Budget folding build

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Budget folding build

Postby random_number » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:12 pm

Dear Community,

I am thinking about buying a folding computer at a small budget and I would like to hear your opinion.

I am not paying for power hence I am not too worried about the power consumption. I thought about a cheap office pc (Dell-Optiplex-7010-with a Core-i3 ) plus a decent GPU.

My only worry is the weak power supply. Any thoughts?
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby davidcoton » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:27 pm

Get the best GPU that will run within the power supply's capacity. F@H puts a full load on the GPU and requires the maximum power specified for the GPU.
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby kiore » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:53 pm

Maybe start with a cheap 2nd hand quad core system with a PCIE3 x 16 slot, replace power supply and add best GPU your budget will allow. This would give you a working system without having to buy most of the stuff for a new one. If you can run with LINUX great for the GPU units but otherwise something with win7 even would be fine.
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby toTOW » Fri Mar 20, 2020 1:59 am

Be careful with Dell (and other similar brands like Lenovo or HP) desktop cases : their case are often custom and might not allow you to fit a standard GPU. They might require some low profile card that are not so common, and often equipped with poor GPUs ...
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby Paragon » Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:11 am

I've had good luck on ebay searching for the term "custom desktop" and picking up second-hand machines in custom cases that can host upgradable power supplies and full-length video cards. You can get an entire machine for $50-100, and then throw a $50 high quality PSU at it (I use Seasonic 400-500 watt units). Then just find a GPU in your price range. For folding on the cheap while still doing a lot of work, Nvidia's previous gen cards are great.

A GTX 1060 should net you 300-350K PPD for around $100 or so used if you're lucky. You can also go even older (you can get 980 Tis for $150 on ebay). These will do 500-600K PPD, but will use 250 watts doing it (vs the 1060's 120 watts).

My latest review article has some charts at the bottom for relative GPU power and efficiency comparisons. The power plot can help you size a PSU for the system (my benchmark desktop used for all the 9xx and 10xx cards has a AMD FX-8320e 95 watt processor and 16 GB of ram. The PSU is a seasonic X-650 Gold. All wattage measurements taken at the wall).

https://greenfoldingathome.files.wordpr ... rmance.jpg
https://greenfoldingathome.files.wordpr ... -power.jpg
https://greenfoldingathome.files.wordpr ... ciency.jpg


full article:
https://greenfoldingathome.com/2020/03/ ... x-1080-ti/
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby kiore » Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:55 am

Although I suggested a 2nd hand system, CPU, RAM, Mobo, Case and perhaps OS, I would try to avoid 2nd hand GPUs, you could get lucky or end up with someone's burnt out ex mining GTX1070ti (an excellent folding card BTW) . Buying a GPU choose the latest series card at your price range, it will probably have a warranty and will be closer to future proofing (fingers crossed) your system for any other use you put it to. I have built systems purely for folding but understand others will want these systems to also be household useful and this is completely reasonable. Any build like this could easily be multi purpose.
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby Paragon » Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:36 am

As long as you buy from reputable sellers with a 14 day return policy or better, eBay is great for used cards. I've had the following used GPUs folding for weeks to months for blog articles. Maybe I just don't keep them long enough to run into issues (I resell them on eBay)

1x EVGA GTX 1080 Ti (had to fix the cooling fan)
1 x PNY GTX 1080 Turbo Edition
1 x PNY GTX 1080 1070 Ti Turbo Edition
1 x Zotac 1070 Ti mini
1 x EVGA GTX 1070 SC
2 x MSI 980 Tis
1 x EVGA 980 Ti (waterblocked, but the water cooler was full of fungus. Had to buy an air cooler and swap it out, but it worked fine)
3 x Dell OEM AMD RX 580s
1 x AMD RX 480
2 x GTX 480s
1 x GTX 580
1 x GTX 460

I've had one eBay card not work in the history of doing this:

1 x EVGA GTX 570 (displays video with lines in it, doesn't fold. Not worth much anyway so I salvaged it for parts and screws)

The following new cards have worked fine for me over the history of me doing this:

1 x EVGA GTX 1060 (6 GB model)
1 x EVGA GTX 1050 Ti
1 x EVGA 1050
1 x Gigabyte GT 240
1 x PNY GTX 460
1 x Sapphire HD 4870
1 x Sapphire HD 7970

I also just bought a brand new EVGA 1660 Super (single fan model) to test out. Been running it for a few hours as of this post, but it's quite nice too. So, out of all those cards, only one truly dead used card ever.

All that said, I do stay away from cards that were pulled from mining farms, especially anything with a custom mining BIOS.
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby random_number » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:41 am

Dear Community,

Thank you very much. Your input is super helpful. I am not quite convinced by this idea myself. Since I will not order anything at this moment, I still have some time to think about this.

In contrast to this idea, are there any resources that describe the costs of a full mining rig?
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby Nathan_P » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:59 am

There will probably be something on one of the crypto forums, a quick google will help you there.

Here's some more bits to help your thought process. I'm in the UK so prices are a bit higher here but it gives you an idea.

2nd hand lga1150 mobo - go for a brand name and mid range, you want decent power delivery on the mobo without all the bells and whistles £50
Cheap cpu to fit, say i5 4460 or similar, currently £25 and a intel stock cooler for £5
Cheapest sata 60-80gb SSD that you can find £20
Case - go to your local e-waste recycler, dump, salvage from a friend /old PC or charity shop and get something with decent air flow, if not decent airflow leave the side panel off
Decent PSU from a brand, get at least 80plus bronze, 80 plus gold is better for power efficency - useful when running 24/7 £80
GPU - depends on your budget. I wouldn't go for anything less than a 1060 but appreciate that everyone is different. Whatever you do don't go below/older than a 1050ti as the power draw won't be worth it
O/S - Linux is free but can take a bit of setting up, windows keys can be had for £20 but you will lose some performance (Linux is usually 20% faster)

IF you do decide to build one pop back if you want more help
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby random_number » Sun May 03, 2020 10:35 pm

I decided to buy a folding rig. I ordered a ASRock H110 Pro BTC+, 6x Zotac P106-90, and a Corsair HX1000.

How much Ram would you recommend?

Which OS would you recommend (i.e., is there a difference between the Linux distributions)?

Anything I should consider?

Thank for your help.
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby HaloJones » Sun May 03, 2020 10:44 pm

You need to run Linux or the low PCIE bandwidth will kill your folding - under Linux the impact is <5%.

Did that come with a case? Or the necessary risers to allow you to plug in all the cards? You will need a cpu that has a built-in gpu so that you have a display because the P106-90s have no display ports of course. RAM, 8GB single stick will be fine. Good PSU by the way.

A P106-90 is essentially a 3GB 1060 so the slightly slower version of the two 1060 variants. I had a 3GB 1060 and it worked OK.
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby kiore » Sun May 03, 2020 10:50 pm

I would ask what else you will use this for as a first question, looks like a mining rig but will continue as if for folding.
RAM well 8G is considered quite low at present is plenty for folding but easy enough to add some more if needed. For other things those cards will need a bit more but..
OS= Linux if it useful to you otherwise and you prepared to do extra work and learning if you not familiar. Otherwise windows but 6 cards on windows will be an issue..
Now those cards, they are nice and cheap I suppose but running 6 GPUs is tricky and these cards are quite low power and unsure if they are really what you would use for folding I think these are a mining version of GTX 1060 series cards and one should have a video outlet. You would also need some risers and a GPU frame to hold them.
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby random_number » Sun May 03, 2020 11:00 pm

I also bough a 4U Server-like Mining rack that can house 6 GPUs and the necessary risers. Furthermore, the mainboard has integrated GPU and a Celeron G3930.

I hope the GPUs will be suitable for this project. I know that they are older but I guess they deliver the most bang for the buck (ignoring energy costs).

The system will be folding only. Maybe I might play around with some machine learning but that is not main priority.

I guess I will try to run Ubuntu on it then.
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby HaloJones » Mon May 04, 2020 12:11 am

Even on Linux, NVidia cards think they need a full cpu core each. Mining doesn't so that dual core Celeron would have been fine to drive the 6 cards but for FAH I think you may have a problem. Will be very interesting to hear if it actually slows you down.

Please post lots of updates as you go. This will be an interesting experiment.

Focus on getting the OS and Nvidia Drivers and one card working first before even thinking about the other five.
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Re: Budget folding build

Postby random_number » Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:46 am

I have now installed all GPUs and the PPD is quite low for 5 GPUS (between 200k and 400k). I think, as some of you have suggested, the CPU has not enough cores to deal with all GPUs. I will buy a new CPU and I was wondering does Folding@home require physical cores or are threads sufficient?
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