Since TeamECF is raising in ranks and more and more members are joining up and Folding for the cause, I wanted to create a thread to detail some problems and issues that may arise while folding and what you, the user folding, needs to know and understand before doing so.
The Folding@Home is a distributed computing project to where small, manageable pieces of work are taken from larger data sources and distributed via the project to those who have installed the application. Each user receives their small work detail, called a Work Unit (WU for short) and your PC begins to compute and analyze data to help research the specific project you've been assigned.
The computing/analysis while Folding leverages the resources of your home PC, typically during low usage/idle times, and during this time your PC may have complications that have and do cause issues. I would like to detail the top 2 issues I've experienced over the years of Folding:
- Processor(CPU)/Graphics Processor (GPU) Utilization
During the folding process data and most notably numeric calculations are being performed at a very fast rate, sometimes as much as your CPU/GPU can handle. During these times of high utilization your computer may not be as responsive and you may see some usage issues trying to use the computer while Folding.
Typically the folding process will lessen and slow down when you want to use the computer but during this time anything that is required or running such as email checking, web browsing and playing games may be delayed or postponed due to this high utilization. The Folding process is set, automatically, as a "low priority" task however there are times that mouse clicks do not register, moving windows is delayed or stalled and the quick remedy is to issue the application a Pause or Quit. Once the application has Paused or Quit outright, response typically resumes to it's normal ability however you are not processing data.
Hand in hand with high processor utilization comes the added heat generated while Folding. When your CPU/GPU works harder and does the calculations involved in Folding; it draws more wattage to compute and with more wattage comes more heat.
Heat can be and is at times a major issue with some systems and if you've not done a good clean out/cleanup in a few years it may be time to rid your case, fans, etc of the dust bunnies that lurk within. A good cleaning generally improves airflow in most and helps to keep heat levels within reason however if left unattended it can build up and over time cause heat related issues.
Heat can and does damage equipment. Since Folding is CPU/GPU dependent we will always generate more heat while Folding. Please be aware to adjust settings and/or conditions to compensate for this extra heat or you could quickly be having issues with reboots, slow response or even hardware failure.
Increasing CPU/GPU fan speeds (if possible) helps as well as well a more advanced cooling system/parts could be used. Monitoring software can also be used (CoreTemp
) which can track and even shutdown Windows if a heat related event occurs.
With a bit of knowledge, of your hardware as well the Folding process and what it does, you too can be a safe Folder! Beware of placing the Folding software on ~any~ computer you come across and in some situations it could be illegal to do so without permission from the company, staff or management.
I wanted to bring these points up due to the many ECF users, now joining the Folding project, but having very limited knowledge of the process, how it works and what could go wrong. It is not my intention to tell you or anyone else how to run their devices, however my main goal was to enlighten those who may not have the technical knowledge to realize that Folding, in the wrong situation or conditions, can and will cause issues. I also did not want anyone associated with the management and running of ECF to be held responsible had any of these issue occurred.
Granted, these issues could be as minor as a simple reboot but could also be as dangerous as damaged computer hardware and no one needs to spend (unless your a die hard techie like myself) money on replacement devices if we you don't have to!
Fold Safely my friends and remember you do so at your own discretion and risk!