back to article Reg readers have not one, but TWO teams in Folding@home top 1,000 as virus-bothering network hits 2.4 exa-FLOPS

Give yourselves a pat on the back, ladies and gents – two teams made up of Register readers are in the top 1,000 out of more than 250,000 in the Folding@home distributed computing project for disease research. The network has been used to simulate the folding of proteins implicated in a variety of illnesses for about 20 years …

  1. cornetman Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I found Folding@home a bit too heavy on my machine even on the "low" settings that it seriously got in my way.

    People looking for something a bit more lightweight and less intrusive, there is also Rosetta@home, through the BOINC client.

    Couple of my machines are trundling through some Covid-19 work units for Rosetta right now.

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      I found the opposite

      I stopped Rosetta running because it was incredibly RAM hungry (ca 1GB per core), probably because it seems to run multiple separate processes rather than a single, parallel one like FAH. But even when I had FAH on full throttle on the CPU, not only did it use <1GB in total, it was low enough priority on my system that I barely noticed its resource impact.

      However, if I'm running flat out with anything, I have issues with my (stock) CPU cooler (despite significant undervolting), and I've now set FAH to GPU only. This makes much more sense anyway, as I'm on 400,000–500,000 PPD on my (fairly middling) GPU compared to ~20,000 PPD on the (reasonably respectable) CPU. If you've got a GPU that can passably run games from the last few years, then it's GPU all the way.

    2. bill 27

      Yeah, I've got 4 machines running Rosetta or World Community Grid, I'm almost in the top 1000 for Rosetta, but only 5000 for World Community Grid. Heats the condo nicely though. :-)

    3. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      disable CPU boost

      Mostly a re-post of my earlier comment under the former article:

      For CPU jobs, disallow the CPU frequency boost partially or (better) completely.

      That top end of the clock range is very energy-inefficient compared to the base clock. For my machine (i7-8700K, 6 cores), base freq. 3.7 GHz, boost 4.7 GHz, the difference at full load is "almost silent" versus a rather obnoxious "WOOOOSH!".

      I suspect one can do similar for the GPU, could somebody enlighten us?

      1. UrethralAnts

        Re: disable CPU boost

        You can downclock the GPU if you needed to.

        For new Ryzen machines, if you alter your power profile for Ryzen Balanced to only use 99% of max processor power it will never boost. This stops the jet engine cpu cooler issue with those chips. Just remember to switch it back to Best Performance if you're gaming.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dunno about lightweight and less intrusive, but I can't get the FAH to work on my PC - probably due to firewall settings beyond my control, so I limited to BOINC

    5. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Yeah, I found it too heavy-handed too, so I've moved it into a VM so that I can control the resources available to that and stop it impacting me while I'm working.

      Looks like I've got a *lot* of catching up to do though.

  2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge


    Keep at it, squawkers. Looking at the current productivity of Vulture Central 2.2, the Folding Vultures will soon be leaving 'em for dust. Let's see if we can break the top 500. Gameification makes everything more fun.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Woot!

      Unit 94 is at 78% and counting . . .

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    victim of success

    Couple of things I'd like to add to this excellent article:

    - the (new for me) FAH client, on Win10, is very nicely done. Since it's running on my gaming machine, setting up to "fold only when idle", I absolutely don't feel it when gaming on FPS that can be disturbed by ... anything :)

    - Standford univ. seem to struggle either with their infra or with the pipeline to fill such enormous super. I had maybe 2 WU yesterday, only one GPU and nothing since ...

    Rig :

    - i5-4690K at 4.3 GHz (AIO cooling)

    - GTX 1080ti

    - 16 GB RAM

    Ah yes, I belong to one top20 team :))

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All those desktop PCs in empty, locked down offices................

    1. Nevermind

      Locked down offices

      Yep, although I have my now "furloughed" office computers folding on medium. I bet there's a lot out there that could be running.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      And all those servers idling and being powered off in businesses that boarded up the entrance...

    3. ddeasy

      Locked down offices

      This way the running costs are spread out among all the people donating their processing.

      Surprising how much heat can be generated by a small number of PCs running at 100% load, so it's not just the cost of electricity.

      One of the suggestions I've had from bean counters trying to save money was to turn off one of the redundant air con units in the server room ...

  5. Bluto Nash

    Yeesh. Had a fair number of WUs and points collected under my real name, then joined the team. Nothing transferred. Dammit.

    1. eldel

      Yeah - due to having a lot of cores running when the work was predominantly aimed at CPUs I got up to the lower 10,000s at one point after quite a few years of working. Nowadays a single GPU will outstrip the lot of them. No matter - it all helps.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Nowadays a single GPU will outstrip the lot of them."

        I remember indeed the times when a GPU would totally beat any nb of cores but it seems they've tweaked the scores. Most GPU WU I see only get you 500 points.

        So, GPU don't rule any longer it seems.

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          As far as I know, the scores haven't changed. I'm currently running a GPU unit with a base score of 41,200, and my estimated credit is 153,200 (it'll take about 6 hours altogether). That would be over a weeks' work on all 12 of my CPU cores...

  6. GerryMC

    It's getting into autumn here in Kiwiland, and we've had our first couple of cooler days, so my office (more what would be called a box room in the UK, but a bit larger. Was part of a garage I think) was a bit cool. I have cranked F@H up to max on my personal machine so it pumps warm air over my feet as I work on my employers laptop.

    Nice even temperature, using a fan heater is too much heat, and too noisy.

  7. chivo243 Silver badge

    How did I miss this?

    Must have been super busy with work?? Will fire up a vmware appliance ASAP!!

  8. HippyChippy

    Folding Vultures - 250966

    Sorry I'm late. Sudden PSU failure and weeks of no Internet at my rural lockdown, groan, but all fixed now.

    Toting a yesteryear Phenom II x4 955 with a Radion HD5700 which is great for Kerbin Space Program but... well every little helps : )

    Glad to be onboard.

  9. xjy

    A herd of stampeding vultures - way to go!

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022