Budget Machine for oclHashcat (noob)
So yes I've seen dozens of posts about which hardware will run oclHashcat the fastest..... but that is the aim for those Ops ... to get fast (and expensive).

I'm looking to start off with a machine that will just get me up and running with gpu Hashcat .. let me play with some small dictionaries, rules & attack methods against known test hashes.
Technique over quantity.
Once I've got the skills, then I'll think about investing the £s.

So I'm likely looking at just getting a 2nd hand tower, mediocre CPU and best GPU I can.
This machine will pretty much ONLY be used for password cracking.

Budget under £500 ($750).

Questions :
1) How 'mediocre' can the CPU be ?
2) I am understanding that in my price range, I'm best going for a Radeon HD - the highest I can afford ?
3) Cooling. At what stage do I worry about cooling ? If I've got 1 card running for a few hours, do I need to be concerned about 'gaming' cases and fans ? What about 2 cards for a couple of days ? ... I guess if anyone can point to reading matter on this subject, I'd appreciate it - hard to find !
4) ... any other pointers tips or 'pointing out what the idiot noob has completely misunderstood' !

Many Thanks Smile
1. CPU doesn't matter if you're doing pure *hashcat. If you want to do JtR as well, you might want some CPU.

2. Ignore Radeon. Go NVIDIA. Best bang for buck right now is the GTX 970. For best results, get either a reference GTX 970 (hard to come by), or a close analog:
Oct 03 13:12:33 <epixoip> MSI GTX 970 4GD5 OC or ASUS TURBO-GTX970-OC-4GD5 are good substitutes for the reference design. If you can recycle other hardware, a GTX 980 might even fit your budget.

3. Search for cooling tips in the older (~2013) Bitcoin forums. They did a lot of work in that era on GPU care and feeding. If you're going to run a long-running hashcat job, consider locking the fans at a speed that keeps them cool enough. Simplest to just run them full tilt, but you can get by with locking them at 50% if you're monitoring them regularly and the room is generally cool. Locking fan speed is Googlable. It can be tricky on Linux but is doable.


Other considerations:

- Since you're doing low-budget, you might consider Linux as an OS if you have any non-cracking tech fu.
- Also, please consult the FAQ, especially
https://hashcat.net/wiki/doku.php?id=fre...s#hardware, and the "how to run hashcat" basic stuff once your hardware is assembled.

Good luck!
thanks very much for taking the time to share those more than helpful nugets of wisedom.
I thought those cards might be out of my reach, but looking again after your suggestion, I might just have to find a way to get them in Smile
Cooler tips, once I searched with the bitcoin reference, a whole new world opened up - so again thanks.
Linux will be the OS ... Im a new convert from WIndows... but loving it Smile

It might take me a while to make final decsions and a purchse, but one I do, will be sure to come back and update.