Graphics Cards play a significant role in machine/deep learning. When looking at Graphics Cards, it is essential to consider the chip architecture, the CUDA Cores, and the Compute Capability. CUDA Cores are the physical processors on Graphics Cards, typically in their thousands. CUDA generation (or Compute Capability) describes the ability of the Graphics Card in terms of its generational features. It is distinguished by numbers and a code name, such as Kepler, Maxwell, Pascal, Turing, and Ampere.
When it comes to choosing a Graphics Card for Machine Learning and Tensorflow, there are some important factors to consider. CUDA Cores are fast enough, but if you can get a card with Tensor cores, that's a plus. However, it's not necessary to get too hung up on Tensor cores. To summarise some important terms, CUDA Cores refer to the physical processors on Graphics Cards, while CUDA generation refers to the capability of the card in terms of its generational features. The chip architecture is also important to consider, and while AMD is not considered for Machine Learning and Tensorflow, Nvidia is a great option. The Compute Capability of a card is fixed, so once you buy it, you're stuck with whatever Compute Capability it has.
One significant feature improvement to consider is mixed precision training, which uses numerical formats with lower precision than 32-bit floating point to enable the training and deployment of larger neural networks. This feature is available on GPUs with Compute Capability 7.x (Turing) or higher, which includes the RTX 20 series or newer. Mixed precision training lowers RAM usage, so having a slightly newer card reduces RAM requirements.
On the other end of the scale, older models of GPUs on the second-hand market can be tempting due to their high RAM and low price. However, cards like the Tesla K80 with a Compute Capability of 3.7 (Kepler) are deprecated from CUDA 11 onwards and won't work on future releases of CUDA drivers. Nvidia splits its cards into two sections: consumer Graphics Cards and cards aimed at desktops/servers (i.e., professional cards). While the professional cards have better build quality and lower energy consumption, the consumer Graphics Cards are generally cheaper for the same specs.
The chip architecture is essential when choosing a Graphics Card. The Compute Capability of the chipset, sometimes called CUDA generation, is crucial to know the Compute Capability of the card for two main reasons: significant feature improvements and deprecation. For instance, mixed precision training achieves numerous benefits, while ensuring that no task-specific accuracy is lost compared to full precision training. However, it is only possible to use mixed precision training if you have a GPU with Compute Capability 7.x (Turing) or higher. The main reason mixed precision training is such an advantage when considering a new Graphics Card is that it lowers RAM usage, so by having a slightly newer card, your RAM requirements are reduced.
On the other hand, if you have particularly high RAM requirements but not enough money for a high-end card, you may opt for an older model of GPU on the second-hand market. However, if the card is deprecated, such as the Tesla K80 with a Compute Capability of 3.7 (Kepler), it won't work on future releases of CUDA drivers.
Nvidia splits their cards into two sections: consumer Graphics Cards and cards aimed at desktops/servers (i.e., professional cards). The consumer Graphics Cards will generally be cheaper for the same specs (RAM, CUDA Cores, architecture). Still, the professional cards will generally have better build quality and lower energy consumption, such as the RTX A6000 with 48GB and the A100 with 80GB, aimed at the 3D modelling, rendering, and machine/deep learning professional markets.
In summary, it's recommended to stick to the consumer graphics market when choosing a Graphics Card for Machine Learning and Tensorflow. Based on budget and requirements, there are some recommendations to consider. For those with a tight budget, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 or 1660 Super are good options. For those with a mid-range budget, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti or 3070 are great choices. Finally, for those with a high-end budget, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 or 3090 are recommended.
It's interesting to note that recent advancements in natural language processing have led to the development of large language models like ChatGPT and JasperAI. These models can generate human-like text, answer questions, and even write articles like this one. Another interesting fact is that Google's BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is a language model that has significantly improved natural language processing in recent years by enabling machines to understand the context of words in a sentence.