New Build for Maximum Folding

csimoncsimon Acadiana
edited August 2010 in Folding@Home
Here goes Leo. :fold:

There is the possibility of a new build in my near future so I'm compelled to investigate my options. It's been about 4-5 years since my last build so I'm quite out of touch with current trends of windows 7 hardware. So I appeal to you, fellow Icrontians, to help me decide on components for this new build.

First off I'm likely to water cool and overclock the CPU ...extreme oc is not necessary but enough to insure stability while folding SMP2 24/7. So the PSU will have to be quite adequate in this respect. Also a good bang-for-buck low power consumption alternative is what I'm after ...not anything super-highend/expensive. A good overclocker is desirable here.

Video wise I am not partial. Here again I don't care for extreme for now just enough to get some good PPD going with GPU2. Power consumption is also a factor.

Memory and hard drive wise I would like to consider the very fastest possible yet not too extreme. Capacity is not so important just speed.

So for now I'll start with components that I feel most confident about and see if there's anything better worth considering.

Remember to keep this reasonable on power, really fast folder, and reasonable on pocketbook. All recommendations are appreciated.
Newegg preferred though I will be price shopping all components.

Intel CPU:

Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

Intel Motherboard:

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Intel RAM:

OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK - Retail

Video:

GIGABYTE GV-N28-1GH-B GeForce GTX 280 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Retail

PSU:

OCZ Z Series Gold OCZZ850M 850W ATX12V 2.3/ EPS12V 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

Waterblock:

Swiftech APOGEE-XT Extreme Performance CPU Waterblock - Retail

Hard Drive:
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

OS
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade - Retail

I think that since I won't be able to edit this particular post I will just continue to update thoughout the thread.
Get the idea? Any questions?
«1

Comments

  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited March 2010
    Win7 x64, there's no point in going x86 anymore. RAM is inconsequential in the long run, so get something decent to good from OCZ or Crucial and call it a day.

    For video, you're probably going to want to go nVidia, since CUDA still rules the PPD roost, so a 9800GX2 will get you the most points per single card, I think. A GTX260 or two won't be a slouch, though.

    PSU, Corsair, OCZ, or Thermaltake will do well; wattage will depend on your prospective hardware, but I probably wouldn't go less than 650, and you'll want a high-efficiency unit (80+ Silver, Gold, etc).

    For mobo, it probably mostly depends on how many graphics cards you want to run, and which processor. I'd probably advise an i7, which would get you plenty of threads for SMP2 to play with, and they're quite overclockable.
  • Sledgehammer70Sledgehammer70 California
    edited March 2010
    9800GX2's are having issues in windows 7 64bit... They work but they are picky cards in Windows 7. but the GTX 260's are great cards also... lower power reg's and lots of cores to push out points. Roughly 7k-8k + PPD per card.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited March 2010
    Is there a real budget in this because we could go crazy?
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited March 2010
    _k_ wrote:
    Is there a real budget in this because we could go crazy?
    No real budget just reasonable.
    Like a sub $300 cpu overclocked will do just fine as opposed to a $999+.
    Throw it around ya never know.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited March 2010
    You could always go with M4A79T and something like the 955 which that will put you in for just over 300$.

    Or my fav for a possible insane folding computer, Asus, P6T 7WS.

    The GTX 285s are just under 400$ or it is just over 500$ to get hold of a 295. Or just waiting for the Fermi to hit and see where the dust settles is not a bad plan for GPU right now. With folding and points you are really going to be locked into high Stream Processor count Nvidia cards.

    750w PCP&C
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited March 2010
    _k_ wrote:
    You could always go with M4A79T and something like the 955 which that will put you in for just over 300$.

    Or my fav for a possible insane folding computer, Asus, P6T 7WS.

    The GTX 285s are just under 400$ or it is just over 500$ to get hold of a 295. Or just waiting for the Fermi to hit and see where the dust settles is not a bad plan for GPU right now. With folding and points you are really going to be locked into high Stream Processor count Nvidia cards.

    750w PCP&C

    Wow. Looks like an Intel CPU/Mobo combo will easily double the price of the AMD. At that cost it had better double my PPD. ;D

    One question ...if I do go AMD am I bound to Ati video and crossfire or can I still do Sli and nVidia?

    I'll list Mushkin ram for now since it seems like a good starting point.
  • LeonardoLeonardo Wake up and smell the glaciers Eagle River, Alaska
    edited March 2010
    9800GX2's are having issues in windows 7 64bit
    Maybe I'm fortunate...or know the proper tweaks? I'm running four Socket 775 systems, each with dual 9800GX2s, each running on Win7-64. Smooth as silk.

    Selecting a video card for Folding is easy. There are only two questions: build budget and power draw (PSU requirements and power bill). If you are buying a card - new or used, as opposed to using an existing video card, it's an Nvidia world with respect to Folding@Home. Whether we like it or not, it's reality. Get the most stream processors (SP) you can get for the money. It really is that simple: GTX 295/480SP (2 X 240), 9800GX2/256SP (2 X 128), 285GTX/240, et cetera. Pay attention to the power draw for video cards. If you load up your machine too much, you'll be looking for a PSU upgrade, which makes your build cost go up yet again. For that consideration, maybe a 285 GTX would be a better choice than a 9800GX2?
    Wow. Looks like an Intel CPU/Mobo combo will easily double the price of the AMD. At that cost it had better double my PPD.
    It probably would! The hyperthreading (HT) 4-Core I7 series processors are turning in stunning results, totally destroying Intel non-HT quads and AMD CPUs. L2 cache size is also crucial, which again, the I7 trumps the competition.

    If I were building a new rig now to maximize for Folding - assuming a liberal budget, I'd be going I7 HT and multiple GTX-295s.

    NOTE: My hardware choices are based on the sole factor of Folding@Home maximization. My recommendations have nothing to do with general day-to-day use or gaming.
  • LeonardoLeonardo Wake up and smell the glaciers Eagle River, Alaska
    edited March 2010
    Motherboard. If you are looking for an Intel/Nvidia system, you don't need a high-performance board unless you plan on advanced overclocking. Crossfire and SLI are also completely irrelevant. For multi-GPU (Nvidia) Folding, you only multiple PCI-e 4X video slots and a sufficient PSU.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited March 2010
    You can still go SLi with AMD but it really limits you, a quick run through newegg only showed me this as a good candidate. It kicks into dual 8x for SLi and it is DDR2. If you are really looking for SLi I would stick with intel, I only ran SLi when I moved to win7 because it gave me multi-monitor while bridging, plus I ponied up for a new PSU and had two 9800 GX2s sitting around. That AMD board was if you just wanted to throw a bunch of video cards in for folding, the GIG board is a better choice in my opinion all around. The intel board in my mind is only really good if you sink a bunch of money into PSUs and video cards for a single box folding farm, a cheaper x58 board would suit most everything else.

    The RAM is ok but looks to costly, anything off of this page would be good plus there are only two different sets of RAM(look at model numbers and think about binnings).
  • LeonardoLeonardo Wake up and smell the glaciers Eagle River, Alaska
    edited March 2010
    Alright K, I see your point. Chris, if the budget is on the lean side, K's proposal makes sense. Go with a cheap AMD board and cheap Phenom CPU but use multiple Nvidia video cards.

    My point about SLI and Crossfire was it's irrelevant if the user just wants to fold and doesn't plan on gaming with the rig.
  • Sledgehammer70Sledgehammer70 California
    edited March 2010
    The GTX 295 is the best bet but the GTX 275 also has 240 SP's. But yeah, you can't run folding in SLI. But most AMD boards will run SLI, just triple check the board you are getting ahead of time.
  • edited March 2010
    Purely out of curiosity here, why are you looking to SLi your cards when you're going for max folding performance? It was my understanding that it's far more efficient to run 1 GPU client on each card separately than to fold on multiple cards in SLi.
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited March 2010
    Sorry guys I had no idea about the Sli/F@h issue. That was just an assumption on my part.
    I'll try and digest my way though all of the comments tonight and do some rethinking on the hardware. Right now I'm thinking of a decent OC on the cpu with high speed ram, hard drive, and video. I can use the 275 or even a 260 for my gaming/work video and perhaps some refurbed GX2's for strictly folding. No Sli.

    How does that sound?
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited March 2010
    Sounds like you would need a 1k PSU if you are going to do GX2s and a standard single GPU for your primary. You can fold in crossfire and SLi but its a pain some times and fails/throws errors a lot.

    For a no BS this is what I would pick for your build since we are starting to pick through to something more realistic:
    GA-X58A-UD3R
    i7 920
    OCZ3G1600LV6GK
    CMPSU-950TX
    Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Wut? Meechigan
    edited March 2010
    On the Hard Drive front, you can get exceptional performance (beating out the VelociRaptor in most cases) with a Seagate 1.5TB (7200.11, IIRC) with LBA set to give you 300GB. These drives are also considerably cheaper than the VR.

    If you're looking at that high-end of a spindle drive, though, why not check out some of the newer lower-cost SSDs, or the SilverStone HDDBoost gadget that lets you get the read/seek speeds of an SSD with the massive capacities of a spindle drive in one?
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited March 2010
    _k_ wrote:
    Sounds like you would need a 1k PSU if you are going to do GX2s and a standard single GPU for your primary. You can fold in crossfire and SLi but its a pain some times and fails/throws errors a lot.

    For a no BS this is what I would pick for your build since we are starting to pick through to something more realistic:
    GA-X58A-UD3R
    i7 920
    OCZ3G1600LV6GK
    CMPSU-950TX
    Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS

    Darn I can't edit the first post anymore.
  • LeonardoLeonardo Wake up and smell the glaciers Eagle River, Alaska
    edited March 2010
    Alright, I'm looking through the thread and the original post again. I have some more comments.

    Hard drive: If this is going to be a dedicated or a nearly-dedicated Folding machine, hard drive performance is irrelevant. It just needs to be reliable and that is all.

    Operating system. If you don't already have a spare OS at home not being used, I'd go for Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade, 64-bit. You can easily do a clean installation with the retail "upgrade" DVD. (I've done it 7 times now.) If you are game, maybe someone can steer you towards an Ubuntu Linux installation. It is not my recommendation, buy maybe it has interest for you.

    RAM. Consider a 6GB kit. If you wish to fold "-bigadv" units (8 cores, 4 real + 4 HT) with an Intel HT CPU, you will need extra RAM to fold these special work units in a virtual machine. If you want to keep things simple and will not use a VM, 4GB or less of RAM is more than enough to support multiple Folding clients in Windows 7. The Win7-64 machine I'm typing on now is multi-tasking and simultaneously running 5 Folding clients. Physical memory demand is currently shown to be 2.09GB. For Folding, both CPU and Nvidia GPU2 clients, RAM speed and latency do not make much or any difference in production.
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited March 2010
    Leonardo wrote:
    Alright, I'm looking through the thread and the original post again. I have some more comments.

    Hard drive: If this is going to be a dedicated or a nearly-dedicated Folding machine, hard drive performance is irrelevant. It just needs to be reliable and that is all.

    Operating system. If you don't already have a spare OS at home not being used, I'd go for Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade, 64-bit. You can easily do a clean installation with the retail "upgrade" DVD. (I've done it 7 times now.) If you are game, maybe someone can steer you towards an Ubuntu Linux installation. It is not my recommendation, buy maybe it has interest for you.

    RAM. Consider a 6GB kit. If you wish to fold "-bigadv" units (8 cores, 4 real + 4 HT) with an Intel HT CPU, you will need extra RAM to fold these special work units in a virtual machine. If you want to keep things simple and will not use a VM, 4GB or less of RAM is more than enough to support multiple Folding clients in Windows 7. The Win7-64 machine I'm typing on now is multi-tasking and simultaneously running 5 Folding clients. Physical memory demand is currently shown to be 2.09GB. For Folding, both CPU and Nvidia GPU2 clients, RAM speed and latency do not make much or any difference in production.

    Sorry but I need to keep responses short because of connection issues ...so I apologize and don't mean to come off rude.

    I do mostly CAD work, Photoshop, ArcGIS, and some gaming. This will be my primary rig. The rig I am on now will become my wifes.

    I do want a fast hard drive ...I guess it's what I've gotten used to.

    I do have a copy of Windows XP Home Edition that will no longer be used once I upgrade ...so I will keep your OS recommendation.

    ALso, the RAM idea is fantastic ...I was looking for a good excuse to go triple channel. Here again I would like fast overclockable ram.
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited March 2010
    On the Hard Drive front, you can get exceptional performance (beating out the VelociRaptor in most cases) with a Seagate 1.5TB (7200.11, IIRC) with LBA set to give you 300GB. These drives are also considerably cheaper than the VR.

    If you're looking at that high-end of a spindle drive, though, why not check out some of the newer lower-cost SSDs, or the SilverStone HDDBoost gadget that lets you get the read/seek speeds of an SSD with the massive capacities of a spindle drive in one?

    Sounds worth looking into. Got more info/links?
  • LeonardoLeonardo Wake up and smell the glaciers Eagle River, Alaska
    edited March 2010
    If you are going to make this a multi-tasking machine and multi-client Folding@Home rig, I would go ahead and install 64-bit Windows 7. With your XP Home (assuming 32-bit), your system won't address more than 3GB of RAM. 64-bit can address whatever you can cram on the motherboard. :) You can run multiple Folding clients as well multi-task in XP with only 3GB of Windows-recognized RAM. With such a configuration though, you are limiting the machine's capability with future, more complex, software.

    You stated you use CAD and ARC Gis software. Is a GeForce or Radeon video card precise enough for what you do? Aren't you in the Quadro and FirePro arena?
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Wut? Meechigan
    edited March 2010
    Here ya go:

    http://tech.icrontic.com/ticker/mod-your-barracuda-into-a-velociraptor-killer/

    Artificial benchmarks show it quite a bit faster than the VelociRaptor on some tests. Combine them, you end up with real-world performance that's pretty much equal or a little higher than the VelociRaptor for half the price.
  • SerpSerp Texas
    edited March 2010
    Now if I may make a ridiculous post:

    270wsw555a1lg5.jpg

    2 Intel Xeon X56803r270wsw555a1lg5j, 4 GTX 295, and EVGA's new 1200w PSU

    I'm just sayin' :D
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Wut? Meechigan
    edited March 2010
    Serp wrote:
    Now if I may make a ridiculous post:

    270wsw555a1lg5.jpg

    2 Intel Xeon X56803r270wsw555a1lg5j, 4 GTX 295, and EVGA's new 1200w PSU

    I'm just sayin' :D

    Unf!
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited March 2010
    Or 7 single PCB 295s with water blocks.
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited March 2010
    Leonardo wrote:
    If you are going to make this a multi-tasking machine and multi-client Folding@Home rig, I would go ahead and install 64-bit Windows 7. With your XP Home (assuming 32-bit), your system won't address more than 3GB of RAM. 64-bit can address whatever you can cram on the motherboard. :) You can run multiple Folding clients as well multi-task in XP with only 3GB of Windows-recognized RAM. With such a configuration though, you are limiting the machine's capability with future, more complex, software.

    You stated you use CAD and ARC Gis software. Is a GeForce or Radeon video card precise enough for what you do? Aren't you in the Quadro and FirePro arena?
    The Windows XP HE is what I'll be upgrading from to Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. I assume I need that to use the upgrade. I'm not sure of the technicalities on the upgrade system.

    Quadro and FirePro are overkill for what I do at home. I haven't even reached the limit on my 7950gt yet ...but I haven't bought that second monitor yet either.
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited March 2010
    Here ya go:

    http://tech.icrontic.com/ticker/mod-your-barracuda-into-a-velociraptor-killer/

    Artificial benchmarks show it quite a bit faster than the VelociRaptor on some tests. Combine them, you end up with real-world performance that's pretty much equal or a little higher than the VelociRaptor for half the price.

    Would the "7200.12 ST31000528AS" do the same? It's cheaper.
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Wut? Meechigan
    edited March 2010
    csimon wrote:
    The Windows XP HE is what I'll be upgrading from to Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. I assume I need that to use the upgrade. I'm not sure of the technicalities on the upgrade system.

    Quadro and FirePro are overkill for what I do at home. I haven't even reached the limit on my 7950gt yet ...but I haven't bought that second monitor yet either.

    You can use upgrade media and keys to do a complete clean install. It's a violation of the letter of the EULA, but it's perfectly technically feasible.
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited March 2010
    You can use upgrade media and keys to do a complete clean install. It's a violation of the letter of the EULA, but it's perfectly technically feasible.
    Oh I definitely plan on a clean install for sure! :rockon:
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Wut? Meechigan
    edited March 2010
    csimon wrote:
    Oh I definitely plan on a clean install for sure! :rockon:

    I should clarify: From a truly legal point, you're covered, because you have a valid XP license. But the explicit terms of the EULA state that an existing OS must be in place before upgrading.
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited March 2010
    I should clarify: From a truly legal point, you're covered, because you have a valid XP license. But the explicit terms of the EULA state that an existing OS must be in place before upgrading.
    I hear ya. I remember reading something to that effect. I am very fond of the clean install idea to the point of being maybe anal or ocd. :buck:

    Actually I do have two copies and one isn't being used at the moment. I can use that copy for wifey's rig when I put it together. I suppose (legally) I'd have to purchase another Win7 upgrade if I wanted it on her system as well correct?
Sign In or Register to comment.