27 September 2012


This is the Palit GTX660 (no not the Ti). I bought these to replace the 560Ti cards. Its a factory over-clocked card.
In the cardboard box is a driver disk, power cable, DVI adaptor and the card itself. Its a bit shorter than the 560Ti.
This is a side-on shot. I was trying to show the heatsink in there.
And here we are installed in one of the Asus P8Z77 machines.
Here are the GPU-Z screen shots.
You'll need Nvidia driver 306.23 at a minimum as older drivers don't recognise the card.
Initial runs have been on Seti using Jason's x41z (CUDA 4.2) app. After that I let it loose on some Einstein work (CUDA 3.2).
The Seti work seems to be a bit faster. To be fair they have all been short work units recently so its hard to tell as they only run for 2 or 3 minutes. The Einstein work showed much better speed. I must stress that I have only run a few work units through it at the moment so its a bit early to tell, however Einstein appeared to be around 30% faster. The crunching will continue.

21 September 2012

GPUgrid 100 million

I finally hit 100 million for GPUgrid. Below is my certificate. Crunching continues...
HD 7770
The old HD4850 that I have only supports OpenCL 1.0 and none of the projects use 1.0, so I bought a HD7770 during the week. The idea was it could run OpenCL apps as they are supposedly pretty good. Well they aren't.

I put it into one of the Asus P6T's which already had a GTX560Ti. After a bit of stuffing around to get OpenCL installed its ready. I start up BOINC and it gives a theoretical figure of 1,382 GFlops for the GTX560Ti and 3,520 for the HD7770. That suggests the 7770 is around 2 and a 1/2 times faster than the 560Ti.

I allow Einstein to download some work, the 560Ti gets 2 BRP cuda tasks and the 7770 gets 2 BRP OpenCL tasks. The 560Ti completes them in 2,000 seconds and the 7770 does them in 5,293 seconds. Okay its not a fair comparison as we are comparing a CUDA app with an OpenCL app. So to be fair I get some Milkyway work. They run OpenCL on both. The 560Ti takes 320 seconds and the 7770 takes 373 seconds. While the 7770 is theoretically faster, in real life it isn't.

As you would have noted in the last couple of weeks I have been updating some of the motherboards and prior to that I replaced the GTX570's with GTX670's. Now they have been completed that leaves the remaining GTX560Ti's to be replaced. I have been looking at the GTX660 (not the Ti). That would bring the peak power down from 170 watts to 140 watts and should give a performance boost as well.

15 September 2012

Skeleton Adventure

I finally found a suitable case for the Adventure. This is is it. An Antec Skeleton. In this shot you can see the Adventure 2800 with the power supply underneath.
This is the supporting bar that the back plane of the cards screw into. The black mark I have drawn is where I need to cut it to accomodate the PCIe bridge card. This is in about the 11th slot if one had a normal motherboard.
And here it is again plugged into one of the Asus P6T's. I only have two of these left after recent upgrades to Asus P8Z77 motherboards. The short green card just below the fan is the other PCIe bridge card.
In this picture I am looking down on the Skeleton. You can see the 4 graphics cards starting from the left. You can also see the clear plastic supporting bar across the top.
Another shot, which looks a bit clearer, where you can see the graphics cards.
At the moment I have 4 of the GTS450SP cards installed in it. These may not be its final configuration but they will do for now. Indeed it might not be driven by a P6T even. I am looking at getting another P8Z77 to drive it.
I have run some Seti and Einstein work on it since installation. I had some issues with the Einstein GPU tasks erroring out when running 2 per card. I reduced them to 1 per card and they appear to be working fine now although it needs some further testing. Seti tasks seemed to run fine (using the x41z app from Jason) running 2 at a time.

12 September 2012

Raspberry Pi info

It seems others are also interested in using the Raspberry Pi. I have mine up and running. I've even got BOINC installed on it. Unfortunately there are no projects currently supporting it at the moment.

You have to remember the Pi only has 256Mb of main memory. Mine has 70Mb free when running BOINC, so if the science apps can fit in that then they should run. Its not that fast, so you'd want something that isn't too complex for it to run. I have been looking at the Seti Multi-beam app, which might just squeeze in. There isn't one in the repo, so I have to get the source and compile it myself.

If people ask their favorite projects for science apps they may look into it (Asteriods @ Home has said they will) assuming the hardware isn't too limiting. That means there is no point in asking over at CPDN as their climate models are huge and take a long time to process. Look for an existing message thread or start a new message thread on the project message boards to get the ball rolling. If enough people ask then the projects are more likely to do something. If projects are supportive we can get native BOINC support rather than needing to use an app_info file (also known as the anonymous platform mechanism).

Its possible to run the Pi in command line mode (ie not run X-Windows on it) which should free up a bit of memory. Exactly how much I don't know. Terminal (the program) seems to use 91Mb, which seems rather excessive. Not running it should also free up some memory.

Where do you get it?
The other question I have been asked is where I got mine from. Well I ordered two. The Raspberry Pi website has two suppliers listed. I ordered one from the 2nd link (Allied Electronics and RS Components) and after ordering found out its on back-order for up to 13 weeks. After that I went to the other site (Element 14) who have a local presence here in Sydney, Australia and they had 800 in stock. It arrived about 2 days after ordering, with the case being delayed by a week.

06 September 2012

6th of September

A quick update since the last post.

Raspberry Pi arrived on Monday. Unfortunately I didn't have the right cable to plug it into power (it uses a Micro-USB B socket). Fired it up on Tuesday night, but haven't connected it to the network to see what sort of software is in the repo for it.

I experimented with Linux Mint 13 running in a VirtualBox VM so I could run Asteroids@home work (they only have a Linux app). Got it working only to read an announcement today that they will be creating Vbox work units so there is no need for this image now.

Two new WD 5003 Black drives arrived on Tuesday (SATA III and 64Mb cache). Swapped out the hard disks in both the new machines with these and reinstalled Windows. The windows benchmarks think a WD 5003 is the same speed as a WD Blue (SATA II and 16Mb cache).

Returned the second failed WD Black drive for repair/replacement under warranty.

Dropped off a 3rd Asus P6T for upgrading to an Asus P8Z77 machine. That will bring the farm up to 3 of these P8Z77 machines. I should be picking it up tomorrow.

Sold all 3 Asus P6T motherboards, heatsinks and memory.

02 September 2012

2nd of September

So this is what I get up to on my weekends...
Yesterday I took the two Asus P6T's with i7-920 CPU's off to the computer shop. I came back with two Asus P8Z77-V LE Plus's with i7-3770 CPU's. You can see one of them below.
Unfortunately they couldn't get a kit for the old Thermaltake 120mm heatsink so it got replaced by a Noctua NH9 (92mm) with 2 fans in a push-pull arrangement. I also replaced the memory as the old motherboard uses triple channel memory and the new one is dual channel.
Out of this I have gained a faster CPU that uses less watts, more memory and the newer graphics cards now have a PCIe 3 slot giving faster transfers.
On the down side I had to reinstall Windows due to the chipset drivers being totally different and the hard disk in one of them failed (its still under warranty). I also have a problem with the KVM cabling as the P8Z77 has only a single PS/2 port (it can be keyboard or mouse) but the KVM expects both. I will need to buy some USB KVM cables.
As the new motherboard has a couple of SATA III ports I have ordered two new hard disks, same size as before but SATA III and with a bigger cache.