All hail GPU computing!! The CPU cruncher is dead!

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baron_iv
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Message 1082108 - Posted: 27 Feb 2011, 17:42:45 UTC - in response to Message 1081971.  

Well feeling may change if AVX on the i7's is all it's cracked up to be.


Even though I bought an i7 2600K, and I am very anxious to see what it does when AVX comes to seti, I think what interests me even MORE is bulldozer. The way bulldozer can split its 256-bit vector units in 2 to crunch 2x as much work (2x128-bit), may put bulldozer at the top when it comes to CPU crunching. When you add to that the fact that you get a 6xxx series GPU along WITH the CPU, it's gonna be a crunching monster. Ofc this is all purely speculation on my part, but the future looks mighty bright for Bulldozer.

As for the CPU being dead, I think we're a very long way from that being the case. While even the fastest CPU isn't even close to a mainline GPU in terms of crunching for seti, I think we are seeing plenty of advancements which will allow the CPU to stay in the game, especially as we add more and more cores and ever more-powerful FP units. Both Intel and AMD are realizing that pure number-crunching ability is what's going to get them the lead in this never-ending CPU power war. Intel has been ahead since just after the turn of the century, but both have made some dramatic leaps in FP performance since then. I mean I have a CPU that is crunching TWELVE seti tasks at the same time and there are others who have 24 or 48 tasks running at the same time on CPUs alone. It's impressive that just 5 years ago, we were entering the dual-core era. Both Intel and AMD have prototype CPUs that are MANY-cores (100 or more)...needless to say, those would kick the butt of any GPU out there currently. So, in my opinion anyway, the CPU is just getting started, not dying. ;)

Heck, I remember the days when people had to have a dedicated floating-point co-processor to do this kind of stuff. CPUs didn't even have the capability of doing FP math at a reasonable pace. I'm probably dating myself a bit with that statement, but it goes to show you that technology leaps ahead constantly. Even a very small seti task would have taken many weeks, if not MONTHS on those types of computers, now we can do them in mere minutes with GPUs and just a tad longer with CPUs. I am happy that I've been around to see just how far we've come and I anticipate even greater things in the future.
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Message 1082199 - Posted: 27 Feb 2011, 22:49:50 UTC

With both intel/amd have avx in the next cpus. I think cpu crunching power will almost double on a per watt basis. that is just what i think no facts.
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Message 1082200 - Posted: 27 Feb 2011, 22:51:09 UTC - in response to Message 1082108.  

Heck, I remember the days when people had to have a dedicated floating-point co-processor to do this kind of stuff. CPUs didn't even have the capability of doing FP math at a reasonable pace.


I know what you mean. The first PC that I was able to afford on my own didn't even have a math co-processor built-in like all these current generation CPUs do. The math co-processors were often very expensive, and we were told not to buy one unless we were doing some heavy scientific number crunching, some CAD applications, and/or very large spreadsheets for large companies.

My how times have changed.
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Message 1082207 - Posted: 27 Feb 2011, 23:03:06 UTC - in response to Message 1082199.  
Last modified: 27 Feb 2011, 23:04:27 UTC

I think cpu crunching power will almost double on a per watt basis.

Small fact :)
Double, but not per watt.
Test with Linpack libraries, AVX and no-AVX, on my 2500K(4.6 GHz, 1.28 V) shows 140 W with AVX vs. 100 W with no-AVX. Calculation numbers are nearly doubled, but it takes more power.
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Message 1082254 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 1:45:11 UTC - in response to Message 1082207.  

I think cpu crunching power will almost double on a per watt basis.

Small fact :)
Double, but not per watt.
Test with Linpack libraries, AVX and no-AVX, on my 2500K(4.6 GHz, 1.28 V) shows 140 W with AVX vs. 100 W with no-AVX. Calculation numbers are nearly doubled, but it takes more power.


Yeah that's almost to be expected though right? AVX is much more intensive than no-AVX or at least that's my thinking. If everything holds true as CPU's advance further we should more crunching for less wattage. I mean after all we do have 1GHz processors in phones now, and back in the Athlon days we would have laughed at that idea!

I think it's all interesting, especially with Intel saying it plans to ship 10 core processors the first half of 2011! Granted they are Xeon but the desktop parts shouldn't be too far behind. Then you also have bulldozer on the way, makes my mouth water thinking it's almost time to update again. I'm trying my best to resist another quad core upgrade and if I'm going to pay the money to move into a 6 core I may as well hold off for a 10 core!

10 cpu cores + dual fermi(with optimized apps), ummm hummmm.
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Message 1082264 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 2:40:27 UTC - in response to Message 1082254.  

Yeah that's almost to be expected though right? AVX is much more intensive than no-AVX or at least that's my thinking. If everything holds true as CPU's advance further we should more crunching for less wattage. I mean after all we do have 1GHz processors in phones now, and back in the Athlon days we would have laughed at that idea!

I think it's all interesting, especially with Intel saying it plans to ship 10 core processors the first half of 2011! Granted they are Xeon but the desktop parts shouldn't be too far behind. Then you also have bulldozer on the way, makes my mouth water thinking it's almost time to update again. I'm trying my best to resist another quad core upgrade and if I'm going to pay the money to move into a 6 core I may as well hold off for a 10 core!

10 cpu cores + dual fermi(with optimized apps), ummm hummmm.


If a 10 core is coming then I'm holding off until it is semi reasonable and will build a quad SLI with that as the CPU feeding it all. Talk about a high RAC.
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Message 1082303 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 5:56:23 UTC - in response to Message 1082264.  


If a 10 core is coming then I'm holding off until it is semi reasonable and will build a quad SLI with that as the CPU feeding it all. Talk about a high RAC.
Dan


Well I wouldn't hold out for too awful long. Those are Xeon chips they are shipping meaning they will probably be $1500+ and I wouldn't imagine the consumer level i7 stuff to be here before 2012. Especially since they can't seem to bring the prices down on the 6 core beasts now. However I'm waiting till probably next year to build a new PC anyways and hopefully stretching my legs past Ivy Bridge but we shall see, all depends on performance for the dollar. My little 'ole q9650 does everything I want it to and then some, even though I would love a much higher RAC here it's not worth the money to me to satisfy a 10% habit. ;)

The one thing that really peaked my interest in those chips though is they said they would be able to do 8 socket systems with them, 160 total cores.....holy wow!

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Message 1082320 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 9:09:57 UTC - in response to Message 1082264.  

If a 10 core is coming then I'm holding off until it is semi reasonable and will build a quad SLI with that as the CPU feeding it all. Talk about a high RAC.

Keep in mind those 10 Core CPUs also have HyperThreading. They are server based CPUs- the high end ones are designed for 4 & 8 socket systems.
Think of 160 Work Units being crunched at a time on a single system, then add some GPUs for extra processing...
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Message 1082369 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 14:41:12 UTC - in response to Message 1082320.  
Last modified: 28 Feb 2011, 14:44:21 UTC

If a 10 core is coming then I'm holding off until it is semi reasonable and will build a quad SLI with that as the CPU feeding it all. Talk about a high RAC.

Keep in mind those 10 Core CPUs also have HyperThreading. They are server based CPUs- the high end ones are designed for 4 & 8 socket systems.
Think of 160 Work Units being crunched at a time on a single system, then add some GPUs for extra processing...


This is where you need to consider what horse for what course...

CPUs dedicate a LOT of chip area to give a rich (complex) instruction set and to do lot's of clever things such as branch prediction and out-of-order execution and all manner of other tricks to try to maximise the execution rate of a small number of threads. The emphasis is on executing complex flows of instructions...

In contrast, GPUs have a much more restrictive instruction set and instead dedicate a greater proportion of their chip area directly to data processing. The emphasis there is on simply manipulating many data threads...


So... It all depends on what you want.

For a super cruncher, you likely will get better returns by investing on just enough money on a CPU that is only just fast enough to service as large a farm of GPUs for what the rest of your money can buy.


The real joker in the pack is to explore how flexible the GPGPUs really are... Perhaps we're all diving headlong down a blind tunnel into an expensive oblivion with these ever more complex and bloated x86 things...


Happy fast efficient crunchin'!
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Message 1082375 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 15:28:31 UTC

It's fun to process on the GPU since you get a lot of SETI results in a short time. But most of what we are doing is running fast fourier transforms on a graphics card.

Five of my six physical cores are running climateprediction.net simulations, two million lines of Fortran code ported from a supercomputer application to the home PC. That was some accomplishment... So as of yet the GPU can't help there.

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Message 1082380 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 16:30:45 UTC - in response to Message 1082200.  

Heck, I remember the days when people had to have a dedicated floating-point co-processor to do this kind of stuff. CPUs didn't even have the capability of doing FP math at a reasonable pace.


I know what you mean. The first PC that I was able to afford on my own didn't even have a math co-processor built-in like all these current generation CPUs do. The math co-processors were often very expensive, and we were told not to buy one unless we were doing some heavy scientific number crunching, some CAD applications, and/or very large spreadsheets for large companies.

My how times have changed.



Just had to post some eye candy feeling a bit nostalgic
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Message 1082394 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 17:24:40 UTC - in response to Message 1082369.  

Happy fast efficient crunchin'!

Define efficient crunching.
Number of WUs per hour? Number of WUs per watt? Number of WUs per $ spent on intial outlay? Number of WUs per BTU?
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Message 1082398 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 17:34:46 UTC - in response to Message 1082394.  

Happy fast efficient crunchin'!

Define efficient crunching.
Number of WUs per hour? Number of WUs per watt? Number of WUs per $ spent on intial outlay? Number of WUs per BTU?


I think he is just wishing you efficient crunching. It would depend on the user he is talking to to define that answer. Personally it's number of WUs per hour, however that answer will vary depending on who answers next.

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Message 1082399 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 17:38:58 UTC - in response to Message 1082369.  

CPUs dedicate a LOT of chip area to give a rich (complex) instruction set and to do lot's of clever things such as branch prediction and out-of-order execution and all manner of other tricks to try to maximise the execution rate of a small number of threads. The emphasis is on executing complex flows of instructions...

In contrast, GPUs have a much more restrictive instruction set and instead dedicate a greater proportion of their chip area directly to data processing. The emphasis there is on simply manipulating many data threads...

So what you're saying is, if CPUs were made out of GPU "stuff" (to quote Carl Sagan), they would be blazingly fast but wouldn't be able to multitask as well. :) I could live with that.
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Message 1082408 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 18:21:58 UTC

That picture of the 80386 reminded me of my old Northgate tower which was a 33 Mhz speed demon in in 1989. I think it had a 160 Mb disk.
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Message 1082420 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 18:59:45 UTC

My first PC was a 486-66 with (I think) 8MB ram and a 340MB HD.

No, wait...the 340MB HD was in my next one, a Cyrix 686-166.
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Message 1082432 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 19:36:44 UTC
Last modified: 28 Feb 2011, 19:37:58 UTC

Nvidia revs up CUDA GPU coder toolkit
Nvidia has staked a large part of its future on the idea that GPUs and their massively parallel architectures can replace CPUs for a big chunk of computational jobs. But parallel programming on one device is tough, across two incompatible devices is very difficult, and across clusters of hybrid machines can be very tricky indeed. That's why Nvidia's CUDA parallel programming environment is probably as important as any chip or Tesla GPU co-processor that Nvidia will ever ship.http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/28/nvidia_cuda_4_toolkit/
link to rest of article.Of course you may know of this already.
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Message 1082433 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 19:46:57 UTC

Well, while I recognise that using the GPU for crunching is much quicker, there is at least, one slight problem. I have my own PC and some use of another at home...they're nothing special (C2Ds built to a price, but recently 'beefed-up' fairly cheaply, in the graphics dept) and they're capable of doing what is asked of them. In my PC, there is an XFX 4890 with a Gelid Cooler (brilliant cooler for OC'ing and keeping things cool) and in the other is a Sapphire 4870 Vapor-X...yep, both fairly competent cards and both ATI.

Now, whilst installing an optimised app for a CPU was straight-forward, editing and then installing the ATI GPU app is something else - even if I had a good idea where the files/folders for it needed to be put! Credit to Raistmer for putting the app together, though. In addition to this, in the last four or five weeks, I've gone back to using older drivers packs (Cat 10.9), since the Catalyst 11.X drivers were halving frame-rates; some say that the Cat 10.5 drivers were the best for the 4870/4890, but I've not gone that far back. In a multi-purpose machine, it makes little sense to ruin things by either messing things up 'by my own hand' (bad app editing and wrong file placing), or by using drivers that render it useless for flight sims. For the moment at least, for me, the CPU cruncher is not dead, just ailing a bit, even when I do get the RAM and CPU improvements that I want.


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Message 1082435 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 19:55:40 UTC - in response to Message 1082264.  

You won't see the Deca-Core CPU parts on the desktop for at least 18 months if even then. Octo-core for sure by the end of the year but Intel will never canbilize the server market for the sake of the desktop - AMD doesn't do it either. That would be a bad move for the shareholders. Server parts are where both companies recover their R&D costs for a given platform.

I have 4 of the Deca-core parts to upgrade my server that currently has 4x X7560's but I am in a holding pattern for a bios upgrade to support these from SuperMicro.

Todd

Yeah that's almost to be expected though right? AVX is much more intensive than no-AVX or at least that's my thinking. If everything holds true as CPU's advance further we should more crunching for less wattage. I mean after all we do have 1GHz processors in phones now, and back in the Athlon days we would have laughed at that idea!

I think it's all interesting, especially with Intel saying it plans to ship 10 core processors the first half of 2011! Granted they are Xeon but the desktop parts shouldn't be too far behind. Then you also have bulldozer on the way, makes my mouth water thinking it's almost time to update again. I'm trying my best to resist another quad core upgrade and if I'm going to pay the money to move into a 6 core I may as well hold off for a 10 core!

10 cpu cores + dual fermi(with optimized apps), ummm hummmm.


If a 10 core is coming then I'm holding off until it is semi reasonable and will build a quad SLI with that as the CPU feeding it all. Talk about a high RAC.
Dan


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Message 1082436 - Posted: 28 Feb 2011, 19:59:33 UTC - in response to Message 1082420.  

Mine was a 1 Mhz 6502 in an Apple II+ - even then we overclocked the CPU to 1.33Mhz with a new crystal for the clock generator. It had 48k of RAM at purchase and then I upgraded it with another 16k to 64K total. And let me tell you when I got my 1MB ram disk I thought I was pretty darn cool!

Todd

My first PC was a 486-66 with (I think) 8MB ram and a 340MB HD.

No, wait...the 340MB HD was in my next one, a Cyrix 686-166.


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Message boards : Number crunching : All hail GPU computing!! The CPU cruncher is dead!


 
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