Most effective (points per dollar) upgrade

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KansaKilla
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Most effective (points per dollar) upgrade

Post by KansaKilla » Sun May 27, 2007 7:07 pm

Hey y'all,

Let's say for a moment that I had about $150-200 dollars to spend, and let's say that I currently have a socket 939 DDR 400 3200+ OC'd to 2.4 GHz with 1 gig of ram that is folding pretty much 24/7.

Let's also say that I have a core duo notebook with a mobility X1600 that is not supported by the F@H client at present, but it does have a core duo 1.83 GHz that I took the kind advice of other folders here on the forums and therefore I am running the SMP F@H client on it as much as possible (effectively about 20-22 hours a day).

If I have somewhere around $200, what would be the most effective way to increase my F@H points per day for SPCR?

Consider that I do have a s754 Sempron64 2500 (or some such running at 1.4 GHz) and a s478 2.4A (533 FSB) processor laying around with no mobo for either. I've looked at open box mobo's at newegg.com and they are running around $40-45, but I would also have to get a new power supply and ram for it.

I know the newest ATI vid cards can run the GPU client, so would it make more sense to add in a vid card capable of folding, or build a new and inexpensive system to fold 24/7?

Thanks in advance,
--KK

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon May 28, 2007 6:04 am

Greetings,

The best way to earn points is to run 64bit Linux and run the SMP client -- so a dual core CPU would be the thing to do. Can you find an X2 to fit the Socket 939 machine you have?

After that, you could run the GPU client, but it will not throttle down when you need the card.
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Post by jaganath » Mon May 28, 2007 7:52 am

would it make more sense to add in a vid card capable of folding
I think this would give a very significant boost to points. for around $200 you can get a X1950Pro or X1900XT, IIRC these provide 20-40 times as much points as CPU-based folding. of course, you also have to find a way to cool them quietly. :wink:

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Post by aristide1 » Mon May 28, 2007 5:05 pm

jaganath wrote:
would it make more sense to add in a vid card capable of folding
I think this would give a very significant boost to points. for around $200 you can get a X1950Pro or X1900XT, IIRC these provide 20-40 times as much points as CPU-based folding. of course, you also have to find a way to cool them quietly. :wink:
Yes but then the power supply can become issue, whereas switching to a X2, especially the 65nm ones won't be.

Biostar Tforce 6100 appx $70
AMD X2 3600 $60
DDR2-667 1Gig appx $70
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Post by jaganath » Tue May 29, 2007 1:41 am

:edit yes,if FAH points are the only goal then a new Brisbane PC is most sensible.

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Post by floffe » Tue May 29, 2007 8:31 am

If it's just for light linux desktop use or even exclusively folding, I'm not sure how much 1GB improves over 512MB. That could save you a few bucks.

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Post by KansaKilla » Tue May 29, 2007 12:54 pm

floffe wrote:If it's just for light linux desktop use or even exclusively folding, I'm not sure how much 1GB improves over 512MB. That could save you a few bucks.
If I use the big WU flag, doesn't that need over 512MB on occasion?

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Post by floffe » Wed May 30, 2007 12:15 pm

I've never seen mem usage of F@H go over 150MB (it's typically around 100-120), and I've had big WUs turned on since I began folding. I haven't religiously watched it though, but I do look every now and then. SMP might use more though, I dunno about that.

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folding memory usage with smp

Post by vanhelmont » Wed May 30, 2007 3:58 pm

I'm doing smp on 64-bit linux, and have 2 G of ram. One time the total ram usage of the four folding processes was 16.5%, which would be 330M (I guess it's a little more than that, I'm treating the numbers as decimal). My 2 G is probably overkill, but 1 G might not be, unless you use the machine only for folding.

btw, I'm using an Athlon64 x2 3600+, and get about 650-700 points/day out of it. When I get time to do some tests for stability I'm going to try to overclock it.
Does anybody know how to monitor cpu temperature, etc, in linux? I googled up some things that are supposed to, but some were extremely old, and the one I installed doesn't work like its documentation says.
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Post by aristide1 » Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:17 am

KansaKilla wrote:
floffe wrote:If it's just for light linux desktop use or even exclusively folding, I'm not sure how much 1GB improves over 512MB. That could save you a few bucks.
If I use the big WU flag, doesn't that need over 512MB on occasion?
I'm running Vista and just started SMP. Last night I was using a total of 800MB of memory.
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Post by aristide1 » Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:19 am

jaganath wrote::edit yes,if FAH points are the only goal then a new Brisbane PC is most sensible.
I'm thinking about adding 1 Brisbane a year. :roll:
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Post by vg30et » Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:34 am

I know it's over your budget but the Q6600 Intel Quad Cores should be dropping to the mid $200's at the end of July. One of those should be able to crank out ~2K ppd running Windows SMP, possibly 3K+ ppd if you're willing to overclock and/or run it under Linux SMP.

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Post by KansaKilla » Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:10 am

I just want to thank all the folks for their suggestions and ideas.

I priced out the AM2 boards and the X2 processors as suggested by aristide1, and he/she was right on the money (about the money). :lol: After about two weeks of intensive research into price/performance, I figured that it would make more sense to put that money to use getting a Opteron 165 ($105) and an integrated s939 mobo for the A64 3200+ that the Opteron would be replacing (hoping for ~$45 open box deal at NewEgg in the near future) as well as an el cheapo case/powersupply from the local electronics store (~$40 as best I can tell in the KC area microcenter). vanhelmont's post suggests I can get about 700 ppd out of the current box, and I suppose the A64 will give me an extra 200 or so once I get it up and folding on it's own.

The moral of the story: listen to NeilBlanchard.

Thank you again for all your suggestions and comments. I hope to be up and folding in the next 7 days with SuSE 10.2 and the SMP client on the main rig. (I guess angelkiller and silent_applebred are going to get a little breathing room until I'm back up and running.) :twisted:

And vg30et, I might just take your suggestion if I can wrangle the $$. You are setting a tremendous example in ppd. Keep up the good work!

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Post by aristide1 » Sun Jun 17, 2007 5:51 pm

The moral of the story: listen to NeilBlanchard.
I would not disagree with that, but I would add I voiced an option that I did not know how many PPD it's worth.

Also, that setup with Corsair DDR2-667 CAS 4 memory would have easily run 2.4GHz OC'd and the memory would have OC'd to DDR2-720. Lots of people are running that chip close to 3.0 GHz.

If the 300Watt Forton with Active PFC works for you you get can it from NewEgg under $40 on your doorstep.
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Post by aristide1 » Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:30 pm

vg30et wrote:I know it's over your budget but the Q6600 Intel Quad Cores should be dropping to the mid $200's at the end of July. One of those should be able to crank out ~2K ppd running Windows SMP, possibly 3K+ ppd if you're willing to overclock and/or run it under Linux SMP.
I like that a lot more than my brisbane idea. I wonder heat-wise if it will stand being taken up to 3.2GHz? 8)
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Post by KansaKilla » Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:43 am

aristide1 wrote:
The moral of the story: listen to NeilBlanchard.
I would not disagree with that, but I would add I voiced an option that I did not know how many PPD it's worth.

Also, that setup with Corsair DDR2-667 CAS 4 memory would have easily run 2.4GHz OC'd and the memory would have OC'd to DDR2-720. Lots of people are running that chip close to 3.0 GHz.

If the 300Watt Forton with Active PFC works for you you get can it from NewEgg under $40 on your doorstep.
aristide1, thanks for the suggestions--I like both of those ideas. Probably in the next 8 weeks or so I'll add *another* computer to the mix and grab those parts off the 'Egg.

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Post by Myth! » Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:44 pm

IIRC the ATI cards give a 30x boost to a certain part of the folding process, I don't think this equates to a 30x of points
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Post by aristide1 » Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:45 am

aristide1 wrote:
jaganath wrote::edit yes,if FAH points are the only goal then a new Brisbane PC is most sensible.
I'm thinking about adding 1 Brisbane a year. :roll:
Where is Neil? I need to ask him about this setup in regards to Ubuntu or whatever its called. I don't want it to have anything to do with Windows. I just want to SMP fold.

Would I need to know Unix commands like DOS commands?

The setup would be:
Biostar 6100 or Abit NF-M2S (AM2 socket) on board video.
AMD X2 3600 (retail $10 extra, but no bent pins)
2 sticks of DDR-667 (for dual channel)
IDE hard drive probably Seagate 7200.9 or maybe .8.
Floppy optional.
300 Watt Seasonic APFC.

The drive is currently formatted as NTFS, I suppose it will be need ot be reformatted? I don't recall a thing Unix, Linux, duplex, whatever.

Buy SMP was a pain to setup, so many little things in the exact order in the exact manner. It's installing a program, not playing Simon Says.

Yeesh!
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Post by aristide1 » Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:47 am

vg30et wrote:I know it's over your budget but the Q6600 Intel Quad Cores should be dropping to the mid $200's at the end of July. One of those should be able to crank out ~2K ppd running Windows SMP, possibly 3K+ ppd if you're willing to overclock and/or run it under Linux SMP.
I have my doubts Intel would be so kind.
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:30 am

Hello,

I would download Ubuntu "Feisty Fawn" 64bit, and burn the ISO to a CD. Then boot from it, and there will be a Install shortcut on the desktop. The default steps will reformat the HD for you (ReiserFS & SWAP) and you should end up with a very neat and clean Gnome/Linux desktop.

Then you need to download and install the Linux SMP client (they have instructions) and if all goes well, you will be running the fastest Folding@Home!
Sincerely, Neil
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Post by vg30et » Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:22 am

aristide1 wrote:
I have my doubts Intel would be so kind.
Looks like the price drops have already begun. Q6600 + ecs mobo for $299:

http://www.marketplacelocal.com/portalW ... d=39840751

Edit: Bought the combo morning... initial tests show 2000PPD folding with a Windows SMP (project 2651). Power consumption figures aren't that bad either:

Idle (1.6ghz) = 66W
SMP Folding 100% (2.4ghz@1.168v) = 120W
SMP Folding 100% (2.4ghz@1.248v) = 140W

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Post by ryboto » Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:50 pm

vg30et wrote: Idle (1.6ghz) = 66W
SMP Folding 100% (2.4ghz@1.168v) = 120W
SMP Folding 100% (2.4ghz@1.248v) = 140W
nice! undervolted! If I wasn't so in love with AMD, and I actually had money, I'd be so tempted with the Q6600.
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Post by KansaKilla » Thu Jul 05, 2007 6:33 pm

ryboto wrote:If I wasn't so in love with AMD, and I actually had money, I'd be so tempted with the Q6600.
My sentiments exactly!

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Post by aristide1 » Fri Jul 06, 2007 11:24 am

vg30et wrote:
aristide1 wrote:
I have my doubts Intel would be so kind.
Looks like the price drops have already begun. Q6600 + ecs mobo for $299: .......
It would be interesting if I could do it without MS Vista OEM screaming "You updated! I don't want to work for you anymore! Bite me! Bite me!"
NeilBlanchard wrote: Then you need to download and install the Linux SMP client (they have instructions) and if all goes well, you will be running the fastest Folding@Home!
I did not enjoy installing SMP, it was a pain. Ask me where.

All 64 bit sounds interesting. I wonder if its the land of gremlins, like Vista. :evil:
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Post by ryboto » Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:59 pm

aristide1 wrote: I did not enjoy installing SMP, it was a pain. Ask me where.

All 64 bit sounds interesting. I wonder if its the land of gremlins, like Vista. :evil:
there are incredibly detailed how to's on installing the SMP client in Linux, worked right away for me.
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Post by aristide1 » Sat Jul 07, 2007 3:53 am

I agree Ryboto, I just wasn't expecting that kind of an installation after the simplicity of plain old FAH.
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Post by KansaKilla » Sat Jul 07, 2007 2:16 pm

I found an article on The Tech Report from 6/28 that has a nice comparison of a number of processors. I don't know a whole lot about the metric they used for FAH, but the explanation of it seems reasonable.

The Tech Report

From this graph (with a grain of salt), it seems the X2 3600+ or the E4300 would be the way to go. I haven't figured in the cost of additional stuff like the mobo, power supply, etc. Things might change when the new price cuts from Intel (and probably AMD following) come into play on 7/22-7/23.

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Post by aristide1 » Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:34 am

KansaKilla wrote:I found an article on The Tech Report from 6/28 that has a nice comparison of a number of processors. I don't know a whole lot about the metric they used for FAH, but the explanation of it seems reasonable.

The Tech Report

From this graph (with a grain of salt), it seems the X2 3600+ or the E4300 would be the way to go. I haven't figured in the cost of additional stuff like the mobo, power supply, etc. Things might change when the new price cuts from Intel (and probably AMD following) come into play on 7/22-7/23.
Hmmmm, not to sure what to make of thayt report. I do not tend to think of efficiency in terms of MIPS or work done per the cost of the cpu. I tend to think of it in terms of cost per kilo-watt. Who wins that race?

While the E4300 may be $113 the X2 in retail form is barely above half of that amount, $64. If you plan on OCing either one 8) you again need to spend twice as much on an Intel board as an AMD board. Biostar and ABit have boards that OC well for $70 with on-board video if you plan on setting up a FAH machine running strictly SMP.

No mention whether the E4300 or the X2 3600+ uses more electricity what say both are OC'd 25%.

I guess I should check the PC power supply calculator for that.
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Post by aristide1 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:26 am

NeilBlanchard wrote:Hello,

I would download Ubuntu "Feisty Fawn" 64bit, and burn the ISO to a CD. Then boot from it, and there will be a Install shortcut on the desktop. The default steps will reformat the HD for you (ReiserFS & SWAP) and you should end up with a very neat and clean Gnome/Linux desktop.

Then you need to download and install the Linux SMP client (they have instructions) and if all goes well, you will be running the fastest Folding@Home!
Ugh, I was hoping I could go to NewEgg and get the Biostar 7025 board. It's cheaper than the T-Force 6100 (both have onboard video) and is available as a combo special. But unfortunately this board and Ubuntu do not seem to be getting along yet. :? But now I notice that this is not the first time some mobo has gone on special and the comments are generally not favorable.

That leaves the T-Force 6100 as the board to run Feisty Fawn. An extra $30 to assure compatability, I guess that's OK.

NewEgg no longer lists OEM 3600+ X2's either, only the retail ones.
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Post by jaganath » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:01 am

NewEgg no longer lists OEM 3600+ X2's either, only the retail ones.
X2 3600 and X2 3800 have been discontinued,AFAIAA. (same time as the price cuts)

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