Adding an extra GPU for more PPD?

TimTim Southwest PA
edited February 2010 in Folding@Home
My main PC is folding on its 4870. It's got a 700 watt OCZ power supply, E7300 dual core CPU, Gigabyte EP45-DS3R motherboard, Windows XP Home, 4 GB RAM.

I have an extra PCI-Express GPU slot available, I was thinking of adding another lower cost GPU to make use of it.

I would not try to Crossfire the 2 cards, the 4870 does fine for my gaming needs (WoW, TF2).

Because the ATI clients get out of the way when I want to use my PC, I was thinking of sticking with a Radeon GPU.

But how well do older GPUs do compared to the 4870? Is it basically a comparison of how many shader cores they have, and folding speed is proportional to that?

I was thinking of getting a used 4000 series card, like a 4350, 4550, 4650, 4670, 4770, etc. Something that won't cost me too much $.

Any ideas or charts showing the folding speed of the 4000 series cards compared to each other? And will running 2 GPU clients on a dual core CPU be ok? From what I've read I think it'll work ok.
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Comments

  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    My 4670 is doing 1k-1.4k. There is a chart on the folding forums here but its kind of dated.

    You can run two clients I would just make sure to screw with the environment variables until you get the CPU usage down to 5% when the GPU is folding. For setting up two clients just check out my article, which is 3rd on google results for gpu2 now:). You just need to make sure you have your desktop extended so that the card is active but you do not need another monitor hooked up.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    I won an auction on eBay for a 4850, that should improve the PPD quite a bit! After it gets here and I figure out the GPU-2 setup.

    Detailed directions for XP Home to get the CPU usage down?
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    ya that linked article. Really all it takes is when you install GPU2 the first time just make a copy of the folder in Application Data and Programs, set the Machine IDs to something different, extend your desktop, and use the -gpu # flag on each client. You also should be looking into adding environmental variables so you get your CPU usage down.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    What's this part about extending the desktop? How is that done? In the display settings?
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    Yup. Right click on your desktop>Properties>Settings Tab of Display Properties window>extend desktop option
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    I see. The extend box is already checked. Should be ok then. It's grayed out now, I'll see if it lights up once the second GPU is in.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    I learned something today. With one video card in the PC, the display options will show 2 monitors. With 2 cards in, it'll show 4. DO NOT click on each monitor and extend the desktop to each, I did.

    Took a while and some thinking to start it up in safe mode and then do the "last known settings that worked" to get out of that mess!

    Only monitor #1 needs to be extended, right?
  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK
    edited February 2010
    No, monitor #2 needs the "Extend to this display" box checked.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    I got it extended, a link to another tech article said a second monitor had to be hooked up temporarily, and once I did that it was ok.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    You only have to use a second monitor when you are running vista or win7. However, I think I have figured out a way around that but it requires doing something every time you boot up before you can run the GPU2 units.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    I thought I had it working ok, but when I stop the folding instances and try to restart them from the list when you hit the Start button, if I hit the one for GPU2 it says my GPU isn't supported or I need a current driver. I've got a 4850 and a 4870, and I installed the newest driver 10.1 from ATI. The driver can't be installed more than once can it?

    When I hit the START button, in the list right there it shows one folding icon named Folding@Home (original install), and another identical folding icon that says GPU2 (that I made), those should be all I need to manually restart folding?

    I went over the installation list _k_ linked to, and it seems like each instance is pointing to its correct folder. When I right click the icons and hit "Properties", my path for GPU2 in its Start line is "C:\Program Files\Folding@Home\Folding@Home-gpu2". The Target and Start In paths are the same except for the Target line having the "\Folding@home.exe" at the end after gpu2.

    For GPU1 (original install), the target line says "Folding@home-GPU", and the Start In line says "C:\Documents and Settings\PC\Application Data\Folding@home-gpu".

    What did I screw up?

    In Program Files, I made a folder to put ALL the folding stuff in so it wouldn't scatter folding icons all over my Program Files page.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    If you can take the extra icons on your desktop I would highly recommend just using shortcut icons for the folding clients until you are sure everything is working gravy, makes life a little easier to me. GPU2 clients must be using two different dir. for Target and Start in; programs and App Data respectively.

    I assume your CPU client is still working fine, if you don't have a CPU client running tisk tisk. First thing since clients are not relaunching after you close them correctly lets just work on the first install and get that sorted out before we move on.

    The easiest thing to do is delete your client.cfg file in App Data. Also, delete all the FahCores, work folder, FAH logs, queue, and unit info. Really what you are doing here is deleting everything except the .dll files because this will essentially take the client back to a fresh install. Launch the program from the .exe in the programs folder and go through the first launch set-up with user name, team, -gpu #, passkey, and whatever else you need. Check to see if you can pause and resume on that as well as kill the application and relaunch without any issues.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    I have an E7300 dual core, so no CPU folding.

    The first folding install is working fine, I can start, stop, pause it normally. It's the second GPU2 one that is being a bitch.

    You wrote: GPU2 clients must be using two different dir. for Target and Start in; programs and App Data respectively.

    I say... "what?". Should I point the second instances target line to the same Folding@home that the first instance is using? And then leave the second alone?

    What do I type in the target and start in lines for the second instance?
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    You can still fold on that dual you just need to change some environmental variables so your CPU usage is down past 5% and then you can run SMP or a uniprocessor client.

    No the second instance of GPU2 needs its own set of folders. Really all you need to do is every place there is currently a folder for the first instance of GPU2 copy that and leave it in the same place. Then make a desktop shortcut and have the target line go to the programs dir and the start in go to the App data dir.

    BROOK_YIELD = 2
    CAL_NO_FLUSH = 1
    CAL_PRE_FLUSH = 1
    FLUSH_INTERVAL = 144
    This link shows you how to do it in XP, below the table.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    This is seriously annoying me now. I need to have this explained to me like I'm a complete computer moron, because I'm getting part of it here and part of it there, and it's just not working so far. I have the first instance going fine, but getting the second one up just isn't working.

    XP Home SP3.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    First stop all folding that you are running, don't just pause them close them all. Right click on your desktop so that an option window opens, select properties. A new window will appear and select the Settings tab. In that tab click on monitor #2 and click on the box for extend desktop.

    The folders that you created for the second GPU2 client, delete those. You need to delete the folders for it in the Application Data dir and Programs dir as well as any shortcuts or anything you created for it.

    Next select the folder C:\Program Files(x86)\Folding@home-gpu, your exact folding dir might be slightly different, copy and paste that folder exactly where it is. This should result in giving you a folder like this C:\Program Files(x86)\Folding@home-gpu Copy.

    Next go to C:\Documents and Settings\#User Name#\Application Data\Folding@home-gpu, User Name is whatever user account you log into/use in windows. Select that folder then copy and paste in the same location as it so you should get another folder in the same location that is C:\Documents and Settings\#User Name#\Application Data\Folding@home-gpu Copy. Now open the folder you just created, the copy folder, and delete everything in that folder that is not a dll; the dlls will be amdcalcl.dll, amdcalrt.dll, and cudart.dll.

    Right click on your desktop, the options window that appears mouse over new and a side window will show up and select shortcut. Right click on the shortcut and click properties from the options menu that appears. Open up a windows explorer window and navigate to C:\Program Files(x86)\Folding@home-gpu Copy and paste the dir address to the target line of the shortcut. Next navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\#User Name#\Application Data\Folding@home-gpu Copy and paste the dir address to the start in line of the shortcut. As I stated above the dir addresses I am using might be slightly different from the exact locations you are using, they are just a guide that should put you extremely close to their location, and you need to use your addresses.

    Double click the shortcut you just finished creating and it will launch a folding client. A folding at home control panel will appear and you should enter your user name in the first text box and the team number in the second(93), the last box is for a Passkey if you use one but is not required for the GPU2 client. Click on the Advanced tab, the very bottom is a text box that has a top line "Additional Client Parameters - Restart client to take effect" which you will put "-gpu 1" without quotes. Also you need to pick a different number for the machine ID, each folding client on a computer needs a different one. Default is always 1, I start my GPU2 IDs at 5 and my CPU clients at 1 but any number that gives each client a different Machine ID works. Click ok, close the GPU2 client and relaunch it.

    Now if you followed all my steps you will have two GPU2 clients running.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    I think it's ready to work, but.....

    When I click my new desktop icon for the second gpu instance, I get the error sound and the window that reads "At present your GPU is not supported or you need a current driver. You may wish to consider running our standard client, which you can download at folding.stanford.edu ".

    I have both the Radeon 10.1 and 9.7 drivers freshly installed, WTF is it talking about that it doesn't have a driver? IT DOES!!!

    I did that thing a couple days ago where I temporarily hook up a second monitor, do I need to do it again? Since then, I have had the 4870 out and the 4850 in the primary PCI Express slot, running on its own, then in the secondary slot by itself, then the 4870 back in its primary slot by itself, and now, both GPUs back in again. I click on the second monitor, check the box, hit Apply, click monitor #1, then click #2, and the box is already unchecked again. Is that right or wrong?

    In the 4850's Properties, the Target line reads this: "C:\Program Files\Folding@Home\Copy of [email]Folding@Home-gpu\Folding@home.exe[/email]" .

    And the Start line reads : "C:\Documents and Settings\PC\Application Data\Copy of Folding@home-gpu" .

    Here's the end of the F@H log, the first time I clicked it I actually thought it was going to work for a few seconds.

    [14:13:16] + 1034240 bytes downloaded
    [14:13:16] + 1044480 bytes downloaded
    [14:13:16] + 1054720 bytes downloaded
    [14:13:16] + 1064960 bytes downloaded
    [14:13:16] + 1075200 bytes downloaded
    [14:13:16] + 1085440 bytes downloaded
    [14:13:16] + 1091180 bytes downloaded
    [14:13:16] Verifying core Core_11.fah...
    [14:13:16] Signature is VALID
    [14:13:16]
    [14:13:16] Trying to unzip core FahCore_11.exe
    [14:13:16] Decompressed FahCore_11.exe (3203072 bytes) successfully
    [14:13:21] + Core successfully engaged
    [14:13:26]
    [14:13:26] + Processing work unit
    [14:13:26] Core required: FahCore_11.exe
    [14:13:26] Core found.
    [14:13:26] Working on queue slot 01 [February 15 14:13:26 UTC]
    [14:13:26] + Working ...
    [14:13:27]
    [14:13:27] *
    *
    [14:13:27] Folding@Home GPU Core - Beta
    [14:13:27] Version 1.24 (Mon Feb 9 11:00:12 PST 2009)
    [14:13:27]
    [14:13:27] Compiler : Microsoft (R) 32-bit C/C++ Optimizing Compiler Version 14.00.50727.762 for 80x86
    [14:13:27] Build host: amoeba
    [14:13:27] Board Type: AMD
    [14:13:27] Core :
    [14:13:27] Preparing to commence simulation
    [14:13:27] - Looking at optimizations...
    [14:13:27] - Created dyn
    [14:13:27] - Files status OK
    [14:13:27] - Expanded 85714 -> 444252 (decompressed 518.2 percent)
    [14:13:27] Called DecompressByteArray: compressed_data_size=85714 data_size=444252, decompressed_data_size=444252 diff=0
    [14:13:27] - Digital signature verified
    [14:13:27]
    [14:13:27] Project: 4755 (Run 2, Clone 320, Gen 17)
    [14:13:27]
    [14:13:27] Assembly optimizations on if available.
    [14:13:27] Entering M.D.
    [14:13:33] Tpr hash work/wudata_01.tpr: 4257755678 161809915 4190431252 2083173311 215425077
    [14:13:37] CoreStatus = FFFFFFF6 (-10)
    [14:13:37] Client-core communications error: ERROR 0xfffffff6
    [14:13:37] This is a sign of more serious problems, shutting down.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    Why do you have two driver sets installed?
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    I had the 10.1 installed first, then while reading through various articles on the F@H site I saw something saying that 9.7 was the latest tested and approved driver, so I just downloaded that one also just in case. It hasn't helped.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    You might need to uninstall and reinstall video drivers if you were using 10.1 and installed 9.7 on top of that.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    Uninstalled all video drivers and reinstalled 9.7 . Same problem. I'll try hooking up the second monitor again later, but I doubt it'll help based on everything I've seen so far.

    Do I at least have the Target and Start In lines right this time? It seems to be right.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    Yup. When you reinstalled did you make sure that crossfirex or whatever is not turned on in catalyst control center?
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    I couldn't wait, I hooked up the second monitor, restarted the PC, extended the monitor again (the box stayed checked this time!), and restarted it again, still with the second monitor on, and got them going. Both GPUs seem to be working, and with both monitors hooked up I can see the fan speeds, usage %, and temps of both GPUs in ATI CCC.

    I do not have the crossfire bridge connecting the GPUs, the folding website says you can't crossfire and fold at the same time.

    So we'll see if it continues to work.

    My cpu is running 75%-95%, where do I add those 4 flags to reduce it? Brook yield, cal flush, etc. On the same line that got the -gpu 0 and -gpu 1 things?
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    Right click My Computer>Properties>Advanced Tab>Environmental Variables button at the bottom of the tab>In new window bottom new button>In the new box type the words in the top text box and the number values in the bottom one.

    Enter them one at a time.

    BROOK_YIELD = 2
    CAL_NO_FLUSH = 1
    CAL_PRE_FLUSH = 1
    FLUSH_INTERVAL = 144
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    Okay, I think I'm finally getting it figured out, I'm down to doing some tuning now.

    I learned that if the PC is restarted without the second monitor plugged in, the 4850 GPU will give the driver error. It HAS to have a monitor plugged in, even if its power cord is unhooked, or a dummy plug has to be made. I already read on how to do that. 3 resistors in the 68-100 ohm range, not a big deal for me. The first time I restarted it with no second monitor plugged in, not only did the 4850 get its driver error, but it lost the work unit it was halfway through, and had to start a new one.

    And I found the right way to set those 4 variables, you don't type the words and the = sign and the number all on one line.

    I did it as shown and the CPU usage dropped down. At idle it mostly stays in the 7%-10% range, aside from small spikes.

    But it reduces folding performance. The 4850 was running 92%-97%, and the 4870 primary card was at 78%-80%. I'm guessing that since the CPU is no longer constantly feeding data, the card gets done with its work and has to wait for more data?

    With both monitors plugged in I can see both sets of stats in the ATI CCC.

    What exactly does each of those 4 special commands do? Which one needs to be changed to keep the 4870 above 90%-95% like it used to be? Flush interval? It used to stay at 99% when it was the only GPU. If the CPU usage goes up a little as a result that is ok. I'll try different numbers and play with it.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    FLUSH_INTERVAL is what seems to matter. The flush value is really a guess because if you flip through the folding forum threads about this people use values from around 20 all the way up to about 228. I would spend about 10 minutes moving the variable up and down seeing what kind of effect it has on usage, I would head down first. You are going to take a small hit in ppd/GPU usage but its something you deal with in favor of freeing up CPU cycles either to decrease power consumption overall or get a third client in there; a SMP or uniprocessor client.

    Honestly I have no idea why you have to leave that second monitor connected with windows XP. I tried to find something about that but nothing that was really the same problem. A -force gpu flag might work but I have never gotten it do anything you can't take care of with other flags.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    I've been playing with flush interval. I tried 70, and CPU usage was almost 0, but the 4870 was only running 60%-65%. I tried 200 and CPU usage was 12-15%, and GPUs were 90-95% with occassional dips to 60-70%.

    I tried 225 and CPU usage was in the mid 20s to low 30's %, and the GPUs were 95-99% but still with small dips.

    So I settled on 210. CPU is 14-17%, and the GPUs stay in the 94-98% range for the most part. I'll probably leave it there and see how that does.

    Since CPU usage is down can I run the CPU client also? Don't know if it'll make a difference with 2 GPUs already going, but I want to see if I can keep Jar3d below me (Tim225) on Team 93's stats page! :) Ahhh, it doesn't REALLY matter, just something to do.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    The easiest thing to do is just a run a single core client or you can set up a SMP client and it will eat all the spare cycles it can grab. The smp client requires a password on the user account for windows, you need to replace the old binary with the new one, some flags, and a passkey. Leo already started a thread on it, SMP2. If you run SMP2 you should be able to get around another 1,000 points out of the processor. You have enough memory that it won't be an issue.
  • TimTim Southwest PA
    edited February 2010
    Things have been working well, but with 1 non folding problem. The second monitor I hooked up was a 15 inch LCD, with a max resolution of 1024 X 768.

    I made the VGA jumper plug so now I don't need a second monitor at all.

    But Control Panel / Adjust Screen Resolution only shows a max resolution of 1024 X 768 on my 20" LCD main monitor, which is 1600 by 1200, and the second monitor, which isn't even hooked up but for the extended desktop thing, shows any resolution I want.

    And now when I play WoW, I can't get my normal 1600 X 1200 resolution. The WoW video options screen doesn't even show anything higher than 1024 X 768.

    How to fix that?
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    Don't break that.

    Have you tried all the simple stuff: restarting, turning the monitor off and on, unplug the video cable and plug it back in, turn the computer on without any monitors attached?

    You don't have to go through control panel to get to that you can right click on your desktop and select properties, it gets you to the same place.
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