Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

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Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby dwayman » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:30 am

I am disabled and have an irreparable heart condition that pretty much keeps me homebound and would like to create a dedicated machine for folding. Novice at computer hardware and with the ever changing components I am unsure where to start. I would appreciate any guidance or direction where I can find the information that will help me try to do something meaningful with whatever time I have left. Thank you in advance.

I am a baby boomer so I haven't grown up with computers, currently have a HP running Windows and have never attempted to use Linux. Please be gentle.
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby Nathan_P » Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:44 pm

Hi and welcome

What sort of budget are you thinking about?
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby JimboPalmer » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:21 pm

First, lets talk about what not to spend money on.

CPU software (while you ought to run the CPU version, all the points are in the GPU version)
Today, 8 gig of RAM is all your computer needs, 4 gig may be enough, but lets say 8.
A hard disk is fine, F@H does not need a Solid State Drive.
As many cores as you can afford seems wise, I would get more cores over faster speeds.

GPU software
For some years, Nvidia cards have out performed AMD cards.
Currently there is a 'boom' in cyrpto-currencies which has uselessly inflated AMD cards and is now running up the price of Nvidia cards.
A GTX 1050ti will get 5 times the points of your CPU, more featured cards will do even better.
For F@H, more memory is not needed, a 2 gig card is just as capible as a 8 gig card.

GTX 1050ti $155
GTX 1060 $230
GTX 1070 $450
GTX 1080 $560
GTX 1080ti $710

For the more powerful cards, you will need a high power power supply as well.
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby dwayman » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:52 pm

Nathan_P wrote:Hi and welcome

What sort of budget are you thinking about?

Mostly the best bang for the buck, not sure what a powerful folding rig costs. My desktop chrunches about 500Kppd and I would like to see if I could build something dedicated that beats that by quite a bit. Really unsure what price range we are talking for something decent. Any help is appreciated.
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby jrweiss » Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:48 pm

You can save money (go good, but not fancy/extreme) on the motherboard, RAM, HDD, keyboard, mouse, and monitor - none of these will make a big difference in Folding performance.

You'll want a case that will provide ample cooling (2x120mm intake + 1x120mm exhaust fans minimum; 140mm if possible) for 2 GPUs running 24/7; steel or steel/plastic is adequate, don't spend extra for aluminum.

While Folding on the CPU will provide relatively fewer points, they all add up. More cores/threads enhance possibilities.

Look at the new AMD Ryzen CPUs. The 7-1700 is an 8-core, 16-thread, 3.7 GHz, 65 Watt CPU for around $280 on sale. A B350 or X370 motherboard can be gotten for <$100.

Dual GPUs sometimes take some configuring, but that is how you will maximize points. You might start with one, and add another later, so ensure your motherboard supports PCIe 3.0 x8 + x8. If you can find a current dual-GPU card (I haven't looked to see what's available), that may be another option. The suggestions above are good, and your budget is the limit. If you go for GPUs with integrated water cooling (NOT a great choice for a novice builder), ensure your case will support it.
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby Nert » Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:10 pm

Hello Dwayman,

If you're a novice at hardware, you might start by looking at the web site "Toms Hardware." It has lots of good articles about build components and descriptions of how to do it. Here's an article written in 2016 that looks to have a lot of good information in it.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-your-own-pc,2601.html

I'm no expert on hardware by any means, but I have been able to build a couple of systems. I find Toms Hardware very valuable.

Take your time, read, plan and have fun. :)
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby bruce » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:32 pm

I'm not opposed to anyone building their own dedicated system, but my local computer store will put one together for just a little more than the price of the components -- and they're set up to do it more efficiently that I can do at home ... if it's a one-time event. Start with the words "gaming rig" and then tell them you don't really want to spend money on a fancy monitor or VR technology because you're not going to be using it for gaming ... you just want the box for "folding" and they'll do a pretty good job putting together a system for whatever budget you specify.

The same advice given above will probably help guide them.
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby foldy » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:05 am

You want to go for the fastest GPUs to maximize PPD folding power.

For comparison of GPUs folding power in PPD and price and watt usage there is this table
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... edit#gid=0

It should be easy to build a PC for 600 dollar which takes 2 gtx 1080 ti for 700 dollar each, so this is 2000 dollar total.

If you want to save some money maybe a cheaper PC for $300 which can take only one gtx 1080 ti for 700 dollar, so this is 1000 dollar total.

You should also calculate the power cost per month. You could refund some of the cost by using foldingcoin/curecoin.
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby boristsybin » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:52 am

make possible to run your dedicated system 24h per day, accept noise and electricity bill of it.

power supply - 1000+ Watt by bold vendor(seasonic, corsair, evga, etc) with single +12V line
platform - i recommend for now Intel Pentium g4560 (it is cheap and 2core/4 thread), z170 or z270 fullATX mb, 8+ Gb ram and 60+ Gb drive. mb must provide x8+x8 mode of pci-e bus for dual-gpu configuration.
GPU - start with single 1080Ti, and get second later
case - whatever you like

for example:
EVGA SuperNova G3 1000W + Intel Pentium G4560 + Asus TUF Z270 Mark2 + Crucial 2133MHz DDR4 8Gb + 60Gb SSD Corsair Force LS + AeroCool Aero-300 Case = 650$ on russian market
Two GTX 1080ti = 2000$

So, complete dual GPU system is 2650$ in current prices, 2M+ ppd guaranteed.

My rig is
Corsair AX1200 + i3 4170 + AsRock z87 killer + 2x4Gb Kingston DDR3 + 64Gb SSD Intel + Antec NSK 4482 (very used and free) + 3x1080Ti + 1x1050Ti
Last edited by boristsybin on Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby Nathan_P » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:47 pm

Ok, here's my take on things

Get an intel quad core from a well known auction site, a haswell/broadwell cpu will be fine - don't get a k version it will have been overclocked to hell - I went for a v3 xeon - its the same cpu but can sometimes be a bit cheaper second hand. If you are not folding on the cpu you do not need anything better.
A decent new mobo to support the above cpu, it will need a minimum of 2 PCIe x16 slots that can run at x8 -as mentioned this allows for a 2nd gpu later - I went for an Asus Z87 WS, it allows 2 slots at x16 and upto 4 at x8.
A top notch power supply, 80plus gold rated at least from corsair,seasonic or evga & 750w should cover it, personally I went for a Corsair AX 760.
Ram 8gb (2x4gb) of your favorite brand
Hard drive - anything that you have spare - failing that a cheap 250 to 500gb drive from wherever - get a clearance sale if you can but make sure its new.
Case - something reasonably cheap - as mentioned above, I went for a corsair 200R when they were on special locally. If you don't mind the state its in you might find a 2nd hand something around - check your local ads
Get some extra case fans

Now the tricky bit - gpu's prices have been indicated above PPD is roughly as follows

GTX 1050ti $155 150-175k PPD Power 75w
GTX 1060 $230 ~330k PPD for a £gb - 400k for a 6gb card. Power 90-120w
GTX 1070 $450 ~600k PPD. Power 140w
GTX 1080 $560 ~800k PPD. Power 180w
GTX 1080ti $710 ~1m PPD Power 250w

Power and PPD at both listed at stock speeds, if you buy a overclocked GPU power and PPD will go up. For an OS you can pay for a windows license or install Linux - My new distro of choice for this is Linux Mint 18.2

Some words to the wise (having been caught out at this several times during my 9 years of building F@H rigs). Do not buy a second hand Mobo, PSU, graphics card, HDD or RAM, you will end up replacing them sooner, F@H is hard on kit so take advantage of new kit with a warranty - it will save you money in the medium term. The RAM and PSU in one of my rigs is now 5 years old and works just fine
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby jrweiss » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:09 pm

bruce wrote:I'm not opposed to anyone building their own dedicated system, but my local computer store will put one together for just a little more than the price of the components -- and they're set up to do it more efficiently that I can do at home ... if it's a one-time event.

OTOH, building your own is a great learning experience. It will give you insight into what's actually inside a computer; and make later troubleshooting easier, if you keep track of major changes. Granted, there is a learning curve, but it's really not that hard any more.

Also, if you're not in a hurry, you can take time to shop around for the best components for what YOU want, and wait for the sales on those components. For my last build, I accumulated components over almost 3 months, and saved more than $300 over common street prices.
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby FldngForGrandparents » Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:28 pm

viewtopic.php?f=38&t=28869

But I have a new motherboard/cpu combo which can do 7 GPU's. You want dedicated you mise well get something you can just add video cards to in the future. Because once you get one you will want two, etc.

7 PCIe 3 Motherboard:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ASUS-P9X79-E-WS ... Sw-K9ZFVe4

8-core Xeon:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Xeon-E5-2 ... 1438.l2649
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Dedicated to my grandparents who have passed away from Alzheimer's

Dedicated folding rig on Ubuntu 14.04:
2 - GTX 980 OC +200
1 - GTX 980 Ti OC +20
4 - GTX 1070 FE OC +200
1 - GTX 1080 OC +140
1 - GTX 1080Ti OC +120
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby jrweiss » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:16 pm

7 slots doesn't necessarily mean it's capable of handling 7 GPUs... Since the CPU will handle a max of 40 PCI lanes, 5 x8 GPU connections would be the max available, IF you could physically put the cards into the machine. That board will accept a max of 4 double-slot GPU cards.

Total power draw and the ability to get rid of heat will be major issues as well. Four closely-spaced GPUs will be VERY hard to keep cool with air cooling. While water cooling is an option, a multiple-GPU+CPU system would be VERY complex, and difficult to set up in any normal case. While a 1000 Watt PSU is within reason for a constant draw, anything bigger would be stressing a typical 15 amp home circuit. Then there's the air conditioner to cool down the room...

All this is notwithstanding your open-air build with GPU cards mounted remotely using PCIe extension cables; that concept looks a bit dicey for a new builder.
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby kiore » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:26 am

jrweiss wrote:7 slots doesn't necessarily mean it's capable of handling 7 GPUs... Since the CPU will handle a max of 40 PCI lanes, 5 x8 GPU connections would be the max available, IF you could physically put the cards into the machine. That board will accept a max of 4 double-slot GPU cards.

Total power draw and the ability to get rid of heat will be major issues as well. Four closely-spaced GPUs will be VERY hard to keep cool with air cooling. While water cooling is an option, a multiple-GPU+CPU system would be VERY complex, and difficult to set up in any normal case. While a 1000 Watt PSU is within reason for a constant draw, anything bigger would be stressing a typical 15 amp home circuit. Then there's the air conditioner to cool down the room...

All this is notwithstanding your open-air build with GPU cards mounted remotely using PCIe extension cables; that concept looks a bit dicey for a new builder.


I agree with this, populating slots with multi GPUs will give you 1) extraordinary performance. 2) Serious heat disapation issues, and if people tell you to just open a window to air cool 4 X gpu's they haven't run this... 3) power bills.. 4)power draw issues. Seriously the complexity increases the more stuff you add. Easiest setup, but not neccessarily cheapest, will be a 2nd hand gaming set up, open air with the best 2 current GPUs preferably liquid cooled. OS system, currently windows for simplicity, open source for performance. High end performance still requires user work. If you can do stuff yourself, this lowers the costs a little, but having a custom made rig for you may work out cheaper if your time/effort restricted. Personally I like building some ugly, bizarre system, but know I could get it professionally made for a small premium.
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Re: Guidance for building a folding dedicated computer

Postby boristsybin » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:07 am

kiore wrote:people tell you to just open a window to air cool 4 X gpu's they haven't run this

but i do
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