28 January 2010

Einstein reaches 3 million

Finally I managed to get Einstein to the 3 million milestone. Below is a rather faint copy of the certificate.

Memory (or lack of)
The shop still hasn't replaced the memory. It was meant to be available and tested by Monday. Monday came and went and when I rang they admitted it hadn't even arrived. Tuesday was a public holiday. So the other couple of machines (Sulu and Maul) await their memory upgrades.

BIOS upgrades
I've been on the ASUS web site tonight checking for what BIOS version is the current one. Apparently the one I installed (ver 0202) dates back to January 2009. The current one seems to be 1004 and is dated January 2010. It still doesn't support the i7-980x, so I may as well wait until they have a version that does.

Progress report
Well not much to report due to having machines off. Its hot and humid here in Sydney. As mentioned above Einstein got to its milestone.

Project news: Einstein
The guys at Einstein have been busy developing a new ABP (Arecibo Binary Pulsar Search) science app. This uses less double precision maths and is therefore somewhat faster.

They have also indicated there is a new Gravity Wave search program in the works. This is expected to cut run times down from around 8 hours to 3 hours. It won't be deployed until the next search run (S5R7).

Project news: GPUgrid
The guys at GPUgrid have been optimising their science app. There is a newer version in the works that is supposed to be up to 60% faster that the current one. They have also been trying to move away from using the CuFFT libraries provided by nvidia.

Unfortunately their testing of an OpenCL version of their science app proved that OpenCL on the ATI cards is not ready yet. Apart from being somewhat slower than a CUDA app, the ATI software causes system hangs or reboots. Hopefully later versions will correct these issues.

18 January 2010

Out of memory

I bought 4 sets of RAM upgrades. However when I tried them all four reported 4Gb instead of 6Gb when installed in Maul. Thinking this was a little suspicious I installed one set in Sulu, which found 6Gb, however when I ran a memory tester on it, I started getting errors. So back to the shop they went.

I have suggested I will start charging them if I get another faulty batch. No news yet from them regarding replacements. If there is no output from a memory test with the next lot i'm not even taking them out of the shop.

Graphics cards
Maul has a couple of old GTX260's (the 65nm variety). Unfortunately these don't work with the GPUgrid science app due to bugs with Nvidia's FFT cuda routines. They are also over a year old and starting to get clogged with dust. If I can't clean them out, which requires some disassembly, i'll need to replace them. My options at the moment are:

  • Replace them with newer GTX260's (55nm). Approx AUD $300 each
  • Replace them with a GTX295 (if I can get a single PCB card). Approx AUD $600

I was hoping Nvidia would have the GT300 (aka Fermi) cards available by now, but they still seem to be having issues. Rumours suggest that they get too hot so they have had to reduce the number of shaders. Don't expect to see these coming off the production line any time soon.

BOINC versions
6.10.29 was released with a number of modifications, most notably to the work-fetch side of things. I've installed it on 3 machines, which would appear to be working fine so far.

Plans for 2010
As far as future (potential) upgrades this year go its currently looking like:

1. Upgrade Intel i7-920 CPU's to Intel i7-980x (aka the i9)
2. Upgrade graphics cards to GT300 based ones, if Nvidia gets its act together

Progress this fortnight
Not a great deal. The machines have mostly been off during the day and only a couple running overnight due to the heat. I have been running a number of climateprediction work units which take 60 hours each. This is in addition to my usual mix of Einstein, GPUgrid and Seti work.

Einstein news
I still haven't managed to get Einstein to the 3 million credit milestone yet. Its currently on 2.98 million. Hopefully by next week i'll be able to get it to this milestone.

They have released a new ABP science app that uses a lot more single-precision maths, thus making it a lot faster and run times have reduced quite dramatically.

01 January 2010

Another year gone

Well another year has gone by. Below is my BOINCstats image of where I ended the year. A bit shy of 20 million credits. I wonder if I can double it by the end of 2010?

Laptop screen
The screen in the laptop seems to have died. At the moment i've plugged in an old monitor to get things going. I bought another laptop (different brand) and once i've got my stuff off this one its off to be fixed.

Wether or weather
Its hot and humid here, currently 31 degrees in my loft where the machines live. I only have one running due to the heat. I don't expect much progress this month until things cool down. One good thing though, the electricity bill has halved because the machines haven't been running as much.