GPU Folding Guide

relic

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This is all about the pixel shaders, you want a lot of them and really fast ones.

Make sure you Fold for Team # 33!!!

Here is a link to the Folding NVidia GPU FAQ

You'll need a CUDA enabled card and the 177.35 or 174.55 drivers.

Here is the ATI Folding FAQ.

for ATI GPUs you'll need
a 2xxx or 3xxx or newer GPU
ATI Driver v8.1+, v8.3 or newer recommended
AGP GPU aperture size in the BIOS must be set to 128 MB or larger
Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0, with updates recommended
Windows operating system, XP or newer
Processor with SSE2 support to feed the GPU

All Video cards: Do not use RDP for remote access, it is incompatable with the GPU2 client. Use VNC or other remote access software.
UltraVNC server software is a free download that works with Vista and is compatable with other VNC softwares.

EDIT: GTX280s may require 100 ohm resistors for the dummy plug. (used for multi-GPU setups) At least one [H] DCer had to switch from 75 to 100 ohm parts to get them to work. YMMV
 

relic

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A quick quide to the nVidia GPU2 single client folding.

The best drivers so far are the 177.35 ones.

Download the client from Stanford.
It gets installed into two places.
The client files go in C:\Program Files (x86)\Folding@home\Folding@home-gpu <- for XP64 OS.
The data files go in "C:\Documents and Settings\<your name>\Application Data\Folding@home-gpu\" <- Again XP64 OS.
The data file is in a hidden folder so use the new shortcut "Folding@home data files - expert only" thats in the start menu to find it.
To monitor the client with either FahMon or FahSpy, you must point the FahMon/Spy at the data folder, not at the client folder.

Overclocking the card.
I use RivaTuner to overclock the card and the scan for artifacts test in ATITools to test for stability and find out how hot the card will run under load.
GPU2 folding relies on shader speed then core speed then finally memory speed.
So thats the order to raise the clocks in.
 

relic

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First each card needs an output for Windoze to see it before you can start to fold on it.
So it needs to be attached to a monitor, kvm switch, VGA dummy plug, etc, etc.
This is a Windoze drivers thing, not a folding client thing.
You need to extend the desktop to the new outputs for the clients to work.

The 177.35 drivers are still the best.

Download the standard GPU2 client from stanford.
Now download the new FahCore_11.exe v1.07 fromhttp://www.stanford.edu/~friedrim/FahCore_11.exe.
Now replace the FahCore_11.exe v1.06 with the FahCore_11.exe v1.07 in the data folder.

Now make a copy of both the client folder and data folder and rename them.
Make a new shortcuts to start them.
In the first shortcuts target line add the -gpu 0 switch, in the second shortcuts target line add the -gpu 1 switch.
Make sure the start in line points to the correct data folder.
Mine would look like .....
Targets .....
C:\Program Files (x86)\Folding@home\Folding@home-gpu -gpu 0
C:\Program Files (x86)\Folding@home\Folding@home-gpu2 -gpu 1
Start in.......
C:\Documents and Settings\Nigel\Application Data\Folding@home-gpu
C:\Documents and Settings\Nigel\Application Data\Folding@home-gpu2
The first GPU2 client starts with a Machine ID of 2.
So the second clients needs to be set at 3 or higher.
Its easiest to use Windoze notepad to edit the client.cfg file if needed but don't add any spaces, etc or it wont work.
 

relic

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Short cut to a proper Over Clocking Progy from evga. So simple even I figured it out and it's pretty:

http://www.evga.com/articles/405.asp

You can unlink the Pixel Shader from the main so this is very tweakable. In my short experience the Pixel shader makes the most difference.

You can also adjust fan speed with this progy, I run at 100% on my 8800 GTS.

Tip, peeking at the graphical screen may (usually?) causes the client to slow down. Looking at the log file seems to have no effect. If you peek, reboot. I have yet to lose a wu with a reboot never touching the client.
 

relic

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I geared this toward new GPU folders. I figured it was better to have too much info than to little.


ATI GPU Folding Tutorial

The ATI GPU folding client is very easy to setup, quite stable, and takes very little maintenance.

The first thing you will need is an ATI GPU and the proper drivers. The ATI HD 2000 and 3000 and now the 4000 series are all supported. You will need the ATI Catalyst Drivers of 8.3 or newer. The newest ATI drivers are version 8.6 and can be found here for both 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows XP and Vista: http://ati.amd.com/support/driver.html. I have not tested the 8.6 drivers but I have been using the 8.4’s for a couple months now with no problems whatsoever.

I would highly recommend using Rivatuner 2.09 to adjust your GPU fans before proceeding any farther. Rivatuner can be found here: http://downloads.guru3d.com/download.php?det=163 Once you install Rivatuner go to the Main tab and click on the Customize arrow. Then select Hardware Monitoring to view your GPU’s clock speeds, utilization, and temps. I try to keep my temps around 60°C when folding although a little higher is probably ok. Next go back to the main Rivatuner window and click the customize arrow and select low level system settings and the select the fan tab. Check the Enable low level fan control box, check the fixed radio button and move the slider bar to a higher fan setting. Usually 60% works well for me personally although it will vary significantly based on you card, case, and other components. After you have selected your fan speed click OK at the bottom of the window and you should hear you fan speed up!

Now that you have your ATI card installed, your drivers installed, and an app to help you keep your GPU cool, let’s get onto installing the GPU client itself. You will want to download the 6.12 beta client from the High Performance folding client page: http://folding.stanford.edu/English/DownloadWinOther. Once you have the client downloaded to your desktop, unzip the zip file and install the msi file. The client is now installed and you can go to Start | All Programs |Folding @ Home-GPU | Folding @ Home to start the client. When the client starts make sure to enter your username and your team number (TEAM 33) and then click OK to start the client. You will notice a new icon in your system tray that will display the status of the client.

Make sure to check back to your Rivatuner window and take a look at your GPU temps. Go back and adjust the fan as necessary.

This method has worked for me on both 32 bit and 64 bit windows machines.

If you wish to add this client to your fahmon point it here: C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Folding@home-gpu.
Good luck fellow folders and if you need any assistance please don’t hesitate to post in the DC sub-forum. We would be happy to help you out! Fold [H]!
 

chrisf6969

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Here's a FAQ question that might need to be answered. Though it may change when they fix/tweak the beta client.
What type of CPU power do you need to keep a GPU like an 8800GT fed.

With Vista only using 15-20% of one core, it seems that any CPU will do even a slow single core celeron or Pentium 4.

But with XP since it maxes out one of my 3.9Ghz e8400 cores, it makes me think that with XP the more power the more PPD ?
 

relic

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relic's VGA dummy plug for dummies:
If you are too cheap to buy a KVM and can't solder to save your soul you can still make your own VGA dummy plug for multi GPU folding for under 5 dollars.

Look for a F-F DB15 "gender changer"
This is a connector with holes on both sides for 15 pins. (also known as DB15 "female to female" or DB15 F-F)

One side plugs onto the pins on your VGA card, the other side need to have 3 x 75-Ohm, 1/4-watt resistors inserted. (very approximately 75 ohm - anything from 50-100 Ohm will do fine and even a paper clip has been reported to work. This isn't rocket science.)

The resistors go between these pins:
1 to 6
2 to 7
3 to 8

If you need a pin-out diagram, see tigerbiten's links above.

Just push the resistors in the holes, separate between resistors with electrical tape and wrap in more tape so the bare wires can't touch any other metal and they can't fall out.

Where to find parts:
Any computer store will carry the DB15 "gender changer", it's used extend monitor cables.
Any electronics store will carry 1/4 watt resistors (any wattage will do but 1/4 watts are smaller). Just buy the closest thing to 75-ohms, and don't be too particular.

maybe $5 in parts if you avoid overpriced radioshack. No soldering required.
 

mentok1982

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Is it easy to pause or turn folding off when I want to play a game?

I have a GTX 280 with a nice OC guys. Be nice and I'll join you.
 

Tigerbiten

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Is it easy to pause or turn folding off when I want to play a game ?

Just click on the tray icon and select either "Pause Work" or "Quit".
When you finish gaming either resume work from the tray icon or restart the client from the shortcut.
Its that easy ......... :cool:

Luck ........... :D
 

collegeboy69us

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Would love to throw my 800GTS into the mix - but with 100F weather here in north texas and spending an ass load to cool my place I will wait till it starts to cool down before i throw my GPU into the hoard.

By that time I should have a nVidia 280 in addition to my 3.0 Core2Quad.

:)
 

danbfree

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Is it true that with the ATI 48X0 series that only 320 shaders (or whatever they are called) out of the 800 available are being used? Simply because they are so new the client hasn't been updated yet? Thanks! BTW, have been folding inconsistently for a few years for team 33. I just got my 4850 and love to crank out some units!
 

relic

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Word has it that the client doesn't benefit from that many shaders yet.
The points seem to bear that out.

In the future, who knows?
This is folding, the only certain is change.
 

oraldlight

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Been tinkering with Folding and have some questions:

So setting affinity for 'FahCore_11.exe' to both cores, dumps the "100% of 1 core" to "50% on both cores". Would have thought it to be slightly higher utilization with both cores available. Is this right?

"Viewing" (displaying progress) seems to hurt speed and renders my PC VERY sluggish with this Cuda/Beta 2. Is there another way to display progress wihtout incuring such high overhead? Just text of pregress/time remaining would suffice.

Two and a quarter hours~ish per unit = par for course with a stock AMD 4800x2 + 8800gtx? Need I fire up the PS3 during this cool weather snap?
 

relic

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Been tinkering with Folding and have some questions:

So setting affinity for 'FahCore_11.exe' to both cores, dumps the "100% of 1 core" to "50% on both cores". Would have thought it to be slightly higher utilization with both cores available. Is this right?

"Viewing" (displaying progress) seems to hurt speed and renders my PC VERY sluggish with this Cuda/Beta 2. Is there another way to display progress wihtout incuring such high overhead? Just text of pregress/time remaining would suffice.

Two and a quarter hours~ish per unit = par for course with a stock AMD 4800x2 + 8800gtx? Need I fire up the PS3 during this cool weather snap?

Monitor your clients with fahmon or fahspy.
...and sure, fire up that PS3. It still does 900PPD. :)
 

[H]ugh_Freak

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Just wondering what everyone is using to monitor the NV GPU usage. Wondering cause I can't get any of NVs stuff to run worth a crap while the GPU2 client is running.
 

Xilikon

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[H]ugh_Freak;1032720884 said:
Just wondering what everyone is using to monitor the NV GPU usage. Wondering cause I can't get any of NVs stuff to run worth a crap while the GPU2 client is running.

There is no known way unfortunately... We already asked Scott LeGrand about that and he doesn't know more than us (which mean there is probably none, since it's the CUDA guru itself who said that).
 

[H]ugh_Freak

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There is no known way unfortunately... We already asked Scott LeGrand about that and he doesn't know more than us (which mean there is probably none, since it's the CUDA guru itself who said that).

Wow.. ok that like sucks..Anyway...

Judging from what I've gotten so far looks like running 8800GTs in a PCIe x8 slot has no real effect. Both cards are producing about 5200 PPD on the newer 480 point WUs (in XP).
 

FLECOM

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is it normal for the machine running the GPU client to be really sluggish (no viewer open or anything like that)

my machine just seems painfully slow whenever the client is running even tho the process is set to idle priority?
 

chrisf6969

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yeah on my work PC with a crappy 8300GS, I had to pause it while I'm working, it made everything pretty slow.

And on my home PC with an 8800GT some things are a little slow, and some things with more graphics are painfully slow. Like I tried playing Peggle Extreme (windowed) and it was too slow to work with the GPU client running.

I don't think its truly only using idle cycles like the normal CPU client.
 

Sunin

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I use riva tuner and the hardware monitor in there gives % usage of the GPU.. is that what you were looking for?
 

[H]ugh_Freak

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I use riva tuner and the hardware monitor in there gives % usage of the GPU.. is that what you were looking for?

Yeah but for some reason that part isn't enabled on either of the cards I have in it.
 

HardOCP News

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I have two 9600GTs in my news / work box (I use three 22" monitors) that is a Core 2 Duo 6550 @ 3.15GHz. I also fold 24/7 with my PS3. I started using the GPU client 2 days ago. I have the beta client installed and the beta CUDA drivers.

Two days ago I was number #689 on the folding team list. I joked with Kyle about hitting #666 that day. I missed the 666 spot....I am currently at #639. That is 50 spots in two days.

My stats are somewhat skewed but they still say 3000ppd so I am not complaining.

There is NO SLOWDOWN whatsoever, maybe because it is using my secondary video card.


Personal goal: Break the top 500 top folders by the end of the month!
 

Sunin

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[H]ugh_Freak;1032723742 said:
Yeah but for some reason that part isn't enabled on either of the cards I have in it.

Hmm maybe your card doesn't have the sensor for the monitoring? I'm not sure but it works on about 4 or 5 of my vid cards. I'll double check with the new 177.35 driver to ensure this hasn't changed.... but I don't hink it has... I'll post shortly...
 

Kendrak

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I have two 9600GTs in my news / work box (I use three 22" monitors) that is a Core 2 Duo 6550 @ 3.15GHz. I also fold 24/7 with my PS3. I started using the GPU client 2 days ago. I have the beta client installed and the beta CUDA drivers.

Two days ago I was number #689 on the folding team list. I joked with Kyle about hitting #666 that day. I missed the 666 spot....I am currently at #639. That is 50 spots in two days.

My stats are somewhat skewed but they still say 3000ppd so I am not complaining.

There is NO SLOWDOWN whatsoever, maybe because it is using my secondary video card.


Personal goal: Break the top 500 top folders by the end of the month!

It get much harder as you climb ;)

 

relic

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I have two 9600GTs in my news / work box (I use three 22" monitors) that is a Core 2 Duo 6550 @ 3.15GHz. I also fold 24/7 with my PS3. I started using the GPU client 2 days ago. I have the beta client installed and the beta CUDA drivers.

Two days ago I was number #689 on the folding team list. I joked with Kyle about hitting #666 that day. I missed the 666 spot....I am currently at #639. That is 50 spots in two days.

My stats are somewhat skewed but they still say 3000ppd so I am not complaining.

There is NO SLOWDOWN whatsoever, maybe because it is using my secondary video card.


Personal goal: Break the top 500 top folders by the end of the month!

Welcome to "addiction level" folding.
Might as well take a seat, you'll be here a while. :D
I'll meet you in the top 10 for a scotch, on me.

Fold on.
 

Kendrak

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Welcome to "addiction level" folding.
Might as well take a seat, you'll be here a while. :D
I'll meet you in the top 10 for a scotch, on me.

Fold on.

Relic, If when I hit top 25 we should meet, you in OH right?

I'll take a crown though, scotch and me don't get along ;)

 

relic

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Relic, If when I hit top 25 we should meet, you in OH right?

I'll take a crown though, scotch and me don't get along ;)

Fair enough.
Yep, Ohio. Drinks are on me.
 

Headpunter

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im still confused on how to set this up, im new to folding have 2 8800gt's in a rig with a 4ghz qx9650, anyone wanna help me out?
 

Sunin

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Well here is what I did.... and it seems to have worked :)

Tiger's guide gave me 80% of what I needed but lost me in a few spots.

I first installed the new 6.12 beta 8 gpu client from

http://www.stanford.edu/group/pandegroup/folding/release/Folding@home-GPU-systray-612b8.msi

Then I downloaded the 1.07 fahcore per tiger's instructions. I copied that to the directory below

C:\Documents and Settings\User Name\Application Data\Folding@home-gpu

Then I copied the directory and renamed it to Folding@home-gpu2

Then I went under programs and did the same thing.

C:\Program Files (x86)\Folding@home\Folding@home-gpu

and copied that and made it

C:\Program Files (x86)\Folding@home\Folding@home-gpu2

Then in each of the program files directories above I found the program "Folding@home" and created a short-cut for each directory.

I copied those to my desktop and opened the properties.

I changed the target by adding -gpu 0 on one and -gpu 1 after the other after the Quotes.

Then I changed the open in line to the appropriate copy

In the end my GPU1 shortcut had

Target: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Folding@home\Folding@home-gpu\Folding@home" -gpu 0
Open in: "C:\Documents and Settings\User Name\Application Data\Folding@home-gpu"

My GPU2 Shortcut had

Target: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Folding@home\Folding@home-gpu\Folding@home" -gpu 1
Open in: "C:\Documents and Settings\User Name\Application Data\Folding@home-gpu2"

Started both up and walla...

I also killed off one of the smp clients. So I am running 1 smp client and 2 GPU clients which are netting the following points:

SMP = 2000 PPD
GPU1 = 4508 PPD
GPU2 = 3907 PPD

Total = 10,400 PPD from one box not too shabby.

I might be able to add a few console clients to net a few extra hundred points, but honestly this is my beta machine so now I'm officially running it how F@H would like :)

Hope that helps!





 

Sunin

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On another note isn't there a new config option to have the gpu client use all cores?


 

Xilikon

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On another note isn't there a new config option to have the gpu client use all cores?



Yes, if you use the latest client, which is beta 8, there is a check box you must check to use all cores. Alternatively, you can use the new environment variable to configure which cores you want the client to use for your GPU.

 

Sunin

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Yes, if you use the latest client, which is beta 8, there is a check box you must check to use all cores. Alternatively, you can use the new environment variable to configure which cores you want the client to use for your GPU.


I hav ethe beta 8, but I don't see the check box in the config. So what is the variable string I need to have it use all 4 cores?

NVM found it:

A new Nvidia core (v1.07) has been posted at http://www.stanford.edu/~friedrim/FahCore_11.exe. Scott has added support for a new environment variable, NV_FAH_CPU_AFFINITY, that allows the user to directly set the processor affinity mask or set it to zero to disable all affinity settings. The CPU affinity is set with individual bits (it's a mask, not a CPU selector):
setting NV_FAH_CPU_AFFINITY to
1 ==> CPU 0
2 ==> CPU 1
3 ==> CPU 0 and 1
4 ==> CPU 2
8 ==> CPU 3
15 ==> CPUs 0-3
etc

Now the only thing I'm struggling with is getting my 2nd GTX to OC... for some odd reason riva tuner is only allowing me to OC the the first GPU... Same thing with Ntune...

Which is resulting in one GTX doing something like 5400 PPD and the 2nd GPU doing 3908PPD... 620/1700/1050 OC I know is stable 24/7 on both cards and I could probably push them further since they are water cooled. Max temps so far 50c :)

I'm going to look into Tiger's evga suggested OC tool today. I'm considering install 64bit vista on this machine anyways since that seems to net more points overall and use less cpu power for the GPUs. Maybe a weekend project!

 

Atheist

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What impact have you noticed on your CPU client(s) when running the GPU version?
 
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