irstly I installed Ubuntu server onto a USB stick, as this isn’t all that interesting I’ve skipped this part.
Once into Ubuntu I SSH’ed into the machine over the LAN and setup the Folding@Home client.
Configured the client.
All installed and ready to run!
After a brief moment, the machine began downloading it’s first work unit and eventually, the 2 CPU cores went flat out 100% processing the data.
Now I ran this for awhile to test stability but I plan to try overclocking this CPU on this machine to get that little bit extra performance out of it. I also want to install ‘xfce’ desktop environment a I want to be able to view the folding@home client status. Granted you can do this from the command line but it looks a lot nicer in a GUI.
Next up, install the GUI so i can keep track of what the client is doing.
I installed xfce as it’s extremely lightweight and also supports xrdp which is windows remote desktop protocol, my favorite remote desktop program.
xfce took ages as it’s rather big but after i installed xrdp
SSL 2048bit key generation and all the other final steps…
once complete i connected via one of my Windows boxes
Next it was time to install Fahviewer and Fahcontrol, both of which needed a ton of dependencies but this was easily fixed with ‘apt-get -f install’
Once this was done I logged into the machine via xrdp and took a look at the status, the machine was performing around 1474 points per day. Fairly slow in comparison to many more modern machines such as an Intel i5 or something. I will now overclock it and see what more i can get out of it.
Once in the BIOS i went to the FSB settings to have a play around with them and see what this machine can handle
Once i got to the stage where it wouldn’t take anymore I took the settings back down a bit and left it at that
Here are the final overclock settings i got out of the machine
The result was from 2400mhz to 2734mhz a pretty nice increase
Once again i headed back into the OS and remote connected and now the machine is doing 3479 points per day. A massive increase although i think part of this was due to the machine settling down. It takes awhile for the machine to calculate the points per day rate but I’m sure the overclocking plays a part too.
That’s the machine all configured and ready to go, next i will mount it on a board so it can go up on the wall in my workshop as well as also having silent fans installed as it is currently pretty loud. I may also get a Pico PSU for it so i can use a external transformer and do away with the huge power supply.
Little side note, I’ve increased the number of work units worked on at one time. The program typically makes you run both cores (or however many cores you have) on one work unit. I prefer 2 work units running, one per core. As i find this gives me more completed work units overall.
Finishing touches, a rather crude case!
It is now running in my closet under the stairs 24/7 for Folding@home.
One last thing to install, lm-sensors so i can keep track of the temperatures.
66c, pretty warm but not bad for a heavily overclocked CPU fully maxed out constantly.
Want to join the research project? https://folding.stanford.edu
This machine has now been retired for a much faster and less power hungry i5 based laptop.
I got a cheap core 2 duo laptop with a nice big 17 inch screen and although it’s not nearly as fast as my i5 it is great for my eyes.
So i’m now using it as my general use laptop. The i5 can process well and it only uses 35w vs the AMD’s 65w so this is a great way to increase research and also lower the cost of electric use.
I’ve removed the SSD and a few other non essential items from the laptop to save even more power.
it is now folding 24/7 at a much higher rate! The AMD machine did 1300 points per day whereas this i5 laptop is doing 6501 points per day, a massive increase at almost half the cost of electric!
This machine has now also been removed as well as my rack server has taken over the research effort.
AMD was running at 1,300 points per day
i5 laptop was 6,501 points per day
The 8 core beast is doing it at 17,320 points per day!
Not bad for older 2.33Ghz Xeon processors (when you consider my much newer and better i7 3770 3.4Ghz processor does it at around 20,000… not too far behind at all!)