Crunching with your system GPU?


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Message 1303797 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 1:55:23 UTC

I know most crunchers out there are using cards that are dedicated to crunching and not used for any video purposes.

Those of you that know me know I stick with my CPUs for Seti@home as I don't have any usable GPUs. Therefore I have no prior experience with Boinc and GPUs. This is about to change. I am upgrading my oldest machine for the last time, (interestingly it still has a couple original parts in it from 2002). This machine currently (still) runs a P4 (lol....). By todays standards the parts I'm upgrading to are still old and sluggish (GT 630, Core 2 Quad) but I will FINALLY have a few CUDA cores at my hands with a 64 bit processor to back em.

As I have only done CPU crunching at this point I have a question. (Keep in mind I will be running Linux, so this means 64bit cuda apps.)

I intend on using this video card for my computers graphics first and foremost, crunching is #2. please explain if I can do this AND crunch, and maybe some caveats or things I should know about using my system GPU to crunch. I assume for example running a 3D game would not fare well for crunching... So I ask u guys who know, what should I be aware of?
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Message 1303802 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 2:31:45 UTC

Those of you that know me know I stick with my CPUs for Seti@home as I don't have any usable GPUs. Therefore I have no prior experience with Boinc and GPUs. This is about to change. I am upgrading my oldest machine for the last time, (interestingly it still has a couple original parts in it from 2002). This machine currently (still) runs a P4 (lol....). By todays standards the parts I'm upgrading to are still old and sluggish (GT 630, Core 2 Quad) but I will FINALLY have a few CUDA cores at my hands with a 64 bit processor to back em.

As I have only done CPU crunching at this point I have a question. (Keep in mind I will be running Linux, so this means 64bit cuda apps.)

Is that the original 2002 power supply? Could be a limitation. Check the card manufacturer's requirements for the 630 to be sure you has enough wattage. And if the power supply is that old, it may not perform to original specs.

I intend on using this video card for my computers graphics first and foremost, crunching is #2. please explain if I can do this AND crunch, and maybe some caveats or things I should know about using my system GPU to crunch. I assume for example running a 3D game would not fare well for crunching... So I ask u guys who know, what should I be aware of?

You can set your BOINC prefs to suspend gpu processing while you're active at the keyboard or mouse. You can also snooze the gpu by right clicking the tray icon and choosing "snooze gpu". That's useful when you're not generating keyboard/mouse activity. You can also suspend the gpu on the activity menu.
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Message 1303803 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 2:32:04 UTC - in response to Message 1303797.

I know most crunchers out there are using cards that are dedicated to crunching and not used for any video purposes.

Those of you that know me know I stick with my CPUs for Seti@home as I don't have any usable GPUs. Therefore I have no prior experience with Boinc and GPUs. This is about to change. I am upgrading my oldest machine for the last time, (interestingly it still has a couple original parts in it from 2002). This machine currently (still) runs a P4 (lol....). By todays standards the parts I'm upgrading to are still old and sluggish (GT 630, Core 2 Quad) but I will FINALLY have a few CUDA cores at my hands with a 64 bit processor to back em.

As I have only done CPU crunching at this point I have a question. (Keep in mind I will be running Linux, so this means 64bit cuda apps.)

I intend on using this video card for my computers graphics first and foremost, crunching is #2. please explain if I can do this AND crunch, and maybe some caveats or things I should know about using my system GPU to crunch. I assume for example running a 3D game would not fare well for crunching... So I ask u guys who know, what should I be aware of?


I shut down my crunching on my gaming machine when I want to play a game.
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Message 1303810 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 2:42:03 UTC

Nope, the original PSU in that build died about 5 years ago RIP. It has an E80+ 500w currently, no issues with power.

(just for fun, the only original parts left in that machine from its initial build are a 120GB Seagate HDD, and a Soundblaster Audigy Pro 2ZS.) LOL I wish I could have a PSU last a decade... Only you PowerPC and Cooling people get that luxury I assume. ;-)
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Message 1303812 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 2:50:14 UTC

Sounds like me - the case and a good keyboard are about that old, but not much else. Just thought I'd ask.
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Message 1303982 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 13:37:33 UTC

Why a core 2 quad? they run hotter, slower and consume a lot more power than a new i3 or i5 ivy... Is there a really big difference in price to make you choice that? Anyway, I think the C2Q CPU/MB is not a good investment, unless you were thinking in a "GPU cruncher only" host in which the CPU will only feed one or more big GPUs...

And also, if you choose a slightly better GPU, you wont need to suspend crunching for allmost anything other than apps that do 3D rendering or video recoding on GPU...

As a comparison on power:
My C2Duo at 3.0Ghz/GT9500 gives me 5K RAC draining 350Watts
My i7(ivy) at 3.4Ghz/GTX680 gives me 37K RAC draining 450Watts (and it would be able to give more if SETI were not having all the issues it has...)

Of course you know better than me what you want and what you can, but I think it is allways good to explore other points of view...
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Message 1303985 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 13:42:19 UTC - in response to Message 1303982.
Last modified: 9 Nov 2012, 13:54:53 UTC

Why a core 2 quad? they run hotter, slower and consume a lot more power than a new i3 or i5 ivy... Is there a really big difference in price to make you choice that? Anyway, I think the C2Q CPU/MB is not a good investment, unless you were thinking in a "GPU cruncher only" host in which the CPU will only feed one or more big GPUs...

And also, if you choose a slightly better GPU, you wont need to suspend crunching for allmost anything other than apps that do 3D rendering or video recoding on GPU...

As a comparison on power:
My C2Duo at 3.0Ghz/GT9500 gives me 5K RAC draining 350Watts
My i7(ivy) at 3.4Ghz/GTX680 gives me 37K RAC draining 450Watts (and it would be able to give more if SETI were not having all the issues it has...)

Of course you know better than me what you want and what you can, but I think it is allways good to explore other points of view...


This is not a new build, just swapping some parts into it, which will push everything else in the machine to its max. This is the fastest proc that Mobo can handle.
I'm pretty limited by the other hardware in the machine. For example, it's a LGA775 Socket, which as far as I know there are NO i5s or i7s in that format. Also there's no point in getting a better video card either for my purposes, as I'm limited by the Mobo's northbridge and PCI-express slot. Keep in mind this is not really intended for crunching, that'll be it's secondary purpose.

This hardware will be the last upgrade for that system, and technically it's the newest stuff that system will ever be able to handle. I'm just gonna run it until something dies. Early next year I will start to build a high-end desktop, then I will worry about a good processor and good crunching cards.

The advice I was looking for here is "what should I be aware of or be careful of, using my system GPU to crunch".

(If I was trying to maximize my RAC, yes I'd be buying different parts, or running my server's Boinc at >10% lol)
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Message 1303988 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 13:51:30 UTC - in response to Message 1303985.
Last modified: 9 Nov 2012, 13:52:53 UTC

If you whant to crunch, follow a simple roule, the bigger GPU is always better, and don´t forget Keppler GPUS (series 600 from Nvidia) produces a lot of less heat and uses a lot of less electricity (you will notice on your electric bill).

Buy the big GPU you can pay, CPU is secondary for crunching, even a small core 2 duo could feed a big GPU at full speed.

Just dont´t forget the heat, a big GPU at 100% produce a lot of heat and the number of slots on the MB is limited.
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Message 1303989 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 13:56:21 UTC - in response to Message 1303985.

I'm pretty limited by the other hardware in the machine. For example, it's a LGA775 Socket, which as far as I know there are NO i5s or i7s in that format. Also there's no point in getting a better video card either for my purposes, as I'm limited by the Mobo's southbridge. Keep in mind this is not really intended for crunching, that'll be it's secondary purpose.

This hardware will be the last upgrade for that system, I'm just gonna run it until something dies. Early next year I will start to build a high-end desktop, then I will worry about a good processor and good crunching cards.

(If I was trying to maximize my RAC, yes I'd be buying different parts.)

I thought you were upgrading the mobo too...
By the way, be sure that the BIOS is able to handle a C2Q or at least that there is an upgrade available for it if not... just because the mobo has the right socket doesnt means it will support all the CPUs that use that socket.

And I was not talking about maximizing the raw RAC my point was to maximize the rac vs. power...
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Message 1303991 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 14:01:18 UTC - in response to Message 1303989.
Last modified: 9 Nov 2012, 14:02:04 UTC

Ah, gotcha. And yes the mobo supports core2 and core2 quads, but nothing newer, hence the choice of a core2quad. And I settled for a cheap one vs a STILL 300$ fast one. Just trying to squeeze every last bit of life out of that Mobo and other parts. :-)
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Message 1303997 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 14:20:57 UTC

GPU, CPU and PSU look good.

If you are also crunching with your CPU: Remember to keep 1 core free to assist your GPU.

After you start crunching, and everything looks good: You may want to have your GPU crunch 2 at one time. Just look through the threads on how to do this.
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Message 1304000 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 14:27:53 UTC - in response to Message 1303985.

The advice I was looking for here is "what should I be aware of or be careful of, using my system GPU to crunch".


Not much really. It's not really something you need to worry about.

On my Atom/ION netbook which I use and abuse all the time, I hardly ever exit Boinc. The only time I do is with HD playback. Especially over HDMI.

In fact, it might be the CPU you really need to worry about. You can fix that by having it run @80% (for example) or use one of the "Suspend work when..." options.

Since Atom/ION performance is nothing short of anemic, I can't imagine you running into trouble on the hardware you are describing. Funnily enough, no amount of crunching places a "choke-hold" on my little laptop:)

Only other thing I can think of is the amount of tasks you try to run on the GPU. But finding that sweet spot is a one-off deal.

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Message 1304019 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 15:21:22 UTC

If the MB is from 2002 will it even have a PCIe slot?

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Message 1304025 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 15:38:03 UTC - in response to Message 1304019.

If the MB is from 2002 will it even have a PCIe slot?


Great question!
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Message 1304026 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 15:50:01 UTC - in response to Message 1304019.
Last modified: 9 Nov 2012, 15:52:32 UTC

If the MB is from 2002 will it even have a PCIe slot?


The year WINDOWS XP was introduced.
Most mobos from 2002 had/have A(ccelerated)G(raphics)
P(ort)s and PCI slots, sometimes even ISA slots.

PCIe(xpress)(1.0) x16/8/4/1, 'appeared' in 2004 and/or later.
PCI Express.
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Message 1304027 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 16:01:51 UTC - in response to Message 1304019.
Last modified: 9 Nov 2012, 16:21:53 UTC

If the MB is from 2002 will it even have a PCIe slot?

The motherboard was replaced a few years back, which also required purchasing a new processor at that time (at which time I changed to another P4 in the proper package), due to the change in socket on the board. It was an interesting task getting Win2K to run on that more modern mainboard. ;-)

No parts are original besides one of it's HDD's and it's soundcard (used as a sound system regularly, and now runs Linux instead of win2k)
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Message 1304063 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 17:18:18 UTC - in response to Message 1304027.

Frankly, I don't know why you don't just buy a cheap system. I wouldn't normally recommend an AMD system but in this case you could save yourself a lot of grief.


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Message 1304068 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 17:26:46 UTC - in response to Message 1304063.

Frankly, I don't know why you don't just buy a cheap system. I wouldn't normally recommend an AMD system but in this case you could save yourself a lot of grief.



I would nomally agree, but...

Ex - You appear to like tinkering with your 'old' system. If this is the way you decide to go: Please keep us informed of the results.

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Message 1304101 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 18:07:02 UTC - in response to Message 1304063.
Last modified: 9 Nov 2012, 18:15:45 UTC

Frankly, I don't know why you don't just buy a cheap system. I wouldn't normally recommend an AMD system but in this case you could save yourself a lot of grief.



I'm not causing myself any grief. I'm upgrading my system for <200$, and the added plus is having some CUDA cores. :-)

I have several other better systems already. This is just one final upgrade for my oldest machine. But it will also be the first CUDA card I've had, period. Hence my line of questioning.

As far as buying a cheap system? meh, I build my own. That extra money saved can go towards my next build, which will also probably be my last desktop machine anyways. I get by fine these days with my server and laptops.

As far as the results... We shall see, I almost never run anything at 100% but I may run boinc at about 50% on just the GPU. I am not too interested in crunching with the core2 quad, as I have a Xeon running in my server that can outperform that by leaps and bounds if I want. (most of my RAC is from roughly 7% use on the Xeon)
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Message 1304117 - Posted: 9 Nov 2012, 18:37:13 UTC - in response to Message 1304101.
Last modified: 9 Nov 2012, 18:40:50 UTC

Frankly, I don't know why you don't just buy a cheap system. I wouldn't normally recommend an AMD system but in this case you could save yourself a lot of grief.



I'm not causing myself any grief. I'm upgrading my system for <200$, and the added plus is having some CUDA cores. :-)

I have several other better systems already. This is just one final upgrade for my oldest machine. But it will also be the first CUDA card I've had, period. Hence my line of questioning.

As far as buying a cheap system? meh, I build my own. That extra money saved can go towards my next build, which will also probably be my last desktop machine anyways. I get by fine these days with my server and laptops.

As far as the results... We shall see, I almost never run anything at 100% but I may run boinc at about 50% on just the GPU. I am not too interested in crunching with the core2 quad, as I have a Xeon running in my server that can outperform that by leaps and bounds if I want. (most of my RAC is from roughly 7% use on the Xeon)



:) :) :)
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