Speed Up Your SETI@home Times

NOTE: Proze is part of the Overclockers SETI Team and we noticed his times were very good; what follows is how he does it.

Okay, this isn’t going to be a long one. I’d just like to let everyone in on a little SETI secret that many people don’t seem to know about. So if you have a killer system running the Windows Version 2 client of SETI@home, and your work unit times seem way too high, then have a read:

To cut quite a long story short, I’d heard a lot about SETI and wanted to run SETI@home as a 24/7 stability tester for my new Duron 600@1102. So I, like many of you, followed the instructions on the SETI@home website and downloaded and installed the Windows Client, Version 2.

My first work unit, on a GHz CPU with 128MB RAM, took over 8.5 hours!

From what I’d read, and looking at the average times on the homepage, I was really quite disappointed. So I read more, searched around and had the answer provided by a nice man called JC:

Run the NT Client Version 3

I uninstalled the painfully slow Windows version, downloaded and installed the command-line, text only version for Windows NT. If you’re DOS-phobic, then you won’t like it at first glance; but believe me – it really is painless and very easy to operate. Follow these steps to get up and running:

  1. Uninstall your current version of SETI@home. Do this just after you’ve finished your current work unit (WU) or you’ll lose it.
  2. Create a new directory on your HDD and place the downloaded file (setiathome-3.0.i386… etc, etc) in it.
  3. Run the file and follow the on screen instructions.

Easy as that. The executable you run (setiathome-3.0.i386… etc, etc) has a number of command-line switches to stop it before or after it uploads the current WU’s results or to run in verbose mode, etc, etc. These can be seen by using the “/?” switch with the executable.

My WU times went from 8.5 hours to 4.5 hours with this change, so it very well might do the same for you.

A catch for some might be the lack of fancy “% Completed” or “Time Taken” displays with the command-line version. While these aren’t really necessary (I mean, the WU will be done when it’s done, and no amount of checking is going to speed it up) it is nice to see what’s going on, so I suggest you download a cool little program called SETI Spy to go with your new, sleek, WU crunching client.

You can get it HERE, and it will provide a lot of useful information about SETI@home on your machine.

For those of you who might be interested, have a look at HERE for a program that will enable you to queue both WU downloads and uploads with SETI@home.

I hope this helps a few frustrated SETI Windows Client users, and good luck with your WU crunching.


OK Guys – we can overclock our CPUs, now let’s overclock SETI!

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