What is better, Folding with GPU or with CPU? [Either/both]

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What is better, Folding with GPU or with CPU? [Either/both]

Postby Lindsey » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:11 am

What is better, use our CPU with more accuracy in the calcs, or the GPU with a huge ammount of power but less accuracy? If I have a good CPU and a GPU compatible with CUDA, what of this two is better for scientific results?
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Re: What is better, Folding with GPU or with CPU?

Postby bollix47 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:16 am

Hi Lindsey and welcome to the forum.

Without knowing the models of your cpu and gpu your question is a hard one to answer.

Points per day (PPD) is a measurement that is commonly used to gauge the science being accomplished and without knowing the models involved we have no way of knowing which one would be best ... maybe both?
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Re: What is better, Folding with GPU or with CPU?

Postby verlyol » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:57 am

Of a scientific point of view all the results are important gpu or cpu. You can also fold on GPU and CPU on the same time...

What is your hardware configuration ?
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Re: What is better, Folding with GPU or with CPU?

Postby ndimario » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:25 pm

When I first began folding a few years ago, this topic came up. These are the answers I found back then (feel free to correct):

GPU - Much quicker with folding, but work units are more limited in data.
CPU - Much more comprehensive work units, but longer dead lines.

The PPD is balanced for each, however I believe they prefer CPU based work units. Unless that changed.
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Re: What is better, Folding with GPU or with CPU?

Postby Jesse_V » Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:05 pm

It's my understanding that they want you to fold on both. I notice that the next generation of F@h software, the V7 client, automatically sets up folding on both the CPUs and the GPUs. The two different types of hardware do different types of calculations. AFAIK, CPUs tackle explicit solvation, which simulate the protein and its surrounding liquids in a atom-by-atom basis. Every single water molecule is individually simulated, etc. That's a lot of work to do, but apparently CPUs are pretty good at this. Because they don't have specialized and optimized hardware for doing this, so they're comparatively slow. GPUs perform implicit solvation, which treat certain things like water as more a mathematical continuum. The GPU specialized hardware is optimized to perform a limited type of calculations really fast. So each has pros and cons, and I guess each is scientifically useful in its own right.

Bottom line, I'd recommend that you fold on both. Yes, CPUs are more scientifically flexible but not as fast, GPUs are less flexible and really fast, and PS3s take the middle ground. That much is clear; it's on the F@h website.
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Re: What is better, Folding with GPU or with CPU?

Postby bruce » Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:16 pm

ndimario wrote:... however I believe they prefer CPU based work units. Unless that changed.


Science benefits from either (or both). Stanford has not expressed a preference but will put whatever resources you choose to donate to good use.
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