Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

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Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby dokondr » 2018-08-08 08:58

Hello,

I am looking for a powerful notebook to do a lot of data crunching using GPU (Tensor Flow, etc). Please advise on Debian requirements for such a notebook. And from your experience: any existing notebooks with GPU that for sure run Debian?

Thanks!
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-08-08 09:03

dokondr wrote:data crunching using GPU

Would that involve CUDA & a non-free driver?

Debian stable works best with devices manufactured before the date of release but support can be added with backports.
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby dokondr » 2018-08-08 09:30

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:
dokondr wrote:data crunching using GPU

Would that involve CUDA & a non-free driver?

Debian stable works best with devices manufactured before the date of release but support can be added with backports.


The GPU-enabled version of TensorFlow has the following requirements:

64-bit Linux
Python 2.7
CUDA 7.5 (CUDA 8.0 required for Pascal GPUs)
cuDNN v5.1 (cuDNN v6 if on TF v1.3)

What Debian notebook will support these?
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-08-08 11:27

For CUDA you will need the proprietary NVIDIA drivers, details are in the Debian wiki.

I think you may find it easier with something like Arch because the drivers will be newer and the non-free integration is slightly better (unsurprisingly).
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby dokondr » 2018-08-08 11:34

Thanks! Any advice on notebook brand / model ?
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-08-08 11:40

No, sorry, I have no interest in blobby hardware like NVIDIA GPUs (until they move over to RISC-V anyway[1][2]]) but other forums members may know better.

[1] https://riscv.org/wp-content/uploads/20 ... ermans.pdf
[2] https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page= ... Gen-Falcon
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby dokondr » 2018-08-08 11:52

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:No, sorry, I have no interest in blobby hardware like NVIDIA GPUs (until they move over to RISC-V anyway[1][2]]) but other forums members may know better.


Ok, forget about GPU... Any ideas on a modern powerful notebook as a replacement for desktop for data processing that is known to work well under Debian? Which means mostly no problems with X11, so lxde works, etc..
Last edited by dokondr on 2018-08-08 12:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby bw123 » 2018-08-08 12:02

ubuntu has a hardware certification process, I might start there. I think several companies are working on it.
https://duckduckgo.com/html/?q=best%20linux%20laptop
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-08-08 12:06

I used https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/ when I ordered my last laptop, it could be specified to order and the Windows licence is optional.

Having said that I think that slightly older, reconditioned hardware would be best for Debian stable because you won't get optimal support for a Coffee Lake (or whatever) device until the next release.
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby stevepusser » 2018-08-08 17:43

You will want one with a good cooling solution for the discrete GPU, too, to avoid thermal throttling, so checking out the in-depth reviews at notebookreview or notebookcheck sites, which include stress tests, should be helpful.

Thin and light laptops generally have worse cooling solutions, gaming ones the best, if you don't mind the usually garish styling. I have a MSI GP63 Coffee Lake laptop with a six-core/12 thread i7 8750H that I can get to compile at 3.6 GHz for long builds at about 85C by undervolting it with iuvolt--it works well with stretch-backports Mesa 17.3.9, the latest firmware 20180518 packages, and the 4.17.8 kernel in stretch-backports. I recently found out that MSI has a secret four-key combo one can hit in the BIOS to unlock much more advanced overclocking options, one of which allows the CPU to draw more power than the 45 watt TPI and consistently compile at the maximum 3.9 GHz, but it runs hotter and it's a bit scary to see it approach critical temperature. The machine has a "panic button" that runs the fans at 11, but that makes it pretty noisy. I've decided that 3.6 Ghz is darn good already. You can also get MSI and other laptops from boutique resellers that will take it apart and apply better thermal paste before sending it to you, or even cut extra cooling vents in the bottom, which have been reported to let them run cooler.

I don't know how the cooling solutions work for the Dell G3/G5/G7 series, which have good hardware specs, but have seen really good test reports for the Gigabyte Aero 15. If you're not going to use the CPU all out like I do, last year's Kaby Lake laptops should be better supported by stretch/stretch-backports and have the CPU generate less heat.

Here's the thread where I found out how to unlock the BIOS advanced settings. Lot of other advice for this particular laptop, too. http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads ... 13/page-13
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby dokondr » 2018-08-08 19:03

stevepusser, thanks for the info!
At the moment I am thinking about Lenovo ThinkPad P51 https://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/lapto ... inkpad-p51. Looks bulky and heavy, which I don't care about. Quite a lot of power and stays moderately cool, according to reviews. It is 2017 model, so I hope Debian X11 and lxte will run with no problems.
These days I am running Debian under Virtual Box on 6 year old MacBook Pro. Like MacBook a lot, but need much more speed for the tasks I do now...
That's why I am also thinking about 15 inch apple MacBook Pro 2018 with Intel Core i7 2,6 -4,3 Ghz, Radeon Pro 560X 4 Gb GDDR5, 16Gb DDR4 2400, SSD 512 Gb.
Crazy expensive, yet my work depends on high speed.
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby stevepusser » 2018-08-08 19:42

There was a big fuss about the 2018 i9 macbook being released with firmware that throttled it to the 2.X GHz level. Apple released fixed firmware, but I still believe it still suffers from thermal throttling because of the thin and light design...look at stress test results first--hopefully there's some tool to undervolt in OSX, like throttlestop for Windows or iuvolt for Linux.

Looks like the P51 doesn't suffer any throttling at all, but the multicore CineBench results of 792 is quite a bit lower than what the MSI GP63 users are getting in that thread: ~1250.
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-Th ... 212.0.html

There are test results for new 8-core AMD notebooks that beat Intel handily, but I don't think Debian fully supports those yet.
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby dokondr » 2018-08-09 08:01

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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby stevepusser » 2018-08-09 18:00

It's certainly has good specs, but I have no idea how well it'll support Linux. Sometimes it takes the kernel developers a while to add quirks for particular models.

When you're getting up to those price levels, what about looking at something like System 76's line of Linux power notebooks? https://system76.com/laptops/serval They're rebranded Clevos, but at least the hardware is going to be all Linux-compatible for sure.
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Re: Debian requirements for a notebook with GPU ?

Postby dokondr » 2018-08-10 09:05

stevepusser wrote:It's certainly has good specs, but I have no idea how well it'll support Linux. Sometimes it takes the kernel developers a while to add quirks for particular models.

When you're getting up to those price levels, what about looking at something like System 76's line of Linux power notebooks? https://system76.com/laptops/serval They're rebranded Clevos, but at least the hardware is going to be all Linux-compatible for sure.


From where I am now (Moscow) it would be not so easy to get System 76 because of the delivery complications. So I am mostly looking for Dell, MSI, ThinkPad, Acer and Asus .....
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