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diskless folding

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warp1

Registered
Joined
Oct 2, 2003
Location
Kingsland, GA
All right, ready to startup a diskless folding farm. Hoping to get a quick question answered without wasting hours on research. All farms I've seen so far have been Linux driven, is it easily possible with windows?

The reason I ask is I'm lucky enough to have several copies of windows 2000pro, 9 or 10 actually. Can this be done or would I need some server version of Windows. I'm not afraid to learn Linux (already have the ebooks) but heard you take a percentage hit in folding output (actual percentage doesn't really matter) and would probably meen some extra work over windows.

Let me know what you think, thanks
 

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
I believe you need to run terminal services which is probably only available in windows server versions. I've never seen anyone do diskless for folding using Windows.

This guide will probably help you out a lot for setting it up in Linux.

As for Linux being slower at folding, I've really only noticed it once in awhile when Stanford runs out of gromacs WU's (for Linux) for a few days. The sudden drop in production when folding 400 frame tinkers for a week is noticeable. But usually the Pande team whips up another batch of gromacs for Linux clients pretty quick. You could always set it up to run folding in wine instead of using the linux client...

Just so you know, you can't get Nforce2 boards to PXE-boot with Linux LTSP. Nvidia won't give up the Mac info to Linux developers to use because its proprietary.

For the closest you can get to diskless on Nforce2 boards, try using a standalone bootable CD like Overclockix. I can make custom versions and ship them out for a very small price if you'd prefer to have your own CD that uses your folding username by default.
 
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warp1

Registered
Joined
Oct 2, 2003
Location
Kingsland, GA
MUCH appreciated. Just about ordered the wrong moboards:)
Guess I'll switch to VIA. Time to start cracking the books then. I'll look into overclockix once I get a better feel for what I'm doing. Thanks also for the info on speed, didn't know gromacs were just as fast.
 

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
They are, every now and then, a tiny bit faster. ;) But tinker WU's on Linux are slower than tinker WU's on Windows by about 15%.

And certainly your uptime is almost always better on linux.

Its a lot to learn, but turmelle's guide makes it much simpler.

As far as motherboards go, you should go as cheap as you can with onboard video and lan. Even if the board uses sdram, that won't slow it down for folding significantly. If you can find a nice board for $35-50 that fits the criteria, you can make up for lack of overclocking options by being able to afford an extra layer (compared to having bought more pricey motherboards and ram and PSU's and cooling devices to allow for overclocking).

Just spend a little more on CPU's and get 2400+'s or maybe 1.8Ghz durons. If you don't mind modifying the CPU's, you can do socket wire mods, or connect bridges with defogger paint in order to get extra vcore or change to a higher multplyer.

The best PSU value PSU for the job is any made by Sparkle/Fortran. Their 300w is plenty powerful.
 

jbyram2

Registered
Joined
Jul 9, 2003
There was a guy who had a floppy-booting diskless win98 setup running SETI. I had tried it, but couldn't get folding to run diskless in 64MB with windows with no hard drive (which was my goal), so I stopped and went Linux.

Link to diskless windows setup

I was able to get Win95 to boot a compressed floppy drive, despite what he says about only win98 would do that. Maybe something similar would work for win 2000, since you already have enough licenses to go around.