Graphics Cards, Nvidia and ATI Cards – Super Computers on a Board!

The good folks at Gigabyte cave me some more information on the Radeon 5750 card they make. The card I looked at is model GV-R575D5-1GD-B, a massive graphics card that will power the gaming maniacs into the next year and then some. They sent me some benchmarks where they compared a GTS250 card to the ATI radeon card.

First impressions. The first thing I noticed about this card is that it needs two (2) aux power connectors. Yes these class of cards pull more power than is available on the PCI Express bus. Actually, the Radeon 5750 chip, or ASIC if you want to call it, that itself can use up to 69 watts. Thats why that big fan and heat sinks are there to radiate the heat. The entire card sucks down 100 watts during massive 3D games. So to power this board they request you have a 450 watt power supply. If you use two cards in crossfire mode, they ask for a 600 watt power supply! It seems they are being careful not to overload your power supply, as sure you can get by with less of a power supply in most instances. But of course better to be safe than sorry. Also as components age they may use more power. Hard drives may take longer to spin up or a DVD unit may fail and drain large amounts of power.

On top of card you can see the power connector. In the test system that I used, a 300 watt power supply was all that was available … yet the card and system worked fine and booted up. This was a simple config, based on a basic ASUS system desktop with only one DVD drive, and one hard disk. If you have multiple hard drives, and multiple DVD drives you may not be able to run this card with only a 300 watt power supply.

You may need to do some math to figure out how much your current setup is using, or try using a wattmeter.

Once your radeon card is up and running, you might want to run some benchmarks. Many 3D games have "demo modes" that can show the FPS, or frames per second. The average FPS of a demonstration can be one test of the speed of your GPU and system. Another test program you can try is 3DVantage. This benchmark program pushes your card (and PC) with extensive 3D scene rendering. This is one of those programs that runs only on Windows Vista or Win7. You will notice in the benchmarks that gigabyte ran, these card compares to the Nvidia GTS 250 models of cards in many tests, but the Nvidia cards are slower than the 5750 ATI chip in many games also.

Why test? Performance punks love testing. Power PC geeks enjoy seeing their hardware meet expectations, but true geeks will also record these numbers and make "boilerplate" data that can be useful later on when troubleshooting errors or performance problems with your PC.

And for some new technology, this card has a DisplayPort interface … one of the fastest refresh video buses you can have. So for the super high resolution games, DisplayPort will give you a better picture. And one last thing.

Experiments and your Radeon card. Since these chips have massive parallel processing engines, they can also be used to crack passwords. A group of people at this Russian software company use ATI and Nvidia GPUs to crack passwords for a variety of programs and applications. "According to Elcomsoft, a Radeon HD 4870 graphics card can be used to try almost 16,000 passwords per second, using an" advanced dictionary attack, "which basically transforms entries from a master wordlist. GP-GPU, can raise the number of passwords per second to an impressive 52,000. In comparison, a 65nm-based Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor is only capable of trying 1,100 p / sec. "

And for the grand finale, with these GPU cards, you can actually do something useful games play and test your computer security passwords … you can donate computer time to several distributed computing projects to save the world! No joking, some of these programs are unfolding mysteries that may bring about revolutions in biology, astronomy, and other fields of science.

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