• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Folding rigs, what works

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.


May 26, 2010
Allentown, PA
I see parts combinations that run the gammit and some of it is from availability but other things are based on reliability. So my question to the members is, what parts work for "X" type of folding rig.

Single GPU Unit:
PPW / PPW for a given tier of points. What seems to be the best bang for the buck? What are the rock solid parts that can stand up to 24/7 use?

Multi GPU folding rig:
What type of motherboard works best? How many PCIe lanes are needed to keep points up? How many cores are needed to keep folding stable? How important is memory? What cases seem to provide the best room for multiple cards without needing their own parking space? Power supplies and how does rating effect performance?

Folding farms:
Airflow, board designs, power consumption, underclocking, remote clients

I know things change all the time, but learning from the members what limitations they found and tips would be nice. I appreciate the help I've received so far on setting up my GPUs and setting advanced client settings. (I remember these being called flags)
I hope to also contribute as I find limits and what works.
I have setup 2 separate folding rigs:

(1) The Sith: My main PC (built for gaming originally, been folding since December 2015).
- 6 core 5820 K
---- Corsair H110i GTX AIO cooler
- MSI X99S Gaming 7
- 1 GTX 1080 FTW (EVGA) - main GPU - 3x 1920x1080 monitors in surround connected
- 1 GTX 980 SC (EVGA) - 1x 1280x1024 monitor connected ("dashboard" status monitor) - bought used through these forums
- 512 GB Samsung 950 pro (doesn't matter for folding that much)
- 3 TB HDD
- EVGA Super Nova 850 W gold

I only GPU fold on this machine, do not CPU fold (not heat/power efficient). Pulls around 500 W average when folding, peaks to 600 W (from the wall).

Typical processor utilization is about 20% when folding (17% for GPU folding threads, 3% for Windows other stuff)...drawing 80 W of CPU power.

Typically does 1,000 K to 1,200 K PPD.

It's been folding 24/7 since December. No issues.

(2) Little Folder: My "TV Server" PC (runs my SageTV server for my "Whole House DVR")
- 4 core Xeon E3-1230V3
- Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI (bought used through these forums)
- 1 GTX 980 Ti Hybrid (EVGA) - no monitor..."headless" system
- 250 GB Samsung 850 Evo
- 3 TB HDD
- EVGA Super Nova 850 W gold (coming in tomorrow)

I only GPU fold on this machine (and it runs as a SageTV server). Pulls around 350 W average when folding, peaks at 450 W (from the wall).

Typical processor utilization is about 20 % when folding (13% for GPU folding threads, the rest for Windows and SageTV services.)...drawing about 30 W power.

Typically does about 600 K to 650 K PPD.

It's been folding 24/7 Since February. No issues.

If you are going to GPU fold, you must have a dedicated thread per GPU. (i.e. my 5820 K can do 12 threads).

I hope this helps.
For a multi gpu rig you need to make sure that all the x16 slots can run at least PCIe 3.0 x8, any lower and will start to see points drop off. For intel this means either x99 or a lga1150/51 workstation mobo, for lga 1150 the only mobo I found that would do 2 slots at x16 was the Asus Z87 WS or Z97 WS. A decent PSU is a must, you want 80plus gold certification at a minimum although platinum or titanium are better, albeit more expensive. PSU brand is subjective but I've never had a problem with any of my Corsair AX PSU's or my seasonic 400w fanless. OS, the current favourite is the zorin 9 distro of Linux as its free, looks like windows and is fairly easy to get working. CPU wise, go for a quad with HT at a decent clock speed unless you are planning on doing 3/4 GPU's, then I'd look at a hex core or cheap xeon if its compatible with your chosen mobo.

Casewise any big tower with plenty of expansion slots and cooling capacity, another option would be a cheap 4u server rack case with the lid off to help shift the heat.
Just to fill in the gaps from what you asked: RAM doesn't play a big roll in folding. Just make sure that you have enough to keep the OS happy and you'll generally be fine.

I don't CPU fold on any of my quad cores because the cost is too high. Too much heat, too much electric, reduces points on my GPUs, etc. Now on my Hexacore with HT, I fold because it does earn about 10k ppd while still allowing my GPUs to have a full thread each.

My farm setup is probably fairly representative. My "Workstation" rig sits out on an open shelf. I have some cards in the slots and others with ribbon cables. This machine is open air.

My "Fulltower" rig has a really nice case but I keep the side off. My GPUs were too close together so the middle card it connected via ribbon cable then hung with wire so that all cards can reach cool air. This is also true for my "Windows7Folder" rig which is in a standard mid-tower case.