We have just brought a fresh NVIDIA Titan XP for GPGPU. We want to plug it into a desktop. From the manual at http://www.nvidia.com/content/geforce-gtx/NVIDIA_TITAN_Xp_User_Guide.pdf we find that its minimum requirement is 600W power and 8 GB RAM. As we want to use it for computing, we need its best performace. From https://devtalk.nvidia.com/default/topic/1015426/power-supply-for-titan-xp/?offset=9 I can see the PSU requirement.
Now my question is, apart from PSU and RAM what minimum system configuration (such as CPU spec) should I consider to get the best performance of NVIDIA Titan XP.
“minimum system configuration” – “get the best performance”
These two things don’t go together. A minimum configuration won’t give you the best performance.
PSU is the system component that fails most frequently in my experience, followed by DRAM. My standing recommendation:
Total combined watt rating of all system components should not exceed 60% of the PSU power rating. Use a PSU compliant with 80 PLUS Platinum specification: higher efficiency (lower power bill) and usually built from higher-quality components. At minimum use a PSU with 80 PLUS Gold specification.
If your applications are GPU accelerated, and you want the best performance, I would suggest:
(1) CPU with at least 3.5 GHz base frequency. GPU-accelerated applications can become limited by the serial portion (-> Amdahl’s Law). This is a way to limit that risk. You do not need more than 4 CPU cores per GPU, but you may have unaccelerated applications that benefit from higher core counts.
(2) System memory size = 4x the GPU memory size. That is a rule of thumb that works well for just about any GPU-accelerated application I have ever encountered. Ideally, the system memory should use as many channels of DDR4-2400 memory as is feasible (cost!).
(3) For some (not all!) GPU-accelerated applications the use of fast solid-state mass storage (NVMe SSD) is beneficial.
Thanks a lot njuffa for your educative reply.
Now I have started understanding the power issues. Now I have a query:
As 80 plus platinum spec is very costly, if I don’t have to consider power bill, can I go for 80 plus gold? What is the effect of power efficiency on the GPU performance?
There is no influence on GPU performance. It is a question of total cost of ownership, and secondarily reliability. As I stated 80 PLUS Gold is fine, but it is the minimum I would settle for.
The trade-off between power cost and PSU cost depends on where you live and how you use the machine. In the wattage class you are likely looking at (750W, I don’t know your full system specs), the difference between a Gold and Platinum rated PSU is about $50 where I live, e.g. $129 vs $179, and I currently pay $0.20 per kWh (trend is upward, some years ago I was paying $0.14). My machine is operated continuously, so I would make up the higher initial cost after about two years, with an expected operating span of the platform of four years.
For very large systems the efficiency can also play into heat evacuation issues. I once had three high-end systems with inefficient power supplies in a cubicle. The temperature climbed to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in that cubicle, even though the office space was nicely air conditioned. For that reason large servers may even use 80 PLUS Titanium PSUs (most efficient class).