When Nvidia announced the 7+ billion transistor part codenamed GK110 as the chip behind the Tesla K20 and upcoming high-end Quadro and GeForce boards, a lot of questions were asked just how much compute power was taken out of GK104 chips, which now power the majority of Nvidia’s lineup (GeForce GTX 660 Ti/670/680/690, Quadro K3000/K4000/K5000, Tesla K10).
Thanks to ElcomSoft, we now know the answer to that question. The GK110 chip is available as Tesla K20 (2496-core) and K20X (2688-cores) with either 5 or 6GB GDDR5 memory connected to the 320-bit or 384-bit bus. The well-known security firm just updated its applications with support for Nvidia Tesla K20 and achieved quite the interesting results. The updated software in question is the Advanced Office Password Recovery and Distributed Password Recovery, well-known applications to security forces around the world. The company also makes that software available to private individuals and business organizations, which is a change from few years ago, when practically the only way to get a hold of this software was wearing a badge.
According to ElcomSoft, “Advanced Office Password Recovery removes document restrictions and recovers passwords protecting Microsoft Office documents”, while “Distributed Password Recovery can quickly break a wide range of passwords on multiple workstations with near zero scalability overhead.”
The company compared the Tesla K20 5GB to the dual-GK104 board, the GeForce GTX 690 4GB, and discovered that 2496 cores inside the K20 were more than a match for 3072 cores on the GTX 690, even though those cores were clocked much higher than ones on the K20.
According to the slide above, you can see that going with the K20 instead of GTX 690 yields a 50% performance improvement over the dual-GPU configuration. Truth to be told, the difference in price is much higher but if you need rock solid performance on day-by-day basis, it is something you need to consider.
If we look at Wireless Security Auditor, ElcomSoft’s most popular tool the situation changes slightly, as a single K20 delivers 85,000 passwords per second, compared to the 65,000 on the GTX 690. Then again, Nvidia still lags behind AMD, as the three year old Radeon HD 5970 handles 103,000 passwords per second, and HD 6990 increased that to 129,000. In that aspect, not even the K20 can reach performance achieved by a single consumer AMD card. This is also the reason why a sea of secy agencies went forward and acquired AMD Radeon HD 5990 and HD 6990 cards, instead of going professional with the Tesla and FirePro cards. AMD now has a dual-GPU card for professionals and we were told the results blew the competition out of the water and are one of major reasons why AMD never released the consumer version of the card.
Original Author: Theo Valich
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