Why Tesla?
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Hi,

We are planning to expand our GPUs. We now have a GTX 280 and can get exceptional performance on my computing. But so far I have run only short simulations and I plan to run longer ones which can lost several days to weeks on GPUs.

I would like to know why should I get Tesla? What are the aspects in which I can expect better performance compared to GTX 280? I would like to justify the extra cost I need to invest to buy Tesla's against GTX 280's.

Any response will be appreciated.

thanks,
Vishu
Hi,



We are planning to expand our GPUs. We now have a GTX 280 and can get exceptional performance on my computing. But so far I have run only short simulations and I plan to run longer ones which can lost several days to weeks on GPUs.



I would like to know why should I get Tesla? What are the aspects in which I can expect better performance compared to GTX 280? I would like to justify the extra cost I need to invest to buy Tesla's against GTX 280's.



Any response will be appreciated.



thanks,

Vishu

#1
Posted 11/11/2008 07:16 PM   
Tesla has the following advantages:
- 4 Gb of memory per GPU
- for the S1070 & S1075: a little bit more processing power.
- a high GPU density per rackspace (S1070 and even more S1075)
- more testing of the hardware before it is shipped (as far as I know)
and the following disadvantages:
- a lower memory bandwidth

So I think, unless you are going to put this in a rack, a GTX280 is the best.
Tesla has the following advantages:

- 4 Gb of memory per GPU

- for the S1070 & S1075: a little bit more processing power.

- a high GPU density per rackspace (S1070 and even more S1075)

- more testing of the hardware before it is shipped (as far as I know)

and the following disadvantages:

- a lower memory bandwidth



So I think, unless you are going to put this in a rack, a GTX280 is the best.

greets,
Denis

#2
Posted 11/11/2008 07:24 PM   
[quote name='E.D. Riedijk' post='462391' date='Nov 11 2008, 02:24 PM']Tesla has the following advantages:
- 4 Gb of memory per GPU
- for the S1070 & S1075: a little bit more processing power.
- a high GPU density per rackspace (S1070 and even more S1075)
- more testing of the hardware before it is shipped (as far as I know)
and the following disadvantages:
- a lower memory bandwidth

So I think, unless you are going to put this in a rack, a GTX280 is the best.[/quote]

Thanks!!! I probably won't rack them; I reckon as of now I don't have strong reasons to get Tesla boards except for the 4GB memory which is something that I should see if its potentially useful for my work.

Some one mentioned to me about the hardware stability/performance and was wondering if GTX 280's can perform at the same level when running codes for days and weeks. Any inputs on this aspect?
[quote name='E.D. Riedijk' post='462391' date='Nov 11 2008, 02:24 PM']Tesla has the following advantages:

- 4 Gb of memory per GPU

- for the S1070 & S1075: a little bit more processing power.

- a high GPU density per rackspace (S1070 and even more S1075)

- more testing of the hardware before it is shipped (as far as I know)

and the following disadvantages:

- a lower memory bandwidth



So I think, unless you are going to put this in a rack, a GTX280 is the best.



Thanks!!! I probably won't rack them; I reckon as of now I don't have strong reasons to get Tesla boards except for the 4GB memory which is something that I should see if its potentially useful for my work.



Some one mentioned to me about the hardware stability/performance and was wondering if GTX 280's can perform at the same level when running codes for days and weeks. Any inputs on this aspect?

#3
Posted 11/11/2008 07:53 PM   
1. The chip runs cooler than GTX 280.
2. More memory.
3. [b]Much[/b] more rigorous testing.
4. Actual server form-factor (have fun fitting four GTX 280s in a 1U space).
5. Perf will be better on the higher-clocked S1070 if you're compute bound, but it will be worse if you're bandwidth bound (the tradeoff for 4x memory and probably an order of magnitude in reliability).
6. 2 6-pins or 1 8-pin required, none of this 6+8 nonsense.

(if you're running for days or weeks, I wouldn't trust your average GTX 280 that much simply because they've never been tested to do that)
1. The chip runs cooler than GTX 280.

2. More memory.

3. Much more rigorous testing.

4. Actual server form-factor (have fun fitting four GTX 280s in a 1U space).

5. Perf will be better on the higher-clocked S1070 if you're compute bound, but it will be worse if you're bandwidth bound (the tradeoff for 4x memory and probably an order of magnitude in reliability).

6. 2 6-pins or 1 8-pin required, none of this 6+8 nonsense.



(if you're running for days or weeks, I wouldn't trust your average GTX 280 that much simply because they've never been tested to do that)

#4
Posted 11/11/2008 07:56 PM   
[quote name='Vishu' post='462406' date='Nov 11 2008, 02:53 PM']Thanks!!! I probably won't rack them; I reckon as of now I don't have strong reasons to get Tesla boards except for the 4GB memory which is something that I should see if its potentially useful for my work.

Some one mentioned to me about the hardware stability/performance and was wondering if GTX 280's can perform at the same level when running codes for days and weeks. Any inputs on this aspect?[/quote]

Assuming your computer has good cooling and power supply, I've never seen a problem with the consumer cards. Beware of the extremely overclocked consumer cards, but the ones running at close to the design spec should be fine. My jobs tend to take days, though I've chained them up before and kept a few 8800 GTX cards busy for 2 weeks. The longest I've ever run my GTX 280 on one job is 4 days. (Note that my code doesn't keep the GPU 100% busy all the time. It makes large numbers of short calls.)
[quote name='Vishu' post='462406' date='Nov 11 2008, 02:53 PM']Thanks!!! I probably won't rack them; I reckon as of now I don't have strong reasons to get Tesla boards except for the 4GB memory which is something that I should see if its potentially useful for my work.



Some one mentioned to me about the hardware stability/performance and was wondering if GTX 280's can perform at the same level when running codes for days and weeks. Any inputs on this aspect?



Assuming your computer has good cooling and power supply, I've never seen a problem with the consumer cards. Beware of the extremely overclocked consumer cards, but the ones running at close to the design spec should be fine. My jobs tend to take days, though I've chained them up before and kept a few 8800 GTX cards busy for 2 weeks. The longest I've ever run my GTX 280 on one job is 4 days. (Note that my code doesn't keep the GPU 100% busy all the time. It makes large numbers of short calls.)

#5
Posted 11/11/2008 07:57 PM   
Reliability is probably the most important issue, and tmurray listed all relevant points. For some of my papers, I have kept consumer level cards burning away for a couple of days (similar to seibert's code, many scripted tests in a row) without problems, they were as reliable as the Quadros that were the equivalent professional level cards at that time (no Teslas yet). But that's just a second positive example. If you can get your systems vendor to give a proper warrant that the system you buy is certified to keep the GPU busy for ages, then that's a big plus and should influence your decision. I've had some fun discussions with resellers that were obviously not aware of GPU computing and thus told me "we won't take the card back if you burn it in such an abusive way" (I burned one card after two months and they refused to replace it)
Reliability is probably the most important issue, and tmurray listed all relevant points. For some of my papers, I have kept consumer level cards burning away for a couple of days (similar to seibert's code, many scripted tests in a row) without problems, they were as reliable as the Quadros that were the equivalent professional level cards at that time (no Teslas yet). But that's just a second positive example. If you can get your systems vendor to give a proper warrant that the system you buy is certified to keep the GPU busy for ages, then that's a big plus and should influence your decision. I've had some fun discussions with resellers that were obviously not aware of GPU computing and thus told me "we won't take the card back if you burn it in such an abusive way" (I burned one card after two months and they refused to replace it)

#6
Posted 11/11/2008 10:43 PM   
Thanks for all the responses above! They help a lot. We do need a run large simulations for long times. Perhaps we may try a mix of GTX's and Tesla's in our lab. Yes, I should talk to vendors and ask for details of warranty!!
Thanks for all the responses above! They help a lot. We do need a run large simulations for long times. Perhaps we may try a mix of GTX's and Tesla's in our lab. Yes, I should talk to vendors and ask for details of warranty!!

#7
Posted 11/11/2008 11:01 PM   
[quote name='tmurray' post='462408' date='Nov 11 2008, 03:56 PM']I wouldn't trust your average GTX 280 that much simply because they've never been tested to do that[/quote]
That's the thing that bothers me. No actually knows or tested anything to say "GTX 280 is unreliable." Even NVIDIA apparently "never tested them." So how can there be ANY meaning to the words "Tesla is more reliable than GTX 280"? We have no hard data on GeForce reliability, we have no hard data on Tesla reliability. Going by anecdotal evidence, however, Geforces have orders of magnitude more evidence for stability in real-world use than do Teslas. Nvidia just repackaged the same product and is trying to take advantage of the different price sensitivity of the commercial market, the same as it's always done with Quadros, and playing mindgames to reinforce a perceived differentiation.

I should point out, though, that there are various brands that make GeForces, and some are more expensive than others. A high-end brand such as EVGA is a safe choice with an excellent warranty and, yes, thorough testing.
[quote name='tmurray' post='462408' date='Nov 11 2008, 03:56 PM']I wouldn't trust your average GTX 280 that much simply because they've never been tested to do that

That's the thing that bothers me. No actually knows or tested anything to say "GTX 280 is unreliable." Even NVIDIA apparently "never tested them." So how can there be ANY meaning to the words "Tesla is more reliable than GTX 280"? We have no hard data on GeForce reliability, we have no hard data on Tesla reliability. Going by anecdotal evidence, however, Geforces have orders of magnitude more evidence for stability in real-world use than do Teslas. Nvidia just repackaged the same product and is trying to take advantage of the different price sensitivity of the commercial market, the same as it's always done with Quadros, and playing mindgames to reinforce a perceived differentiation.



I should point out, though, that there are various brands that make GeForces, and some are more expensive than others. A high-end brand such as EVGA is a safe choice with an excellent warranty and, yes, thorough testing.

#8
Posted 11/12/2008 08:55 PM   
This all could be much, much clearer if NVIDIA would put a MTBF number on the Tesla (S1070/S1075) page. Currently it really is 'they are tested more thoroughly', and while I trust Tim on his word, my bosses prefer numbers.
This all could be much, much clearer if NVIDIA would put a MTBF number on the Tesla (S1070/S1075) page. Currently it really is 'they are tested more thoroughly', and while I trust Tim on his word, my bosses prefer numbers.

greets,
Denis

#9
Posted 11/13/2008 05:50 AM   
What exactly is meant by 'testing'? Are we talking about testing the chips before they are integrated onto a board or testing the finished product before selling it? If we're speaking of the latter, then wouldn't that be up to the individual card manufacturers (EVGA, PNY, etc.), and not necessarily up to Nvidia? Maybe I don't fully understand the relationship between Nvidia and these companies. Perhaps there are some testing guidelines set by Nvidia that the companies doing the actual manufacturing are required to follow.

We're only exploring CUDA at the moment, so we have a GTX 280 here that we develop on. However, I could see this 'geforce vs tesla' discussion becoming an issue that we're interested in exploring at some point in the future.
What exactly is meant by 'testing'? Are we talking about testing the chips before they are integrated onto a board or testing the finished product before selling it? If we're speaking of the latter, then wouldn't that be up to the individual card manufacturers (EVGA, PNY, etc.), and not necessarily up to Nvidia? Maybe I don't fully understand the relationship between Nvidia and these companies. Perhaps there are some testing guidelines set by Nvidia that the companies doing the actual manufacturing are required to follow.



We're only exploring CUDA at the moment, so we have a GTX 280 here that we develop on. However, I could see this 'geforce vs tesla' discussion becoming an issue that we're interested in exploring at some point in the future.

#10
Posted 11/13/2008 01:40 PM   
[quote name='E.D. Riedijk' post='462391' date='Nov 11 2008, 10:24 PM']Tesla has the following advantages:
- 4 Gb of memory per GPU
- for the S1070 & S1075: a little bit more processing power.
- a high GPU density per rackspace (S1070 and even more S1075)
- more testing of the hardware before it is shipped (as far as I know)
and the following disadvantages:
- a lower memory bandwidth

So I think, unless you are going to put this in a rack, a GTX280 is the best.[/quote]

Hi,
Would you consider building a cluster of GTX280 instead of a cluster of Teslas? what host computer would you recommend in both cases?


thanks
eyal
[quote name='E.D. Riedijk' post='462391' date='Nov 11 2008, 10:24 PM']Tesla has the following advantages:

- 4 Gb of memory per GPU

- for the S1070 & S1075: a little bit more processing power.

- a high GPU density per rackspace (S1070 and even more S1075)

- more testing of the hardware before it is shipped (as far as I know)

and the following disadvantages:

- a lower memory bandwidth



So I think, unless you are going to put this in a rack, a GTX280 is the best.



Hi,

Would you consider building a cluster of GTX280 instead of a cluster of Teslas? what host computer would you recommend in both cases?





thanks

eyal

#11
Posted 11/14/2008 02:41 AM   
[quote name='eyalhir74' post='463373' date='Nov 14 2008, 03:41 AM']Hi,
Would you consider building a cluster of GTX280 instead of a cluster of Teslas? what host computer would you recommend in both cases?


thanks
eyal[/quote]

For the future I will definitely switch to S1070 stuff. It is nicely scalable in a rack, so for a cluster I would not think more than 1 second to arrive at S1070/S1075. For my current processing needs, a single GTX280 will probably be enough, so for the short run I will likely take a PC with GTX280 and make that fit in our current form factor (S1070/S1075 also does not fit)
[quote name='eyalhir74' post='463373' date='Nov 14 2008, 03:41 AM']Hi,

Would you consider building a cluster of GTX280 instead of a cluster of Teslas? what host computer would you recommend in both cases?





thanks

eyal



For the future I will definitely switch to S1070 stuff. It is nicely scalable in a rack, so for a cluster I would not think more than 1 second to arrive at S1070/S1075. For my current processing needs, a single GTX280 will probably be enough, so for the short run I will likely take a PC with GTX280 and make that fit in our current form factor (S1070/S1075 also does not fit)

greets,
Denis

#12
Posted 11/14/2008 06:35 AM   
[quote name='eyalhir74' post='463373' date='Nov 13 2008, 09:41 PM']Hi,
Would you consider building a cluster of GTX280 instead of a cluster of Teslas? what host computer would you recommend in both cases?[/quote]

If you are talking about a cluster with dozens of cards or more, you're talking about rackmount cases, which pretty much means Tesla. While it is not hard to build or buy a workstation that can accept two GTX 280 cards, it is more difficult to find a high-density rackmount case that could accept the double width GTX 280, much less power it. At that point, I think it is worth it to buy the rackmount Telsa product and get 4 cards per 1U.

(I can also see a market for a 2U system that combines the 4 Tesla with a quad-core CPU and motherboard for a more self-contained product.)
[quote name='eyalhir74' post='463373' date='Nov 13 2008, 09:41 PM']Hi,

Would you consider building a cluster of GTX280 instead of a cluster of Teslas? what host computer would you recommend in both cases?



If you are talking about a cluster with dozens of cards or more, you're talking about rackmount cases, which pretty much means Tesla. While it is not hard to build or buy a workstation that can accept two GTX 280 cards, it is more difficult to find a high-density rackmount case that could accept the double width GTX 280, much less power it. At that point, I think it is worth it to buy the rackmount Telsa product and get 4 cards per 1U.



(I can also see a market for a 2U system that combines the 4 Tesla with a quad-core CPU and motherboard for a more self-contained product.)

#13
Posted 11/14/2008 03:29 PM   
[quote name='seibert' post='463529' date='Nov 14 2008, 04:29 PM'](I can also see a market for a 2U system that combines the 4 Tesla with a quad-core CPU and motherboard for a more self-contained product.)[/quote]
I can see that market too. If NVIDIA would make a quad-core CPU 2U system with configurable amount of RAM and PCI-E v2 x16 connectors to the two switches, it would be a no-brainer for me.

Which leads me to the following question:
Which rack-mounted system would you guys recommend for connecting a S1070 to, preferable DELL, as we have a corporate contract with them. The systems from DELL listed are as far as I know all having x8 versions for PCI-E connections... It looks like the only system with 2x x16 connectors are the HP one, where one of the slots is being taken by a RAID card I believe.
[quote name='seibert' post='463529' date='Nov 14 2008, 04:29 PM'](I can also see a market for a 2U system that combines the 4 Tesla with a quad-core CPU and motherboard for a more self-contained product.)

I can see that market too. If NVIDIA would make a quad-core CPU 2U system with configurable amount of RAM and PCI-E v2 x16 connectors to the two switches, it would be a no-brainer for me.



Which leads me to the following question:

Which rack-mounted system would you guys recommend for connecting a S1070 to, preferable DELL, as we have a corporate contract with them. The systems from DELL listed are as far as I know all having x8 versions for PCI-E connections... It looks like the only system with 2x x16 connectors are the HP one, where one of the slots is being taken by a RAID card I believe.

greets,
Denis

#14
Posted 11/14/2008 07:24 PM   
Take a look at the DELL R5400.
Take a look at the DELL R5400.

#15
Posted 11/14/2008 11:13 PM   
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