Multiple GPU guide???

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Neil L. Carter Project Donor
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Message 1393135 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 2:55:37 UTC

Greetings:

I've been thinking about building a new box. I'd like to keep my current graphics card (ATI 5750) to add solely for GPU crunching. A newer card for actual graphics AND GPU crunching would, of course, be installed, also.

As I've never attempted anything like this, let alone put multiple graphics cards in a single PC, I was wondering if there's any sort of a guide out there somewhere for this kind of endeavor. Maybe it's so simple it doesn't need one?

Thanks, again!

Neil
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Message 1393137 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 3:00:54 UTC

First guide I would give ya, and mind you, I'll get ditched on the next post for sure........get nVidia cards.

Whole lotta less trouble and more throughput than the guys fighting with amd crap.

Just my op.
From an nv guy.

AMDs are not worth the trouble.
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Message 1393147 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 3:56:57 UTC - in response to Message 1393137.  

Another thing to avoid any complications is if you are going dual video cards (or more) then keep the cards the same, or as close to as possible with their spec's.

Cheers.
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Message 1393172 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 7:33:43 UTC - in response to Message 1393147.  

Another thing to avoid any complications is if you are going dual video cards (or more) then keep the cards the same, or as close to as possible with their spec's.

Cheers.


Thats indeed a useful information.

ATI of NV doesn`t really make a difference.
Both apps are mature enough to keep you happy.

2 HD 7850 for example or 2 760`s.


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Message 1393177 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 7:49:46 UTC - in response to Message 1393172.  
Last modified: 21 Jul 2013, 7:50:00 UTC

Another thing to avoid any complications is if you are going dual video cards (or more) then keep the cards the same, or as close to as possible with their spec's.

Cheers.


Thats indeed a useful information.

ATI of NV doesn`t really make a difference.
Both apps are mature enough to keep you happy.

2 HD 7850 for example or 2 760`s.


You also don't work being timed out because 1 card is much more powerful than the other/s (or exceed time limit to be more exact).

Cheers.
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Message 1393244 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 12:05:17 UTC
Last modified: 21 Jul 2013, 12:06:30 UTC

I have always paired like cards in a single rig.
It makes picking the correct opti app much simpler.
You don't shoot one in the foot trying to make the other one faster.

You ATI/NV guys.......LOL. I just don't know about you.
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Message 1393246 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 12:27:36 UTC
Last modified: 21 Jul 2013, 12:32:50 UTC

Follow the kitties path...

If you want to crunch with the little possible headache and choose to go to a multiple GPU host, NEVER MIX ATI with NV GPU´s. Allmost 100% of the time their drivers are not compatible, choose a technology (any one, i use NV only like the kitties) and stay on that.

If you have time and don´t worry about doing some diging, you could mix GPU´s form the same generation like (on NV world) i do 670 with 690, 580 with 590 etc. but avoid to mix generations (like 590 with a 690), or Fast cards with slow cards even from the same genaration (a 580 with a 510 for example), all works but there are a lot of possible hipcups and headaches.

And one last sugestion, buy the fastest card you could paid for it, in the GPU world allways price = crunching power = inovation

My two cents of the day...
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Message 1393283 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 16:08:08 UTC

Imho NV is the way to go. Tried AMD/ATI once and it gave me more headaches then I care to mention, haven't been back since. I know I will get hit by the AMD/ATI people, but I must give you an honest observation.

1) It depends on the type of machine you are attempting to build. With the bad experiences that I have encountered with AMD/ATI, I am somewhat biased against them. If you are going to build an AMD machine I would stick with ATI, same with an Intel machine and NV.

2) ATI requires too many driver updates and from what I have experienced and what I hear & see on the different threads, these updates do not fair well across family versions/types. I have even seen posts of Setizens offering hacks to make things work. You should never have to do this in order to make things work.

3) NV requires less driver updates and from experience will work across family versions regardless of type. The same driver version that works successfully on a GTX Titian, at one end, with BACKWARD COMPATIBILITLY, which is essential with any driver; will work successfully with a GTS250 at the other end. I can remember only two times, over many years of crunching, when this did not happen and a regression to the previous driver solved what ever problems that might have occurred. And the next version corrected those problems.

4) Mixing the two ATI/NV creates its own problems as to which driver has preference on the system. I seem to recall that you must install the NV drivers first then ATI, when you are crunching with these two completely incompatible devices.

I have mixed NV GPUs on both of my crunchers and have never had a problem. Kepler & Fermi, and Fermi & pre-Fermi. The higher type card may not have produced at its highest rate due to the lower rated GPU, but the two can co-exist with the same driver without problems.

Which ever device you end up getting, get the fastest type that you can afford at that time, and GOOD LUCK!!




I don't buy computers, I build them!!
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Message 1393300 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 16:26:53 UTC

Maybe nvidia users are more enthusiastic.

Couldn`t we agree that its more like a like or dislike situation?

You know nvidias working fine and i know ATI`s working as well.

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Message 1393318 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 16:50:36 UTC
Last modified: 21 Jul 2013, 16:51:31 UTC

Look at the top computers pages.

It's NV all the way down to the first ATI rig at number 35.

All my rigs are NV. Most are matched pairs, except for a couple of my slowest rigs.
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Message 1393323 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 16:59:06 UTC
Last modified: 21 Jul 2013, 17:04:12 UTC

Last time i see there are some projects who use DP that some ATI actualy works fasters than NV but is not the case on SETI who only use SP, If you want to crunch SETI and don´t want headaches go for NV you will notice they are easy to use and configurate here.
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Message 1393381 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 20:57:46 UTC
Last modified: 21 Jul 2013, 20:59:02 UTC

I have rigs with an AMD GPU in the primary graphics slow and NV cards in the other available slots. I like to crunch AMD biased projects on the AMD GPU (like MW) and NV biased projects like PrimeGrid at the same time. I have found no problems with wither when mixed.

PS: Milkyway does need GPUs that have double precision, which means the newer generation of both manufacturers mid range GPUs and above.
It's good to be back amongst friends and colleagues



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Message 1393384 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 21:01:43 UTC - in response to Message 1393283.  

Imho NV is the way to go. Tried AMD/ATI once and it gave me more headaches then I care to mention, haven't been back since. I know I will get hit by the AMD/ATI people, but I must give you an honest observation.

1) It depends on the type of machine you are attempting to build. With the bad experiences that I have encountered with AMD/ATI, I am somewhat biased against them. If you are going to build an AMD machine I would stick with ATI, same with an Intel machine and NV.

2) ATI requires too many driver updates and from what I have experienced and what I hear & see on the different threads, these updates do not fair well across family versions/types. I have even seen posts of Setizens offering hacks to make things work. You should never have to do this in order to make things work.

3) NV requires less driver updates and from experience will work across family versions regardless of type. The same driver version that works successfully on a GTX Titian, at one end, with BACKWARD COMPATIBILITLY, which is essential with any driver; will work successfully with a GTS250 at the other end. I can remember only two times, over many years of crunching, when this did not happen and a regression to the previous driver solved what ever problems that might have occurred. And the next version corrected those problems.

4) Mixing the two ATI/NV creates its own problems as to which driver has preference on the system. I seem to recall that you must install the NV drivers first then ATI, when you are crunching with these two completely incompatible devices.

I have mixed NV GPUs on both of my crunchers and have never had a problem. Kepler & Fermi, and Fermi & pre-Fermi. The higher type card may not have produced at its highest rate due to the lower rated GPU, but the two can co-exist with the same driver without problems.

Which ever device you end up getting, get the fastest type that you can afford at that time, and GOOD LUCK!!


I've been running mixed ATI/NV cards since 2008. Never had a problem, with either one.
You WILL have a problem if you try to mix cards on Vista or Linux. Vista is dying, Linux evolving. As for other flavors of Windows, or Apple, there isn't a problem. The only problem I've had with either brand was with the cheap little fans they use to use. The little suckers seem to go out right after the warranty, ATI was really bad about this years ago.
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Message 1393388 - Posted: 21 Jul 2013, 21:06:14 UTC - in response to Message 1393318.  

Look at the top computers pages.

It's NV all the way down to the first ATI rig at number 35.

All my rigs are NV. Most are matched pairs, except for a couple of my slowest rigs.

That's because people with ATI cards in SETI don't run their cards 24/7. I'm about to place two low end ATIs in the Top 50, watch. Give me a couple 7950s and I'll run them right on up there...
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Message 1393428 - Posted: 22 Jul 2013, 0:58:05 UTC

Wow, sorry for stirring up a hornet's nest!! Seems the ATI vs NV argument is alive and well! ;)

I've always run ATI cards myself, thus the 5750 I was hoping to make into a second GPU just for crunching. And yes, I run AMD CPUs, planning an FX-8350 Vishera 4.0GHz (eight cores) for this new box.

However, I've been seriously disgusted with ATI developers(?) lately because they dropped CL support in XP after their driver version 12.1. Of course, this means no crunching. Sorry, but I've seen no reason to 'upgrade' to Vista, 7, or (God forbid) 8. I will probably do so with this build as I need more RAM for my virtualization projects, thus XP is going to have to go. I'll probably go with 7, but, seriously, there's nothing it does even as well as XP, in my opinion. Seems Microsoft just re-arranges the desktop drastically (can't find anything), polishes up the interface, and calls it a new OS (don't forget the bloat)! But I digress...

I was thinking of moving to an NV card as my primary, but mixing them sounds possibly problematic.

So, what does the OS do with a second GPU, anything? Are there any settings at the BIOS or OS level that I need to know about? Any other gotchas I should be warned about? Thus my desire for a guide of some sort.

Thanks!!

Neil
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Message 1393432 - Posted: 22 Jul 2013, 1:13:11 UTC - in response to Message 1393428.  

I actually upgraded to Win7 a long time ago because XP had to many limitations to what I do.

As to your question on what to do with fitting dual cards and the answer is nothing more than, fit the 2nd card and make sure that it is recognised and the drivers working.

Cheers.
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Message 1393472 - Posted: 22 Jul 2013, 4:51:39 UTC - in response to Message 1393428.  



I was thinking of moving to an NV card as my primary, but mixing them sounds possibly problematic.



Neil, I have both ATI and NVIDIA cards. I have had both in one machine. I have-had multiple ATI in a machine and multiple NVIDIA in a machine. I've mixed two NVIDIAs with one ATI/AMD. The *last* video card I purchased was an AMD.

I am sure he's being truthful, but I have no idea how he managed to never have a problem. I had infrequent problems, but I'd have given $100 to have the time back that it took me to straighten-out the problems I did have when I had them.

There's a very long story there that I won't bore you with.

I ended-up building a Windows 8 machine just to escape the driver problems with a HD 7770.

Buy one really fast NVIDIA card and let it crunch when you aren't doing something else with it. Getting a low-end card "just for crunching" isn't worth the time, the money, or the electricity. The low-end card's contribution as a fraction of the total amount of work you do isn't worth the $50 the card might cost. But WAY more than that, it isn't worth the headache if you ever have one.

I started-out thinking the same way and soon gave it up having seen the wisdom of advice I was given only after learning the hard way.

When the primary card can do as much in one hour as the secondary card does all day long, having the secondary card doesn't make any sense.

Which card are you looking-at as a primary?

If you look at my machines you'll see an 8350 driving three NVIDIA cards, a 965 driving three, a FX-4170 driving two, a 1035 driving three, etc. Even with the AVX instructions and an optimized application it wasn't worth the electricity and heat to crunch SETI on the FX CPUs. The Phenom IIs aren't much better. But, I love my AMD CPUs for the money.

So, what does the OS do with a second GPU, anything? Are there any settings at the BIOS or OS level that I need to know about? Any other gotchas I should be warned about? Thus my desire for a guide of some sort.


The OS doesn't do anything, but different applications *might*. For instance, I've got a video rendering program that uses CUDA, but I've never seen it use both of my cards during a rendering project (no SLI).

You are asking an open-ended question like there must be "An Answer." There isn't. It depends on the mix of things and their vintages and what you want them to do.

Luckily for you, this place is full of GPU computing and gaming enthusiasts and I'm sure if you are specific as you can be they will be as specific as they can be.

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Message 1395087 - Posted: 26 Jul 2013, 6:39:54 UTC
Last modified: 26 Jul 2013, 6:41:09 UTC

Seems I missed the debate. Probably a good thing.

I hope to add a bit of further info, though, as a user of both AMD/ATI and NVIDIA cards, without the passionate fanaticism. I think both provide excellent GPUs and one type may be better suited for different situations than the other.

If your primary goal is to contribute to S@h, then I agree with the consensus: current NV GPUs are indeed more efficient in terms of time and energy use. However, ATI GPUs can be useful in other areas, particularly GCN-based cards with regards to GPGPU.

Of note, for MBv7, the server does not appear to calculating Average Processing Rate correctly for ATI cards, making estimated run-times exceedingly long. This is not a fault of the card, though.

I disagree that mixing ATI and NV cards is always a bad idea. Perhaps it does make things a little more interesting, but I haven't found it too difficult - never had to worry about order of installing drivers or anything like that. Then again, I am still stuck on Windows XP - I don't know if things change for Windows 7/8.

One advantage of mixing ATI/NV GPUs on the same host: there's less concern about matching cards of similar performance as the server calculates Average Processing Rate according to ATI or NV cards. It's still a concern if there is more than one of ATI or NV, though.

I'm still planning on mixing ATI and NV GPUs for my next primary machine, if I ever have the opportunity for it.
Soli Deo Gloria
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Message boards : Number crunching : Multiple GPU guide???


 
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