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Machine setup for folding

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Seal

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2002
Location
London
Hi all, i've just decided to join the folding team as i'm done with seti for now (cos it broke on me).

Anyways, i've just got it running (text client) with em3 thanks to someone on the irc helping me. I was wandering what kind of overclocked setup would work the best for folding, i understand for seti it was memory bandwidth so the higher the fsb the better. How bout for folding? Would it benefit from a high fsb or would it be better for a higher clock speed?

Also, i heared that P4's are quicker for seti because of their quick mem, how bout for folding?

Also any tips for me as im new?

Thanks
Seal
 

RoadWarrior

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Location
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
There are two "cores", seperate mathematical engines for different protein projects in use at present, the client downloads the one it needs automatically. They are known as the tinker core and the gromacs core. With tinker core projects, the Athlon XP is undisputed king, and clockspeed is the most important factor. You will find many people with farms using XP1600s or morgan core Durons with SDRAM boards. However, with the Gromacs units, with a commandline parameter -advmethods the P4s (and P3s compared to same clockspeed Athlons) are faster because of higher clockspeeds and better SSE instruction units. However, that said, XPs are no real slouch on gromacs, P4s just edge them out.

I guesstimate that about 30% of the work is gromacs overall, tinker units being more common. There are times when you can keep the gromacs units running 24/7 but then they run out and it's back to tinker. I do not know if there will be more emphasis on gromacs or tinker in the future.

So what's performance like? I'll guesstimate that on tinker units, an XP Mhz is worth nearly 2 P4 Mhz, well a closer guess is about 1.7 I think. So to outfold an XP1600 (1400Mhz) on tinker you'd need a P4 2.4. I think on gromacs the XPs perform just about level with thier clockspeeds or slightly under their XP ratings, so an XP1900 would match a P4 1.6, the only reason P4s are particularly better really being that you can get ridiculously high clockspeeds with them. So on average, if the distribution of Gromacs units stays about the same, your main rig at default speed would probably outproduce a P4 2.2 by 40%. If the work went to being all gromacs, clock for clock I think it would be about even.

However, even if it came about that everything was all gromacs, the price/performance advantage is definitely in the XPs court. Since you could use 2 lower priced XPs in a dual to get a better overall Mhz than a single top of the line P4 for the same price in motherboards and CPUs. (P4+board=2XP+dual board)

Basically, XPs rock for folding, but we'll take anything you've got :D

Also, in general, clockspeed is king, but gromacs shows up unstable oc's, memory bandwidth isn't all that important, but does show a minor difference, latency seems to make a measurable difference on my systems but YMMV, so CAS2=good, so run lower mem speed with better timings. It's probably latency issues with the P4 architecture than slow it down.

regards,

Road Warrior
 

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
Folding

Welcome to the Fold!!

1. A P4 can't touch an XP on the Tinker core. Not even one at 3 Ghz. With the Gromacs core and SSE, a highly clocked P4 edges out the XP. Gromacs is less tolerant with an unstable overclock. It will disable SSE and slow down a whole lot if there is any instability. Fast memory timings and lots of bandwidth help.

2. To run the gromacs core, make a shortcut to the folding client. Right-click it and choose properties. You'll see a target line which contains the directory path to the client in quotes. At the end of that target line, you'll need to add a couple of command flags. Right after the end quotation, add one space and then -advmethods After that add another space and -forceasm Then you just need to restart the client with the new shortcut you made... you can even drop it in your start-up folder so it runs at start up. As soon as your current WU finishes, it will try to get a gromacs WU.

These two flags will tell the client to use the gromacs core and contact the gromacs server when trying to get new work. There may not be any gromacs WU's available as they're still pretty new and demand is high. The client will eventually pick up a Tinker WU if that is the case. Forceasm will force the client to turn SSE back on if it has disabled SSE instructions due to instability. This will take effect you shut the client down and restart it.
 
OP
Seal

Seal

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2002
Location
London
Cool, i think ill just crunch the normal units they send me. What would be more suited for folding.

166MHz bus with agressive timings, or
185MHz bus with normal timings.

both consider the total clock speeds to add up to the same - (around 1920MHz ish in my case.)

Oh yeah, and im doing protein 392 P206 and i get average time per frame around 6mins, is that good?

Also is there a log file with all my times on?

Thanks
Seal
 

nikhsub1

Unoriginal Macho Moderator
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Location
Los Angeles
seal said:
Cool, i think ill just crunch the normal units they send me. What would be more suited for folding.

166MHz bus with agressive timings, or
185MHz bus with normal timings.

both consider the total clock speeds to add up to the same - (around 1920MHz ish in my case.)

Oh yeah, and im doing protein 392 P206 and i get average time per frame around 6mins, is that good?

Also is there a log file with all my times on?

Thanks
Seal
On the tinker core, normal core as you cal it, (core_65) it makes no difference as to what the FSB to multi ratio is, all that matters is clock speed. So, 166 x 12 will fold as fast as 199 x 10. On the gromacs core, the higher FSB would give you an edge.
 

new_novice

Member
Joined
May 1, 2002
Location
san jose, CA
seal said:
Cool, i think ill just crunch the normal units they send me. What would be more suited for folding.

166MHz bus with agressive timings, or
185MHz bus with normal timings.

both consider the total clock speeds to add up to the same - (around 1920MHz ish in my case.)

Oh yeah, and im doing protein 392 P206 and i get average time per frame around 6mins, is that good?

Also is there a log file with all my times on?

Thanks
Seal

and you can look at the FAH log for your time.
 
OP
Seal

Seal

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2002
Location
London
Yay! done me first unit! woot! I got the stats off em3, someone tell me if this is good: P206 with 392 atoms, time per frame 6:20, total time 8hrs 20mins.

(username Seal)

im already excited to reach my first milestone which for me i'll set as rank 1000.