31 October 2009

Dorky Nerd

One of the guys posted a link to this test on the Seti@home forums, so in true nerdy fashion I did the test and here is the result. If you want to take the test the link is: http://www.nerdtests.com/ft_nt2.php

BOINC 6.10.17 release
This version became the "official" release version yesterday. I have it running on one machine and all the others are one minor version behind. There wasn't much difference between them.

GTX295 returned
I forgot to mention last week that the faulty GTX295 got returned to the distributor. I'll have to chase them up and see if they are going to give me a replacement soon.

Its 31 degrees in the loft at the moment, so all the number crunchers, except Maul are off. When things cool down overnight I usually fire up one or two of them.

Win 7 upgrades
No news from the shop, so they obviously don't want my money. Not that i'm in a hurry to upgrade the machines. There have been a few reports of work units taking longer to run, particularly on the GPU's after people have upgraded.

Seti SSD's
The guys at Seti have finally plugged in the SSD's I bought. No news yet on how well they are doing and if it has helped alleviate some of their MySQL bottlenecks.

Seti out of work
Seti ran out of work due to the radio telescope (Arecibo) being switched off for maintenance. No work coming from them for a week or two, except some old data the guys have been running through a software radar-blanker. They are prone to interference from radars located near the radio telescope. The data they are software blanking is from 2006, before they had a hardware based solution.

In the mean time I have been concentrating on Einstein as its scores are not very high compared to the other projects I run.

24 October 2009

All stop

This weeks news:

All stop
We had a few hot days this week so had the entire farm powered off during the day. As a result not too much progress.

Windows 7
Seeing as it was finally released I bought an upgrade to put on my laptop. It had Vista which never worked properly. Its now running Windows 7. I have have a couple of issues since then:
  • Wireless LAN keeps dropping out
  • The fingerprint s/w (Verisoft Access Manager) isn't compatible and had to be un-installed
Apart from that it seems to be working fine. Its also faster than Vista.

Future upgrades
See previous posts about these. I spoke to the shop regarding the Windows 7 and memory upgrades. They are getting pricing for me. I was thinking of going to 6Gb per machine but with the i9 coming in Q2/2010 it might be worthwhile going up to 9Gb or even 12Gb.

BOINC versions
We are up to 6.10.16 this week. It addresses issues for users that use remote access to their machines and BOINC (used to) kill their GPU tasks. As I don't use remote access software I never had this problem anyway.

ATI version of Astropulse
I've been trying to test this new hybrid application. As CAL/Brook+ doesn't have any FFT functions they have to be done on the cpu and the other bits can be done on the gpu. Unfortunately it won't work with the Catalyst 8.12 drivers. These older drivers are required for the Milkyway optimised ATI gpu app. The 9.x series Catalyst drivers crash.

17 October 2009

Another milestone

This week has been fairly quiet.

GPUgrid hits 6 million
I managed to hit 6 million credits on GPUgrid. Below is my certificate.

The donation drive at GPUgrid seems to be stuck on 2% of their target (50,000 euros by the end of this year). While I am the top donor, I am more than happy to lose the title if some company or individual would like to support them.

BOINC versions
Another new version of BOINC came out today with a fair few changes so I will give it a try on one of the machines to see how it goes. The previous version (6.10.13) looks pretty good so far and I don't need the newer features, but some of them would be nice to have. The change history can be found on the forums at GPUgrid, Seti, Milkyway and of course the BOINC message boards.

Return of dud GTX295
I got a Return Authorisation number for the faulty GTX295, so I will have to drop it off with the distributor (Altech) next week.

ATI card settles down
The ATI seems to have settled down with the 8.12 drivers. While not the latest they seem to work with the Milkyway optimised app for CAL/Brook+. It completes a work unit in 65 seconds on my HD4850 card.

Unfortunately due to the policies over on their project it gives a maximum of 48 tasks at a time, making it almost impossible to build a decent cache of work. This means everybody hits the server all the time uploading, reporting and requesting new work.

Overall not a great deal of progress this week as there were a couple of warm days and I had the machines powered off during the day. Today had a cool breeze that kept the temperature down so I could have most of the machines running.

09 October 2009

7 million

This weeks BOINC news...

Seti hits 7 million
I just hit the 7 million credits for Seti tonight. Below is my Setificate.

ATI woes
The software for the ATI has been causing some grief, with driver restarts whenever you click on anything on the screen. I have tried a number of the Catalyst drivers including 9.1, 9.2, 9.8 and 9.9 which all seem to have this problem while running CAL/Book+ applications. At the moment I am now trying the 8.12 driver.

Despite these driver restarts I have managed to get Milkyway@home (one of the BOINC projects that has a CAL/Brook+ application) up to 64,000 credits. Its taking approx 65 seconds per work unit on the HD4850 card.

BOINC testing
A couple more BOINC versions out this week. Currently its up to 6.10.13 (which I have running on two machines). It all seems to be behaving well on both the ATI and the nVidia equipped machines. The developers think it might be stable enough for a release soon.

05 October 2009

ATI comes to town

Introducing Chekov
This Saturday I picked up the other two i7 machines and got them home. One I had previously (Spock) but it had the wrong motherboard so it went back. It was already setup so all I had to do was take it out of the box and plug it in.

The other one has been named Chekov. It however differs from my standard setup in that it has an ATI HD4850 graphics card. Below is the GPU-Z screenshot for it. It was fate really. If all three of the GTX295's worked then I wouldn't have used it on its own, but seeing as one doesn't...

BOINC versions
A couple more BOINC versions were released for alpha testing this week. I don't think this is the last of it as there have been a couple of bug fixes done since the last build. Its up to 6.10.11 which seems fairly stable so far. Having run it for a while on Kirk without any issues I have updated all of the machines to it.

ATI science apps
There are currently only two science apps available for the ATI cards. They are Milkyway@home (which I have attached to) and Collatz. There is a Seti@home Astropulse app being developed using CAL/Brook+ code but it has yet to be released.

CUDA has better software support and is much more advanced than CAL/Brook+ is. OpenCL, while supposedly being supported by both vendors, is even further behind. Unfortunately most of the projects see OpenCL as the longer term solution and don't want to develop new apps.

Future plans for "the farm"
There are a couple of things on the horizon, but not yet released so will have to wait a while for them to eventuate, if they happen at all. In expected release date order they are:
  1. Windows 7 x64 upgrades along with memory upgrades to 6Gb
  2. GT300 based graphics cards
  3. Intel i9 CPU upgrades