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power eficient folding rig?

Discussion in 'Folding@Home' started by Fitseries3, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    i have noticed that alot of people are folding on machines that are terrible about draining your wallet of money.

    i was wondering if there was a way to rectify this ordeal.

    from what we all know....

    cpu's fold like crap compared to GPU's so why even fold on them if its just sucking power from the wall? im sure some of you will argue.... go ahead... i'd like to disscuss it.

    but my real point is why not make folding rigs power efficient?

    here's more in depth...


    i know you need a fair amount of ram. thats a given. so say 4gb's.... that should do?

    for cpu why not use low power chips like celerons or 45nm core 2 duo's? i know amd has some decent low power cpu's as well and they also have some mobo's with 3 - 4 pcie slots.

    so you get your low power cpu and mobo with 4 slots and use a 2.5" laptop hard drive to save more power. if one isnt fast enough raid 2 or 3 and it would be less or around what a desktop drive runs.

    use dvd drive ONLY to install the OS and drivers and whatnot. im sure alot of your dedicated folding rigs dont have dvd drives.

    get a good quality high efficiency psu. you need something thats going to turn as much as that power into power and less heat. depending on your gpu's you may have to get a hefty one but thats all in what you have.

    GPU's....

    oh boy, im sure we could talk about this all day. I, for one, think that the gtx260's are good at power efficiency and are great folding cards. the price isnt half bad either. i've seen them around $175 recently and they can do around 8500ppd(from what ive seen). they also dont give off a whole lot of heat(mine doesnt) and you could always get some water going on them:D.

    crap idea? what are your thoughts?

    EDIT:

    what im trying to convey here is my i7 920 even at stock draws a ton of power from the wall. its not really doing much good at all. a simple c2d or amd cpu thats low power would be plenty to keep a gpu folding rig going while drawing little to no power at all compared to the i7.

    use POWERFUL gpu's... but efficient ones... for folding. EXAMPLE: gtx2XX cards as well as g92/g94 core cards dont give of a ton of heat or draw a ton of power compared to 4k series ati cards.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2009
  2. wolf

    wolf Performance Enthusiast

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    how about 3-4 9600GT green edition cards. PPD wont be earth shattering but i bet you could get a very very low power system with those babies in it.

    a really low power c2d, maybe a E1200 or something, down clock it further. there's a sweet yet not too hungry system for folding.
  3. Binge

    Binge Overclocking Surrealism

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    The cheapest solution would have to be a Phenom II. At stock it would also be the most power efficient. I'm not sure what kind of mobos are out there, but you would also save some money on cooling because the CPU would virtually require little to no after market cooling. My thinking on the quad is for plenty of headroom to run lots of apps and the memory bandwidth is superior to a 775 setup. That's good for handling lots of video cards, right?

    GTX260s are a win for sure :) The cost is amazing for what they deliver.
  4. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    im not talking a low budget build... just low/decent power and efficient.

    efficiency is the key word here.

    spend the money now to not have a super high electric bill every month.

    i want to fold all day every day but my i7 sucks the money out of my wallet into the wall socket faster than i can make it.
  5. LittleLizard

    LittleLizard New Member

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    athlon x2 45 w 5050e, a 4670, a gigabyte mobo with DES. it doesnt almost drain and has good power
  6. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    i really think the system should have the highest power and most effcient gpu that doesnt cost too much. i know alot of people cannot afford 4 gtx260's but it could be something you afford over time.

    yes the g92/g94 cards fold well too. they are good as well in the efficiency department as well as the cost department.

    i dont know alot about the ati cards yet as i am still kinda new to folding. what kinda numbers do they have?

    4850's and 4870's are HOT running cards and drain alot of power so i dont consider them to fall within what im talking about here in this thread.
  7. BUCK NASTY

    BUCK NASTY F@H Mod & 4P Enthusiust Staff Member

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    My quad rigs are AMD x2 4850E with the 8800GS's for about 16K PPD. They currently pull 390 to 420 watts each from 80+ PSU's. This is about as efficient as I can be with out tossin $$$ towards new hardware. I'll just use this platform and save the hardware money for my $230.00+ Elec Bill for folding($359.00 total for house).
    Fitseries3 says thanks.
    Crunching for Team TPU More than 25k PPD
  8. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    Ok, I'll bite. CPUs are slower than GPUs at folding, however I believe they have about the same PPD per Watt roughly. My x3370 at stock gets about 3200PPD, my overclocked 9600GSO gets about the same 3200PPD, obviously depending on WU.

    Now the x3370 pulls, at max 95w according to Intel, and I would guess the 9600GSO is pretty close to that number as well. We know the 9600GSO uses at least 75w, and I would guess the x3370 doesn't come close to that 95w. My guess would be that both are around the 85w mark, and both yeild the same PPD.

    Yes, the CPU WUs take longer to complete, but they are doing more work than the GPUs, and the WUs are worth a lot more points.
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    Crunching for Team TPU More than 25k PPD
  9. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    which puts out more heat though?
  10. mmaakk

    mmaakk

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    I did post something about this @ "TPU's F@H Team", and yes, CPU folding makes a BIG difference!

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  11. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    I don't know, usually if the power draw is about the same, then the heat output would be about the same.

    At stock, my x3370 hits 45C under load, my 9600GSO it usually around 70C under load. Of course, my x3370 is under a TRUE, and the 9600GSO has the eVGA dual slot cooler on it. So it isn't surprising that the 9600GSO gets hotter, but that doesn't mean it is generating more heat, it just means the heatsink isn't as efficient at removing it.
    Crunching for Team TPU More than 25k PPD
  12. CyberDruid

    CyberDruid New Member

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    I agree that CPUs are better for Crunching (BOINC) than Folding, The beauty is you can do both at the same time.

    My experience is that even a low powered CPU like the E4500 I have in the Blitz is plenty to do the job. I reccomend using 8800GT cards or 9800GX2 cards depending on how much money you've got. They are the most PPD/$

    Just to dispell any myths you can fold on 4X fine you do not need much PCIe bandwidth to Fold.

    Also Memory usage is far from intensive with Folding. I've got 2GB in my Blitz and it uses about 1.7 to run BOINC and to Fold at the same time in Vista 64 Ultimate.

    Don't even bother buying an ATI card to Fold..it's a total waste of electricity.

    A super cheap way to get setup is to find an E2180 or some other cheap CPU (even a Pentium or AMD) and an inexpensive motherboard with as many slots as you intend to fill. Board does not need to support overclocking even...it could be mATX.

    A P35 is going to fold just as fast (GPU) as an X48.
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  13. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    i was thinking 4 gtx295's on a 4 slot amd board with a sempron or low powered athlon(or whatever they are called these days).

    i could fold on 8 gpu's no problem in xp64 with 4 - 8gb's of ram.

    that would be awesome!!! :D
  14. Error 404

    Error 404 New Member

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    I saw a chart on a website somewhere, and it appears that the GTX 295 is the BEST card for PPD/watt, so it is a very efficiant card. It may cost a lot, but as Fits said cost doesn't necessarily come into the equation.
    As for CPUs, a Phenom II x3 or x4 would be a great folding CPU, as it only needs to feed the graphics cards and could run BOINC or SMP.
    DDR3 RAM uses less power than DDR2 (1.5 volts vs 1.8 volts), 2.5" laptop drives are all thats needed to run a F@H PC, an 85% efficiancy PSU or even a 90%+ would be great as well.
    G94 isn't that good of a GPU, my 9600 GT has a TDP of ~90 watts and it gets about 2.4k PPD on average, with shaders running at 1925 MHz.
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  15. hat

    hat Maximum Overclocker

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    My ideal power efficent folding rig would be this:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106287
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147073
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136075
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128383
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127420
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139008
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227124
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103255

    Grand total: $411.01 (that's shipped). 80%+ efficency certified power supply, energy efficent 45w processor... hell it's even a pretty good gaming rig. I wouldn't build a rig just to sit and crunch F@H, unless I had an overabundance of wealth than sure I'd have a GTX295 farm. They would still have energy efficent processors and power supplies though. I wouldn't crunch the CPU program, just not worth it.

    I run F@H because it is free for me to do so (appartment with utilities included = "free" electricity") and it doesn't cause me any trouble. I have one rig and one rig only, and I wouldn't build any rigs just for F@H unless as said before I was incredibly wealthy.
  16. BUCK NASTY

    BUCK NASTY F@H Mod & 4P Enthusiust Staff Member

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    I would go with a low watt dual core. I know you can put 4 GPU clients on a core, but 8 might be pushing it. It may work on a single core, but the clients may crowd each other and diminish PPD. Dual core would allow 4 per core, which we know is not a problem. You do not need alot of ram for GPU folding. I run my Quads rigs with a single 1gig sticks and even CPU fold on them as well. On the higher end SMP rigs(Q6600), more ram does = more PPD.
    Crunching for Team TPU More than 25k PPD
  17. Jizzler

    Jizzler

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    - Use 220/240v whenever possible. Can gain an efficiency percentage point or two over 110/120v. Use 80 Plus, Bronze, Silver, Gold PSU's, whatever your budget allows.

    - Like ya said, no optical needed.

    - 2.5" HD's are probably the win as you'll be paying more for an SSD or CF card with adapter. Here's to hoping that Newegg needs to dump their inventory of low capacity SSD's :)

    - Minimize fans needed. If you have some trashy cases just laying around, maybe cut them up and stand them on their front. I have shelving like this, but you can elevate the cases by any means. Perhaps I'd go totally fanless with the systems, but have a 10" box fan per two machines? Will have to pull out the Kill-A-Watt to measure the draw of my box fan...
  18. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    Wouldn't a high capacity PSU e.g 1000 watt be more efficient even if the system only draws 400 watt compared to a psu with a 500watt rating if you get what I mean. Thats something I've heard and read about.
  19. Jizzler

    Jizzler

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    Yeah, PSU's have a peak efficiency, usually around 50% load.

    80Plus, Bronze, Silver, and Gold all specify a minimum efficiency rating, so if you did have a 500w unit handling 400w, you'd still be fairly efficient.
  20. dna1x

    dna1x New Member

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    Fits, your system hardware seems to be as efficient as it can get given your 85+ psu, 45 & 55 nanometer parts. But if you're really concerned about the electric bill, maybe it's time to consider a downgrade. You also can set a daily wu limit so that your machine has more idle or off time.
  21. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    no no....

    im not worried.

    i started this thread as a discussion about power(electric) efficient folding rigs in general.
  22. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    I'd say get a fanless setup and you'd save a few watts and heat up the room and save a bit on heating. Also no speaker, monitor, mouse and keyboard only when needed would make for a more efficient folding rig. Erm maybe a motherboard with an IGP would save power as well and increase PPD as the display wouldn't be from the gpu's folding.
  23. Error 404

    Error 404 New Member

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    Good idea with the IGP, but for Australia its a very bad idea to run hardware without a fan for cooling! Well, not at the moment, but a few weeks ago it was 45C in the shade!
  24. thebluebumblebee

    thebluebumblebee

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    Good topic, Fits! :toast:

    From what I've read, as my experience is with socket 939 single and dual core Athlon 64's with ATI 3870/4830, Nvidia is the way to go. Here is a good thread on Nvidia cards and PPD/watt and PPD/$

    I believe that electrical usage actually goes up with heat due to increased resistance. Therefore, would it make sense to NOT OC GPU's, or, maybe underclock them?

    It is my personal OPINION that the new GTS250 may be the best PPD/watt/$. I know it's just a reworked 9800 GTX+, but the review I read showed that it was somehow using less juice than the GTX+, even though it had 1GB vs. 512MB. Hey Nvidia, how about a GTS250GX2? :rockout:

    I will second what BUCK said about system RAM. I had a failure with a dual channel set that gave me 1GB, and replaced it with a single channel 512MB and saw no change in performance on a dual core system running a GPU client on one core and a CPU client on the other (XP PRO 32).

    The best place to save may be on the VRAM. The 8800GT with only 256MB is the king of PPD/watt at that link above. I would think that the 8800GS and the 9600GSO with 384MB would be in the same ballpark.

    As for CPU's, I think I remember that the higher cache CPU's do better at Folding, so you could make a good argument for the 95 watt PII 940/Q9650. Will the PPD be worth the extra 30-50 watts? e5200 vs. Q9650. 5050e vs. PII 940. Might make sense on the AMD side, but doesn't seem to on the Intel side.

    The Kill-A-Watt meter is okay, but this meter gives much more info and does not have
    As for PSU's, try to figure out what your expected load is and then get a PSU whose efficiency peaks at that draw, normally between 50-75%.

    The OS may come into play as well. Vista's greater resource demands might pull more power than XP, for instance.

    The Kill-A-Watt meter is nice, but the "Pro" model of the Watts Up? meter can tell you in real time what the cost is of running an electrical appliance and you can import the info to your PC! And Fry's actually has the best price I've seen.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
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    More than 25k PPD
  25. KainXS

    KainXS

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    its actually not easy to find a "good" GS or GSO anymore

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