Jeff Chen, an AI techie and entrepreneur at Stanford University in the US, believes that a suitable machine can be built for about $3,000 (~£2,300) without including tax. At the heart of the beast is an Nvidia GeForce 1080Ti GPU, a 12-core AMD Threadripper processor, 64GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD card for data. Bung in a fan to keep the computer cool, a motherboard, a power supply, wrap the whole thing in a case, and voila.
Here’s the full checklist…
Unlike renting out compute and data storage on cloud, once your personal rig is built, the only recurring cost to pay for is power. It costs $3 (£2.28) an hour to rent a GPU-accelerated system on AWS, whereas it’s only 20 cents (15p) to run on your own computer. Chen has done the sums, and, apparently, after two months that will work out to being ten times cheaper. The gap decreases slightly over time as the computer hardware depreciates.
“There are some drawbacks, such as slower download speed to your machine because it’s not on the backbone, static IP is required to access it away from your house, you may want to refresh the GPUs in a couple of years, but the cost savings is so ridiculous it’s still worth it,” he said this week.