GPU folding is here!

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#1
Required downloads and installs.

Download clients
ATI 6.10 Windows XP beta graphics drivers
Windows Directx 9.0C

GPU FAQ and installation instructions

Some of the more noteworthy things included in the FAQ:

One needs to install 6.10 or later Catalysist drivers (currently only in beta)
One needs directX 9.0C or later.
The F@H GPU beta client (5.05) times out in two months. It is expected to be replaced before then.

440PPD for x1900XT is the current standard
only one GPU supported.

I installed it and have already run into some funkyness:

Specificly, it refuses to output to my VGA dongle: It will only output directly to DVI.

The ATI drivers, don't support that Catalyst control center (How I would deal with the above problem).
 

Clocker

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#2
Having trouble getting it to work.

This application has failed to start because d3dx9_30.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem.

I downloaded DX9.0c and have it installed AFAIK. Any ideas?

Thanks,
C
 

Handruin

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#4
How are the beta drivers working so far with your 1900XTX? I'm a little hesitant to install them since my machine is running stable at the moment.
 

Clocker

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#5
I have not played any games or anything but they seem to be working OK.
 
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#6
Stanford has replaced the ATI drivers to be used. They are now requiring v. 6.5 Because 6.10 was creating EUE's for every WU.

This is a beta test. Things like tis happen.
 

Clocker

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#7
Not a big deal.... I was getting EUEs for a little while but a new core was downloaded and seemed to fix it. I have since gone to the 6.5 drivers though. Thanks for the link & the heads-up!
 
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#8
GPU status report

The beta test is progressing and the kinks are being slowly ironed out.

Bad WU's are now being properly reported back and are being pulled, so that they aren't going from person to person.

OC'ing the GPU's seems to be the norm amoung partisipants with roughly a 30% PPD gain.

The biggest problem still remaining is the amount of lag when folding on 256MB GPU's. For many, it is bad enough that they feel that regular operation of the computer is signifigently hindered. So, 512MB cards, are definately warrented on non-dedicated folding machines.

The second problem people dislike is the dedication of one CPU core just to poll the GPU. Any attempt to diminish the CPU usage by %useage or changing priority seems to drasticly diminish the GPU productivity. I'm sure that Stanford is busy trying to fix the lag and dedicated CPU need issues.

Playing games and other such activities, doesn't seem to be a problem. The GPU client either suspends or shuts down. Though I will note that watching TV on my x1900AIW is not a good experiance while GPU folding (There is way too much skipping).

You can't run the GPU client as a service.

Stanford upped the point values of the WU's to 330 points each giving aprox 250PPD-800PPD depending upon the GPU. The point values are actively being discussed with more changes in the points system likely before releasing the client from beta.

With a little effort getting the drivers to work, x1600's;x1650's, X1900 AIW; x1950 Pro's; X1900 GT; x1900XT, X1950XTX are all now successfully folding.

Stanford has released multi-GPU drivers/cores. These work with just 1 dedicated CPU with multiple GPU's (but not in cross-fire mode.) So you can get multiple GPU's and install them on an SLI MB and fold on them all.

It appears that with the x1950's ATI has Semi-offically released the 6.10 Catalyst drivers (They come on the CD) and they work fine for folding.
 
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#11
Is it my immagination or are Clocker and I the only ones using the GPU client on our team? He's the only one that appears to be getting 330 point WU's that are currently characteristic of the GPU WU's.
 
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#13
I haven't started yet. :( I'm being a wimp...I don't want to fry my card.
According to an ATI product manager -- There is no risk of that. The GPU's are designed to deal with 90 degrees C and the fan's are designed for continious opperation (at least for the cards made by ATI). However, one does have to take it with at least a grain of salt: When will an ATI product manager going to confess that folding will destroy the card ...

If you don't OC the card, folding hardly seems to stress the card because it runs in 2D mode: the GPU runs at 1.2V. The cards are designed to run at 1.4V whenever playing a 3D game which signifigently increases the heat the GPU emits and thereby the stress on the card.

I personally, am OC'ing mine: I have two.

The 256MB HIS x1900GT I run at 650/850 @1.3V which runs at aprox 61C and the fans run at aprox 60% of max. This produces aprox 475PPD. When doing nothing at defualt clocks 500/600 @1.2V the GPU runs at aprox 40C and the fan runs at 50%. I deliberately set the fan speeds for 65C @100% and then each 1C drop in temp, decreases the fan speed 10% using the ATI tray tool.

The 256 MB AIW x1900 runs at 650/520 @1.325V which runs at 70C-72C at 60-70% fan speed. This produces aprox 525PPD. When doing nothing at default clocks 500/477 @ 1.2 volts the card runs a cool 45C and again the fan runs at 50%. Here I set my max temp at 75C@100% and each 1C drop decreases the fan speed 10%.

This should give you a concept of how folding acts on the cards. I am specificly designing the OC'ing to not over-heat and to not over-work the fans.

The only time I really had an issue with the card was when I placed the AIW in a Dell P4 case that had no case fans and the CPU fan was heat-piped directly to a shrouded case fan. The net result was there was no way for the interior heat to leave the case. After experimenting and finding out that the GPU was exceeding 90C and the interior case temp was exceeding 65C with the card fan at 100%: I started seriously worring both for the card and the CPU: Neither can effectively cool with an interior temp that high.

I then swapped out the AIW for the HIS x1900GT with its two slot design that directly ducted the cards heat outside. The temps given above for the GT are in the same case that the AIW had serious problems with.

Hopefully, the above can give you some hard data to work with and reassure you that you are unlikely to fry your video card, if you spend some time deciding a temp limit and ensuring that the fan speeds enforce your limit.
 

Clocker

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#14
I run default clocks and have ATi Tool maintain 70C. It's very quiet & I have had no issues.
 
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#18
Can't afford a new video card :(
Don't worry about that: folding is really optional. I wouldn't be buying a new card anyway, untill the new RD600 come out late January. These should be directly competing with Nvidia's new 8800 series. From history, when a new series comes out, I rather expect a 100% increase in graphics speed at the same, or slightly higher, price as the old top-of-the-line cards. Of course, when that happens, the old cards get heavily discounted. That should make the x1900 series much more affordable.

with that in mind, there is the x1600/x1650 series that will run currently and those are definately in the affordable range. Of course, they only produce around 250PPD and to get a net PPD, you have to eliminate a CPU folding. The real joy here is being able to use AGP and a HT P4.

With Hyper Threading, you can use the simulated CPU to monitor the GPU and it really has no good effect on normal folding so you can get CPU + GPU. The result is you can take an old machine that is a relatively poor folding performer and add an AGP x1650 or an AGP x1950 Pro(Supposedly will be released shortly) and change it to a spectacular folding machine.

Even without HT'ing, with the advent of these AGP folding graphics cards, the folding potential for an old machine has high potential. Adding an AGP x1950 pro to a P3 should work just fine and produce in the 500PPD range and 250PPD for an X1600/X1650 ...
 

LiamC

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#19
Don't worry about that: folding is really optional. I wouldn't be buying a new card anyway, untill the new RD600 come out late January. These should be directly competing with Nvidia's new 8800 series. From history, when a new series comes out, I rather expect a 100% increase in graphics speed at the same, or slightly higher, price as the old top-of-the-line cards. Of course, when that happens, the old cards get heavily discounted. That should make the x1900 series much more affordable.

with that in mind, there is the x1600/x1650 series that will run currently and those are definately in the affordable range. Of course, they only produce around 250PPD and to get a net PPD, you have to eliminate a CPU folding. The real joy here is being able to use AGP and a HT P4.

With Hyper Threading, you can use the simulated CPU to monitor the GPU and it really has no good effect on normal folding so you can get CPU + GPU. The result is you can take an old machine that is a relatively poor folding performer and add an AGP x1650 or an AGP x1950 Pro(Supposedly will be released shortly) and change it to a spectacular folding machine.

Even without HT'ing, with the advent of these AGP folding graphics cards, the folding potential for an old machine has high potential. Adding an AGP x1950 pro to a P3 should work just fine and produce in the 500PPD range and 250PPD for an X1600/X1650 ...
I doubt it would work in a 3.3V AGP 2X board, or will it?
 

Clocker

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#21
The original GPU client just expired today so, if you have not upgraded yet, you'll need to get the latest and greatest for your GPU folding to work.
 

LiamC

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#22
very Unlikely -- 4x/8x is the ticket. Unfortunately, the 2x AGP standard has really been totally abandoned by virtually everyone because it is incompatible with the 4x/8x cards.
Whoohoo! Just realised that the board I changed over to ASUS P3V4X is AGP 4X. I had switched it off as I didn't seem efficient. I'll look into this.
 

Handruin

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#23
Thanks for the update you guys (regarding the use of the GPU). When I get home, I'll start working with the ATI tool and the GPU client to make use of my video card. Mark, thanks for taking the time to write down all those details they were helpful to read.
 
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#24
Really, the big problem with GPU folding is the Lag that sometimes occurs with 256 MB cards. If I was using the machines on a steady basis, I'd probably only run the GPU folding when I wasn't on the machine and run the CPU client, while I was using the machine.
 
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#25
By the way, the new updated Beta client, now supports X1600, x1800, and the x1900 series cards: including the sub-series like the AIW, or the 1650/1950's. Now people don't have to fudge the .inf files to make their lower-end cards to fold.
 

LiamC

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#26
Some more info that may be relevant re AGP cards. The X1650 seems to work (according to the specs I've seen) as AGP 4X/8X, whilst the only X1950 AGP states 8X only.
 

CougTek

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#27
Note : An X1950 Pro is 3 times faster than an X1600 Pro. 8 minutes per step versus 24. No overclocking involved.

The Catalyst 7.1 released yesterday apparently doesn't work and caused two failed WUs in less than a minute before I stopped it and replaced the Catalyst 7.1 by the 6.11 (last good release for GPU folding). No problem since.

Note #2 : The 450W PSU requirement on the box of the X1950 Pro is mooseshit. An efficient 380W (the one in the NSK4400) is doing just fine right now. The air flow at the rear of the PSU is not even warm.
 
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#31
Oh. I've got lotz of them. Hmmmm, let's see .... Matrox G400, Gforce 4MX ...... are these good ones? Can I play too?

Sure you can play. All you need is the right toy. At the moment, GPU folding is rather limited to ATI x1900, and x1600 series cards.

Still interested?
 

CougTek

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#34
Adding an AGP x1950 pro to a P3 should work just fine and produce in the 500PPD range and 250PPD for an X1600/X1650 ...
In practice, my X1600Pro 256MB AGP (in an Athlon XP 1800+ based system) produces 200ppd. The Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB PCI-E coupled to an X2 3800+ AM2 system produces ~580ppd (I calculated 594ppd if I don't use the system at all). None are overclocked, as previously mentionned.

Too bad those X1950 Pro sells for ~300$ in their AGP version. Even if the Sapphire is a 512MB card, I doubt it will make a noticeable difference between it and a 256MB model as far as Folding@home is concerned. I haven't seen any such card from PowerColor and Visiontek yet and the HIS (both the 256MB and 512MB versions) are way more expensive than the Sapphire.

The best bang for the buck for GPU folding is the Asus EAX1950 Pro 256MB PCI-E. I can get it for less than 200$, but I'm a retailer. Regular customers can get it for 202$ at DirectCanada.com (when it will finally stop being back-ordered). I'm sure NewEgg and ZZZ has it for even less in the United States.

With the new 5.91 beta2 client that supports dual GPU configuration, someone could build a 1180ppd box for ~850U$ :

Athlon 64 3X00+ s939
Asus A8R-MVP with two PCI-E 8X slots
1GB of RAM, because less is laughable
two Asus EAX1950 Pro 256MB PCI-E (I don't know if the GPU client requires one to be a Crossfire Edition, which is 20$ more).
80GB SATA HDD. Or anything else, it really has no importance
optical drive of your liking
Antec NSK6500 with an efficient 430W PSU (best value I've found for a well-ventilated case and a decent PSU).

The A8R-MVP and s939 Athlon 64 are both on the verge of extinction so one should hurry if interested to build the above. An HT-capable P4 paired to something like the MSI (vomit) P965 Platinum (dual PCI-E slots) would be more expensive by ~80$, but would also add one P4 3.XGHz-worth production to the total ppd amount.

And no, the 256MB version of both X1?00 cards I currently use causes the mysterious slowdowns P5-133XL has written about. Both are perfectly usable and gaming (at least the 3D Mark 2006 benchmarks I've run on them just for testing) doesn't seem to be affected.
 

CougTek

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#35
A few notes about my previous post :
  • GPU Folding requires Crossfire to be disabled.
  • Asus EAX1950 Pro PCI-E, both the regular and the Crossfire edition are available at ZipZoomFly for 189.99U$ (bunch of lucky bastards!).
  • The Crossfire Edition of the Asus card is currently also available for Canucks and Québécois at DirectCanada for 220$CAN.
There was something else too, but my old memory forgot it.

Selling all my computer stuff and then buying three boxes with the above configuration would propel myself in front of P5-133XL as the team top folder. Temporarily of course, because he has more cash than I have and would ultimately outrun me anyway.
 
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#36
Selling all my computer stuff and then buying three boxes with the above configuration would propel myself in front of P5-133XL as the team top folder. Temporarily of course, because he has more cash than I have and would ultimately outrun me anyway.
Welcome to GPU folding Coug.

I assure you that I don't have any immediate plans to upgrade any further. While, I could add GPU's to all my machines, it makes no business sense and other than folding, I can't imagine a personal need. Matter of fact, as summer rolls around, I'll probably shut down some 24x7 machines because it outright gets too uncomfortable having all these heaters running when the outside temps get over 80f.

I'm not bothered, if you or anyone else, starts producing more than I. During the first two years, I was consistantly the 9th producer. Even, when I started heavily producing points there were times when others would exceed my production. The real difference was that their production died out and I stayed the course. I encourage you to go for it: It's all for the betterment of mankind.

I'm not really worried: Even if you trippled my daily total, it would still take over a year to get into first place ...

As a side issue, if you are going to add more GPU's, may I suggest that you wait to see what the R600 series does. If for no other reason, than between Feb-April the costs of the x1900 series should signifigently drop as they are supplanted by the new higher performaning ATI video cards.

Next, if you are interested in dual GPU's then you need a much beefier power supply. 430W will come up a bit short when two x1950 can use 240W-260W on their own (all on the 12v rail).

As far as anyone can tell, the 256MB lag problem seems to be limited to just x1900GT, AIW x1900, x1900XT series (the R580 chip). It's not showing up in the x1950 or the x1600/1650 series.

Now if we can just get Clocker to reinstall 6.11 and restart GPU folding and then theres Handruin ....
 

CougTek

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#37
Next, if you are interested in dual GPU's then you need a much beefier power supply. 430W will come up a bit short when two x1950 can use 240W-260W on their own (all on the 12v rail).
Two X1950XTX in Crossfire on a 430W PSU might be a problem, but not two X1950 Pro. An X1950 Pro under load consumes almost 50W less than an X1950XTX. Not only because its memory operates at lower frequency and the GPU has less pipelines, but also because the RV570 is made on an 80nm process instead of a 90nm process like the R580.

According to the following arcticle at Wonderboy's land, a fairly powerful system (X6800 Core2 Duo) with two X1950XTX in Crossfire eat between 350W and 378W under load when running today's most demanding games. So withdraw maybe 80W to that amount if you replace both X1950XTX with X1950 Pro and I'm pretty sure a good quality 430W PSU will be able to feed that configuration without a hiccup.
 

CougTek

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#38
I've already determined that a X1600 Pro gives roughly 220ppd and a X1950Pro yields ~580ppd.

I'll soon know how much ppd a X1950XT 256MB gives :) . I hope it is at least 25% faster than a X1950 Pro.
 

CougTek

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#39
It is slower, WTF!?! 9m40s per frame versus 8m for a X1950 Pro. Its RAM run 400MHz faster, its core is 45MHz faster, it has 12 pixel shaders and 2 vertex shaders more than the Pro. Yet, despite all this, it is slower at crunching FAH units.

Will I get a credit for that, since it cost some 60$ more than a Pro? Calice.
 
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#40
I'm surprised that it was slower. The fast one is the 512MB X1900XTX. I'm waiting, with antisipation, to see what the 2800 Series does.

At the moment, I'm being disappointed with my current Linux SMP because the current WU's are all getting around 560PPD and I can do better with my AIW x1900.

I think, I will switch one machine to the MAC OS, just to see what PPD, I can get there.
 
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