No one can imagine an effective password recovery process without GPU acceleration. The race between AMD and NVIDIA GPU rages on, so the question “Which is best for password recovery?” arises with every single release of a new GPU generation.
Remember our conclusion in the recent article on NVIDIA? The NVIDIA 30X0 series was a disappointment in terms of password recovery performance and cost efficiency:
“All in all, the RTX 3080 is a solid performer, but there is no significant gain in performance for password recovery. Moreover, the additional power and cooling requirements make this GPU not quite suitable for high-density high-performance password solutions. We’re waiting for the new AMD GPUs to become available to see if they might be winning the performance race now.”
The AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT is the latest generation of GPU by AMD released in December 2020. Although it took us a bit longer than expected to benchmark it due to availability and technical issues, we are now ready to share the results and answer the “which is best” question.
2020–2021 global chip shortage
These availability issues are connected with the so-called 2020–21 global chip shortage – an ongoing crisis in which the increased demand for GPU semiconductor chips due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some other circumstances is significantly greater than the supply, which has been restricted for China’s biggest chip manufacturer.
The chip crisis has immediately led to a price spike, which has resulted in some GPUs being worth triple their MSRP.
In addition to the availability issues, some technical issues prevented us from conducting a full-fledged benchmark of the latest AMD generation. AMD cards used to have an issue with their driver, which caused failures in processing PBKDF2-based encryption algorithms, particularly recovering passwords for TrueCrypt and VeraCrypt volumes, RAR archives, and Android images. We have been waiting for the bug fix for a while and are now happy to confirm that with the latest release of AMD drivers (starting from February 2021), the Radeon RX 6900 XT performs flawlessly, reaching speeds of 1.3 mln passwords/sec for TrueCrypt and over 3,600 passwords/sec for BitLocker. Spoiler: this is almost 30% higher than on the NVIDIA 2080 Ti (although a bit lower than on the 3090) and 1,100 (!) times higher than on an Intel Core i7 CPU only.
With the release of Passware Kit 2021 v2, we introduced a “Hardware Benchmark” option that assesses hardware performance on typical password recovery tasks.
We used this option to run speed tests for recovering passwords for MS Office documents, RAR archives, iTunes backups, BitLocker, TrueCrypt, and APFS volumes on both AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 cards. The results are as follows:
Radeon RX 6900 XT
GeForce RTX 3090
|MS Office 2013-2019||23,883||28,557|
|iTunes Backup 10.2||361||372|
|TrueCrypt System partition||1,287,000||1,748,000|
Passware Kit benchmarks show that the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT provides approximately the same performance as the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090. At the same time, the MSRP for the latest AMD is 37% lower than the NVIDIA one. We shall not discount the power consumption and power efficiency rates, which are quite similar for both manufacturers.
Summarizing all the above, we recommend the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT as the most cost-efficient solution for password recovery acceleration currently available.
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