To GPU or not to GPU

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Re: To GPU or not to GPU

Postby Madcap » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:37 pm

All I am saying is that as a consumer, I would like the software to adjust core affinities and other settings automatically so that the GPU can fold as efficiently as possible while allowing the CPU to fold as efficiently as possible. This might be difficult or impossible to achieve, I don't know.

It is not meant as criticism of the programmers; I think that V7 definitely is a step in the right direction regarding user-friendliness.
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Re: To GPU or not to GPU

Postby bruce » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:15 pm

I didn't take your suggestion as a criticism -- but rather as a request for an enhancement.

From the perspective of a consumer, I heartily agree (and I've suggested it to the Developers more than once).

From the perspective of the Developers there's really a huge number of combinations and finding the optimum settings for all of them is a monumental job -- which would have to be done for Windows/OS-X/multiple Linux distros. The answers for each OS might or might not be the same, but certainly the methodology to adjust priorities/affinities/etc would be different.

Moreover, the objective of the Developer of the (for example) GPU core is to maximize production of that core in an isolated test machine. [Similarly for the SMP core, etc.] The objective of the Developer of the client is to make sure it's possible for YOU to simultaneously run any FahCore(s) that best fits your hardware and OS.

As an individual consumer, you only have to optimize one configuration (at a time) and if some setting improves your throughput but that same setting would reduce the throughput of some other configuration, that's not a conflict for you, whereas it would be for the Developer.

From the perspective of someone who follows all of the discussions on this forum (and occasionally on some of the Team forums) we can gather a set of general recommendations like the ones mentioned earlier in this topic but the ultimate test of what works for you has to be a set of tradeoffs that are customized by you for your particular system. Even the recommendations about the best way to manage the four current GPUs (NV_G80/NV_Fermi/ATI_OpenCL/ATI_Brook) are distinctly different -- and who's to say what will happen in the future. [In that regard, I do have some (limited) appreciation for the PS3 client since the Sony OS provides no way to run more than one client and there's no possibility to optimize anything.]

I don't see a reasonable way to do any better than that, but the floor is always open for suggestions.
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Re: To GPU or not to GPU

Postby Madcap » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:43 pm

I just realized that I need an answer to the following question: What would benefit you as an organization the most, me running SMP4 only or me running SMP3 + GPU? From what I've read, the latter configuration would surely lead to more WUs being processed, but less points being awarded.
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Re: To GPU or not to GPU

Postby mdk777 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:09 am

Well, its complicated.

Since all projects are ultimately time dependent, there is a benefit to finishing one fast, rather than two slow.
However, the GPU is seldom bottle-necked by the CPU, so it is really one at normal speed and one at 75% or better(of your available compute CPU)

Edit; to answer your question, no the point system is not a perfect reflection of benefit. But like democracy is to Government, it is merely the best that has been devised to date. :wink:

My advice is to do whatever you find most conducive to your usage.
More is more, but if it becomes so much of a hassle or interruption to your usage, then you will quit.

As Bruce mentioned, a seamless and invisible and instantaneous load balancing program might never arrive.

Personally, I like my computer to be insanely responsive when I'm using it. However, I seldom am using it for more than 4-5 hours a day.
Consequently, I suspend folding when I'm using it and load it up (knowing that it will sacrifice response) when I'm not.

Just really depends on your equipment, usage and tolerance for slowing down. :mrgreen:
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Re: To GPU or not to GPU

Postby bruce » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:11 am

In the early days of FAH, all projects were assigned a number of points per WU and there were no bonuses. At that time, the points system was the best that had been devised to date but it didn't take into account that faster was better than slower. A bonus system was proposed which did take into account fast vs. slow and it was beta tested on SMP projects. It has some quirks, too, but it's the best that has been devised to date.

The bonus system now also applies to some uniprocessor projects (but not all) and does not yet apply to GPU or PS3 projects. You're asking about SMP 4 compared to GPU + SMP 3, but the GPU and SMP projects use different methods of calculating points so there's no can be based on EITHER points system -- and so mdk777's answer is probably the most accurate answer anybody can give.
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Re: To GPU or not to GPU

Postby JonazzDJ » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:51 am

If you have a decent GPU, it's probably better if you run SMP 3 + GPU. That's what I do anyway.
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Re: To GPU or not to GPU

Postby Jesse_V » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:00 am

JonazzDJ wrote:If you have a decent GPU, it's probably better if you run SMP 3 + GPU. That's what I do anyway.


Not necessarily. For the record, I have a decent Nivida GPU, and I run SMP 4 + GPU on v7 just fine. Like Bruce said, it's probably best to figure out the optimal settings for your particular client. We can however give you advice based on past experience reports.
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Re: To GPU or not to GPU

Postby JonazzDJ » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:38 pm

Jesse_V wrote:
JonazzDJ wrote:If you have a decent GPU, it's probably better if you run SMP 3 + GPU. That's what I do anyway.


Not necessarily. For the record, I have a decent Nivida GPU, and I run SMP 4 + GPU on v7 just fine. Like Bruce said, it's probably best to figure out the optimal settings for your particular client. We can however give you advice based on past experience reports.


Yes, of course that's better if it works. But I should have pointed out that I think that setting is better if SMP 4 + GPU cause too much problems for SMP folding.
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Re: To GPU or not to GPU

Postby codysluder » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:02 am

I reduce my SMP count by one when running an ATI GPU but leave it at the maximum setting when running an NVIDIA GPU.
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Re: To GPU or not to GPU

Postby darkbasic » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:22 pm

I just set the fahcore_16 GPU thread to a higher priority and kept smp threads to the number of cores available.
Before switching to the new GPU3 "fahcore_16" client I had smp set to X-1 (where X is the number of cores).

P.S.
I do have an AMD HD5870.
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Re: To GPU or not to GPU

Postby PantherX » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:22 pm

darkbasic wrote:...I had smp set to X-1 (where X is the number of cores)...
If X is an odd value (5, 7, 9...) then with some Projects, this will cause issues. If possible, please use an even number.
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