The GPU, short for graphics processing unit, is found on high end video cards from Nvidia and AMD that offloads the processing of 3D graphics from the CPU. Being a highly specialized piece of silicon, it’s able to tackle particular tasks with more efficiency than a general CPU – like your Intel or AMD processor. While GPUs shine brightly in 3D processing, more identifiable but not limited to gaming, that’s not their sole claim to fame.
Both Nvidia and AMD publish APIs to their GPUs which allow developers a lot of freedom and flexibility to create amazing results. One such developer, Ivan Golubev, has harnessed the GPUs massive number crunching ability in a unique way. His free utility, RAR GPU Password Recovery, focuses the GPU on a single task – cracking passwords, specifically password-protected RAR archives. The brute-force approach can churn out results almost 20 times faster than a current generation Intel CPU. Here are the numbers from Ivan’s site:
- ~168 passwords per second on single core of Q6600 @ 2.4Ghz (crark’s result)
- ~325 passwords per second on 8600 GT
- ~3120 passwords per second on ATI HD4850
- ~2075 passwords per second on GTX260/192SP
RAR GPU Password Recovery is a command line utility that runs from the Windows Command Prompt. The software accepts parameters to further fine tune the brute-force attack.
The README contains descriptions on all accepted parameters as well as examples for particular recovery sessions. With support for AMD GPUs based on RV670, RV740+ and RV870 (3870, 4770, 4850, 4870, 4890, 5870, etc) and Nvidia GPUs based on 8600 GT, 8600 GTS, GTX260/192SP, GTX260/216SP, GTS250; you probably have all you need to recover that long forgotten password!