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Safe Folding: Are You Protected?

Discussion in 'Team ECF Folding Forum' started by Ictinike, Dec 20, 2012.

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  1. Ictinike

    Ictinike A Minion of Cthulhu Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Sep 13, 2012
    NE Ohio, USA

    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.

    • Processor/System Heat
    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!

  2. Thrasher

    Thrasher ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 28, 2012
    Madeira beach, Fla
    you da man, thanks.
  3. xanderxman

    xanderxman Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 10, 2012
    Ptown, VA
    Thanks. Downloaded CoreTemp to keep an eye on my operating temps.
  4. Bovinia

    Bovinia Divine Bovine ECF Veteran

    Jul 17, 2010
    Central CT
    Great post Icky! Thanks :)
  5. Yorkedawg

    Yorkedawg Full Member Verified Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    San Antonio, Texas
    Thx for sharing. I am not sure I understand 110% what I am doing, but as long as it can in some way help with research I am in :)
  6. Crash158

    Crash158 Full Member Verified Member

    Jan 25, 2013
    Just an FYI. For those of you whom are concerned with the heat created by running your processor(s) full bore, you can utilize the power options in the Control Panel (Windows) to create a custom Power Plan and restrict the maximum frequency the processor can run at. I dropped almost 40 degrees Fahrenheit buy reducing it. I can switch back ad forth between my plans when needed.

    Also, on my laptop I found that the the turbo boost (intel feature) was causing the cores to run extremely high 95C. (intel rates this i7 2670QM @ 100C) If you find this to be the case; again either setup a power plan or go into the bios and disable the turbo boost feature. I chose the power plan due to its ease of switching back and forth.
  7. jesusboots

    jesusboots Full Member

    Feb 9, 2013
    Metro Detroit
    I'd just like to throw this out there. I am a long time folder for another team. (f@h username same as forum username)

    Something that might want to be brought up is the spike in their electricity bill. If not mentioned, many people are going to be quiet supprised after their first month of 20/7+ folding.

    Also, might want to get an idea on what exactly people are using to fold on, their hardware. Many people using standard prebuilt desktops/laptops might be much better off folding unicore, or turning advanced flags off. Setting priority around 70% to keep temps down.

    Theres also gputrackerV2 which is a v6 client. It is much more user friendly for beginners to use for folding, and the settings are close to idiot proof.
  8. Koman

    Koman Moved On ECF Veteran

    Jan 7, 2010
    Thanks for the input man!
  9. retired1

    retired1 Administrator Admin Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 5, 2013
    For those of you folding on notebooks, a good quality notebook cooler can go a long way in keeping temps manageable. My i3-2350m sits at a rather cool (comparatively speaking) 62-63C running at full tilt, let 'er rip settings on the F@H client.

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