29 October 2017

29th of October

Farm status
Intel GPUs
Have been running Asteroids and Einstein work overnight.

Nvidia GPUs
Had a burst of Einstein work overnight for 2 nights.

Raspberry Pis
All running Einstein BRP4 work.

Other news
As you can see from the Farm status I am running overnight as its too hot during the day. I was running Asteroids work until they ran out of work units. No GPU work running due to the heat. The Pi’s seem largely immune to overheating provided there is airflow over their heatsink.

I found my hand drawn Pi case plans so will take some time off work this week to see if I can get them drawn up to enable 3D printing.

22 October 2017

Rpi Bramble

Farm Status
Intel GPUs
Running Einstein gravity wave work overnight

Nvidia GPUs
Running Seti work overnight

Raspberry Pis
All running Einstein BRP4 work

Rpi Bramble
The Pi farm or bramble as the Pi users call them, consists of 11 Raspberry Pi 3B’s. One acts as a support node for the others and has a PiDrive connected. The other 10 are compute nodes. The support node runs a proxy server and as a time server.

Five of the compute nodes have had my fan modification done to them where I cut a hole in the top of the official Pi case and mount a 40mm fan. The GPIO pins provide the power for the fan. The other five sit in front of a desk fan with their top off in order to get air flow. All have copper heatsinks on the SoC. For details see “Mod my Pi Case” http://markjatboinc.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/mod-my-pi-case.html

I have two 5 port USB chargers providing power. I only use 4 ports as the charger reduces the current when all 5 ports are used at the same time. They are Astrotek USB smart charger model AT-UPS-008 or 008B. I had to buy the USB cables so I got the sort with an on/off switch from eBay. The remainder use the official Raspberry Pi foundation power brick.

Networking is provided by a Netgear 24 port switch plugged into a domestic ADSL WiFi router. I use the 100Mbit ethernet and disable WiFi and Bluetooth on the Pi’s.

RAC (recent average credit) is around 5100 for them running Einstein BRP4 work, so a bit over 500 for each compute node. I use BOINCtasks on a windows PC to monitor the farm and control the BOINC client on the compute nodes.

21 October 2017

Copying BOINC data folder on Debian

After the question arose on the Seti message boards I thought I would post the process I used to upgrade all my Intel iGPU machines from Debian Jessie to Debian Stretch. For each one of them I did the following process to copy the BOINC data folder and put it back when done.

I'm running Debian so it should work for other distributions that are based on Debian (such as Ubuntu). This assumes you've used the repo version of BOINC. If there is also a BOINC version upgrade happening then you should be careful about point 12 below.

1. Set BOINC to no new tasks. I usually let it complete any tasks in progress.

2. Login as root

3. Stop BOINC - in a terminal window type "service boinc-client stop" without the quotes

4. Insert empty thumb drive into a USB port. This brings up a window on the desktop showing the contents.

5. Using the GUI copy the contents of /var/lib/boinc-client to the thumb drive. I click on the computer icon, navigate to the folder, click on a single file, Ctrl-A to select all files and drag it over to the thumb drive window. Just like Windows.

6. It complains about can’t copy sym linked files so navigate to /etc/boinc-client select all the files (there are usually four) and drag and drop them on the thumb drive window as well.

7. Install new OS

8. Login as root and install repo version of BOINC.

9. Stop BOINC.

10. Insert thumb drive again

11. Using the GUI copy the files back to /var/lib/boinc-client

12. Copy the /etc/boinc-client files back separately using the GUI. They are sym linked from /var/lib/boinc-client. They get put there by the repo install so overwrite them with your version from the thumb drive. I just drag and drop them one at a time.

13. In a terminal window cd to /var/lib/boinc-client and change permissions back to user boinc (type "chown boinc:boinc * -R").

14. Start it up (in a terminal window type “service boinc-client start”) and it resumes from where it left off.

For a new version of BOINC all I do is install it by login as root, start a terminal session and type "apt update" followed by "apt upgrade". It will stop BOINC, install the new version and start it up again. You can even do it via ssh (remote login) if you want.

15 October 2017

15th of October

Farm status
Intel GPUs
Running Einstein work overnight

Nvidia GPUs
Off most of the week

Raspberry Pis
Running Einstein work

Debian point release
After last weeks Debian 9.2 point release I have been trying different Nvidia drivers. The 375.82 drivers that the point release provided switch into low power mode after about 15 minutes on my GTX1060’s. I raised a bug with Debian and was told its an upstream (Nvidia) problem. There are a few versions of the 375.82 driver in the different repos but they all seem to have the problem. There is a 384.90 driver in experimental that doesn’t have the issue so I have installed it on all of the Nvidia GPU machines.

In addition to the Nvidia driver I have been reinstalling all the Intel GPU machines with the point release as it gets them off Jessie, now that the desktop issue has been resolved by an updated kernel. I had the Intel GPU machines running Einstein gravity wave work overnight.

BOINC testing
There is a BOINC client 7.8.3 out for testing. The BOINC Manager still has the jumping tasks tab/transfer tab issue, as well as the event log losing its date format when it scrolls. I never experienced the buffer overflow issue because I am not running the CPDN project at the moment. BOINC Manager issues aren’t much of a problem for me as I use BOINCtasks for managing the farm most of the time.

08 October 2017

8th of October

Farm status
Intel GPUs
Eight running Einstein gravity wave work

Nvidia GPUs
All off. Were running Seti overnight

Raspberry Pis
All ten running Einstein BRP4 work

Other farm news
I couldn't ssh into Pi #9 so I had to get it to finish off its work and reimage it. Strangely enough I could access it via BOINCtasks but ssh somehow got corrupted.

I hit the 50 million credits for Seti earlier in the week. The Intel GPU machines are now working on Einstein tasks.

The weather is going to be hot tomorrow so everything except the Raspberry Pis will be off again.

Stretch-backports on Rpi updated
While updating Pi #9 I followed the instructions I gave in September 2017 about adding Stretch-backports. They didn’t work. It seems the Debian gpg key signing has problems. To access backports requires the Wheezy and Jessie gpg keys (Debian 7 and 8). I have updated the instructions.

Debian Stretch 9.2
They did a point release to Stretch (9.2) yesterday. There is good news and bad news.

The good news is it has a kernel update to 4.9.0-4 (4.9.51) that allows me to upgrade the Intel GPU machines. ie It resolves the bug of having a blank desktop. I have already upgraded two of them.

The bad news is it has a bug in the Nvidia driver 375.82 which has now crippled my Nvidia GPU machines. I've raised bug 877971 with Debian about it. The driver switches into P8 (idle) mode after about 15-20 minutes of compute work. A reboot gets it back into P2 mode for another 15 minutes or so.

02 October 2017

1st of October

Farm status
Intel GPUs
Five running Seti work overnight. Three off.

Nvidia GPUs
Three running Seti work overnight. One off.

Raspberry Pis
All ten running Einstein BRP4 work

Debian donation
In my previous post I mentioned trying to help their build farm, specifically the armhf part. Attempts to get the Maxwell development boards they use have failed. The local Australian distributor didn’t respond to email or phone calls.

I have donated some money to the project. It will probably go into a general fund as there is no option to leave a comment even.

I updated 4 of the Raspberry Pi’s by using the stretch-backports repo from Debian. See last months post about how to add stretch-backports to a Raspberry Pi.

Due to a couple of bugs which were introduced with 7.8.2 I won’t do the rest just yet. The BOINC release manager at the time didn’t include the fixes even though they were available. We’re hoping there will be a 7.8.3 to address the most pressing issue to do with cleaning out slot directories.

Other news
There are some details of the 8th generation i7’s being released. Looking at the i7-8700 compared to my i7-6700’s it would seem they are a little slower (3.2GHz compared to 3.4Ghz) but have two extra cores while sticking to the 65 watt TDP. There is also talk of a Ryzen 2 and 3 but no details yet.

As you can tell from the farm status the weather is starting to impact the farm. I haven’t quite reached 50 million credits for Seti yet but will resume the other projects once I reach it.