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Thoughts on external vs onboard GPU for pentesting.


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Hi guys, I was recently looking to get a cheap laptop to stay portable when having some fun with the pineapple, but then I thought; what if I wanted to do some bruteforcing on the go? Then I would have to use its GPU. But I doubt that a cheap laptop will get the job done fast enough on the graphics side. So I did some looking around and found a few external GPU adapters. As long as your laptop has a PCIe slot, you should be good to go. And although it goes through PCIe x2 interface, I think it shouldn’t even matter when using the card for number crunching …as long as you have enough juice to power the thing (car charger adapter for example or just a large battery). This way if you already have a good graphics card, you can take it with you to do something a little more serious than what you could with a laptop onboard GPU. Anyway, I just wanted to share this with you because I thought that maybe this would be interesting for you guys to check out, discuss and have some fun with.

Tell me what you think

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In my personal opinion, putting a honking GPU in your laptop, especially for password cracking, is, by far, the stupidest idea ever.

You said it yourself, you have a laptop because of its portability. That means it's thin(nish) which means it's difficult to push an actually powerful GPU in there because the heat has nowhere to go. And since using it means your laptop will be guzzling down the juice much like a frat boy drinking beer at an epic kegger, it'll last for 4 seconds and then run out. If you have it attached to a charger it'll be a MASSIVE power adapter (ever noticed that those adapters these days are almost as big as the device itself?) which you'll be lugging along with your laptop all the time (so much for portable) and being attached to a power source tends to mean you're not exactly mobile anymore. To add insult to injury, you're paying a hefty premium to get one of these that fits in a laptop.

The smart(er) thing to do is to either buy one of those amazon cloud boxes for a few minutes. It can come with a number of GPUs which can help you out with that. Alternatively, and, if you plan on doing this a lot, possibly cheaper is to build your own crack box which has a number of GPUs in there and all the tools you need. Give it an email address which it polls once every minute looking for a specifically crafted email with a hashes file as attachment. If the email verifies as being from you it'll get to work on cracking the hashes you provided and send you back the results as they're discovered. And while, say, 4 Titan X's are heating up your basement and giving your fuse box at home a run for its money you're focussing on doing the actual pentest with a nice, cool and nimble laptop and get a friendly alert via email when another opening was found.

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haha thanks cooper, it does sound a bit strange now that you put it that way :rolleyes:. In terms of portability and mobility, I was thinking of using this in a car as opposed to carrying a huge PSU plus a heavy battery in a backpack and have everything melt from generating crazy amount of heat. The reason I was sharing this idea is mostly to bring some unconventional variety (although a cumbersome one... but nonetheless). I know that you're thinking "If it isn't broken, don't fix it", but it just seemed to me like everyone has the same solution and it gets somewhat boring. Don't get me wrong, I still very much appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this and I will most likely go that route too.

And in case anyone is wondering what adapter I was talking about, it's EXP GDC Beast Laptop External Independent Video Card Dock. Not sure how it is with compatibility on Linux though.


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