Sunday, 11 June 2023

AI, Nvidia and Mac

 AI, Nvidia and Mac

I've been experimenting with AI, and it's interesting. At first, I used my Lenovo Thinkpad, Linux and Easy Diffusion. Then I tried an HP XW6600 with an Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 with 2gb memory. Doing all this, I learned enough to know what I needed to use.

 So I took another of my  HP XW660 boxes (I bought several as a job lot a while ago), upped the memory to 32gb (memory is amazingly cheap now, 32gb costs £26) and then the really difficult question - what video card?

There is, as always, a trade-off between price and capability. The latest 4090 is around £2000 with 24gb memory and a very fast processor. But it pulls 450 watts, which means that I'd need a new and more powerful power supply.

I went for a 3060 with 12gb memory, costing £230. It's maybe a half or a third the speed of the 4090 (depending on what you're using it for), but at a far better cost. It pulls 200 watts, which means I can use my existing power supply, with a £5 adaptor.

And now, the monitor. I wanted a good monitor for this, and I have a couple of old Mac Pro machines, inherited as unwanted from family. They have a Display Port Mini connector on the back, and a 2560 by 1440 display, which is nice. But would the Windows box work with the Mac? The only way to be sure, is to try it. I did, and it works. Googling suggests that I switch displays with Cmd-F2, but that did nothing, and my recipe for success was to ignore that, get the Mac running, then plug in the Display Port. And that gave me a beautiful 2560 by 1440 display, for zero cost! The only big downside, is that it throws out a LOT of heat.