Feature The PC Gamer Folding@home Team (Team 241865)

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PCG AndyC

News Lead
Staff member
Dec 9, 2019
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I am now successfully folding!

For some reason there appears to be 13,000 points earned earlier this month that aren't being contributed to the team, which is odd because as far as I know I wasn't running F@h then. I just installed it last night.

Anyway, aside from that, all seems well. I was thinking about trying to split resources between F@h and Rosetta on Boinc, but I think I'll just roll with this for now.
 
Apr 8, 2020
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Nice! The more the merrier, especially since we've been hovering around the same spot in the leaderboards. Gotta hit 'em with all the hot silicon we have. (Preferably not too hot though.)

I'm currently trying to cobble together a second PC, dedicated for folding, using orphaned parts I had lying around; I'll need to buy a PSU (I think Best Buy's doing curbside pickup) but hopefully I'll have some extra horsepower to contribute soon.

Also, I've noticed waaay more CPU WU's than GPU ones lately. Could be a server / distribution thing, a coincidence only affecting me, or (as I want to believe) the combined army of glorious PC gaming video cards may have devoured most of the compatible workloads.
 

PCG AndyC

News Lead
Staff member
Dec 9, 2019
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Up to 117,000 here. Still kinda futzing with it, trying to figure out if I'm better off going at medium settings all day (except when I'm actually gaming) or if I should opt for full power but only when I'm idle. Anyone have any idea what the more efficient approach is?
 
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Apr 8, 2020
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If the question is about power efficiency, don't do anything I'm about to describe. If the question is about efficient usage of resources, leave folding enabled and see what you're still able to do. This will definitely vary for each set of hardware, but I've been able to do a lot while folding.

My PC's a powerful one and I've found that general PC usage is unaffected even when F@H is hammering both the CPU and the video card. Streaming video, web browsing, and Discord perform the same as they always do.

Older games still run buttery smooth under strain (Modded Doom '93 and Max Payne 1, both at 1440p, are the ones I've played without realizing F@H was still running).

Any AAA game from this year or the 2010's is going to suffer from F@H but if you're selective about your gaming habits, you can get some extra folding time in without depriving yourself of PC gaming goodness.

So, as I said, keep F@H running and see what you're able to get away with.
 
Feb 17, 2020
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There's very little difference between medium and full as far as I can tell. See also observations here:

As @is_died I find if I leave it running on "full" during casual use, there's no slowdown.
Light gaming sees no performance difference. I was also running Wolfenstein Youngblood on Ultra (3770k, RTX 2060, 1440p res) and didn't notice a performance loss. Far Cry 5 and New Dawn definitely see lower framerates and more stuttery gameplay but are still pretty playable tbh. Folding progress slows down during heavy gaming, but doesn't stop altogether.

YMMV - we have another PC with a 4790k and GTX 970s SLI which is a proper slideshow when running games at 1080p and folding at the same time.
 
Feb 17, 2020
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Anyone else been having trouble getting work units last couple of days? Left the PC on overnight and into the morning to fold.

Nothing at all for my RTX 2060. Restart the client, instant work unit. Same story night before, pretty much.

Also I still can't get the client to prefer my 2060 over the 670 I have in the system. Restarting the client wipes out the slot settings I set.
 

Kaamos_Llama

Moderator
Jan 31, 2020
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Yes, no units last night and same deal as you when I restarted the client this morning. I think I got one or two units on Thursday, but before that on Wednesday nothing either.

They are up to 2.5 exaFLOPS, so I guess they are still struggling to get enough work out there.
 
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Frindis

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Jan 14, 2020
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@Kaamos_Llama @Oussebon Been a bit slow the last three days but seems like the next unit will be finished in eta 17 minutes.

@PCG AndyC I find going medium and using only GPU works best for me. I have a stock computer with minimal cooling solution, so using CPU makes to much fan noise. I am happy that I can play games like Diablo 3 while GPU is running on medium on Folding, without any kind of issues. Folding with I7-8700, GTX 1070.
 
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Apr 8, 2020
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Previously I mentioned Doom (from 1993), with mods and running at 1440p, being playable with F@H at full power.

I just played a session of Doom Eternal and didn't realize I was folding the whole time. Under CPU and GPU stress the game ran just fine... which is both me pointlessly bragging about my PC, and reiterating my point that more things may run alongside F@H than you might think.
 
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Feb 17, 2020
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We just hit 300!

Out of 251849.

Lots happening with folding ATM. Time for another recruitment drive / press gang? :)


1) Folding@home logo design contest open until May 15th.
Twitter Link

2) A software update for the client now allows you to specify Covid-19 as your preference for projects.
https://foldingforum.org/viewtopic.php?f=106&t=34466
You will want to finish any current projects before downloading the new client.

3) FAH volunteer recruitment drive. They’ve moving to Github for bug reports, taking developer applications, and beta tester applications.
Twitter Link

4) An Open Source client is announced, with details to follow soon.
Twitter Link
This is a new direction, with FAH previously not being open source
https://foldingathome.org/support/faq/opensource/

5) They are looking to Gamify FAH, possibly with achievements, badges, etc
Twitter Link



PCG Team position:

There are only a dozen or so teams with a lower points total but a higher PPD, most of these being large corporations, including AMD and a division of Sony apparently, and Unis / research groups. Several will easily overtake us within days. Some not for a long time. We've been consistently around 80th most productive team in PPD. Therefore, we're likely to keep on rising in the ranks as long as we don't tail off production.

We may hit ~275 in around a week, and ~250 within 3 weeks.

All Depending on work unit flow, how many more universities set up teams, which PCG readers have been holding out on their RTX Titan SLI builds, my bad napkin maths, and so on...

We hit 300 earlier than I expect tbh - was thinking it'd be later in the evening.

(Edited to remove twitter media scroll spam)
 
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Apr 8, 2020
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Maybe this is a pointless post, but I'd like to keep this thread alive if I can. In my experience, here's what I can and can't play on my PC while processing CPU and GPU work units simultaneously.

I've got a Ryzen 7 2700X and an RTX 2080 Ti, so I'm well prepared for gaming under load. Maybe that makes the list of games I can't run more interesting?

Games that pass this (subjective) test run reliably at or above a perceived 60 FPS at 1440p, without reducing any settings from what I normally use. No frequent freezes or hiccups, either.

I'm not including any games more than ~15 years old.


Games that DO run okay while folding:

* Battlefield 4 (2013)

* Doom Eternal (2020)


Games that DON'T run okay while folding:

* Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)

* Fallout 76 (2018)

* Team Fortress 2 (2007) -- oof, that's what years of update bloat will do


Your folding performance dramatically falls while gaming, but I think you're still producing more points by leaving F@H running than if you'd paused. Folding speeds right up once the game closes.
 
Mar 30, 2020
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Thought I'd post some tips for those just starting out or who may be struggling to earn points or get work units through.
  1. Make sure you are folding with a pass key. You have to complete 10 work units with a pass key set before you can earn the bonus points for completing work units early, this is why the estimated points count down, and why you won't get those points when you first start out. If you are folding anonymously or have no passkey set, you will never get those extra points. My passkey sometimes gets cleared out so worth checking it's still there every now and then.
  2. The work units don't seem to be given out to the work servers evenly, either that or some servers get overwhelmed with requests. If you struggle to get work units through, try pausing and restarting using the advanced control (right click on the icon in the system tray). I've noticed that the client can get stuck requesting units from just a couple of work servers over and over again until you do this (you can see this in the advanced control logs). I'm still not 100% sure this isn't just coincidence though!
  3. There are some work units that will only run on a CPU slot, and some that will only run on a GPU slot. To maximise your chances of pulling work units make sure you have both slot types setup in the advanced control. Also, make sure you request units for all diseases in the drop down on the webcontrol. COVID-19 units are the highest priority, but if there is a shortage of these units there are still plenty of other research projects that deserve some support.
  4. If you still don't get work units through, try stopping and then doing a reboot. On a few occasions I've noticed that a slot can get stuck when trying to upload or finalise a work unit, doing this usually frees it up and then uploads the completed unit.
  5. Your bonus points for a work unit get rewarded when you see "Server Responded WORK_ACK(400)" in the logs (after the upload has completed). However the points for the whole work unit won't show in your total until the system has picked up your returned work unit from the server. This seems to happen by an automated process that runs on the hour and usually takes 15 minutes to update all users, it can take significantly longer depending on how busy the servers have been.
Sometimes there just aren't any work units and you just have to wait for some to be made available, although I haven't noticed this happen for a while. None of the above is official advice, just stuff I've picked up from folding over the last month or so.

Great job team!
 
Feb 17, 2020
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Some of their collection servers are misbehaving - AWS1 and AWS2. Just not taking completed work units, or failing over and over before eventually, finally doing so. If you're lucky.

One of a number of threads about it on the folding forums:

Not clear what's happening - the FAH team keep saying it's fixed and then it hits users again unfortunately. As I seem to have discovered for myself.
 
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Kaamos_Llama

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Jan 31, 2020
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Its also affecting the QRB which is a bit annoying. I'm sure its more annoying for Pande labs as they aren't getting the WU's they need.

My last two just uploaded, so hopefully they are getting there.
 
Feb 17, 2020
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Going by posts on the forums, they don't seem to fussed as long as the WUs return before expiry.

Which doesn't seem to fit with the whole QRB idea as I'd got a handle on it!
 
Apr 8, 2020
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I should have a second folding machine online tomorrow, barring any unexpected issues with the part arriving by mail. If you saw my thread about the cardboard-encased computer I built, it's mostly the same parts but it'll have a proper case, an SSD for the OS, and a new motherboard (not to mention a permanent place it can live).

------------------

Keeping an eye on gaming while folding, I've got new entries for both the "good" and "bad":

RAGE 2 (2019) runs almost the same w/ F@H actively using the CPU and GPU. Very brief frame drops that didn't disrupt gameplay.

BioShock 2 Remastered (2016, I think?) surprised me somewhat by not being playable. Significant reduction to performance.
 
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Feb 17, 2020
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BioShock 2 Remastered (2016, I think?) surprised me somewhat by not being playable. Significant reduction to performance.
Same if CPU folding paused but GPU folding continues I wonder?

The team folding PPD has been stuck somewhat at 29-30m, so as other teams have gradually grown we've gone from consistently being in the top 80s for PDD to rank 107 at the moment. We'd actually need about a ~25% PPD increase to get us back there (37-38m PPD).
 
Apr 8, 2020
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It's surprising to me PC Gamer isn't promoting this more. If they'd pushed it harder I expect we'd have much more output. We've done spectacularly well as it is, but we're going to reach a plateau tantalizingly close to the top teams globally.

This far in, I worry most people who are receptive to joining a folding team have already done so elsewhere, but it wouldn't hurt to keep spreading the word.


My second folding PC is running and it's already wrapped up a WU, but the processor is slower than the one in my main PC and F@H doesn't see the discrete GPU. Might be fixable. I haven't researched it yet.

Anyway, I'm only looking at around ~20K points per day on that PC, with only an AMD FX-8350 available for folding. It's not much but I'm inclined to keep it going; these low-score simulations wouldn't be out there if they didn't need to get folded.
 
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Apr 8, 2020
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Yup, that did it. Super easy.

The new PC seems pretty decent for folding but I worry about its thermals. The only place for it was pretty tucked away, so I may need to work something out to get it extra ventilation. I'm willing to modify the furniture it's on if necessary.

EDIT: Forgot to say, I'm looking at about ~140K PPD from the new machine. Not bad for a CPU that was found in a box in my garage, and a GPU that was gathering dust in a drawer.
 
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