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Building a desktop for scientific GPU computations in OpenCL -- some questions.

Question asked by pwvdendr on Feb 5, 2012
Latest reply on Feb 19, 2012 by moozoo

I'm planning to build a new desktop (budget all together max. +/- 4000 euros) for my research as a PhD student. I'm leaning towards an AMD build, but I still have some questions:

  • is there anything I should pay attention to when it comes to the motherboard & cooling? These are two things that I have not much experience in. I'm currently thinking of 3-4 HD7970s (rather than 2 HD7990 due to longer waiting time and expected cooling/noise problems), but I'm not sure whether that will fit in everywhere, and since I can afford water cooling, I have no idea whether my noise/heating fear with fans blowing inside the case is justified at all. I plan to put the case next to my table&char, so minimizing noise is important.
  • Currently when doing OpenCL computations on GPU, my windows freeze and I can't do anything else (not even browsing/chatting/typing). What would be the best remedy for this? Should I buy a low-end nVidia card, attach my screen to it and run OpenCL on the AMD platform? And would that give performance problems when running applications that use the GPU, such as games? Or should I disable windows hardware accelleration at all? Or what is the best solution for this?
  • When it comes to CPU, is it relevant whether the CPU is also from AMD? I'm not sure if there are any interaction that I should keep in mind. Same question for the motherboard: is there any benefit in an all-AMD setup or can I just consider all these parts as independent?

Thanks in advance!