HOW-TO: Folding@Home competitively

folding

UPDATE: For troubleshooting your F@H setup head to the unofficial Team Hack-A-Day forum.

After announcing the Hack-A-Day Folding Team last week it has become one of the fastest gaining teams. [BillytheImpaler] put together this great guide for not only getting started with folding, but also getting the best folding performance out of your machine. Read on and join the team so we can break into the top 1000!

From Wikipedia

Folding@home is a distributed computing project designed to perform computationally intensive simulations of protein folding. The project’s goal is to add greater understanding to protein folding, misfolding, aggregation, and related diseases. Such diseases include BSE (mad cow), Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, among others.

Folding@home does not rely on powerful supercomputers for its processing; instead, the primary contributors to the Folding@home project are many thousands of personal computer users who have installed a small client program. The client runs in the background, and makes use of the CPU when it is not busy. In most modern personal computers, the CPU is rarely used to its full capacity at all times; the Folding@home client takes advantage of this unused processing power.

The Folding@home client periodically connects to a server to retrieve “work units,” which are packets of data upon
which to perform calculations. Each completed work unit is then sent back to the server.

From a hardware hacker’s point of view it is a project where individuals and teams compete to return the most
completed work in the least amount of time. This guide is intended to help new folders become acclimated to the program
and how to manipulate it and also to help experienced folders tweak their installations to squeeze every last bit of
performance out of their rigs.

Getting started

Go to Stanford’s site and download the appropriate client.
Anyone with a personal computer running Windows 9x, NT, XP, Mac OSX, and Linux will find clients there. BSD users
generally run the Linux client.

Picking a client

There are several different clients available; Text Console, GUI, and Screensaver.

As far as speed is concerned Text Console>GUI>Screensaver. Similarly the clients are different in speed as
well; Windows>Linux>OSX This is due to the availability of compilers for each platform. Linux users can gain
speed by running the Windows console in WINE.

If you’re going for performance *DO NOT* run the screensaver version. It wastes approximately 15% of the CPU’s power
just drawing pretty protein images. The GUI version has been known to interfere with some games so I highly recommend
the console version, especially to hack-a-day’s techier-than-average audience.

This how-to will focus on the console version for windows because it has the greatest performance and is the most
popular choice.

Setup

Run the console by opening it with windows or executing it through the command line.

  • User name [enter a username] pick one that no other H-A-D folder had chosen
  • Team number [44851]
  • Launch automatically at machine startup, installing this as a service [yes]
  • Ask before fetching/sending [no]
  • Use internet explorer settings yes/no yes if you have a proxy, else no
  • Use Proxy yes/no ditto
  • Allow receipt of work assignments and return of work results greater than 5MB in size (such work units may have
    large memory demands) yes/no (if you use the machine for things other than F@H and have less than 256MB RAM
    no, else yes because these units get far better points)
  • Change advanced options [yes]
  • Core Priority [idle]
  • CPU Usage [100]
  • Disable highly optimized assembly code [no]
  • Pause if battery power is being used (useful for laptops) yes/no
  • Interval, in minutes, between checkpoints (3-30) [I choose 15]
  • Request work units without deadlines [no]
  • Ignore any deadline information (mainly useful if system clock has errors) [no]
  • Machine ID (1-8) [1]

The program will now download a WU and begin crunching.

Press Ctrl-C to exit for now.

Open up regedit navigate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesFAH@C…

You’re going to set keys in the Image Path. After the .exe type a space. And enter the following keys:

FOR all AMD 64 and Intel P4, Xeon (not Pentium Mobile)

-local saves F@H files into the same directory as the console

-verbosity 9 outputs to the log file the most data that the client will allow

-forceasm forces F@H to use SSE and 3DNow assembly optimizations

-advmethods client demands only the newest WUs ***VITAL ON P4S*** on P4s this, combined with Big
WUs=yes will get you QMD work units. These use 300 MB RAM for the first 1-2% then settle down into 200 MB after. Since
they use so much system RAM, they receive *Bonus Points* These units are the best there are because they are so fast
and so highly scored. If you have a P4 you can get these, so I suggest you do.

*QMD Note* Since _all_ AMD athlons do not support SSE2 and SSE3, none will receive QMD work units.
QMDs are an Intel only party, and trust me, they are a party. In the future F@H will contain a CPU-Z-like function
where it identifies hardware specifically to better use participant’s computers. Expect this version to be out in early
2006.

FOR Pentium Mobile

(which BTW are fantastic performers for F@H)

-local

-forceasm

-verbosity 9

Lately, by not setting -advmethods I’ve gotten better WUs (more 600 pointers), I don’t know why, it sees like that’s
what Stanford’s been doing.

Restart the machine to start the service.

Setup for Dual Core, P4 HT, and Dual Processor machines

The setup is exactly the same except for these things.

Put another copy of the console in a *different* directory. Otherwise they’ll interfere with each other.

Set the machine ID of the 2nd to 2, 3 for the 3rd, etc. up to 4. (Sorry to those of you with quad P4EEs, the client
does not support your 16 logical units.)

It is not possible to use both cores/virtual cores with the GUI client so that’s another reason to use the command
line version.

HyperThreading in Pentium 4s is very valuable. Running 2 clients at 100% will run slower than 1 client at 100%, but
it will finish 2 units in the same time it took the other to do 1.5. Thus it is faster in the long run. On my P4 I fold
2 QMDs simultaneously with 512 MB RAM and it is perfectly stable. You might not be so lucky. If you do not want to
receive QMDs for one process or the other, remove the -advmethods flag.

The nice thing about single processor P4 machines is that you can run F@H on one thread and run the OS web browser
and the like on the other extra 15% that HT gives you. This means that you are not going to slow down your progress by
using the machine.

Running F@H

Disable any screensavers, as they rob you of valuable idle processing cycles. I set mine to go blank after 5
minutes, and off after 10 (to save electricity). Leave your machine 24/7 if you can take it. Computers that are off do
not compute anything. Recruit others to fold under your username if you are persuasive.

You will appear on the stats
page
when you have completed a WU. The database servers update about every 3 hours so you might have to wait a few
hours to see evidence of your units, but they’ll show up. You can monitor your progress with
FAHMON or
EMIII. I prefer FAHMON because it uses far less
memory to run and starts up faster. EMIII is more powerful, features visualizations of the proteins, and is able to
monitor multiple clients over a network. Use whichever.

To disable the service for gaming, compiling video encoding, or anything else that you want, run services.msc,
scroll down to the FAH process(es), click on each and select “Stop the service.” Repeat this again to restart it. I
game on my machine with F@H running, but if you’re going to do anything that really kicks your computer’s ass (Doom 3,
Half-Life, that sort of thing) feel free to stop it.

Overclocking

Officially, Stanford pooh-poohs overclocking because it can lead to instability of the simulation. However, this is a
hardware hacker’s site so I’ll discuss it. If your machine is heavily OC’d and you are seeing weird stats reported on
the Team stats page i.e. 5 work units returned but 5 points granted, you probably are seeing early work ends (EWEs).
These are where the simulation reached a point where it could not continue. This is usually caused by an unstable OC,
though not always. If this is the case you should turn your OC down a bit to lend stability to the system. An OC’d rig
is no use to anyone if it is too unstable to execute code. I have a P4 Northwood 2.4GH that I am running at 3.1GHZ
perfectly stable with the stock HP heatsink so it is certainly possible to OC and fold, just don’t over-do it.

Borging

Named after the Star Trek race of assimilation, Borging refers to installing F@H, or any DC program, on someone’s
computer, usually without their knowledge. It is explicitly forbidden by the F@H EULA but folks do it anyway. I have a
few b0rgs out there so I’m not one to tell you not to do it. Just be careful, people have
gotten fired over b0rging. There is a program being
written by a fellow Hack-A-Day team member that examines a computer’s hardware setup and decides, based on how much
RAM, CPU speed, number of CPUs, etc. which way to install F@H for the best, lease invasive, performance. I hoped to
have a beta out for testing with this post, but it is not quite ready for the spotlight yet, so you’ll have to wait to
get your b0rg on.

Conclusion

Have fun. That’s why most people run F@H. It’s not about the science as much as it’s about the competition and the
camaraderie. Folding is an addiction; one of the few healthy addictions known to man. We at Team Hack-A-Day are on one
of the fastest growing teams on the planet, and we’d like to break into the top 1000 worldwide within the next month.
So join up, pay attention to your stats, and have a good time. Get crunching, folks.

Comments

  1. octacon says:

    If Dr._Nathan is reading this thread, what comps are you running F@H on? You’ve currently got 20 active CPU’s in the last 7 days. That’s more than BillytheImpaler who’s in the no.1 spot on the team. Is there some competition for the top producer spot?

    Dr._Nathan

    http://vspx27.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=userpage&teamnum=44851&username=Dr%2E%5FNathan

    Billytheimpaler

    http://vspx27.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=userpage&teamnum=44851&username=BillytheImpaler

  2. DR._nathan says:

    Dr._Nathan here. I’m pretty surprised by how quickly I’ve jumped through the ranks, honestly. I’m a network admin and have my servers and or rarely used desktops plugging away for me. There hasn’t been any performance issues that I can see, so I’m going to keep with it. I believe I have 11 machines running in total, but some have hyper threading, or dual processors so that works out nicely. I also have 3 computers at home crunching away too (again, multiple processors and HT). Once I get my two digital picture frames built, I’ll toss FAH on them as well.

    I doubt I’ll catch up to billytheimpaler any time soon, 2nd place is fine with me. Although, I guess I could bot my whole network and catch up pretty quickly!

  3. Dr._Nathan, you could certainly have a go at it. You seems to have access to a lot of computing muscle. Remember that i have a 1 month head start over almost everyone on the team. I founded the team for myself and my friends the name changed a few times before goliathdrakken and a couple other h-a-d readers convinced me to throw it out to the hack-a-day guys and gals, thinking that, like me, they have a lot of hardware around. turns out they were right and now the team rocks.

    i expect in the future new power-users will emerge. (1000+ppd) Computer labs at schools are particularly good for F@H because 90% of the time nobody’s logged on and they’re sitting at idle (especially if they’re left on 24/7). Even when someone’s logged on, few students in labs do anything more intense than surf the internet and type documents. sure, CGI labs, CS labs and the like are an exception. but really, what’s the history dept. using those 35 dell p4s for anyway?
    If you’re a student, ask the IT manager to let you install F@H. Explain the scinetific/medical/research behind it and how it is helping scientists fight disease. see if he/she’ll bite.

    it’s worth a shot :)

  4. flaunt_dzx says:

    I read that running f@h for a year costs an extra 65 bucks(estimate for processor running at 100%) for operating costs. (Don’t remember the link, sorry!)

    Maybe don’t mention that. I mean, whats that spread over a couple hundred PCs. :)

    The school can afford it!

  5. 65 bucks per year is not all that crazy.

    $65/365=$0.178… per day
    add to that the fact that power usage varies dramatically across different machines. Leaving on your quad 3.66 nocona xeon workstation with 14 drives in raid 0 and 2 pci-e graphics cards feeding 4 22″ CRT’s at 80hz is going to use almost exponentially more juice than, say, a pentium mobile 1.4. or even 4 PM’s like that.

    think of it as a quarter per day donation to cancer research.

    A large crt monitor uses way way more than that in terms of electricity. you’d save a lot of money by setting the monitor to go blank after a few minutes (for faster folding) and turn off after a few more (to save electricity). to save even more juice, turn off the lights and the TV when nobody’s there watching. i dunno.

  6. aerospike says:

    So…
    we just went under 500th place
    firkin awesome. -=sips coffee=-

  7. DR._nathan says:

    Not only just under 500th place, we’re at 486 as of 2:19am cdt!

    Right now we have an average of 28k points per 24 hour period. We could break 400 in a matter of 4 days if we keep growing. I say *we* like I’ve been around for a significant amount of time or something.

    Anyways, I’m enjoying folding for team hack-a-day, I just wish I had started earlier.

    -=I also wish I was sipping coffee like aerospike as I need to be up for work in 3 hours=-

  8. DR._nathan, it looks as if my #1 ppd production won’t be safe for long, not as long as you’ve 29 active cpus! this is great production. looks like today might be another record-setter at 20k+ at noon cdt.

    i see that we’ve garnered our 337th member. i think just looking at that is making me hungry, or something ;) Now maybe later we’ll have another 1000 members to announce to the world what we really are.

    (raises drink) here’s to the top 400 by tuesday’s how-to! cheers.

  9. DR._nathan says:

    billytheimpaler, it looks like I made that huge jump in ppd last night. I knew that quite a few of my machines would turn over some time last night, but that last jump in points was ridiculous.

    I hit 32 cpus as of 10am cdt, I hope I can keep that number growing.

    Looking at the stats, the team hit over 47k points yesterday, for which I think we all deserve a nice pat on the back. In ppd alone, our team is producing at least 3 times as many points as any team ranked above 400. I second that cheers to reach the top 400 by Tuesday!

    Also, as a side note, is anyone else no longer receiving QMD cores? All of my processors that were assigned 450pt QMD cores are now all working on medium-sized gromacs cores. Has anyone else noticed this?

  10. >>is anyone else no longer receiving QMD cores?

    Hmm. I checked a few p4 3.8s and it seems that all I have is Core_78 projects. Mind you, i didn’t check them all, but this isn’t a good trend.

    I checked Stanford’s currnet projects page http://vspx27.stanford.edu/psummary.html and it appears that there aren’t any QMDs available at the moment. there’s no announcement about it anywhere that I can see so that leads me to believe that they’re not gone for long.

    i’ll have to watch this.

  11. DR._nathan says:

    Thanks for passing that link along, I hadn’t come across that page yet. Hopefully the’ll come up with some more QMD work soon.

    I wouldn’t mind a few more of those 600 point Gromacs cores though.

  12. there we go. All 3 qmd units are now showing up on the psummary page. Rumor has it that there was a server hiccup that led to AMDs being assigned QMD units. When an amd gets the unit, assembly optomizations are not enabled, so they run very slow, as i explained in comment 13. Looks like it’s all sorted now.

    See, nothing to worry about. :)

  13. rockport_juggalo says:

    So, how about that program someone was writing for borging? I’ve got a few computer labs to hit up at school :D

  14. rockport_juggalo says:

    Instead of waiting for that program, is it maybe possible to write a batch file to do this if i already know the settings i want?

  15. I wrote one a bit ago based on this guide.

    http://ter.arsfoodcourt.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=50

    edit:it looks like the link’s down, but maybe it’ll come back up. if not, perhaps i’ll write one up and host it myself.

    It works, but needs to be configured individually, i.e. all these machines are going to get the same settings. the point of teh aut0b0rger is to make decisions on how to install based on detected hardware. that way no thought is necessary and you can borg with the same usb stick for everything. i’ll write more when i know more.

  16. B0RG DISK CREATION WITH BATCH FILES

    I finally got around to digging through my cache to find the missing how-to.

    *note* I didn’t write this. All I did was make some edits for spelling, coherence and temporal accuracy, so don’t blame me if it does anything unintended. Credits go to team egg roll (14).

    HOWTO: Create a Folding@Home borg disk using SrvAny.exe
    I just got done creating a F@H borg disk for myself using SrvAny.exe from the Windows Resource Kit, so I figured I’d post a nice little how-to in case anyone else is interested. Following these directions will give you a disk that’s fairly optimized for P4 machines. The F@H files are copied to the WINDOWS (or winNT)System32 folder. The service that runs is called “FAH” and runs under the local system account. As always, never borg without permission. So without further ado:

    Required Components:
    -A floppy disk or USB drive with FAH502-Console.exe
    -Your client.cfg and SrvAny.exe and InstSrv.exe from the Windows Resource Kit Tools or here (http://www.tacktech.com/pub/microsoft/service/srvany.zip) a zip file 23.7Kib

    1. On your PC, create a folder called something like BorgDisk.

    2. Get SrvAny.exe and InstSrv.exe from the Windows Resource Kit or the link above. Copy them into the BorgDisk folder.

    *NOTE* If you’re going to borg Windows 2000 Professional machines, use the Windows 2000 Professional Resource Kit. Using the wrong SrvAny.exe might work, but then again it might not. Whenever possible, use the right tool for the job. For the rest of this guide I’ll assume you’re borging XP machines. If you’re doing something else and the directory is not called CWINDOWSsystem32, make the appropriate changes.

    3. Download or copy FAH502-Console.exe into the BorgDisk folder. If you don’t already have it (heaven forbid!), FAH502-Console.exe is available from http://folding.stanford.edu/download.html.

    4. Create a client.cfg file. If you already have one, just copy it into the BorgDisk folder. If you don’t have one:
    a. Open a command prompt.
    b. Browse to your BorgDisk folder.
    c. Run FAH502-Console.exe -configonly
    d. Answer the questions with your preferences.
    ***DO NOT JUST OPEN CLIENT.CFG AND START EDITING THE TEXT. IT IS A BINARY FILE AND WILL PROBABLY NOT WORK WHEN USED IN A BORG. ALWAYS USE THIS METHOD!***

    5. Create a text file called FAHService.reg in the BorgDisk folder. Copy the following into it (watch word-wrap):
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesFAHParameters]
    “Application”=”C:\WINDOWS\System32\FAH502-Console.exe”
    “AppParameters”=”-advmethods -forceasm -verbosity 9 -local -svcstart”

    *NOTE* The path to the %WINDIR% folder is hard-coded in the .reg file after the “Application”=. Be sure it is correct for the systems you are borging (i.e. C:WinNT, C:WINDOWS, D:WinNT, etc.). Environmental variables will not work here, the path has to be hard-coded or the service will not start.

    6. Create a text file called Borg.bat in the BorgDisk folder. Copy the following into it (watch word-warp):
    copy FAH502-Console.exe %WINDIR%System32FAH502-Console.exe /Y
    copy client.cfg %WINDIR%System32client.cfg /Y
    copy instsrv.exe %WINDIR%System32instsrv.exe /Y
    copy srvany.exe %WINDIR%System32srvany.exe /Y
    call %WINDIR%System32instsrv.exe FAH %WINDIR%System32srvany.exe
    call regedit /s FAHService.reg
    call net start FAH

    7. Create a text file called UnBorg.bat in the BorgDisk folder. Copy the following into it (watch word-warp):
    call sc stop FAH
    call %WINDIR%System32instsrv.exe FAH Remove
    sleep 15
    del /F /Q %WINDIR%System32instsrv.exe
    del /F /Q %WINDIR%System32srvany.exer
    mdir /S /Q %WINDIR%System32work
    del /F /Q %WINDIR%System32client.cfg
    del /F /Q %WINDIR%System32FAH502-Console.exe
    del /F /Q %WINDIR%System32FAHCore_*.exe
    del /F /Q %WINDIR%System32FAHlog.txt
    del /F /Q %WINDIR%System32MyFolding.html
    del /F /Q %WINDIR%System32queue.dat
    del /F /Q %WINDIR%System32unitinfo.txt

    8. Copy the files from the BorgDisk folder onto a blank, formatted floppy or USB flash drive. You should have the following files on the floppy when you are done:
    Borg.bat
    client.cfg
    FAH502-Console.exe
    FAHService.reg
    instsrv.exe
    srvany.exe
    UnBorg.bat

    9. Go borg some machines! All you need to do is run Borg.bat to install F@H as a service on your borged machine. If you want to un-borg the machine, just run UnBorg.bat. It will remove the service and completely remove all F@H files from the computer.

    The when you run the borg.bat file a command window will open, text will fly past faster than anybody could read it, and the box will close. This setup is perfect if you

  17. h-a-d team member goliathdrakken has volunteered to host the caps-intact version of the above post. It’s available at

    http://homepages.udayton.edu/~szechyjs/borghowto.html

    w00t, g.

  18. madmax says:

    Tiffy time!

    http://vspx27.stanford.edu/awards/tcert.php?u=44851&pts=5000&t=wus&bg=4

    Hell yeah, guys. That’s 5000 work units!

    eoc says that we’ll be at 1*10^6 work units in 5 days. we’re certainly getting noticed.

  19. l2yuk3n says:

    A few questions:
    I work for the computer labs on campus, and I can run F@H on them (permission from supervisors), but the logoff scripts that are run erase anything that is installed when students/users log off, so would that mean I can’t do the “borging” thats been outlined above? Also, when you’re using more than 8 different machines at once, how do you choose machine ID? (ie, can two different computers fold with ID:1? or…)

    If anyone’s got any tips/clues for this (or knows where the answers to the machine ID question is), let me know! thanks =)

  20. Do the machines re-image themselves when you log off? Are they “zombies” that do not have hard disks (that work). At my lab, the students use their univ. password and name to log on and their stuff goes away when they log off. I, however, have the admin password that lets me place things that stay when you log off. Since you need to be logged in as admin to install the service anyway, it’s real easy. It’s likely that there is a “master” account that can install local programs to the computers, otherwise they’d never be able to run anything. Secure the proper passwords form your boss I’d say.

    The machine ID thing is just for when you have more than 1 fah process on *the same computer*. If you’re running 2 instances on a hyperthreaded p4, for instance, use machine id 1 and 2. if you’re installing 4 processes on to a dual xeon machine (like mine), uyse id numbers 1-4. if you’re installing 1 thread on each of 15 different systems, you do not need to change the number at all. it’s only for multiple threads on a single system.

    Keep us up to date on this b0rg becasue this is pretty significant. right on!

  21. Just added my processing power to the team. Lets see what my two 1.2 ghz AMD Athlons can kick out. Ohh yeah…big power! lol

  22. l2yuk3n says:

    ah…well I do have the admin password, but I’m not sure my boss would be to happy if I used it that way, especially if the techs see a service installed that they didnt put there. maybe I’ll email the techs to get true confirmation, or maybe even start a lab-wide thing through my supes. haha. that’d be 300+ computers folding happily away =D

    (don’t think its too likely though). nonetheless, I will keep on folding =)

  23. l2yuk3n, if i were you I’d pursue your supervisors. You don’t have to have it run at 100% and end users probably wouldn’t be effected. get the word out and see if you could execute a mass borg. You could become out first power b0rger, defined as a user having 50+ cpus active. Since I’m the team founder, I have the power to change the team name and logo, even if temporarily . I could change the team to reflect your university while you “sell” it to them and change it back later. It could be a useful recruitment tool. i dunno.

  24. Dr_nathan says:

    Looks like we just broke 300. Nice work all.

  25. Has anybody executed any b0rgs or anything like that using the batch files?

    Does it work? Did you have any setup issues? Do I need to be clearer on anything?

  26. One Millionth Point!

    http://vspx27.stanford.edu/awards/tcert.php?u=44851&pts=1000000

    Killer work, guys.

  27. l2yuk3n says:

    haha, I asked, but I dont think they’re all that interested. maybe after I rise through the ranks a bit…I’m still a new hire. and my school being stanford’s rival, they’d probably prefer we instead SETI if we’re really gonna be doing distributed computing =P. heh. i just think protein folding is more interesting than space exploration, personally. I’ll get as many as I can get =P

  28. mrkoje says:

    I just found this site and joined the team! I’ve only got an old P3 950Mhz 256MB Dell running Fedora Core 4 right now but I will be installing it on my P4 2GB 3.6Ghz machine soon. I will also be hitting up my university :)

    This is great!

  29. a warm foldy welcome to you, mrkoje. I hope your stay is enjoyable.

    Borg, borg, borg!

  30. jwstolk says:

    RedHat 9 tip:
    There is a glibc bug that can results in not returning the folding results to FAH. I used this little script:

    http://forum.folding-community.org/viewtopic.php?p=61743&highlight=#61743

    and also:

    http://forum.folding-community.org/viewtopic.php?p=113245#113245

  31. danno says:

    I believe there’s a substantial heat risk on stock systems build around P4’s – especially Northwood-based CPUs at 3.2ghz (or above). I’ve had 2 Dell boxes (Dimension 8300 and Poweredge 400sc server running with the Northwood P4 3.2ghz CPU – both use the same motherboard) fail (both motherboard and CPU) after only about a year mostly likely due to the cumulative effects of overheating caused by running FAH 24/7.

    Since I replaced the motherboard and CPU on the Poweredge 400sc, I’m now running MBM 5 to carefully monitor CPU/case temps. With FAH paused and an ambient room temp of 22C, CPU/Case temps are 39C/34C. After about 10 min of running FAH (not even using the great tips on this page to take advantage of Hyperthreading), the CPU/case temps rocket to 62C/42C. With each degree (C) increase in ambient temp, the CPU temp increases by 2C and case temp by 1C. I wasn’t monitoring CPU/case temps back then (before the hardware failures), but I’m sure CPU/case temps reached as 70C/47C (perhaps higher) during summer months.

    Bottom line here, is that I hesitant to ‘borg’ machines anymore unless I know that the cooling systems are superior as the strain on CPU / motherboard components are substantial. If Dell boxes can’t be trusted with ‘stock’ Heatsink/CPU fans (HSF), I hesitate to trust other ‘stock’ boxes. Maybe it’s just the 3.2 ghz Northwood P4 CPUs (Prescotts run cooler, I believe). I was quite disappointed that I now have to buy an improved HSF and an additional case fan for the Dell boxes to be able to run FAH 24/7 without frying the CPU. Until then, I’m only running FAH either with ‘throttling’ down to 67% or lower on warmer days (or ‘pausing’).

  32. madmax says:

    That is very interesting indeed. The 3.8 Prescotts I have are doing fine,

    but I run them at 50% to keep the noise down. Perhaps this is a warranty issue that folks should take up with Dell. If a computer cannot “compute” all day long, what is it good for? Stock, unmodified components should be able to handle everything they’re capable of without issue. That is the reason cars have speed governors; otherwise they’d be capable of going fast enough to destroy their tires.

    If dell cannot or will not equip their comuters to compute, I’d like to see some action taken against them. Tyhis is not extreme use. Everything is stock. You cannot engineer a product to be adequate for most users and tell you that is adequate for all. Seriously, somebody call consumer reports. This is fraud marketing. If a computer will not do what it is advertised to do, run at 3.2 ghz without error, then it is the manufacturer’s fault.

  33. letsrock says:

    Hello all! I’m coming over from the LITTLEWHITEDOG folding @ home team. I started folding for hackaday last week and will have my three other machines converted tonight. Want to do my part to push the team into the top 100!

  34. I don’t know if anybody’s posted this before, but if you want to restore caps in Hack-A-Day, all you have to do is disable CSS. In Firefox go to View, Page Style, and select No Page Style. All the pretty CSS features like the background and some tables will go away. However, the caps will be there along with the pictures and most of the formatting. It’s not easy on the eyes, but is sometimes useful, like above where the .bat file is possible caps dependant.

  35. jwstolk says:

    hackaday.css:
    text-transform: lowercase;

  36. At the official FAH forum Vijay Pande, the king of all that is Folding, has said, “I empathize with those who have been waiting and am grateful for the interest. Recent updates to the BOINC API have allowed us to complete what we need and we should be going public relatively soon. I don’t want this discussion to get out of hand and so I will lock this discussion.”

    It looks like Folding@BOINC is just around the corner. This is great news for us. The two interfaces will likely continue in parallel, so those of us that like the current system will not have to switch. It’ll just expand the user-base a bit. Good stuff.

    original source:

    http://forum.folding-community.org/viewtopic.php?p=113306&sid=3360fbb493eb1f263372cb41d843804d#113306

  37. whateverz says:

    Its fun being on a team that is kicking ass!! I started a week ago and am adding almost all my stuff:

    dual p3 1Ghz
    dual amd mp 1600+
    p4m 1.6Ghz laptop
    g4 1.25Ghz powerbook
    p4 2.8 w/HT work
    amd xp2400+ colo

    So what’s the best cpu for this?? I may upgrade a amd xp 1700+ test box I have, very soon.

    And Billytheimpaler, I’m a tard, but can you tell me more about Folding@BOINC? Is this another project w/a different client? thanx

  38. Hello whateverz. Welcome to the team as it’s great to have you.

    Of the machines listed here the P4 2.8 is going to be the highest performance cruncher because it can get QMDs (if you’ve got at least 512MB RAM). Second place could be a toss-up as far as I know. The dual AMD system looks tempting but the G4 in the Powerbook can really crank when blessed with the right units. My G4 machine really loves Tinker core units like 697, 1136, and 1160.

    Folding@BOINC is the colloquial name for the software Stanford is developing to run the Folding@Home project on the BOINC network. BOINC is a project manager console that gives distributed computing projects a common UI. Berkeley created it for their SETI@Home project.

    Read all about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boinc

    FAH already has an interface, so the BOINC version will coexist with standard console client you are already running. In other words, Folding@BOINC will not supplant the current FAH software, rather it will be an addition to the possible ways to run folding; screensaver, GUI, command-line, BOINC. You won’t need to download or install BOINC to keep folding. They’re just trying to launch the project so that BOINC enthusiasts will hop on the folding bandwagon. We’re already there, so unless you discover that boinc is your thing, there’s no reason to switch.

    Folding@BOINC was in semi-public beta for a bit at http://fah-boinc.stanford.edu/ but went inactive. The above post quotes FAH project manager in his statement that FAH@BOINC will soon be out. I hope some Hack-A-Day SETI enthusiasts will see the light and give some CPU time to Hack-A-Day folding. I’m not going to switch to the BOINC client when it comes out unless it does something groundbreaking that the standard console does not do.

    BTW, kcrone_, from whence did you come?? I turn my back for a few days and there’s somebody on Team Hack-A-Day with 100+ active CPUS! That’s what I like to see for sure! Onward and upward gentlemen (and ladies hopefully).

  39. jwstolk says:

    congratulations ! Hack-a-day made it into the top 200:

    http://folding.extremeoverclocking.com/team_list.php?s=&p=2

  40. Lotacus says:

    well, i’m not sure what I did. Maybe it was using a -forceSSE switch in the registry, or perhaps it was some sort of new core, but usually when the core starts up and looks for optimizations, it will say “SSE boost ok”, which is alright, however, a couple of times i’ve seen “SSE2 boost ok” .. odd.. never seen it the past couple times tho running the program….i wonder…

  41. Lotacus says:

    [08:00:12] Project: 2075 (Run 68, Clone 2, Gen 2)
    [08:00:12]
    [08:00:12] Assembly optimizations on if available.
    [08:00:12] Entering M.D.
    [08:00:18] Protein: p2075_BBA5
    [08:00:18]
    [08:00:18] Writing local files
    [08:00:18] Extra SSE2 boost OK.
    [08:00:18] Writing local files
    [08:00:18] Completed 0 out of 50000 steps (0)

    the logs show protien p2075_BBA5 using SSE2

  42. jwstolk says:

    Lotacus,
    Maybe the older cores did not have the sse2 optimizations?

  43. Lotacus says:

    well i’m using the 5.04 beta for xp. I can’t wait until they finish the code to use GPU processing. Perhaps a combination of CPU power AND GPU power, now THAT would be nice.

  44. Jzilla says:

    Thanks billytheimpaler for the great guide, and for showing me there was something worthwhile to use all those wasted downcycles on.

    Next a small warning to everyone folding for hackaday. Make sure you use the right team number ;-)

    It doesn’t hurt to check a couple of times either.

    Unlike myself who while rushing to set up a machine managed to switch the 5 and the 8 in the team number and ended up “donating” 1600 points to the “rock shop reviews” team. I’m sure they are nice guys and all but its a pity I can’t re asssign thouse points to where I wanted them to go in the first place.

  45. invisisam says:

    You see what the “ex” is doing over at Engadget?

    http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000880065213/

    — start quote —
    Want to learn how to optimize your system for F@H? Visit hackaday

  46. Hey, engadget, what is this? You’re using our body of work to pimp your own differnent team?! Write your own How-To.

    It’s interesting to read the engadget comments becasue it is quite obvious that very few of them actually read the H-A-D article becasue there are a great number of easily answered questions, i.e. will it work on a mac, can I transfer my current points.

    END THE FAH APARTHEID! JOIN TEAM 44851! (see I can pimp my own team)

  47. pocketlnt says:

    Hey there everyone.

    I joined up a few days ago and brought with me a dedicated cluster of 10 1.6GHz computers at work.

    Just to aid in team communication I set up a completely h-a-d-unauthorized forum over at http://josh.4geeks.net/thad/. If Hack-a-Day has a problem with this feel free to let me know and I’ll take it down.

    In the mean time, BillyTheImpailer: With your permission I’d like to repost your excellent FAQ on the forum for easy access.

    Keep those WUs a chuggin’.

  48. jwstolk says:

    ….and into the top 20:
    (ordered by points/24h)

    http://folding.extremeoverclocking.com/team_list.php?s=&srt=3

  49. There is a problem with the borging howto the flag -srvstart should be -service

    I couldn’t get -svcstart to work so i think it is wrong. Please correct me if i am wrong

  50. I’m just getting the word out in one more way here.

    The forum site is no longer http://josh.4geeks.net/thad/ It doesn’t live there anymore. you might be redirected or you might get an error.

    It lives at the super-awesome and easy to remember http://teamhackaday.com/ these days.

    Some folks have had redirect troubles when using the old link or old bookmarks so that they think that the forum is down.

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