On 09/19/2011 10:53 AM, Thom Brown wrote:
But couldn't that also be seen as a chicken/egg situation?

The chicken/egg problem here is a bit deeper than just "no one offers GPUs because no one wants them" on server systems. One of the reasons there aren't more GPUs in typical database server configurations is that you're already filling up some number of the full size slots, and correspondingly the bandwidth available to cards, with disk controllers. It doesn't help that many server class motherboards don't even have a x16 PCI-e slot on them, which is what most GPUs as delivered on regular consumer video cards are optimized for.

But nVidia does produce a non-graphics-oriented GPGPU line called
Tesla dedicated to such processing.

Tesla units start at around $1500 USD, which is a nice budget to spend on either more RAM (to allow higher work_mem), faster storage to store temporary files onto, or a faster CPU to chew through all sorts of tasks more quickly. The Tesla units are easy to justify if you have a serious GPU-oriented application. The good bang for the buck point with CPU sorting for PostgreSQL is probably going to be a $50-$100 video card instead. For example, the card Vitor is seeing good results on costs around $60. (That's also a system with fairly slow RAM, though; it will be interesting to see if the gain holds up on newer systems.)

Greg Smith   2ndQuadrant US    g...@2ndquadrant.com   Baltimore, MD
PostgreSQL Training, Services, and 24x7 Support  www.2ndQuadrant.us

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