Space Heater Build

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Space Heater Build

Postby Paragon » Mon May 25, 2020 4:18 am

For anyone interested in doing something a bit silly...

https://greenfoldingathome.com/2020/05/ ... u-want-to/

I tried to make the cheapest computer possible that can suck down the most wattage possible (while still using an ATX desktop case). This Fermi-based folding rig still runs F@H in 2020, and uses nearly 1000 watts doing it. It kept me warm all winter (although now it is relegated to the corner of the basement, unplugged, until the next heating season).

Total PPD: 50-100K depending on WU
Wattage: Variable. 200 watts at idle all the way up to 1000 watts. Typically 600-700 with 3 cards enabled.

CPU: Core2 Quad Q6600
Board: EVGA nForce 680i SLI
GPUs: 2 x GTX 480, 1 x GTX 580, 1 x GTX 460
PSU: Seasonic 1300w
Case Cooling: 4 x 120 mm intake fans (2 front, 2 side), 2 x 120 mm exhaust (1 top, 1 rear)
CPU Cooler: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7
HDD: WD 640 Black
CD Drive: Only there to serve as a shelf to hold the remotely mounted GTX 460 (yay, velcro!)
Total Cost: $350

Anyone else using F@H rigs in the winter as space heaters? Also, I am interested in trying to write an automatic temperature control routine to sense the room temp (via external or a connected thermometer) and throttle or turn on/off the GPUs so that the machine wattage can be adjusted to achieve and hold that set temperature. The problem is, I'm a hardware guy who can't write computer code to save his life. Anyone have any ideas as to how to even start something like this?
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby bruce » Mon May 25, 2020 4:30 am

I'm content to install computers that run FAH while optimizing the PPD/W. (i.e.-minimizing space heating). In the winter, I move one or more into rooms that need heat and I supplement it with whatever other sources of heat are cheaper than electricity but make the rooms livable. In the summer, I have space fans that move the heat from the computers outside since I don't want it in the house.
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby holstien » Mon May 25, 2020 3:12 pm

The inefficiency of the gtx 460 and 480 is impressive. I am drafting a review of the radeon r5 240 and I thought they would be the worse choice possible for folding, but these are both slow AND inefficient. Apparently the folding performance value curve is U shaped, with actual computations on one end, and pure thermal dissipation on the other. I spent $30 on a 3 pack of r5 240s and they have equal PPD and about 1/3 the combined TDP. (Please, no one buy GCN Gen 1 cards or Fermis if you are trying to donate more to FAH... you'll get way more satisfaction out a cut rate/used crypto mining card that's 2016-2020 vintage).

Have you thought about overclocking the old cards? There's huge potential for unrealized heat generation there.
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby holstien » Mon May 25, 2020 3:22 pm

Looking at your pictures, I thought I would note that you can control and monitor linux fold machines remotely/headlessly through the commandline:
(1) Install ssh and login remotely.
(2) Either run FAH as a service or use Screen (which lets programs run when you are not connected to the terminal)
(3) Monitor swap/cpu/ram: htop
(4) Monitor Fans and Temperatures (watch sensors)
(5) Monitor GPU usage (radeontop/nvidia-smi/nvidia-settings)
(6) Control all of the folding clients on the lan with FAHControl or via telnet
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby Endgame124 » Mon May 25, 2020 3:39 pm

It would be worth looking into some old data center hardware on ebay as well. I’ve seen HP Gen8 DL360s and 380s with dual Xeons going for $50 before. Plenty of heat and possibly more PPD to boot.
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby MeeLee » Mon May 25, 2020 6:53 pm

I would just buy 2x RTX 2080Ti GPUs, and use them to heat your home (3 if you need 1000W of heat).
Mine are just out on the balcony blowing excess heat back to feed our global warming issue.
It's too hot in FL anyway.
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby Paragon » Mon May 25, 2020 9:45 pm

I would, except that's a very expensive space heater lol
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby Joe_H » Mon May 25, 2020 9:56 pm

Yeah, one RTX 2080ti goes for about $1200-1300 currently, the "space heater" was built for ~$350 in parts from what youposted.
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MacBook Pro 2.9 i7 8 GB smp3
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby MeeLee » Mon May 25, 2020 11:31 pm

It is also a much more efficient heater, lol!
I bought mine for $950 average per unit, back when a lot of factory refurbs flooded the market from Gigabyte.

If you're planning on upgrading your space heater for this upcoming winter, with the release of new GPUs probably somewhere by the end of the year, you'll see some nice deals (both new and second hand).
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby Paragon » Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:14 pm

I might just do that...I have a collection of random cards that I could put in it (1080 ti, 980 ti, and a pair of rx 580s). What I'd be worried about on this rig is the PCI Express bandwidth. The 680i motherboard is only PCI-E gen 1, so with fast cards it might bottleneck. Then again it's in Linux, so it might not be as bad. What do you think?
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby HaloJones » Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:01 pm

shouldn't be a problem with PCIE bandwidth. Focus on the 1080ti (1.2m ppd) and the 980ti (800K) as those alone will get you 2m ppd.
1x Titan X, 5x 1070, 1x 970, 1 x Ryzen 3600

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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby MeeLee » Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:22 pm

If it's PCIE gen 1, your motherboard might not recognize some of the GPUs you mention.
PCIE gen 1.0 x16 slot, = the speed of PCIE 2.0 x8 = PCIE 3.0 x4.
You'll only be able to add 1 GPU.
Perhaps 2 if they are slower, but they will be somewhat PCIE bottlenecked.
I doubt you'll be able to make 1,2M PPD out of a 1080Ti on a 1.0 x8 slot.
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby JimboPalmer » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:43 am

(I have 3 Windows 10 PCs with Nvidia GPUs, two Pascal, one Turing, your mileage may vary)
I was watching GPU-Z and noticed my PerCap Reason was Therm a lot. While I had no interest in 'overclocking' it seemed to me that if I sped up the fans, that the cards would not reduce performance due to excess temperature.

I broke out my copy of MSI Afterburner and increased fan speed until the GPU temp was under 82C, this seemed to be about 80% and the PCs are much louder.

My PerfCap is now VRel on all three PCs and I am over 1 million PPD, I was 950k PPD. And yes, the room is warmer.

Again, I did not overclock, I just increased cooling so I got less thermal limiting of the stock Clock speed.

https://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/
https://www.msi.com/page/afterburner
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby MeeLee » Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:25 pm

JimboPalmer wrote:(I have 3 Windows 10 PCs with Nvidia GPUs, two Pascal, one Turing, your mileage may vary)
I was watching GPU-Z and noticed my PerCap Reason was Therm a lot. While I had no interest in 'overclocking' it seemed to me that if I sped up the fans, that the cards would not reduce performance due to excess temperature.

I broke out my copy of MSI Afterburner and increased fan speed until the GPU temp was under 82C, this seemed to be about 80% and the PCs are much louder.

My PerfCap is now VRel on all three PCs and I am over 1 million PPD, I was 950k PPD. And yes, the room is warmer.

Again, I did not overclock, I just increased cooling so I got less thermal limiting of the stock Clock speed.

https://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/
https://www.msi.com/page/afterburner


Instead of increasing the fan curve, try limiting the power envelope.
Much more effective.
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Re: Space Heater Build

Postby bruce » Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:35 am

MeeLee wrote:Instead of increasing the fan curve, try limiting the power envelope.
Much more effective.

I though the objective was to build a space heater for a cold room. Limiting the power doesn't fulfill our objective. :P
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