GPU vs. CPU supercomputing

I’m at the ShmooCon hacker conference in D.C. this weekend and will be posting about some of the more interesting talks. The Friday round of talks are limited to 20 minutes and cover a wide variety of topics. Collin Brack opened with a subject I’m thoroughly interested in: GPU based cracking.

In the past, I’ve talked about using FPGAs for dedicated repetitive math. Since then, GPU manufacturers have started developing frameworks so you can write code directly against the processor, not necessarily for graphics. Nvidia has been pushing their CUDA technology, while other manufacturers have been working on OpenCL.

Collin uses Nvidia devices in his day job and naturally leans towards CUDA. He has specifically worked with the Tesla C1060 and Tesla S1070. The second being a dedicated 1U device, it doesn’t have a video out.

The conclusion of the talk was a broad survey of what cracking tools have been ported to these frameworks, many of which work with live tool DVD BackTrack 4—they have a CUDA guide. Programs like aircrack-ng-cuda are available for wireless cracking; cRARk and RAR GPU for RAR password recovery; and IGHASHGPU, MD5 GPU Crack, and RainbowCrack are available too. The shining star of the group though is pyrit, which is available for many different GPU platforms.

If you’ve got a unibody Mac, you’ve probably got the hardware to play with any of these tools. Even though we’re moving away from FPGA, I’m still happy to see developers taking advantage of the speed increases available from GPUs.


One thought on “GPU vs. CPU supercomputing

  1. Pingback: Pico’s FPGA based DES cracking cluster « RobotSkirts

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