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Guide to Folding @ Home


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#1 endorphiend

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 05:05 PM

Hey all,

There have been a lot of questions going around about setting up F@H lately, so I thought it would be helpful to put together a guide about how to set everything up.

Software

I am writing this guide with the assumption that you will be using the console clients, since that is what I'm familiar with. If there is a large demand I'll add a section for the system tray versions. Below are links to download the current versions of each console client. These links were obtained from the downloads page and this F@H forum post.

CPU Client - Folds on a single core. The number of points returned will be relatively low.
SMP Client - Folds on several cores.
GPU3 Client (Vista / Windows 7) - Folds on a GPU in Vista/7
GPU3 Client (XP) - Folds on a GPU in Windows XP
HFM.net - Monitors the progress of several F@H clients, which can be on local or remote machines you have access to. For now I'll leave HFM.net setup up to you :)

From the above links, determine what you'll need to fully utilize your system's power.

First consider your processor. On a laptop with an single core processor you will want to run the CPU Client. If you're running an i7-930, the SMP client should be a no brainer since with hyperthreading enabled you can use all 8 "cores". Even using a Core 2 Duo with two cores, the SMP client should show an improvement over two CPU clients due to the bonuses.

Now consider your GPU(s). Most systems have one GPU, but since the target audience for this is OCC I'll hit on multiple GPU systems as well. Since GPU's generate a tremendous amount of heat, please keep the cooling of your system in mind when running the GPU client. If you choose to run one or more GPU clients, download the GPU3 client from a link above for your operating system.

Passkey, SMP Client, and Bonuses
To take full advantage of the SMP client, you'll want to obtain a passkey from Stanford's website. This will make you eligible for the bonuses when SMP work units are completed before the deadline. In order to get a bonus you must meet the following criteria (quoted from here):

1. Run the latest SMP client (v6.29 or above).
2. Configure that client with a passkey.
3. Complete 10 a2 and/or a3 work units...
....a. within their preferred deadlines
....b. using the same passkey and fah user name combination
....c. on one or more of your systems.
4. Successfully return >=80% of assigned [bonus] WU's.


A passkey can be obtained here. You will use this during the setup of your clients. Note that from the above criteria, you will not get the bonus until you fold 10 units with that pass key -- this means your first 10 units won't get a bonus, but after that the points will go way up. The bonuses are pretty significant -- I'm currently running a WU from project P6020 with a base credit of 467, but with the bonus it will get me 3350.

Setup
Unzip the client you've downloaded to an easy to remember location. If you are running multiple GPU clients, unzip it to several directories. For my setup I am using an SMP client and two GPU clients so I extracted them to:

C:/FAH-GPU1
C:/FAH-GPU2
C:/FAH-SMP

Complete the following instructions for each client you're planning to use. For simplicity, rename the main executable in each directory to fah.exe

- Open a console window. In W7/vista hit start, type cmd, hit enter. For XP, start -> run, type cmd, hit enter.
- Navigate to the FAH directory, i.e. use the command: cd C:/FAH-SMP
- Run the following command: fah.exe -configonly
- Follow the instructions here. These are the main points to make sure you follow, anything not listed can be left as default unless you're doing something fancy:
  • Enter your F@H Username
  • Enter 12772 for your team number
  • Enter your pass key from above
  • Use "big" work units (required for SMP work units to be fetched)
  • Yes to "change advanced options"
  • For machine ID, enter 1 for your SMP client, 2 for GPU client, 3 for second GPU client, etc. Each client must have a separate machine ID.
  • For additional client parameters, enter "-gpu 0" when configuring first GPU, enter "-gpu 1" when configuring second GPU. If you like, you can enter "-smp 8" to make it default to running the smp client with 8 cores (replace 8 with appropriate number for your processor). I opt to enter this flag manually when I run the client since I use -smp 7 when running GPU clients and -smp 8 when I'm not running GPU clients.

Running F@H

The hard part is over!

To run the SMP client open the console and navigate to your SMP directory as shown above. Run "fah -smp #" where # is the number of cores you'd like to fold on.

To run the GPU clients, just run the fah.exe executable in each GPU directory. To make your life easier, put some shortcuts on your desktop.

Bigadv
If you have a powerful machine you're dedicating to F@H, running bigadv units will give you huge PPD. These are enormous work units on tight deadlines -- to my knowledge the client won't fetch bigadv units unless you have 8 cores (although virtual threads count). With the "good" bigadv units I see 33,000 ppd on my i7-930 @ 4ghz. However, if you also use your computer for gaming, you'll have to have a strong (and very stable!) overclock to meet the deadlines. Because of this, I normally don't do bigadv units unless I know I won't want to play games for several days.

To have a chance to run a bigadv unit, run the SMP client with the -bigadv flag (i.e. "fah.exe -smp 8 -bigadv"). Bigadv units aren't always available, so it's not guaranteed that you'll get one.

Miscellaneous

  • If you're running one or more GPU clients, keep one CPU core free to maximize the GPU's outputs.
  • For multiple GPU folding, disable SLI.
  • Always keep a temperature monitor running while folding to prevent damaging your computer. I use RealTemp since it displays both my CPU and GPU temps in my systray and records max temps.
  • Keep your electric bill in mind, folding can get expensive if you're running a CPU and multiple GPU's. If you're interested, I threw some math at my F@H setup here.
  • :foldon:

Please post any questions/feedback. I fully intend to keep this updated to help the F@H project and the OCC community.

Edited by endorphiend, 18 October 2010 - 06:26 PM.

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| i7-930 @ 4.0 w/ NH-D14 | GTX 480 SLI |
| G.Skill Pi 6GB | Corsair Force 120GB |
| HAF X | Corsair 1000HX |


#2 SpeedCrazy

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:14 PM

Ok great instructions. I decided to use this to restart my FAH client to get it all right. I got as far as;

- Run the following command: fah -configonly

It tells me

'fah' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.


Thanks for taking the time to put this all together. :cheers:
Fold for Team OCC


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#3 endorphiend

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:17 PM

Did you catch the part about renaming your executable?

For simplicity, rename the main executable in each directory to fah.exe


Note: edited my post to make that stand out, since its sorta important

Edited by endorphiend, 18 October 2010 - 06:19 PM.

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| G.Skill Pi 6GB | Corsair Force 120GB |
| HAF X | Corsair 1000HX |


#4 IVIYTH0S

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:17 PM

You can note that you can use individual console windows for up to 8 processor cores ;), beyond 8 you'll need to run the SMP client.

I'm a believer in every core getting it's own window.

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#5 endorphiend

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:23 PM

You can note that you can use individual console windows for up to 8 processor cores ;), beyond 8 you'll need to run the SMP client.

I'm a believer in every core getting it's own window.

To my knowledge there aren't bonuses associated with the generic CPU client (please correct me if I'm wrong), so wouldn't your overall PPD be significantly lower? Have you compared your PPD with several CPU clients vs one SMP client (with the bonus from the passkey/etc)?

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| i7-930 @ 4.0 w/ NH-D14 | GTX 480 SLI |
| G.Skill Pi 6GB | Corsair Force 120GB |
| HAF X | Corsair 1000HX |


#6 SpeedCrazy

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:25 PM

I'll try again but i think i did.
Okay take a look at this pic and tell me what the main executable is.
[attachment=13533:F@H Folder view.JPG]

Edited by SpeedCrazy, 18 October 2010 - 06:27 PM.

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#7 endorphiend

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:27 PM

I'll try again but i think i did.

Try using "fah.exe -configonly" instead and ensure you're in the correct directory. On my OS (W7) it works without the .exe, but that may not be true in all versions of windows.

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| i7-930 @ 4.0 w/ NH-D14 | GTX 480 SLI |
| G.Skill Pi 6GB | Corsair Force 120GB |
| HAF X | Corsair 1000HX |


#8 SpeedCrazy

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:35 PM

I cant figure this out. Please look at the above posted pick and answer the question with it. I cant switch anything i have tried to fah.exe

EDIT did not see your reply. But that still returns the same answer. I think i must not have renamed the right thing. See above^

Edited by SpeedCrazy, 18 October 2010 - 06:38 PM.

Fold for Team OCC


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#9 endorphiend

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:42 PM

I cant figure this out. Please look at the above posted pick and answer the question with it. I cant switch anything i have tried to fah.exe

EDIT did not see your reply. But that still returns the same answer. I think i must not have renamed the right thing. See above^

Alright, the executable you're looking at is named fah6.exe. You'll want to run "fah6.exe -configonly"

If this doesn't work, you're not in the right directory in your console and you can try the following:

From the screenshot you posted, hold down ctrl + shift and right click, then click "Open command window here." This will open a console window in the right directory and running "fah6.exe -configonly" should work correctly.

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| i7-930 @ 4.0 w/ NH-D14 | GTX 480 SLI |
| G.Skill Pi 6GB | Corsair Force 120GB |
| HAF X | Corsair 1000HX |


#10 SpeedCrazy

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:47 PM

Thanks it works now.
Atleast i managed to set it up. When i type
C:/FAH-SMP
then
fah -smp #8
it gives the same error as earlier. I m going to go to bed now but i hope to get this fixed tomorrow morning. Thanks

Edited by SpeedCrazy, 18 October 2010 - 06:57 PM.

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#11 IVIYTH0S

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:57 PM

To my knowledge there aren't bonuses associated with the generic CPU client (please correct me if I'm wrong), so wouldn't your overall PPD be significantly lower? Have you compared your PPD with several CPU clients vs one SMP client (with the bonus from the passkey/etc)?

Can't you apply the passkeys to the individual console versions?? I remember setting them up and it always asked me for a passkey but I didn't know what that was for until recently

"GilliumX58" DESKTOP
Mobo: Asus P6TD Deluxe | Processor: Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.8ghz | CPU Cooler: Zalman CNPS9900MAXR | Videocard: MSI Twin Frozr HD7970
Memory: Patriot 12GB 1600mhz | OS SSD: SanDisk Extreme 240GB SATA | PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W
Monitor: *Debranded* HP 24" 2408H | CD/DVD: Samsung SH-S223F | Keyboard: Razer Tarantula | Mouse: Razer Lachesis

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GPU Comparison tool on AnAndTech

 


#12 endorphiend

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 07:04 PM

Thanks it works now.
Atleast i managed to set it up. When i type
C:/FAH-SMP
then
fah -smp #8
it gives the same error as earlier. I m going to go to bed now but i hope to get this fixed tomorrow morning. Thanks

fah6.exe -smp 8

There isn't a # sign, it could also be read "replace # with the number of threads you'd like to run F@H on." Also, since your executable is named fah6 instead of fah you'll need to use that name when running the F@H client.

Can't you apply the passkeys to the individual console versions?? I remember setting them up and it always asked me for a passkey but I didn't know what that was for until recently

Yes, but as far as I know the single core clients don't receive bonuses. The GPU clients also ask for the passkey but don't receive a bonus. Also, doesn't it clutter up your task bar having 8 console windows open? Seems like it would be a chore to start/stop all the processes as well.

Posted Image
| i7-930 @ 4.0 w/ NH-D14 | GTX 480 SLI |
| G.Skill Pi 6GB | Corsair Force 120GB |
| HAF X | Corsair 1000HX |