30 November 2009

Midweek post

A mid-week posting for a change.

Its been hot most of this week so most of the computers have been off. The old work horse Maul has been running every night when things cool down along with one of the other machines.

Einstein does cuda
The guys at Einstein@home have released a hybrid app that uses both a cpu and a gpu. It seems to saved all of one hour (from the usual 5 and a 1/2). So all in all not a particularly good improvement. I have disabled the gpu from use on their project as i'd rather run work that will fully utilise the graphics cards.

I have been concentrating on Einstein and GPUgrid in the hope of getting the Einstein scores up a bit. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have made much difference, except to my pending results.

Chekov doesn't like beta
I have installed the ATI beta OpenCL drivers v2 on Chekov. Since upgrading to Windows 7 x64 it has been crashing on the 1st boot-up. After it reboots it seems to work. I didn't have this problem with the same drivers when running 32 bit. I presume its badly written drivers. As its been hot I haven't had a chance to install the latest release drivers (instead of beta) due to Chekov being off.

I did try the Milkyway gpu app but they all failed. Unfortunately their app was written using an older SDK and the CAL/Brook+ DLL supplied is rather old.

22 November 2009

A quiet one

This and the last week have been fairly quiet. I did update the Seti Multibeam science app to a 64 bit version. I does indeed run a bit faster as a result. Unfortunately its the only 64 bit app out there for Windows, so it continues to run 32 bit apps for the rest.

Next upgrade
I was going to upgrade Chekov to the 64 bit version of Windows 7 next, however they guys at Lunatics (they optimise the Seti apps) brought out a hybrid Astropulse application that runs on both the CPU and an ATI graphics card. I was beta testing it. I ran into some issues with earlier drivers needed for the Milkyway science app and the Seti app being built with a later SDK that required newer drivers. After resolving that issue it seems they take around 10.5 hours to run instead of the normal 16 hours on the cpu only.

Its summer here in Sydney, Australia so we are now into the hot weather. Today is forecast to get to 41 degrees. All the machines have been powered off during the day as the loft they are in gets even hotter. If its forecast to get over 30 I even turn off the file server and router.

Nvidia CUDA 3.0
Nvidia released a 2nd beta driver with cuda 3.0 support. The cuda run-time DLL's are only available for developers at this point and unable to be distributed to the public. It seems that the programs will need to be recompiled with the new cuda compiler, but there appears to be no additional speedup or improvements. The developers who have been looking at it suspect its additional functionality for the upcoming G300 (Fermi) chip.

I did try the 1st beta driver using existing CUDA 2.3 DLL's, however the GPUgrid app failed. It was run on Maul, which has dual GTX260 cards. They last behaved with the 182.50 drivers. I didn't bother with the 2nd beta and will probably wait until there is a "release" version.

07 November 2009

64 bits - sort of

This weeks news...

Spock updates to Win 7 x64
Spent a few hours upgrading Spock to Windows 7 Professional (64 bit) today.

The first part was to install windows, this went smoothly. I then installed the nVidia 190.62 (64 bit) drivers and a bunch of windows updates. Next I installed the 64 bit version of BOINC. This went fine too. I then copied the BOINC directories that I had backed up. When I started up BOINC it then complained that it couldn't connect to the core client. After a bit of fiddling I did a reinstall with the repair option. That fixed it. Still running the 32 bit apps at this point. I tentatively let it download some work for Seti, as I use an app_info file for it. It downloaded a bunch of cuda work so I stopped it asking for more. I used the ReSchedule tool to shift some of them over to the cpu to make sure they run fine.

I shut it down again and removed the existing 3 x 1Gb RAM sticks and installed 3 x 2Gb sticks. I restarted it and we're off! Everything seems to be running fine now. I am waiting for it to finish off the Seti work before I try updating the Seti multibeam science app to 64 bit. Its the only Windows/Seti optimised app to have a 64 bit version.

Replacement GTX295 arrived
I got a replacement GTX295 on Wednesday. It arrived unannounced. Its the older dual PCB version. So I complained to the company I purchased it from pointing out that I purchased the single PCB version. The guy on the other end tried to tell me they were newer. After that I had to send an email showing i'd ordered the single PCB version, which I did. The guy rang back and then tried to tell me there weren't any in stock and I was mistaken where they were shipped from (Brisbane). I suggested they might like to replace it with a different brand as long as its the single PCB version or refund my money.