RX Vega 56: Laptop versus Server

AMD’s RX Vega 56 8GB GPU is good for more than just cryptocurrency mining. It can produce impressive visuals and high frame rates in the latest PC games when used in an appropriate gaming PC with at least 16 GB RAM and a 4 GHz multi-core CPU like the i7-8700K or Ryzen 7 1700X.

Instead, I’m going to see how well it performs in two inappropriate systems: an ultra-portable laptop, and a dual-socket rack server.

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AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box

The AKiTiO Node is a 7Kg black metal powered external enclosure for connecting a full-size graphical processing unit (GPU) to any computer with a Thunderbolt 3 port. The front 12cm fan can be removed to make room for a water cooling radiator. The carry handle helps it to be more portable than a full tower PC, although it is bigger in real life than it seems in photos.

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Testing a Titan

We recently acquired a Nvidia GTX Titan graphical processing unit (GPU) for statistical computing at work, specifically double-precision floating point operations on the CUDA API. Before I lock it away in the server room I would like to see how it compares to my primary GPU at home – a Nvidia GTX 680, and my older GPUs – a pair of AMD Radeon HD 5770. This act of comparison is called benchmarking – running a number of standard tests and trials in order to assess the relative performance of a piece of hardware or software.

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