If you need to crack somebody’s password, there’s no better piece of hardware than a graphics cards. ElcomSoft is a well known security firm with government and private clients… and have just announced the switch to OpenCL.
The company originally supported CUDA and NVIDIA hardware, adding AMD and their STREAM library. However, according to one of ElcomSoft’s chiefs Andrey Belenko, the company had a lot of problems with AMD hardware. In order to address the situation, the company just announced the switch to OpenCL for AMD hardware.
According to a post by Belenko, users of NVIDIA hardware won’t be affected (CUDA is still the main API) but users of AMD hardware should enjoy a smoother ride and much higher efficiency than it was the case in the past. Belenko also issued a damning statement when it comes to current state of play in supporting developers:
“It’s great when we’re talking AMD, a company known for a rather inconsistent developer support for its latest hardware; there’s simply no alternative. If we wanted access to their latest state-of-the-art graphic accelerators such as AMD Radeon™ HD 7000 Series boards, it was OpenCL or nothing.
We didn’t have such issues with AMD’s main competitor, NVIDIA. NVIDIA was the first player on this arena, being the first to release graphical accelerators capable of fixed-point calculations. It was also the first to offer non-gaming developers access to sheer computational power of its GPU units by releasing CUDA, an application programming interface enabling developers use its hardware in non-graphical applications. From the very beginning and up to this day, CUDA maintains universal compatibility among the many generations of NVIDIA graphical accelerators. The same simply that can’t be said about AMD.”
OpenCL support is now embedded into ElcomSoft Phone Password Breaker (EPPB) and Wireless Security Auditor (WSA). Following the switch to OpenCL, AMD hardware was optimized further, and received up to 50% boost in performance.
Furthermore, the maker now supports complete Southern Islands family of GPUs, the Radeon HD 7750, 7770, 7850, 7870, upcoming 7890, 7950, 7970 and upcoming dual-GPU 7990. Do note that due to restrictions NVIDIA put in the GeForce boards (Double FP being nerfed), AMD Radeon 6000 and 7000 series just level a GeForce GTX 580 to the ground . The story is different when Tesla and Quadro are used, though.