25 April 2010

Maul pics

While Maul was off in the shop I got them to replace the graphics cards. The new ones are the evga GT240 as you can see below.

The card is a single-slot design so its possible to put 3 of them into the Asus P6T motherboard. It doesn't use any external power connectors either.

And this is what it looks like once they have all been installed into the CoolerMaster 932 case.

Another shot taken at a different angle.

And another shot from the front of the case.

Here is the GPU-Z report for them. The first two cards run at PCIe x16 speed and the third one runs at PCIe x4 speed, other than that they are identical.

Speed-wise they are slower than the GTX260's but then you can't get the GTX260's any more. They only have 96 shaders (now called cuda cores) so they are theoretically less than half the speed, but the GDDR5 memory system helps to make up for some of that. I have run some GPUgrid work that comes in over 10 hours, where a GTX295 takes 6 hours.
Another "feature" to note is that under Windows Vista and 7 you need to put vga dummy plugs onto the 3rd card before it can be used. I asked in my computer shop for one and they had never even heard of them. All they are is a couple of resistors in a vga plug to simulate load.

21 April 2010

A quiet week

A fairly quiet week production-wise. I've been leaving one machine on during the day and the rest off. In the evenings I usually fire up a 2nd one, which operates until its time to head off for work.

They released a new science app 6.72 which is meant to be faster. However the 3 work units that I got so far were the long variety that take 10+ hours, so its a bit hard to tell.

Maul ready to come home
Maul (its an ASUS P6T) has been off at the shop since February. Its motherboard has been back to ASUS twice. Anyway its come back. Funny thing though, the shop rang me to tell me Win 7 isn't working. I asked why as it was working when I dropped the machine off. They couldn't explain why.

Its had 2 old GTX260 cards removed and 3 GT240 cards installed. The CPU fan has been replaced by a Noctua and the old CPU fan is now blowing air out of the top of the case. The memory should be 6Gb this time.

Nvidia GTX470 and GTX480
It seems very few of the science apps will work with them. A couple of projects have managed to get them to work. There is a alpha-test Seti multibeam app that runs. The GPUgrid apps all fail, but a member has donated a 470 and a 480 to them so they can work out why their science app doesn't work.

There also seems to be some confusion with drivers. The latest 197.45 (WHQL) driver doesn't support them, but there is a 197.41 that does. No doubt nvidia will sort things out in due course, but I am not wasting the money on one at the moment.

09 April 2010

GPUgrid zooms past

This week GPUgrid cracked 9 million credits. It also passed my Seti credits (last week they hit 9 million). I've been crunching Seti since February 2008 and GPUgrid since December 2008.

BOINC versions
This week saw 6.10.43 pronounced the "release" version for Windows and Linux and 6.10.44 for the Mac. Following on from that 6.10.45 came out with a few minor fixes that just missed the 43 version. I've got 43 on two machines and 45 on another, the rest are switched off. Both versions are working fine.

He's still off getting fixed. Its only been 6 weeks so far. Apparently ASUS fixed it once, something to do with the BIOS (even though it had been updated a couple of times). As mentioned in my 1st of April post it was damaged in transit and has gone back to be fixed yet again.

GT240 cards
I was looking to get 2 or 3 of these to replace the aging GTX260's that were in Maul. Apparently the GDDR5 ones are about 2/3rds the speed of a GTX260, which is pretty good considering they have have less than half the number of shaders (now known as cuda cores) of a 260. They also use a lot less power and are single slot cards (well the evga ones are). The shop are supposedly finding out more details (like pricing and availability) for me.

05 April 2010

Seti passes 9 million

Despite concentrating on GPUgrid for most of the long weekend I managed to reach the 9 million milestone for Seti. Things have been returned to normal (ie no more manual intervention).

As mentioned above I was concentrating on GPUgrid for most of the long weekend. The guys there have been trying to test some new applications that are a bit faster than the current one. They also tried a cuda 3 version to support the newer Fermi-based cards. Unfortunately the cuda 3 apps crashed straight away, so they have gone back to using the cuda 2.2 and cuda 2.3 versions.

Qui-Gon playing up
This is a quad-core machine with a GTS250 card in it. It was working most of last week without any problems. On Friday it decided it wasn't going to work any more and had a constant beep from its speaker and not even a BIOS screen. It did this a fortnight ago when I cleaned it out. I left it off for 2 days. Its now back up and running. I don't know why it does this. The CPU temperature seems to be around 43 degrees according to the BIOS readings.

01 April 2010

Fermi released

The offical launch of the Fermi-based cards was last week. I have been checking pricing on the GTX470, which seems to be as low as $500 AUD. Still about $100 more than it should be, and nobody has any stock until April the 12th at least! Its too expensive for me, so I will wait a bit in the hope the price will drop further.

Project news: GPUgrid
It seems a reviewer has been trying a GTX480 over at GPUgrid. The project has 2 science apps, one worked, one didn't. The developers over there been updating their apps to support the Fermi-based cards., which includes upgrading to the newer cuda 3 libraries.

They are also seeking a card (or cards) to be donated. The developers posted the reply from nvidia. It seems nvidia weren't interested unless GPUgrid had recently purchased a Tesla, which of course they hadn't.

Other news
Not much to report this week. The weather cooled down a bit so I have managed to get Kirk and Sulu running all day for the last couple of days. They both have a single GTX295 so they can do a fair bit of cuda work.

BOINC also had a minor issue with the newer Fermi-based cards as it wasn't correctly reporting some card details at start up. Its just a cosmetic bug which they have already corrected.

Maul loses capacitor
The shop told me Maul should be fixed by the end of the month. It still hasn't come back. Apparently when they shipped the motherboard back to the distributor a capacitor had come off. It was working properly, apart from the 4Gb memory limit, when I returned it to the shop.

Unfortunately all the work on Maul will have timed out by now. It was completed but not reported due to problems with the Seti servers at the beginning of March.