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I work in a startup security firm, and I need to build a GPU-based to brute force password/hashes, which can be used to validate password strength and test hashing algorithms. I expect some high processing demand, so it needs to be a high spec.

What (detailed) configuration do you recommend?

Would it be better to invest in a massive 1k+ cores CUDA/OpenCL GPU or to build a cluster of less-costly cards? Is "mining hardware" like these a good option?

Update due to answers: Due to customer requirements I can't outsource this to EC2 or similar cloud solutions.

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-1: you aren't going to get specific buying recommendations here (or at least shouldn't on stackexchange sites); prices change so this analysis gets stale very quickly and is susceptible to self-interested spam. My only suggestion is noting that a cluster of less powerful cards is possibly more difficult to manage and even though hashes per second per dollar of GPU card cost is better there are other costs (setting up boxes in the cluster for the other GPUs/space/networking/maintaining the cluster). –  dr jimbob Jul 27 '12 at 14:12
    
@Mustafa welcome to Information Security. I agree with dr.jimbob, this question is not a good fit here, since it would likely be out of date just after you reading it. Please see the FAQ. –  AviD Aug 22 '12 at 8:26
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closed as too localized by Scott Pack, Jeff Ferland, AviD Aug 22 '12 at 8:26

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2 Answers

I am assuming you are already familiar with hashcat for the software aspect:

http://hashcat.net/oclhashcat-plus/

On the main page they have some system information, check the forums and wiki too. You might want to look into professional graphics cards and figure out what configuration works best. You might want to get some cheaper cpus across multiple boxes and distribute the workload.

  1. http://golubev.com/gpuest.htm
  2. [Placeholder for a link to a site I have to find again, but that had a good build guide]
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Why don't you just use a cloud provider such as Amazon EC2? It's incredibly efficient, easy to administer and configure whilst it's not that expensive either.

If you're working in a start-up, do you really want to have to worry about being a sysadmin for the actual system? EC2 makes it so much easier imho.

Here are some links -

Instance types are here and prices are here.

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Well, I'm dealing with clients' data, and some agreements forbid hosting/processing it at remote servers, even under our administration. Therefore we need to build our own stuff –  Mustafa Jul 27 '12 at 13:12
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Cool, no worries. I see that you've updated the question, it wasn't clear in your original question :) –  Mark Hillick Jul 30 '12 at 8:08
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