HowTo Choose First Card for Cuda

I would like to look at execution time for some parallel processing. Is there a list of Nvidia products that allow determination of #cores and clock speed (or whatever else makes for a good comparison matrix) versus cost and availability such that a newbie can pick a first card to purchase?

I am not interested in video at all, only loading the cuda examples from the SDK and giving things a try. Are all the 240 core boards clocked at the same rate? Are there non -video boads out there for people like me just looking for a bucket load of parallel processing capibility?

Also, many thanks to NVidia for making this stuff available :)

Thanks Much!

A good list of different card features.

You don’t need much to start… the scaling is fairly straightforward so it’s easy to start with a cheaper card and then work upwards as you need it.
The cheap places to start would likely be something like a GT240 ($95) or a GTX275 ($300). It does slightly depend on your application… if you need double precision you need a large card like the GTX275. If you need more than a gigabyte of RAM, then you also have to start looking at the Quadro or Tesla line.

But start small, upgrading a card is easy and it’s unlikely you’ll need any code changes to use a more powerful card later.

No floating point, just integer math. I can get a taste for the process by using one of the Nvidia cores associated with the video on one of our computers. I am more interested in purchasing a card that can demonstrate the available speed and thus one of the 240 or 512 core units is attractive. The key is picking one with some value…

With Fermi coming out soon, it doesn’t make much sense to invest a lot of money in a top of the line card now. If you just want to try CUDA programming out, then it doesn’t really matter what card you buy. The mechanics of writing a program are the same regardless of the card you’re using (excepting minor things like optimizing number of blocks or using different compute capabilities) so it may be best to buy a cheap card to get started.

Another factor to consider is whether or not you want to get involved with multi-GPU programming. If so, it’s probably best to start out right away with buying two of the same card or a double card like GTX 295.