2 Replies Latest reply on Mar 20, 2008 3:40 PM by HScottH

    host hardware

      which computer should I buy?

      I have a Radeon 3870 which currently does not fit in my desktop, therefore I want to buy a new machine. Hardware experts in my lab do not quite know what sort of chipset to choose to make sure that it will work. They are worried that either the system might take the video card for the display and I won't be able to use it with the SDK, or that the SDK would use it but I would lose the monitor. Later, my plan is to purchase a FireStream 9170 when it becomes available, then same question applies.

      To summarize, the question is : what hardware is best suited as a host computer for gpu programming (only) with either the 3870 or 9170. If you let me know what the AMD developers use for their own work, that would be perfect (in terms of chipset, procesor etc).
        • host hardware
          One of my development machines is the spider platform from gigabyte. The 790 chipset, 3870, and Phenom 9500, card has no issues there. The other development system uses a thunder n6650W motherboard from tyan with a NPF 3600 and NPF3050 chipset from Nvidia. Again, no issues there. AMD's phenom platform was designed with the 3870 in mind, so would be the most compatible from the hardware perspective, but we have not done anything to restrict the SDK to any specific chipset, motherboard, or CPU. If it supports the graphics card that you want to work on, it should be supported by our SDK.
          • host hardware

            I hope by now you have purchased a great board, but I post anyway for others who might read this thread.

            I don't have a fantastic sense of which chipsets are overall "better," (Intel or AMD), but I myself prefer the Intel X38 chipset because of its vastly improved memory controller.

            For Motherboards, I am a recent convert from Intel to ASUS. I have a Maximus Formula, with the X38 chipset. I have about 8GB [tested] bandwidth to my CPU, and that works well for large data-set operations.

            In the end, what matters probably above all else (including brand loyalty) is just that you get something with PCIe 2.0 support. The "2.0" part is very important; chipsets only recently started adding this support, and the 3xxx line of GPUs are some of the first to use it as well. In most of my GPU work, the PCIe bandwidth is the bottleneck, so the 2.0 was important.

            One last consideration. A board with multiple PCIe 2.0 slots might be good, because you can easily drop in another board to improve performance (Crossfire, or custom coded). Most ASUS boards are so equipped.