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SETI May Ban AMD 5700 GPUs From Searching for Aliens

In looking for signs of intelligent life somewhere in the universe, SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is undoubtedly one of the best-known organizations. What you did not perhaps know, however, is that if you are willing to donate your GPU’s running power, you can help them in their work. Sounds great, right? Well, maybe not for AMD 5700 owners.

In a report via TechPowerUp, it seems that the community is currently debating whether owners of AMD 5700 graphics cards can participate. Why? Well, it’s nothing to do with Nvidia snobbery. It is, instead, because of an unusual glitch in the “Navi” OpenGL driver that may be “polluting” the results.

SETI Discuss Banning AMD 5700 Graphics Cards from Searching for Aliens

The project (known as SETA@HOME) essentially works in a way similar to cryptocurrency mining. By ‘lending’ them the power of your graphics card, you can help them sift through radio wave data in the hope that (eventually) something indicating alien life will be detected.

It seems, however, that AMD Radeon 5700 graphics cards (and presumably their XT variants) are throwing out incorrect (or incompatible) results. As such, the community that manages the ‘home’ aspect of the project is currently debating if their usage should be limited or outright banned.

What’s Causing the Problem?

Well, we’re not saying it’s aliens…

The issue seemingly lies within the OpenCL driver provided with the graphics card. It isn’t, however, believed to be a problem of note beyond this project and (more specifically) how their algorithm operates.

It is entirely possible that AMD will ‘fix’ the issue in future updates. For the moment, however, it seems unlikely that Team Red’s latest graphics cards will have any notable involvement in finding alien life.

For more information on the SETA@HOME project (and the community’s thoughts on this issue), check out the link here!

What do you think? Are you aware of the SETI@HOME project? If so, do you donate your graphics cards power towards it? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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