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Helpful ReplyHot!HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get?

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ProDigit
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2019/03/01 02:37:22 (permalink)
My wife told me today, to share online some of the information I've learned about folding and hardware, so that people starting out would get an easier launch into folding, and it would benefit the community as a whole.
I myself have been active on the Folding community since 2008; but have seriously started folding recently, and have passed through a good 10 graphics cards along the way; and thought of sharing some of that info.
 
Aside from folding in the library, or at work, doing CPU folding, or using older hardware that's available to you,
Some people desire for folding more efficiently. Perhaps get more points, perhaps lower the electricity bill?
Whatever the reason, you're in the market for some new hardware, but where to start?
I hope this post will help you!
 
While CPU folding is still done today, it's generally seen as inefficient.
If you'd like to fold, you'll need a (preferably recent, or modern) dedicated graphics card to do the work for you.
Aside from that, folding doesn't use much computer resources.
It is recommended to have at least 1 CPU core available per graphics card you run, and a 2Ghz CPU for mid-tier cards ($50-$350), to 3Ghz for the top tier (currently fastest, $350+) graphics cards; as well as at least 1 available PCIE16x slot, but preferably 2.
Anything from a $50 graphics card, will accelerate folding greatly over most traditional CPUs.
Usually, the more expensive, the better the card is for folding; but also the higher the cost of electricity to run it all.
 
The first thing you need to determine, is "What kind of folding will you want to do?"
  1. Folding occasionally
  2. Folding frequently or continuously 
The occasional folder, will have the least restrictions to worry about, and benefit most, from the cheapest hardware.
Generally speaking AMD makes great cards, that offer quite good performance per dollar, and cost less in initial price, but do use more electricity while folding (as of 03/2019).
Nevertheless, if you still are using your graphics card(s) for other purposes, perhaps it's still good to continue reading!

Similar Nvidia cards are slightly more expensive than AMD, but generally are easier to control, and have lower power consumption.
These cards are more suited for people folding either often, or continuously (or for those who use their cards for long duration for other purposes).
If you are an occasional folder, and are on a budget, I could recommend AMD graphics cards, of the newest generation; though I could certainly also recommend Nvidia if you pay your own electric bill!
As for the rest of the sysem, almost anything goes.
Windows, Linux,... For the person folding occasionally, restrictions of those folding continuously might outweigh the benefits; so buy what you like, and can afford!
 
If you fold for free (don't pay for electricity), you might only be concerned about the cost of the initial purchase.
But for most of us, the main cost of folding is not paying for the hardware, but paying for the extra cost of electricity while folding.
And I think this is the most important factor to factor in, especially for those who fold regularly to continuously!
What is your planned monthly electric bill (yes, what are you willing to PAY for folding, every month)?

If for instance, you are ok with paying $1 per day extra (~$30/month) to folding, you will be looking at a ~300Watt system.
A 300Watt system running 24/7, all year round, costs about $360 a year on electricity in most places.
More, if you're living in warmer areas, and you'll need to run additional AC.
Less if you can deduct that extra heat from whatever is currently heating your home.
If you live in a cold climate, have your PC keep your home warm instead.
If you live in a hot climate, and have a balcony, or some small room with connection to outside, run it there; so the heat will not be introducing extra cooling cost in your home.

If for instance $300 fits in your annual folding budget on electricity, you will want to focus your hardware in that direction.
*Edit: Do know I'm aiming for moderate rigs here. People running multiple (3 or more) graphics cards, like RTX Titans or RTX 2080 Tis, probably have different system needs.*

First start with a power supply. Most power supplies will run most efficient at half their max load, so for 300W you'd be best looking at any 500-650Watt power supply ($52), as long as it has at least a Bronze 80+ certification. Not only does it run most efficiently around 50% load (meaning lower power bill), but it also gives you some headroom, in case you do decide to run a heavier or additional graphics cards later on.

For a case or rack, they sell plenty of good solutions. I myself went with this $35 rack. It keeps the graphics cards cooler, and is more affordable than a case. You will need a power switch ($4,5) with a rack, to turn on or off your system. 
 
For a CPU, I would currently recommend to go with an Intel Core i3 8100 processor, because they're energy efficient, and fast little processors, at a great price! In some cases, you can run the primary monitor from the integrated graphics, while any additional card is used 100% for folding; but some systems require the monitor to be plugged in the primary dedicated graphics card.
 
Pair this with a cheap motherboard with at least 1x PCIE16x slot ($70), or 2x PCIE16x sized slots ($91). 2 is better. A third available PCIE 1x slot is even better!
 
For RAM, DDR4 of any speed ($29) goes, as folding doesn't require fast RAM, nor is there any measurable performance penalty for not running dual channel.

For an operating system, I would recommend a Linux (FREE) of your liking, I myself use Lubuntu, but there are others supported (Ubuntu, Slax, Debian, Redhat, Fedora, CentOs, or more). When they support .deb or .rpm packages, they should be able to run FAH.
Linux is just a tad more efficient than Windows for Folding at the moment (and is free).
Also don't forget to install the latest Graphics drivers.
For any additional support, you can always visit the Folding at home forum, or their main website with instructions.


Graphics cards give the highest efficiency for folding.
If you want to stay around the 300Watt mark, the 'best' option (if initial purchase cost wasn't an issue) would be running a single RTX 2080 ti ($1400), but not everyone has that kind of money to invest in.
I would recommend starting out with a pair of RTX 2060 ($350) cards, and/or add the second card later.
The 2060 is simply the most bang for the buck, as well as scored highest on performance per watt per dollar of all the GTX and RTX cards!
For instance:
- 2x RTX 2060 cards can fold about 2 years long, before they use up the $700 of difference between them and a single RTX 2080 ti card on initial price.
- 2x RTX2060 cards also can out-fold a single 2080 ti card (2 are more powerful than 1).
 
However,
Folding using 2x RTX 2060 cards use about 390Watts on the wall, while a single 2080ti card uses about 300Watts on the wall.
But it would still take about 15 years of folding, before these 2 cards would break even through the cost of electricity!

The one I would recommend below the RTX 2060, would be a pair of GTX 1660 ti ($280) cards, slightly cheaper but also slightly lower in terms of efficiency (PPD/$$$ or PPD/Watt) than the RTX 2060. Still, this card will perform admirably in case your total system power limit is closer to 200W!
Performance per $$$ they're on number 2.
*Edit: Since this card is so new, there has been no PPD rating out yet for this card at the time of it's writing.
However score can be calculated based on GPU speed and cores*

Setting the limit even lower (150W), and I would probably recommend a single RTX 2060, or a GTX 1660 ti (power-capped)
If however, you have slightly more money to spend than the 2060, and more power reserve than 300W, I would recommend the RTX 2080 ($799). Though slightly lower PPD/$$$, this card performs admirably when power-capping this card in PPD/Watt!
Both the 2080 and 2060 together, could easily run on a 500 Watt power supply, especially if you can cap the power (see below) on the cards to the minimum, and max out the PPD per watt (2,5M PPD uncapped), all while staying $300 below a single RTX 2080 ti (2,1M PPD).

There are 3 ways to look at folding with a GPU; and in it, lies the 'secret ingredient' of those who fold:
  1. Folding stock
  2. Folding overclocked
  3. Folding "underclocked"
Rather than running a slower performing card stock, or overclocked; it is often better to run a higher power card "underclocked", or more precisely, 'power-capped'.
And even better, is to run an additional graphics card, also power-capped!
What you're basically doing, is restricting the power to the graphics card (easy in Linux), which will increase folding efficiency.
The theory behind this idea, is that the higher you run GPUs, the more power they need, the higher heat they generate, and the lower their efficiency will be.
Likewise, the lower you cap the power on cards, the less heat will be generated, and the more efficient they will become.

The benefit of power-capping a higher performing card, is that it gives you overall better PPD/Watt than running a slower card at stock or OC speeds; and quite often the capped higher performing card, will still net more PPD than a slower card overclocked.
 
The benefit or running 2 lower powered cards VS 1 higher powered card, is won in higher PPD/$$$, as in some cases 2 lower performing cards are cheaper to buy, than 1 higher powered, more expensive card; all while still attaining the same (or better) PPD.
(like for instance, at below 300Watts, combining 2x RTX 2060 cards is much more economical, and has a higher performance than running 1x RTX 2080 ti).

And third benefit is the resale value. If 2 cards of each $350 will be sold a year later, they will be sold for ~$175 each (~50% of new price); with a loss of $350 (plus any additional shipping (usually $10-20/card, and website listing fees if any).
If the more expensive $1400 card is sold 1 year later at 50% of the new price, it is sold with a loss of $700.
 
For this reason I don't recommend getting the most expensive card on the market, but try to balance which cards you will want to run; to your set goals of power consumption;
And also taking in consideration the electric cost on those cards while power capping them is lower than when running them stock!

Install your fastest card in the primary PCIE slot, and your slower card in the PCIE slot further away from the CPU, leaving any PCIE1x slots and especially those furthest away from the CPU, for the slowest cards.
 
In most cases, most systems would benefit from no more than 3 or 4 cards at a time, as most Intel chips only allow up to 16x PCIE lanes.
Running 3 cards, and the system will allocate 1 card to run at 8x speed, the second at 4x speed, and any additional card only at 1x PCIE bus speed.
In the case of Nvidia cards, 3 cores will be used for feeding 3 graphics card; while 1 core will remain unused, for background tasks.
It will slow your system down, if you'd use 4 cards on a 4 core system.
Also for Nvidia, hyper threading cores don't count as a full core. In other words, a dual core CPU, with hyper threading (4T), might be running at 100% utilization, even when running only 3 graphics cards!
 
For faster systems (RTX 2060 and above), it is recommended to preferably run your cards at PCIE 4x speed the least; and 1080 ti / 2080 cards or higher, at PCIE 8x speeds; to see the best performance; though PCIE 1x speeds do still work quite well on faster cards.

At the time of this writing, RTX 2060 cards are seen as the cheapest, best performing cards.
Running 1x card power capped to 125W, and your system consumption is well below 200W at the wall. 325W for 2x 2060, and 450W for 3x 2060 cards.
 
If you're looking to fold at maximum PPD, the choice of cards is obvious. Get the fastest ones, no power cap on them!
You'll usually be only limited to the socket that provides the power (1500W).
 
And for larger systems limited to whatever the power socket provides, post below makes clear that about 11x 2060 cards is the cheapest way to go (at about 10-11M PPD). 
The only way to get more PPD per watt, is to get higher performing cards (like 2080, or 2070) power capped at 125W; but the initial purchase price will go up tremendously, with each additional card!
 
Hope this post gave some food for thought.
Cheers! 
post edited by ProDigit - 2019/03/06 12:43:45
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Cool GTX
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/01 06:33:46 (permalink)
Moving to the Folding section of the Forums
 
Home » All Forums » [Distributed Computing] » Folding@EVGA

RTX Project EVGA X99 FTWK-5930K@4.8GHz 2xEVGA2080Ti EVGA-1200P2  Nibbler EVGA X99 Classified-5960X@4.5GHz 3-GPU Water Loop 1600P2 
AIO Folding  X99 2x1080Ti FTW3 Hybrid, 1200P
Thank You for Your Support


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Chris21010
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/01 08:36:33 (permalink)
ok... thought i could quickly help as i have a lot of knowledge about the hardware side of things but this is a book of a post. i'll edit or post again after i have time to read through it, currently still at work, and help you out to the best of my abilities.
 
EDIT: oh this is a guide!

EDIT2: ok that looks good to me. the only difference I see in your guide and my experience is that full cores vs threads is not an issue anymore, especially on the newer i3 CPUs. You only need one thread per GPU and leave one open for your OS. So a HT i3 can easily support 3x 1080ti without slowdowns (while running linux). Though with windows if you drop to pcie 4x or lower you will see a massive performance loss. So I would not recommend putting for than 2 GPUs on a windows machine.
post edited by Chris21010 - 2019/03/01 09:27:15


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ProDigit
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/01 11:59:28 (permalink)
The i3 8100 has 4 full cores, no HT. But Hyperthreading might be ok on faster clocked cpus.

To moderator, thanks
I only saw there was a fah forum section after I posted this.
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Chris21010
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/01 12:33:04 (permalink)
oh yea thats right, the newer gen i3 are actually 4 cores now.


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ipkha
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/01 15:42:26 (permalink)
I can attest that Windows is a CPU hog for folding. My 1080ti and 2080ti use a full core/thread consistently at 4.6Ghz.


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Holdolin
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/01 21:32:40 (permalink)
Nice read.  Great for those new(er) to folding 
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ProDigit
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/03 12:09:41 (permalink)

Desktop system

For a dedicated desktop, folding, that won't break the bank at initial cost + running cost, I'd recommend following hardware as minimum specs:
Total system consumption under load: 65 Watts
Total system cost: $180 (no monitor, mouse or keyboard included, Operating system Linux)
 
The reason why I wouldn't recommend anything more than a dual core CPU, is that folding doesn't require much in terms of CPU or memory (RAM) speed or size. Just 1 thread per graphics card, and 512MB-1GB of RAM under Linux.. 4GB is the standard nowadays, and needed, especially if you want to actually be able to use your PC for non-folding purposes.

Intel chips also have 16 PCIE lanes max. That means the system either runs 1 graphics card at the full PCIE 16x speed, or runs 2 cards at 8x speed.
For mid-tier graphics cards (GTX 1650, 1060, 1660, 1660ti, 1070, 1080, or RTX 2060 or RTX 2070, GTX titan), the minimum recommended PCIE lane speed is 4x, before a noticeable reduction in speed is recorded.
For top-tier graphics cards (GTX 1080 ti / fe, RTX 2080, 2080 ti, RTX Titan), a minimum of PCIE 8x speed is required for highest efficiency.
For that reason, I would recommend no more than 2 graphics cards on dual core Intel Celeron and Core i CPU systems, or quad core setup (quad core if you plan on running more than 2 graphics cards). A dual core CPU in Linux will do just fine with 2 graphics cards.
For Windows you'll need an additional core in reserve for the OS.
 
You could run a quad core CPU, and run 3 to 4 cards, but they will run less efficient (due to the PCIE speeds of 8x, 4x and 1x being used).


Following folding desktop numbers (estimate) might vary from setup to setup a bit: 
 
Single RTX 2060
Add to the above system, a $350 EVGA RTX2060, of 1+MPPD and 165 Watt under load,
And the total system of $530, 230 Watt, nets 1M PPD; with a monthly electric bill of about $20.
Efficiency: 4.3 kPPD/Watt 
Initial Cost ratio: 0.53
 
Single GTX 1660 ti
Same system, with a $280 GTX 1660 ti card instead:
And the total system of $460, 175Watt, nets 750k PPD; with a monthly electric bill of about $15.2.
Efficiency: 4.28 kPPD/Watt
Initial cost ratio: 0.61
This system is less efficient, due to the slower folding speed of the 1660 card; despite the fact that it uses less electricity.
 
Double GTX 1660 ti
Same system, with 2x $280 GTX 1660 ti cards instead:
And the total system of $740, 285 Watt, nets 1.5M PPD; with a monthly electric bill of about $24.8.
Efficiency: 5.26 kPPD/Watt
Initial cost ratio: 0.49
This system outperforms a single RTX 2060 system in efficiency by 22%, and also costs about 20% more on electricity; evens out.
 
Double RTX 2060
Same system, with 2x RTX 2060 ti cards instead:
And the total system of $880, 325 Watt, nets 2.1M PPD; with a monthly electric bill of about $28.2.
Efficiency: 6.46 kPPD/Watt
Initial cost ratio: 0.42
This system is 50% more efficient than a single RTX 2060; though will cost you 41% more on electricity.
 
Single RTX 2080
Same system, with a single $780 RTX 2080 card instead:
And the total system of $960, 275 Watt, nets 1.5M PPD; with a monthly electric bill of about $24.
Efficiency: 5.45 kPPD/Watt
Initial cost ratio: 0.64
This system performs about on par with a twin 1660 ti, though about $200 more expensive.
 
Single RTX 2080 ti
Same system, with a single $1400 RTX 2080 ti card instead:
And the total system of $1580, 305 Watt, nets 2.2M PPD; with a monthly electric bill of about $26.5.
Efficiency: 7.21 kPPD/Watt
Initial cost ratio: 0.72
This system is very efficient thanks to the many cuda cores and shaders, but the initial cost is very high.
 
A lower initial cost ratio is easier on the pocket.
From the example above, it's clear that running 2 cards is better than running only one.
2x 2060 cards offer a performance very close to an RTX 2080 ti.
or 2x 1660ti gets a performance close to an RTX 2080.
 
 
 

Server racks 

Running 3 cards or more, gives higher PPD, but initial cost, as well as the running cost goes up.
For mining racks, you can run a maximum of about 5 to 6 RTX Titan cards, or 6 to 7 RTX 2080 ti cards for maximum performance; before you'll hit the 1500W power limit on the wall.
The solution (aside from running tri-phase 220V systems) is to power cap these cards; resulting in about 1 extra card per system; with a total PPD of about 16-18M PPD; and a folding efficiency of about 10.6,
But an initial cost ratio of ~0.90 for the RTX Titans, and 0.71 (for the 2080ti).
 
1500W makes for quite an amount of heat being released, that in the winter could easily warm an entire home!
 
The reason the initial cost ratio of the 2080 ti's is not higher despite the high cost, is because those RTX 2080 ti's are just extraordinarily efficient for folding; only 10% lower performance than the RTX titans, at about half the price!
Hence why the RTX Titans have the highest initial cost ratio.
They're the type of cards you want to get, to get the highest PPD, regardless of cost, but in most cases, I would probably do better with RTX 2080tis instead.
 
6x RTX 2080 ti
A generic $250 mining system, with 6x $1400 RTX 2080 ti cards:
And the total system of $8650, ~1500 Watt, nets ~14M PPD; with a monthly electric bill of about $130.44.
Efficiency: 9.333 kPPD/Watt
Initial cost ratio: 0.62
This system is very efficient, as the CPU/peripheral overhead, and PSU efficiency power draw gets absorbed by the many card's performance.
However those 2080s are still quite expensive overall to purchase, and to run.
 
 
7x RTX 2080
A generic $250 mining system, with 7x $780 RTX 2080 cards:
And the total system of $5710, ~1500 Watt, nets 10.5M PPD; with a monthly electric bill of about $130.44.
Efficiency: 7kPPD/Watt
Initial cost ratio: 0.54
This system not only gives good PPD, but also runs quite efficient!

8x RTX 2060
A generic $250 mining system, with 8x $350 RTX 2060 cards:
And the total system of $3050, ~1500 Watt, nets +8M PPD; with a monthly electric bill of about $130.44.
Efficiency: 5.333 kPPD/Watt
Initial cost ratio: 0.38
Unless I made a mistake somewhere, it appears that these 2060s are not a good choice in terms of running them in a multi-GPU mining rack for folding; though their initial cost ratio per whatever they perform, is very low (meaning, it's a good deal compared to other settings at that PPD).
 
 
12x GTX 1660 ti
Same system, with 12x $280 GTX 1660 ti card instead:
And the total system of $3610, 1500 Watt, nets 9M PPD; with a monthly electric bill of about $130.44.
Efficiency: 6 kPPD/Watt
Initial cost ratio: 0.40
Seems like the 'hypothetic' 1660ti rig, is better at folding than the 2060, but it's also more expensive at the same power draw.
The numbers might be off by a bit, as no 1660 scores have yet been posted.
 
 
edit: Removed Original Title after Merging Threads (was Folding efficiently, numbers) by Cool GTX
post edited by ProDigit - 2019/03/04 16:38:12
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/03 12:43:38 (permalink)

It would make a Great Crunching Computer as well as Folding.
 
updated Title Post Merge by Cool GTX
post edited by Cool GTX - 2019/03/03 14:37:27

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Cool GTX
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/03 14:33:06 (permalink)
Moving to Your Hardware for Folding Thread
 
edit: updated Title to original Thread
post edited by Cool GTX - 2019/03/03 14:34:30

RTX Project EVGA X99 FTWK-5930K@4.8GHz 2xEVGA2080Ti EVGA-1200P2  Nibbler EVGA X99 Classified-5960X@4.5GHz 3-GPU Water Loop 1600P2 
AIO Folding  X99 2x1080Ti FTW3 Hybrid, 1200P
Thank You for Your Support


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ProDigit
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/03 14:45:21 (permalink)
-deleted, ignore this-
post edited by ProDigit - 2019/03/04 20:27:31
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/03 14:53:59 (permalink)
@bcavnaugh
Yeah, the guide isn't complete yet.
It doesn't take PCIE 1x speed losses on multiple GPU systems into account, nor reflect a correct price for the hardware required to run 6 to 8 graphics cards in an at least pcie4x speed-per-card setting.
A system like that would more than likely cost more than just $250, as you'd have to step into Xeon territory (32 pcie lanes).

I do think, once quantum computing has been established, and government supercomputers are using them successfully, that supercomputing will come to the masses, into the home.
Currently, running 10 Teraflops is quite astonishing, but at the rate we're going, in 5 to 10 years, 7nm cards could produce 10Tflops. And with an array of 6 or 7 in a rack, a single home PC would outdo a government supercomputer from the 2000-2010s era.
post edited by ProDigit - 2019/03/03 14:55:27
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/03 15:13:35 (permalink)
I think we never really can complete a guide with the ever changing hardware.
Though your guide is leaning over to mining with 6 to 8 Graphics Cards so for the General Folder here I see up to 4 cards max and using Stock hardware and not all the extra. But then it might help out others that would like to get into Mining more then just Folding or Crunching.
Don't take this wrong as there are Miners here on the Forum as well.
 
Just like what I call Buck Folders this goes beyond Gaming as the first use of their computer and other small office use at home.
 
I would like to see a guide for this type of user to help them with little or no cost Folding for the most part only overnight.
Folding Overnight when your computer is not in use is the Idea Folder as stated on the Folding @ Home Website.
 
This might be overwhelming for a lot of casual Folders that are here on the Forum and it could scare some away thinking they need all this hardware only to Fold under Team EVGA.
post edited by bcavnaugh - 2019/03/03 15:36:22

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ProDigit
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/03 20:10:54 (permalink)
For the desktop, is really minimal. It's hard to find any lower cost, or lower performing hardware out there nowadays. Most people have more than that.

For the mining rig, well, ..
I think a lot of people would want to have an idea what folding on 6 Titans would look like.
Perhaps unattainable for most now, but possible in a few years.
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ipkha
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 06:15:18 (permalink)
I run higher core count CPUs to run crunching as well. The only issue I see with Linux is that the Folding client is just not updated as distros are. I can't get FahControl to install on modern ubuntu due to package name changes and superseding packages. I find it to be just not worth the effort. I still try upon occasion though.
Man, those power costs are an unwelcome read. I try not to worry about the power bill, after all we still need power for everything else in the house....


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Holdolin
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 06:19:44 (permalink)
ipkha
I run higher core count CPUs to run crunching as well. The only issue I see with Linux is that the Folding client is just not updated as distros are. I can't get FahControl to install on modern ubuntu due to package name changes and superseding packages. I find it to be just not worth the effort. I still try upon occasion though.
Man, those power costs are an unwelcome read. I try not to worry about the power bill, after all we still need power for everything else in the house....

You can't get FAHControl to run on modern ubuntu?  Which release are you using and where are you getting your folding software?  Of my 4 boxes 1 runs 16.04 and 3 run 18.04.  All I did on them was do the OS install, did the updates, installed the nvidia drivers, installed folding software then put the box down in my lab (the basement).
#16
ProDigit
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 10:30:54 (permalink)
Most people struggle with getting GPUs recognized in Ubuntu.
Usually
sudo apt install ocl-icd-opencl-dev
Solves that issue.
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notfordman
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 11:14:11 (permalink)
A lot of great info ProDigit, thanks! 
#18
Teknogroovie
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 13:32:14 (permalink)
Great information ProDigit!! 

 My Affiliate Code: LR3I6SS70W

 

 
 
#19
ipkha
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 16:54:50 (permalink)
I'm dual booting Xubuntu 19.04 and Windows 10 Pro x64. The python-gtk2 package ends at 18.04 as far as I can tell.
I want to run Boinc, Plex and Fah on that system. With Nvenc enabled for hardware transcoding it should be a killer server for me.


#20
ipkha
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 17:47:58 (permalink)
Update,
I'm trying the official downloads from Stanford. Gnome 3 is current and gnome 2 is deprecated. The package needed is python-gnome2 which is no longer supported.


#21
Holdolin
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 17:50:45 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ProDigit 2019/03/04 19:31:11
https://foldingathome.org/alternative-downloads/ 
Have to hit the alt downloads since I'm on my windoze machine atm.  The new client/control all updated the old code that required the old python.
#22
ProDigit
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 19:24:01 (permalink)
I think, going over the numbers, we can learn:
1- Try to run 2 graphics cards at a time is better than 1 more expensive card.
2- Take power consumption and it's cost in consideration.
3- Cap the power to a minimum using the 'nvidia-smi pl' command
4- Keep running the most modern graphics cards. In this case, the RTX 2060 card just trumps everything out there if you're on a budget!

Another way to look at the above data, is to cap the GPUs the lowest possible power setting, and find the best combination of cards, per capped watts.
I think the list can become invaluable when recommending system upgrades. 
Numbers below are calculated on a generic 65Watt system (slightly higher for systems with more cards), with power-caps enabled on all cards.
PPDs, wattage, and prices deducted from the information available online, as well as measurements from my own gear, and can fluctuate from system to system:
  • 100W ($7/mo on electricity), 1x GT 1030 (~30-45k PPD) <- = Older gen card, less efficient; NOT RECOMMENDED 
  • 125W ($9/mo on electricity), 1x GTX 1050 (~130k PPD) <- = Older gen card, less efficient; NOT RECOMMENDED 
  • 150W ($11/mo), 1 x GTX 1660 ti (~500k PPD) <- = For $25 more, and $1/mo more, you can have a card that folds almost twice as good!
  • 175W ($12.5/mo), 1 x RTX 2060 (~975k PPD)
  • 220W ($14.5/mo), 1 x RTX 2070 (1M PPD) <- = Price difference is 50% more than an RTX 2060, for only 2.5% more performance.
  • 225W ($16.5/mo), 2 x GTX 1660 ti (~1M PPD) same performance, but slightly more expensive overall than 1 x RTX 2070; NOT RECOMMENDED
  • 250W (18.2$/mo), 1 x RTX 2080 (1.25M PPD) Initial purchase price is more expensive than 2x GTX 1660 ti system; NOT RECOMMENDED
  • 255W ($19/mo), GTX 1660 ti + RTX 2060 (1.5M PPD) <- = For only $55 more (15% of the price of the card), an RTX 2060 raises PPD by 25%
  • 265W ($19.3/mo), 1 x RTX 2080 ti (1.9M PPD) <- = High initial purchase price; NOT RECOMMENDED
  • 305W ($26.5/mo), 3x GT 1660ti (1.5M PPD) <- = same power consumption than 1660 + 2060, higher power usage, NOT RECOMMENDED!
  • 315W ($23/mo), 2 x RTX 2060 (~1.9M PPD)
  • 345W ($25/mo), RTX 2060 + RTX 2070 (~2M PPD)
  • 365W ($26.5/mo), RTX 2060 + RTX 2080 (2.2M PPD)
  • 400W ($29/mo), RTX 2070 + RTX 2080 (2.25M PPD)<- = Higher cost than 3x RTX 2060, lower performance; NOT RECOMMENDED!
  • 415W ($30/mo), 2 x RTX 2080 (2.5M PPD) < Much higher cost than 3x RTX 2060, for the same performance; NOT RECOMMENDED!
  • 450W ($32/mo), 3 x RTX 2060 (2.85M PPD)
  • 465W ($34/mo), 2 x RTX 2080 ti (3.8M PPD) <- = High initial purchase price, more expensive than 4x2060, NOT RECOMMENDED!
  • 500W ($36.5/mo) 2 x RTX 2070 + RTX 2060 (2.97M PPD)
  • 530W ($38.5/mo), 3 x RTX 2070 (3M PPD) <- More expensive, and higher running cost, than 2070+ 2060; NOT RECOMMENDED!
  • 575W ($42/mo), 2 x RTX 2070 + RTX 2080 (3.25M PPD) <- = More expensive than 5 x RTX 2060. NOT RECOMMENDED!
  • 575W ($42/mo), 4x RTX 2060 (3.9M PPD)
  • 580W ($42.3/mo), 2 x RTX 2080 + RTX 2060 (3.47M PPD) <- = More expensive than 4x RTX 2060, lower PPD, higher running cost, NOT RECOMMENDED!  
  • 620W ($45/mo), 2 x RTX 2080 + RTX 2070 (3.5M PPD) <- = Almost same PPD as 2x2080 + 2060 at much higher initial cost and power draw! NOT RECOMMENDED!
  • 660W ($48/mo), 3 x RTX 2080 (3.75M PPD) <- = Double the price of 4x 2060 cards, lower performance, higher power draw
  • 700W ($50/mo), 5 x RTX 2060 (4.87M PPD)
  • 825W ($60/mo), 6 x RTX 2060 (5.85M PPD)
  • 850W ($62/mo), 4 x RTX 2080 (5M PPD) <- = Higher cost, lower PPD, higher Watts than 6 x 2060. NOT RECOMMENDED
  • 960W ($70/mo), 7 x RTX 2060 (6.82M PPD)
  • 1100W ($80/mo), 8x RTX 2060 (7.8M PPD)
  • 1250W ($91/mo), 9x RTX 2060 (8.77M PPD) <- = Still more efficient than identical costing 4x RTX 2080 GPUs
  • Wall power cap at 1500W ($109.5/mo), 10-11x GTX 2060 (~10M PPD)
  • PCIE cap at 16 cards, 2250 Watt ($164/mo), GTX 2060 (~15M PPD)
  • PCIE cap at 16 cards, 3500 Watt ($255/mo), GTX 2080 (~20M PPD)
  • PCIE cap at 16 cards, 3650 Watt ($266/mo), GTX 2080 ti (~30M PPD)
  • XEON PCIE cap at 32 lanes, ~7000 Watt ($511/mo), GTX 2080 ti (~ 40M PPD)
Been over this twice now, and yes, the RTX 2060 beats all other cards; as long as your system can allow for many cards.
Also interesting to see, 
$ 146/yr ($14/mo) = 200W = 1 card.
$ 306/yr ($25/mo) = 350W = 2 cards
$ 416/yr ($35/mo) = 475W = 3 cards
$ 525/yr ($44/mo) = 600W = 4 cards
$ 650/yr ($55/mo) = 750W = 5 cards
$ 788/yr ($65/mo) = 900W = 6 cards
... averaging... I doubt many will want to get higher than this.
 
 
Also, it appears that the 2060 beats all the odds, and only if one is limited in PCIE slots, should one go with a higher card. Otherwise, just keep adding 2060 cards to the system if you can!
 
The 2070 and 2080ti models offer too little of performance jump, but a too high price jump to be considered for folding.
If they were more competitively priced ($435 for the RTX 2070, $500 for the 2080, and $750 for an RTX 2080 ti), they would make good candidates.
 
Older generation cards, like the GTX 1050, 1070, 1080, 1080ti are left out, due to being much lower in efficiency, and running hotter than the newer cards. It just makes no sense to buy them now, unless you can get them (eg: 1070 or 1080) second hand at ~$150 per card; so you can recoup the higher electric costs from the low initial purchase price.
 
If you own a GTX 10 series card starting from the 1060, I would recommend upgrading them to newer RTX 2060 cards; starting with the lowest cards like the 1060, and perhaps by the end of the year sell 1070s and 1080s.
An RTX 2060 Outfolds a GTX 1080, and folds just less than a GTX 1080 ti.
post edited by ProDigit - 2019/03/06 13:21:21
#23
Holdolin
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 19:28:20 (permalink)
Damn, yer makin me think about my future builds.  Lots of great info there.  Thanks 
#24
ProDigit
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 19:32:10 (permalink)
I concur with Holdolin. I always use the programs on their website. Never what's in the repositories.
#25
ProDigit
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/04 20:07:30 (permalink)
If you have a day/night tariff on electricity, and your budget is eg: $30 a month at ~10ct/kWh, and you're folding only 12 hours a day during the night time, you can easily go with the $60 system of 6x 2060s.
Your score would be slightly lower than reported, as WUs will have a 12 hour delay every day, but it would be much higher than a system optimized at running 24/7 at the same $30 budget (RTX 2070 + 2080).
 
The trick is that many WUs are processed a lot quicker; while some WUs are processed slower.
Same goes with a 16 GPU system. If it ran only 2 hours a day, and finished all their WUs in that time, the score would be very high for these WUs, as it's mainly gotten from the quick return bonus.
During downtime, the penalty is very low for unfinished WUs, and nothing for finished WUs.
A 16GPU system using 5kW, running only 2 hours a day, would use about the same energy as a 415W system running 24/7, but get a much higher score.
 
So as an alternative to running 24/7, one could run a heavier system with on/off hours more efficiently.
post edited by ProDigit - 2019/03/04 20:16:56
#26
ProDigit
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/06 12:07:19 (permalink)
I made an interesting discovery on my 2080 today.
I can lower the power to 125Watts, just like I can do on my RTX 2060.
I didn't know the 2080 would be able to go that low.
The score for the 2060 is 975k PPD, but for the 2080 is 1.3M PPD, which is 33% higher than a 2060 at the same power draw.
Unlocked (@~225W, 80% more power draw) the 2080 gets about 1.5M PPD (only 13% more PPD)
 
But even when the 2080 cards can run this low power,
If 3x RTX 2080 cards ($2,250) will have about the same performance as 4x RTX 2060 cards ($1,400), with a $850 price difference.
Their running watts are 440W vs 565W on the 4x2060, and electric cost difference between both systems is about $9/month.
It would take 7.8 years to get your money back on electricity (hopefully by then you've upgraded).


And about slower than 2060 cards?
It appears that 1060/1050 and 1660 cards can be overclocked well within the 2Ghz range (usually cap out around 2,1Ghz).
This because they're not generating as much heat, for nearly an identical heat sink size.
So the heat can be extracted more efficiently.
That's why they run these GPUs at higher frequencies; though at higher frequencies, they also are running less efficient.
The ultimate GPU for folding would be one that's cheap, has many cuda cores, and runs on lower clock speeds (vs fewer cuda cores, on higher clock speeds).
 
I think that will conclude my post.
Buy a motherboard with many slots, and fill them up with as many 2060s as you can afford, (or whatever you can afford on electricity); until a cheaper card, with more stream processors/cuda cores comes out, that also uses less power.
post edited by ProDigit - 2019/03/06 13:23:15
#27
Chris21010
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/06 14:32:54 (permalink)
you need to keep in mind that on the high end GPUs i have never seen full power utilization. my 1080ti's stock never went over 80% TDP. but if you tune the cards correctly, lowering the voltage and increasing frequency, you can get MUCH better performance per watt than lower end cards, especially with the 10xx and 20xx series GPUs due to their built in GPU boost technology.
 
i would also like to note that when getting to the higher end of many GPUs power density is also important. why use up the space for 4x GPUs when 1 GPU with virtually the same PPD/W can be used instead? yea the upfront cost is higher but you are paying extra to be more space efficient.
post edited by Chris21010 - 2019/03/06 14:38:58


#28
ProDigit
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/08 16:14:43 (permalink)
The higher end cards, when power capping them, will automatically run lower clock speeds. Overclocking them while powercapping, at best will make them run at stock clock speeds. The VRam can be overclocked quite a bit. Not sure if by overclocking the vram, the shaders will be overclocked as well or not...

It appears that the higher card you buy, the higher over and underclocks they will accept.

If you do the calculations, one RTX 2080 at 125Watt, nets 1.3M PPD. That's 25% more than an RTX2060 at the same power draw.
However, they cost twice as expensive. You probably could get your money's worth on electricity savings over time, but it'd mean you'd have to fold for 2 years, 24/7, before that $350-$400 gap is closed.
Hopefully by then newer cards will have hit the market.
Once the market stabilizes again, and one new product will be made per few years to a decade, it would make sense to go with a 2080.
However, currently the market is too volatile. Too many changes in too short amount of time.
It's not worth it, to gamble on higher end cards right now.
#29
gordonbb
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Re: HARDWARE GUIDE: Folding at Home, what hardware should I get? 2019/03/12 15:35:28 (permalink)
With respect to your recommendation for a 2c/2t i3 for just driving GPUs I use the new Coffe/Kaby Lake Pentium Golds as they are also 2c/4t and work just fine and are even less expensive when they are available these days.
#30
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