A first look at integrated GPUs for green high-performance computing

By: T R W Scogland, H Lin, and W Feng

In: COMPUTER SCIENCE - RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: First International Conference on Energy-Aware High Performance Computing, 2010 vol. 25 (3-4) pp. 125-134

Posted: 01 Aug 2010

Tagged: GPU green

My first foray into GPU research, at least in terms of publication. We opened a big can of worms with this paper, asking where some of these anomalies came from, and the future work explaining it never really happened. If nothing else, this paper serves as a reminder that just because we think we know how something works doesn’t mean we always know how it will behave


The graphics processing unit (GPU) has evolved from a single-purpose graphics accelerator to a tool that can greatly accelerate the performance of high-performance computing (HPC) applications. Previous studies have shown that discrete GPUs, while energy efficient for compute-intensive scientific applications, consume very high power. In fact, a compute-capable discrete GPU can draw more than 200 watts by itself, which can be as much as an entire compute node (without a GPU). This massive power draw presents a serious roadblock to the adoption of GPUs in low-power environments, such as embedded systems. Even when being considered for data centers, the power draw of a GPU presents a problem as it increases the demand placed on support infrastructure such as cooling and available supplies of power, driving up cost. With the advent of compute-capable integrated GPUs with power consumption in the tens of watts, we believe it is time to re-evaluate the notion of GPUs being power-hungry. In this paper, we present the first evaluation of the energy efficiency of integrated GPUs for green HPC. We make use of four specific workloads, each representative of a different computational dwarf, and evaluate them across three different platforms: a multicore system, a high-performance discrete GPU, and a low-power integrated GPU. We find that the integrated GPU delivers superior energy savings and a comparable energy-delay product (EDP) when compared to its discrete counterpart, and it can still outperform the CPUs of a multicore system at a fraction of the power.

@article {springerlink:10.1007/s00450-010-0128-y,
   author = {Scogland, T. and Lin, H. and Feng, W.},
   affiliation = {Dept. of Computer Science, Virginia Tech, 2202 Kraft Drive, Knowledge Works II Building, Blacksburg, VA 24060, USA},
   title = {A first look at integrated GPUs for green high-performance computing},
   journal = {Computer Science - Research and Development},
   publisher = {Springer Berlin / Heidelberg},
   issn = {1865-2034},
   keyword = {Computer Science},
   pages = {125-134},
   volume = {25},
   issue = {3},
   url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00450-010-0128-y},
   note = {10.1007/s00450-010-0128-y},
   year = {2010}

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