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#1 Mind

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 11:49 PM


I have always wanted to experiment with linux but just a little timid.

Now I have another computer at my disposal to run folding at home. It has a ATI Radeon graphics card, circa 2005, and an Intel pentium 4 processor. I plan to use it exclusively for folding and I thought I could get the most out of it by running linux. Windows OS are bulky and unstable in my experience.

So what client should I use?

And more importantly what linux distribution should I go with? I am a linux virgin so I need something fairly easy to set up and easy to get f@h running?

#2 Ghostrider

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 02:26 AM

I have always wanted to experiment with linux but just a little timid.

Now I have another computer at my disposal to run folding at home. It has a ATI Radeon graphics card, circa 2005, and an Intel pentium 4 processor. I plan to use it exclusively for folding and I thought I could get the most out of it by running linux. Windows OS are bulky and unstable in my experience.

So what client should I use?

And more importantly what linux distribution should I go with? I am a linux virgin so I need something fairly easy to set up and easy to get f@h running?


www.ubuntu.com

Checkout ubuntu, it's the most popular Linux OS (last time I checked) and probably one of the most user-friendly. The installation is simple and you can download and burn a live CD to figure out how you like it before installing -- you could even install FAH on it before actually installing Ubuntu to your HD to see how you like it. I would go Ubuntu over XP / Vista. I use my work laptop most of the time, but I do dual boot Ubuntu and XP. Try it.

#3 FunkOdyssey

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 06:44 AM

Your choice is basically between ubuntu and XP, vista is not a workable idea with that hardware. I would use XP personally -- after a bit of tweaking, paring down of unnecessary services, I doubt ubuntu would have any performance advantage over XP with folding @ home (or anything else for that matter). If you are already familiar with linux or have been wanting to play with it and are looking for an excuse, by all means go with ubuntu.

Edited by FunkOdyssey, 30 December 2008 - 06:45 AM.


#4 Sillewater

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 09:51 AM

If you want to try a linux OS you should probably use Ubuntu, they are very stable and run very fast. Since you haven't used linux before, I would recommend TinyVista or TinyXP (or even MicroXP), these are stripped down versions of microsoft windows but with most of the functionality intact. They run very fast, and are also stable (as far as I know, I've been using them on my 8 year old laptop).

#5 MichaelGR

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 08:39 PM

Ubuntu's probably the most user-friendly to start with, and it has a huge community if you need help.

Try it, you won't regret it.

#6 futureofscience

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 10:57 PM

Another heads up for Ubuntu, it really is a great way to get into Linux if you still want some of the comfort of a Windows like environment.

#7 caston

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 11:07 PM

Heads up for kubuntu... that is ubuntu but using KDE instead of gnome.

#8 Ghostrider

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 07:05 AM

Heads up for kubuntu... that is ubuntu but using KDE instead of gnome.


I have not used KDE much except for Knoppix on LiveCD and a little several years ago. What's the advantage of KDE over gnome?

#9 dnamechanic

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 01:01 PM

Now I have another computer ...has a ATI Radeon graphics card, circa 2005, and an Intel pentium 4 processor. I plan to use it exclusively for folding and I thought I could get the most out of it by running linux.

For running the regular F@H client on a minimized install, there is probably little difference in performance between Windows and Linux.

Extra services (bells and whistles) could make some differences.

Linux is considerably more efficient with the multi-processor cores (SMP).

Windows OS are bulky and unstable in my experience.

Windows is bulky by default. It can be minimized.

So what client should I use?

For GPU folding, most people use Windows (for driver availability and such). Although a few run Linux and with the help of Wine are able to run the GPU clients. Reports indicate good processing efficiency, although I have not seen any direct Windows to Linux/Wine F@H PPD comparisons.

Your graphics card, mentioned above, may not be recent enough to run the GPU folding client.

With a single-core processor, your choices are the regular clients (Windows or Linux).

And more importantly what Linux distribution should I go with? ...fairly easy to set up and easy to get f@h running?

If you go with Linux. Either version of Ubuntu would be fine (Kubuntu or Ubuntu).

To previous Windows users, Kubuntu may have a more familiar look, and some think it is more versatile.

The main differences is in the shell (what you see as a desktop).

Kubuntu has the KDE shell and Ubuntu has the Gnome shell.

If you go to each download site Kubuntu and Ubuntu, you will see two versions available (8.04 and 8.10).

There have been several reports that the latest version (8.10) is slower in SMP processing that the earlier version (8.04). It is suspected that something changed in the MPI processing part of the code. This will not affect regular clients.

It might be a good idea to download a copy of 8.04 in case you need it later for SMP.

Edited by dnamechanic, 02 January 2009 - 01:38 PM.


#10 Mind

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:23 PM

Now I have another question about folding. My wife's computer is currently running the regular windows folding client. The computer also has an Nvidia 8400GS graphics card (2007) with 512mb memory. Is this a good/new enough card to run an SMP client. Should I run the SMP client instead of the single processor client? or can both be set-up fairly simple and run together? XP is the operating system.

#11 dnamechanic

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 10:01 PM

...currently running the regular windows folding client. The computer also has an Nvidia 8400GS graphics card (2007) with 512mb memory. Is this a good/new enough card to run an SMP client.

The SMP client is used only with computers that have multiple cores (dual, triple, quad, or octal, or simulation of dual/octal via hyper-threading).

Several of the last versions of Pentium 4 had Hyper-threading capability. If you have a version that has Hyper-threading, since it can simulate a second core, it can utilize the SMP client. To meet SMP work unit deadlines, a single-core Pentium 4 with Hyper-threading probably would have operate much faster than 3 GHz. A few have reported success, usually via overclocking. Just making SMP work unit deadlines would probably net around 600 PPD.

Your graphics card is listed here (CUDA enabled), so it can fold.

The 8400GS GPU will typically fold at a higher PPD than the single-core CPU.

According to this chart (scroll to the bottom of the page), an 8400GS can fold at the rate of about 500 PPD.

Plus, if also running a regular uni-processor client add points that it will produce.

Should I run the SMP client instead of the single processor client? or can both be set-up fairly simple and run together? XP is the operating system.

If your CPU has Hyper-threading capability, the SMP client only could be worth a try (especially if you could overclock it).

Or, you could set it up to fold with both:

- the CPU (using regular single-core client) and
- the GPU (video card).

Even if a particular Pentium 4 CPU had Hyper-threading, it probably would not be a good idea to try to run the SMP client and GPU simultaneously.

(Note: True multi-core CPUs can handle SMP and GPU processing simultaneously)

If you decide to set it up for GPU folding and or GPU/CPU folding.

The latest NVIDIA drivers (version 180.60) enable GPU folding with very little CPU utilization (~ less 5%).

Download the new drivers here:

http://www.nvidia.co...t/cuda_get.html

Select WindowsXP (probably 32 bit) and download CUDA 2.1 beta (180.60).

Uninstall the old NVIDA driver and install the new one (follow special instructions if any).

Download the GPU client from Stanford.

http://folding.stanf...ownloadWinOther

You can select at least two versions, one has a Graphical interface for ease of configuration.

The other has a command line interface.

The command line-interface version has name like this:

Folding@home-Win32-GPU_XP-623.zip

You may prefer the other versions (graphical interface, non-command line), they will be fine.

Place this download in a separate directory (folder) from the current regular client, and expand the .zip file there.

Start the client and fill in the configuration info.

You may want to fold with GPU only for a short while to get established.

When folding with both the regular client and the GPU client, it is best to have different core priorities set.

Priorities are set in the client.cfg file (a text-like file that contains configuration info).
I think the graphical interface allows priority setting, but not sure. There are a few ways of setting priority.

If the GPU has highest priority, it will not be much affected by the CPU and also the CPU will fold at almost full speed. If they are set at the same priority then the CPU will interfere slightly the with GPU progress.

Caveat:

Folding causes CPUs and GPUs to work hard, therefore the the temperatures rise. Make sure any dust in the case and fan areas is cleared out. Canned air is good for this purpose. Observe the computer for a while to see if it is handling the increased load. A computer may have a weak subsystem (power supply, memory, or various other components that may fail under increased loads).

Edited by dnamechanic, 07 January 2009 - 01:40 AM.


#12 ksbalaji

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 07:34 PM

I have always wanted to experiment with linux but just a little timid.
-----edited----

www.ubuntu.com
Checkout ubuntu, it's the most popular Linux OS (last time I checked) and probably one of the most user-friendly.
-----edited--------
I do dual boot Ubuntu and XP. Try it.


I am a regular Ubuntu 8.04 user. I installed FAH recently. I use only GUIs for my operations instead of scripts in terminals. Hence I find it clumsy to start FAH by navigating to FAH folder using nautilus and clicking fah6. I also do not know how to properly stop FAH. Each time FAHlog.txt reports that the previous shut down was not proper, which I understand to mean some loss of precious work. While configuring, I had opted for big chunks of work and now I am unable to monitor it. I shall be thankful if you let me know of any Ubuntu (or linux) GUI FAH monitor which also allows starting and stopping of FAH.

#13 dnamechanic

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 02:16 AM

...I use only GUIs for my operations instead of scripts in terminals. Hence I find it clumsy to start FAH by navigating to FAH folder using nautilus and clicking fah6.

Ksbalaji, thanks for your enthusiastic efforts.

It appears that the only Linux client available is the "Console" version (command line-interface). Windows users do have the option of a Graphical interface.

Caveat here: Having little experience using a graphical interface for Ubuntu, I cannot say much about such.

It seems likely that you may be able to create an equivalent of a Windows "short-cut" to the FAH folder. With such a short-cut on your Ubuntu desktop it would be only a click to get to the FAH folder.

I also do not know how to properly stop FAH.

Stopping the FAH client with "Control-C" works for both Ubuntu and for Windows XP.

Note for WinXP SMP folders: see below

Each time FAHlog.txt reports that the previous shut down was not proper, which I understand to mean some loss of precious work.

Yes, the Linux client often reports improper shutdown.

For the SMP client, this "improper termination" message can be ignored.

There is a small loss of work since the last checkpoint (probably checkpoint is 15 minutes). Any work since the previous checkpoint occurred (or percent complete) will be lost. If one can be patient and wait until the checkpoint occurs plus about 30 seconds to save it then there is virtually no loss of work.

When folding with the regular client (Windows or Linux), if it gets the improper termination signal, the regular client may disable advanced processing in the CPU (SSE or SSE2) when restarted.

The client may post a message in the log that looks something like this:

"Working with standard loops on this execution."

This causes the work to slow down considerably. This feature is probably meant to protect the work unit from a CPU that may be overloaded and terminates improperly.

If improper termination is seen to be a problem, one could try using the -forceasm flag when starting the client. The -forceasm flag causes the client to always enable advance processing (SSE or SSE2), regardless of how the previous client was stopped.

"Control-C" does not cause "improper termination" in WinXP regular uniprocessor client.

While configuring, I had opted for big chunks of work and now I am unable to monitor it. I shall be thankful if you let me know of any Ubuntu (or Linux) GUI FAH monitor which also allows starting and stopping of FAH.

Probably the best folding monitor is FahMon, described here: Monitoring F@H Performance

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note WinSMP:

If you stop the WinSMP client with "Control-C" the client will likely lose all work on that particular work unit. This is because there are four threads running for the Windows SMP client and Windows "Control-C" does not stop all threads, leaving the other threads hanging. If have "Windows Task Manager" open and are quick, then you can stop the client without loss. Do a normal "Control-C", then quickly end all FAH threads by using the Task Manager.

You might want to practice this on a work unit that has a low percentage completion, in case you need to refine your method.


#14 Ben

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 02:29 AM

oh right

Edited by Ben - Aus, 26 February 2009 - 02:30 AM.





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