Hardware Advice

I’m planning on using CUDA for a project but it would mean I need to get a new GFX card and then I’d need new mboard/ram/cpu.

At the moment I’ve got;

AMD64 3500+ 939
DDR400 2gb
GeForce 6800GT.

I don’t need/afford to upgrade to an i7 at the moment so I was thinking of just getting the bare essentials so I can get a CUDA compatible system running. I’ve found a socket 939 mboard with a PCI Express 16x slot so the plan is to keep everything I’ve already got and just get a BFG GeForce GTX 280. At a later date I’ll upgrade everything else.

I’m guessing I won’t be able to get the most out of the card with this limited system but I thought I might as well get the best GFX card so it would hopefully have a longer life span.

So this sounds OK?

Oh and I’ll most likely be using some Linux distro although I don’t think this is relevant.

Thanks guys.

My GTX2800 is running on my ancient 4800+ X2 athlon, no problem. Depending on your workload, CPU power doesn’t matter too much.


be careful of small upgrades! For example, getting a new socket 939 motherboard may work, but you’re still buying into obsolescent hardware. It’s likely worth holding your money then getting a low end but modern system.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but your current system just isn’t worth upgrading… your memory, CPU, motherboard, AND graphics card are all dead ends. Don’t put even $50 more into it.
You might instead just use your current system and install CUDA just for the emulator so you can code and test for when you get an updated box.

Here’s another point to consider. The 939 socket motherboard likely has PCI-E x16 1.0. The GTX280 is PCI-E x16 2.0. While completely backwards compatible (I have a GTX280 running with PCI-E 1.0), you’re limiting your transfer rates. If your current motherboard had a PCI-E x16 slot, I’d say just get the GPU and upgrade the system later, but, if it were me, I’m not sure I’d spend the money on a new mobo, when it’s not even taking full advantage of the GPU.

Keep in mind that there are some very affordable CPUs that use the AM2 socket.

Argh decisions decisions.

See the plan was to spend £60 GBP (~$100 USD) on a new 939 mboard (and most likely PSU) and use all the existing pieces. Then at a later date, get an X58 mboard / DDR3 / i7 when they’ve come down in price.

But you are correct, it is PCI-E x16 v1.0 which is a shame. I wouldn’t really want to spend a considerable amount money on an AM2 CPU/ mboard / DDR2 when it’s kinda out of date already.

Thanks for the ideas guys, I’m going to have a think and see if I can afford to go down the x58 i7 route now, would be nice!

Just like the CPU, the PCIe bandwidth hardly matters for many algorithms. (In fact these two kind of go hand-in-hand. Algorithms that don’t use the CPU much probably don’t transfer a lot of data back and forth eitehr.)

Btw, you can get a used 939 motherboard (i don’t think you can get a new one) on Ebay for a lot less than $100. It’s not a bad plan at all.

That’s not how components work. The fastest ones have the shortest life spans, not longest.