Graphics Upgrade

Post date: May 29, 2009 12:29:25 AM

Update on the 3 machines from BJ's lab: I immediately put them to use running the simulated annealing optimizer to test out different settings. They were a big help in tuning the optimizer parameters because it allows me to test out how different settings affect the convergence at different starting positions much faster than if i only ran them on my laptop. One limitation of the machines was that they all used integrated graphics and were very slow at generating DRR's. I bought two new graphics cards to see what effect upgrading the graphics card would have on generating DRR's. These are the first two low end cards that i got from Newegg:

The 8400 went into MakoMan1/Glenoid and the 9400 went into MakoMan2.

Results: the 8400 card gives a 2.5X speedup (from 0.9 iterations/second to 2.3) and the 9400 card gives a speedup of 4X (from 0.9 iterations/second to 3.5). I thought that the graphics memory would have a big impact, but at the meeting on Tuesday, Sid suggested that the number of stream processors might be a more significant factor.

[Update 6/3/2009]

Encouraged by the improvements seen with the modest 9400 graphics card above (i am having trouble with the 8400 card working at all). I decided to get a midrange card to see if i can push the performace to another level.

[Update 6/16/2009]

The 8600 GT card was instatlled into Makoman3 without any trouble. It runs at about the same speed as the 9400 GT. Improvements to the code also helped speed up the cost function and it is now running at about 10 iterations/second on the 9400 and 8600 cards.

There were several problems installing the 8800 card. Since it a double width card, it did not fit into Makoman1. I tried to find another machine in Scott's lab that might be able to house the card. They all had pleny of room in the case, but they all had AGP card slots, not PCI express, so it did not fit in any of them either. So now I have a card that could potentially be very powerful, but no machine that it will fit in. I will try to find an alternative, but if nothing comes up, i will just send back the card to Newegg.

I did get the 8400 card working (had to disable on board graphics drivers), it is running at about 5 iterations/second.