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Since some (from the SETI Classic MessageBoards) may know me as somewhat 'reluctant' towards BOINC, I thought I'd give it a shot with the V4.05 to get some hands-on experience, and leave my feedback :)
Since I experienced alot of emotional or otherwise heated discussion in various Forums/MessageBoards, I'll try to keep it plain professional, so please excuse the unusual form, which will basically be a virtual Feedback Form ;)
I'll post my Opinions with plain marks, -- (very negative) over 0 (neutral, N/A or not observed) to ++ (very good)
Overall first Impressions, in order of appearence (CPDN, SETI and LHC running) :
Registration and Project Activation
(--) SETI: registration worked, but does not seem to provide the Project URL on the Pages (at least I didn't find it. Using Google finds exactly that Question in many Forums (not on the Berkeley Pages except MessageBoards), and that's where I had to get the URL from)
(++) CPDN: Project URL is written on the Instructions Page
(++) LHC: Project URL was given on the Registration Page
BOINC and Client's Preferences
(+) Very detailled and useful preferences Options
(--) Can only be changed online.
(This was very surprising for me, as systems naturally aren't always online. For changing basic preferences, IMHO it should be also possible to set them on the Machine affected, which it then can tell the Server upon next Connection. Actually, that should be the "normal", preferred way; although for managing Multiple Systems or Networks the central online Option is not bad at all.)
(++) Very sorted and nice, good overview of what's going on on the Machine
(++) Standard display is using minimum resources, while offering basic Progress and misc. Information
(-) Details can only be used via the "Show Graphics" Option
(-) No further "Progress Detail View" is viewable in a 2D BOINC Text Tab (e.g. best Scores for SETI or alike interesting details for the other Project's WorkUnits) through the textbased GUI
(although technically, that is probably within the responsibility of the individual Projects, rather than the BOINC framework of course. But since SETI (as usual *g*) sets the pace for others to follow, would be something very nice to have, something like SETIwatch or SETIspy did. Those were great things to show other people around your machine, what it is actually doing, and what has been found so far in a WorkUnit; certainly better than just a Progress indicator, and easier to explain than a moving 3D Animation that toggles Data Display every few seconds)
There are a few considerations about the 3D OpenGL Graphics (assuming the Screensaver will display exactly the same way), that I'd like to go into more detail :
- While using 3D Graphics is a nice Option, a 2D Option (Graphical or well formatted Text) should be available as well.
-> on otherwise fast machines, that do not have a 3D Accelerator (or a very old one) installed, that can cause a massive Resource drain...
-> on fast machines with modern GPU's, the power consumption and heat generation can significantly increase
(Gamers usually have the Option "VSync" Disabled, resulting in a modern 3D Card being busy rendering in excess of 1000 (!) Frames per second, just showing the fairly basic 3D Graphics. Thus, putting extreme, permanent stress on the Video Hardware and deviating even more CPU power from the actual Project, without a basic User ever noticing a potential Problem)
(end Part 1)