Simulation + Training
Groundbreaking GPU technology – worthy of a hardware refresh?
May 17, 2021 — Bill Conrades
New GPUs push the envelope for power and efficiency, but how do the performance/price choices stack up for your application?
With any new GPU product introduction, a hardware platform refresh is often on the minds of technology innovators. It’s especially true for image generation (IG), machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and other high-compute application developers eager to push the performance envelope. Who wouldn’t be stoked about tensor cores and 32GB of memory?
Not so fast. Reengineering server hardware to amp up performance is more complex than “out with the old, in with the new.” And an incremental performance increase may not warrant the extra expense.
What’s more, a significant component change by trial and error is not a reasonable way to benchmark new technology for your software. In platform design, changing any of the functional variables, for example, memory capacity, CPUs, boards, or chipset capabilities for additional GPU power can have a cascading impact on cost, functionality, and performance.
What to Know Before You Hit Go
As the saying goes: If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
For single GPU or video-centric systems, upgrading can be as simple as dropping in and testing the next-gen hardware, then you’re good to go. But architecting a dense, GPU-intensive platform is complex. The reality is that these systems consume a ton of I/O resources competing for bandwidth often allocated for other devices. And it’s well known that these servers can run exceedingly hot, loud and heavy! They require a barrage of testing and fine-tuning to ensure consistent performance under a variety of load scenarios.
Pushing the boundaries of GPU design solutions has long been a strong suit at MBX. Fortunately, the days of cutting custom cables, modifying chassis, or completely overhauling factory cooling systems are largely behind us. Now, with intelligent planning, COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) solutions are a great foundation to apply design strategies for developing customized server hardware with the horsepower to optimize compute-intensive environments such as simulation, training, video and high-performance computing, among others.
Testing Essentials For Field-Ready Performance
When you’re investing in a powerful, dense server hardware solution, routine “color by number” testing is unacceptable. Bench-focused testing and fine-tuning by experienced hardware engineers in alignment with performance goals is the right way to achieve a bulletproof fully-integrated custom hardware/software solution.
Ready to Take The Next Step?
Whether you’re interested in a hardware platform refresh or introducing an entirely new product, the MBX engineering team is comprised of seasoned specialists in specific solution requirements, and they are available to tackle your toughest challenge.
Our engineers can guide you through various hardware scenarios and the specialized testing they conduct in their dedicated test infrastructure. The results will ensure your hardware performs to your expectations and your software operates harmoniously with the new component configuration.
Take the first step by learning about our extensive engineering services.
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