the PCI slot. Is this correct?
Can the BIONIC software utilize more than one GPU controller? If so, then buying a couple more of them would be no issue.
Thanks for all your help.
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Message 1886190 - Posted: 26 Aug 2017, 12:24:35 UTC - in response to Message 1886182.  

Imran, others can chime in on this as well, but I think you are going to find that the Quadro cards are sub-optimal for doing SETI crunching. If I were you, depending on your budget, I'd look at either the higher end 1050s or lower to mid range 1060's for that machine to make it a decent cruncher. There are models like this one that get all their power from the PCI-e slots, but you do have at least one 6 pin connector, and if you got a Y cable, from my experience (so far) going from that 6 pin to 2 8 pins, if you get a card in the above mentioned range, you should have no issues with power, and get much better crunching performance to boot!

Here are a couple suggestions for you, from EVGA's site:

EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti SC GAMING, 04G-P4-6253-KR, 4GB GDDR5, ACX 2.0 (Single Fan) Looks like no external power needed.
EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti SSC GAMING, 04G-P4-6255-KR, 4GB GDDR5, ACX 3.0 Same, but a little bigger, with better cooling.
EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 GAMING, 03G-P4-6160-KR, 3GB GDDR5, ACX 2.0 (Single Fan) Entry level 1060, has 6 pin power connector, most other 1060's have an 8 pin.
EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC GAMING, 03G-P4-6162-KR, 3GB GDDR5, ACX 2.0 (Single Fan) Another 6 pin but a little step up in performance.
EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SSC2 GAMING, 03G-P4-6567-KR, 3GB GDDR5, iCX - 9 Thermal Sensors & LED G/P/M Good mid range card with their latest cooling setup.

and finally, if you want to go all out like I did on my ZeeCruncher Z400 system:

EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 FTW2 GAMING, 9GHz, 06G-P4-6768-KR, 6GB GDDR5, iCX - 9 Thermal Sensors & LED G/P/M

This one is currently at around 54,274 RAC, but probably could do better with a little tweaking. I am running 2 of these in there, using Xeon E5649 CPU's. Plus, you will need to get the 6 pin to dual 8 pin Y cable as well to be able to run 2 of them.

Well, this at least gives you a little to chew on. Decisions, decisions... ;-)

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Message 1886208 - Posted: 26 Aug 2017, 14:15:43 UTC

Windows desktop sharing and GPU processing are (almost) exclusive - you would do better to try one of the third part remote connection applications as it sounds as if they "play better" with PU processing.

Over the years I've tried various "high end" GPUs, from most of the big players and have, almost without fail, found them to be less reliable than the stock product from the same manufacturer. It would appear that the "high end" cooling is great for the burst activity of gamers, but very poor for the 24/7 full power use that processing SETI@Home results in. Stick with the stock (single fan in most cases) cooling and clocking and you will have a lower initial expense, and a much longer life from the GPU. A case in point is my "chuck together" rig which has a single basic GTX780 which I know to be over 18 months older than either of the "high end" GTX780s both have suffered fatal faults, one with the multiple fans failing and the other with failed voltage regulators taking down the GPU chip itself. - all having been subject to 24/7 running on SETI....

I would be wary of using a GTX1050 that only draws its power from the motherboard - they are very close to the on-board bus power limit and HP are "famous" for being right on the line.

BOINC (and thus SETI@Home) will use a number of GPUs, it is is easiest to use multiple of the same type - if you want to see a really spectacular rig just look at Petri's "monster" (the current number one computer) - it has four GTX1080, or any of the other top 10 computers in S@H, we are all running multiple GPUs.
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Message 1886286 - Posted: 26 Aug 2017, 19:59:38 UTC - in response to Message 1886182.  

The Z400 I have is not being used for any work.
....I looked at this one – based on the recommendation from Grant (SSSF) - and it seems like a decent start for me:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MO4RDBY/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=IXZB6YKPXHZND&colid=39LAW72ZIBSEH

If it's not being used for work, then as others have said you don't want to use a Quadro card- a lot of money for very little output.
One of the current GTX 10xx series, or one of the older GTX 900 Maxwell series would be the way to go.
For a card that doesn't require a power connector, the old GTX 750Ti is an excellent (if older) piece of hardware.

Can the BIONIC software utilize more than one GPU controller? If so, then buying a couple more of them would be no issue.

I think the current maximum running is about 6? However even with cards that don't require an additional power connecter, problems with power supply will quickly become an issue.
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Message 1886299 - Posted: 26 Aug 2017, 22:06:52 UTC

Windows Remote Desktop will not work with GPU crunching for starters and as others have said, forget about using Quadro cards.

I'm rather partial to 3GB GTX 1060's myself and I have 2 old i5 rigs with 2 of them in each, 3570K and 2500K, and both rigs pull well under 300W from the wall while each card is producing a RAC of over 21K.

Cheers.
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Message 1887247 - Posted: 1 Sep 2017, 9:03:33 UTC

Just my 2 cents re: the GTX 1060 cards.

I used CPU only power for the first 16 years I was crunching S@H data and still had < 600,000 credits as recently as mid-2015.

In July of 2015 I built a new machine with an i5 (4 core @ 3.2 GHz) processor. It was plopping along at around 4-4.5k RAC until I added a GTX 1060 6G about a year ago. Now I consistently get 25-26k RAC on that machine. Thus, about 21-22k RAC from the video card alone. In just about a year I've crunched an additional 9,000,000+ credits.

The GTX 1060 draws very little power (roughly 50-60W from what I can tell) even while running at an automatic overclock. The "base" frequency of the card is 1506 MHz, but mine generally runs all day at between 1847 and 1885 MHz. No need to mess with the default settings... all the GTX "10" series cards will overclock automatically. Though they do come with software if you want to mess with that stuff too.

In any case, they really give a lot of "bang for the buck".
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Message 1887258 - Posted: 1 Sep 2017, 12:14:22 UTC - in response to Message 1886182.  
Last modified: 1 Sep 2017, 12:31:15 UTC

Thank you all for your replies.
The Z400 I have is not being used for any work. It does not even have a monitor connected to it (bought it from the office when the computer park was upgraded). The PC is placed in a storage area and I am connecting to it using Windows Desktop sharing. Beside seti@home the only other application running on it is the Plex media software. There are currently 2 cards in the machine: a NVIDIA graphic card which is not CUDA compatible and a SATA controller for the hard drive.
I am happy to install a few graphic controllers to see if I can boost the computation capabilities. I looked at this one – based on the recommendation from Grant (SSSF) - and it seems like a decent start for me:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MO4RDBY/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=IXZB6YKPXHZND&colid=39LAW72ZIBSEH
It looks like it does not need a power connector as it draws the power from the PCI slot. Is this correct?
Can the BIONIC software utilize more than one GPU controller? If so, then buying a couple more of them would be no issue.
Thanks for all your help.


. . I don't know much about the Quadro series but from the specs that sounds much like the GPU in my GT730. A nice enough card but unless your case requires a low profile card it would not be what you are looking for. If you wish to avoid the need to provide external PCIe power then the 1050/1050ti cards would probably suit you best. Two of those and CUDA80 special sauce (requires linux) and you will have a 50K plus RAC.

. . Like maybe one or two of these ...

http://www.galax.com/en/graphics-card/galax-geforce-gtx-1050-oc.html

. . They crunch well and use only about 55W each.

. . OR ... have a look here ...

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=galax%20GTX%201050&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=

. . I am using both an MSI low profile GTX1050ti and a Galax GTX1050 and the numbers are almost the same so no need to spend the extra money just for crunching.

Stephen

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Message 1887262 - Posted: 1 Sep 2017, 12:43:14 UTC - in response to Message 1886208.  


Over the years I've tried various "high end" GPUs, from most of the big players and have, almost without fail, found them to be less reliable than the stock product from the same manufacturer. It would appear that the "high end" cooling is great for the burst activity of gamers, but very poor for the 24/7 full power use that processing SETI@Home results in. Stick with the stock (single fan in most cases) cooling and clocking and you will have a lower initial expense, and a much longer life from the GPU. A case in point is my "chuck together" rig which has a single basic GTX780 which I know to be over 18 months older than either of the "high end" GTX780s both have suffered fatal faults, one with the multiple fans failing and the other with failed voltage regulators taking down the GPU chip itself. - all having been subject to 24/7 running on SETI....

I would be wary of using a GTX1050 that only draws its power from the motherboard - they are very close to the on-board bus power limit and HP are "famous" for being right on the line.


. . I would have to agree with Rob ... staying with the solid old basic cards seems a good approach and yields good results. But I would disagree about the 1050/150ti. The 1050ti is pulling about 60W (maybe 63 once in a while) but the 1050 is pulling typically 55 to 60W and is well within the 75W limit.

Stephen

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Message 1887282 - Posted: 1 Sep 2017, 14:04:13 UTC

My 2 EVGA SSC 1050s pull around 60 watts. Which is just about the same as my EVGA SC 1050Ti. They are pretty close performance wise, the 1050s being Super Super Clocked verses the 1050Ti just being Super Clocked;

Fri Sep  1 09:41:06 2017       
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| NVIDIA-SMI 381.22                 Driver Version: 381.22                    |
|-------------------------------+----------------------+----------------------+
| GPU  Name        Persistence-M| Bus-Id        Disp.A | Volatile Uncorr. ECC |
| Fan  Temp  Perf  Pwr:Usage/Cap|         Memory-Usage | GPU-Util  Compute M. |
|===============================+======================+======================|
|   0  GeForce GTX 1050    Off  | 0000:01:00.0      On |                  N/A |
| 68%   60C    P0    58W /  75W |   1741MiB /  1991MiB |     96%      Default |
+-------------------------------+----------------------+----------------------+
|   1  GeForce GTX 1050    Off  | 0000:08:00.0     Off |                  N/A |
| 47%   57C    P0    58W /  75W |   1504MiB /  1999MiB |     97%      Default |
+-------------------------------+----------------------+----------------------+
                                                                               
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Processes:                                                       GPU Memory |
|  GPU       PID  Type  Process name                               Usage      |
|=============================================================================|
|    0       943    G   /usr/lib/xorg/Xorg                             173MiB |
|    0      1556    G   compiz                                          62MiB |
|    0     29666    C   ...home_x41p_zi3v_x86_64-pc-linux-gnu_cuda80  1493MiB |
|    1     29773    C   ...home_x41p_zi3v_x86_64-pc-linux-gnu_cuda80  1493MiB |
+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+

I think we should take a Poll, how many people here have Ever burned MB pins with cards rated at just 75 watts verses those that have burned pins with cards having external connections. As far as I know, everyone here with burnt pins were using cards rated over 75 watts with external pins. Those external pins won't save you, the cards are Designed to pull the First 75 watts from the MB. If your board isn't designed to supply extra power to the PCIe bus, and you try running more than 2 Video cards, you will burn the pins no matter how many external connections you have. The only thing that will prevent that is by using a Board Designed to run more than 2 Video cards, such as the Intel boards in my Mac and my other Intel Board that has a Molex connector to boost the PCIe power up to 75 watts per card. The other alternative is to use Powered PCIe Extenders, which is basically the same as having a Molex connector on the MB to add power. Motherboards with just a 24 Pin connector are good for around 2 Video cards, My Intel board Designed for 3 Video cards has an Extra Molex connector and stresses it Must be functioning to run 3 Video cards, else you will burn the Power pins on the 24 pin connector. There is absolutely Nothing wrong with running a Video card rated at 75 watts in a PCIe Slot Designed to run a 75 watt Video card...It's Designed for it!
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Message 1887285 - Posted: 1 Sep 2017, 14:43:42 UTC - in response to Message 1887282.  

Bacic boards as TBar says, good for 1 maybe 2 cards. You get what you pay for.

I've been fortunate never to burnt a pin from using a card rated higher than the PCIe was rated for. In my case, the cards just failed to work. Probably cause I didn't use the MoBo long enough and upgraded to better boards. After I began to upgrade the Motherboards and noticed that all high end MoBo from most manufacturers have auxiliary power plugs for the PCIe slots. Gigabyte likes a molex (usually near the 24 pin), EVGA will use a 6 pin at the bottom of the board and ASUS will also place 6 pin connector above the PCIe slot and near the CPU.

my 2 cents...
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Message 1887506 - Posted: 2 Sep 2017, 13:54:07 UTC - in response to Message 1887285.  

Of course it depends on the cards you install. The standard ATX 24 pin connector is good for 188 watts continuous 12v power to the PCIe slots, according to HP. If your installed cards draw 75 watts each from the MB then you can use 2 GPUs as 3 GPUs would need 225 watts, that's why Intel says you must use the Molex connector for 3 GPUs on their board. If you install all 750Ti GPUs you can use 5 before you even approach the 188 watt limit since the 750Ti only pulls around 30 watts. The 1050 pulls around 60 watts, 3 would work. The point is, don't try to pull more than 188 PCIe watts through the 24 pin connector or you will end up with something that looks like this;

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Message 1887512 - Posted: 2 Sep 2017, 14:10:08 UTC - in response to Message 1887506.  

The point is, don't try to pull more than 188 PCIe watts through the 24 pin connector or you will end up with something that looks like this;


Yup......I have had one end up like that. Was in a hurry and left off the aux power connectors to the GPU. Few hours later.......connector was toast.

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Message 1891129 - Posted: 21 Sep 2017, 12:33:17 UTC - in response to Message 1887258.  

Thank you all for your replies.
The Z400 I have is not being used for any work. It does not even have a monitor connected to it (bought it from the office when the computer park was upgraded). The PC is placed in a storage area and I am connecting to it using Windows Desktop sharing. Beside seti@home the only other application running on it is the Plex media software. There are currently 2 cards in the machine: a NVIDIA graphic card which is not CUDA compatible and a SATA controller for the hard drive.
I am happy to install a few graphic controllers to see if I can boost the computation capabilities. I looked at this one – based on the recommendation from Grant (SSSF) - and it seems like a decent start for me:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MO4RDBY/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=IXZB6YKPXHZND&colid=39LAW72ZIBSEH
It looks like it does not need a power connector as it draws the power from the PCI slot. Is this correct?
Can the BIONIC software utilize more than one GPU controller? If so, then buying a couple more of them would be no issue.
Thanks for all your help.


. . I don't know much about the Quadro series but from the specs that sounds much like the GPU in my GT730. A nice enough card but unless your case requires a low profile card it would not be what you are looking for. If you wish to avoid the need to provide external PCIe power then the 1050/1050ti cards would probably suit you best. Two of those and CUDA80 special sauce (requires linux) and you will have a 50K plus RAC.

. . Like maybe one or two of these ...

http://www.galax.com/en/graphics-card/galax-geforce-gtx-1050-oc.html

. . They crunch well and use only about 55W each.

. . OR ... have a look here ...

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=galax%20GTX%201050&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=

. . I am using both an MSI low profile GTX1050ti and a Galax GTX1050 and the numbers are almost the same so no need to spend the extra money just for crunching.

Stephen

.

How can you promise someone 50k RAC on a card, when you on the similar one have an average of 27k RAC.

Don't know how, as mine similar only gets me to 20k RAC...with optimised SoG & sah as beast I knew...

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Message 1891137 - Posted: 21 Sep 2017, 13:25:49 UTC - in response to Message 1891129.  
Last modified: 21 Sep 2017, 13:26:31 UTC


. . I don't know much about the Quadro series but from the specs that sounds much like the GPU in my GT730. A nice enough card but unless your case requires a low profile card it would not be what you are looking for. If you wish to avoid the need to provide external PCIe power then the 1050/1050ti cards would probably suit you best. Two of those and CUDA80 special sauce (requires linux) and you will have a 50K plus RAC.

. . Like maybe one or two of these ...

http://www.galax.com/en/graphics-card/galax-geforce-gtx-1050-oc.html

. . They crunch well and use only about 55W each.

. . OR ... have a look here ...

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=galax%20GTX%201050&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=

. . I am using both an MSI low profile GTX1050ti and a Galax GTX1050 and the numbers are almost the same so no need to spend the extra money just for crunching.

Stephen

.

How can you promise someone 50k RAC on a card, when you on the similar one have an average of 27k RAC.

Don't know how, as mine similar only gets me to 20k RAC...with optimised SoG & sah as beast I knew...

Maybe if you read his post properly you wouldn't have made such a silly post. ;-)

Cheers.
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RAC: 22,592
United Kingdom
Message 1891246 - Posted: 22 Sep 2017, 0:14:50 UTC - in response to Message 1891129.  

Well, he did say, TWO of those cards, plus the Linux 'Special' application. If I felt brave enough to use Linux and the 'Special Brew' with my GTX 970, I'd have a RAC of around 40k.
Don't take life too seriously, as you'll never come out of it alive!
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Message boards : Number crunching : Considering buying new GPU just for seti@home


 
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