A computer on a graphics card

September 30, 2010 at 22:58:58
Specs: Windows 7, 2.13 GHz, 4 GB
Hi

The title contains no typos - I think it's possible to make a fast, functional computer, let alone a small one, out of a modern graphics card and a flash drive. Think about it. Nowadays graphics cards have their own processors (GPUs), RAM (VRAM), and sometimes those processors even have caches like CPUs. Flash drives nowadays are very fast access compared to hard drives, and very small size in comparison to hard drives of the same capacity in the 90s.
Does anyone have any opinions on this, or how it could be made into reality? Or is it just purely theoretical?
Thanks for your replies


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#1
September 30, 2010 at 23:51:22
This is one of those ideas that sound good at first but fall apart when you consider the details.
Graphics cards do have their own processor which is very good for it's intended purpose, displaying graphics. But it is not a general purpose processor and I expect it would be lacking some key features that would prevent it from acting as one. We will assume for the sake of argument that it is not lacking these features.

But that isn't the end of the problems. Graphics cards cannot operate independently but only in a complex hardware environment controlled by a video driver. We don't need a full driver but enough to manage the video cards interface with the outside world. That means a CPU, RAM, associated hardware, and at the very least, a large ROM to contain the controlling software. The design and construction of this is way beyond the abilities of any computer technician. We need an engineer.

The construction of such a device would be a major task, and except perhaps for some very specialized purposes, I don't think it would perform very well.


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#2
October 1, 2010 at 06:06:57
Well, the FTC thinks the GPU could become a viable computational platform. Nvidia's dumping money into it, at least.

Given the quality of their video drivers, though, I'm not sure how much faith I put into their computing environments.


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#3
October 1, 2010 at 06:50:48
Wouldn't you end up with a kindle?

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#4
October 3, 2010 at 04:33:07
Yeah...
After you think about it it does look a bit pointless. There goes my computer idea then!
Thanks for the help.

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