Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

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Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby Searinox » Thu May 03, 2012 11:50 am

I've posted about this before. Here's the thing...

I want to fold. I really do. I have only one computer. It's not bad. 2.7Ghz core2 duo, 64bit OS, 8GB RAM, HD6850 gfx card... And I've been trying to run tasks with the v7 client. The problem is although recent client versions have improved performance, I STILL get considerable lag in games when folding. This happens with both CPU and GPU cores. CPU lags much less than GPU but still somehow manages to do it.

The conclusion is only one: I simply cannot fold while using the computer AND expect no performance hit.

Which is why I ask for this: an option within the clients to only fold while the PC is idle, and to pause tasks once keyboard/mouse input is given. My computer runs 24/7 and i don't know how good 5500 PPD is but I'd like to make my contribution.

I've tried all sorts of tricks, including a combination of running the client in console mode and hiding the ui with a vbs script to make it independent of fahcontrol, combined with a task scheduler task to run or pause the task when idling or coming out of idle. This left me in an uncomfortable situation where I could not check progress since the client was always off when I opened the UI, and some other issues that made the patchwork ineffective. Another trick I tried with vbs programming failed since the watchdog that'd be handling the tasks ended up eating cpu cycles.... the bottom line is: I REALLY TRIED!

There are some of us, that, for some reasons, can't fold and be happy using the comp at the same time. Our configs for whatever reason, still impact performance while folding. It would be of enormous help if the client had a self-pause/resume function tied to the machine's idling state. Messenger clients do it all the time, setting away or idle when the comp isn't in use. It would be of GREAT help. I'm sure you'd also be recieving more work. Could you pleeeeeeease implement such a system?

I won't even be demanding. Just add 2 commands to the fahclient "--pause" and "--resume" that I could run with my task scheduler patchwork! Anything!
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby 7im » Thu May 03, 2012 2:13 pm

Run 2 UNI slots, set each to 95% cpu usage in client, and no more lag. ;)
Please do not mistake my brevity as dispassion or condescension. I recognize the time you spend reading the forum is time you could use elsewhere, so my short responses save you time. Please do not hesitate to ask for clarification if I was too terse.
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby Jesse_V » Thu May 03, 2012 2:25 pm

That is an excellent idea. Several days ago Dr. Pande mentioned that he was thinking about a screensaver for the GPU client, which would run when the user was away, thereby avoiding the lag issues. viewtopic.php?f=16&t=21367&start=15#p213602
VijayPande wrote:...We have had different priorities at different times. Years ago, we had a big push to get to new platforms such as GPUs and true SMP (many other d.c. projects just run multiple WUs on each core, which uses cores, but at least for us is a big loss scientifically compared to true SMP). Now, our main goal is to grow the number of clients so we can get more work done. This includes items like (in no special order):
* Make GPU computing easier. This includes install issues and heat issues, but especially usability issues (GPUs don't have process priority, so efficient GPU code can really monopolize a machine). I've been thinking about bringing the screen saver back for GPUs since that would be a natural way around this. If we could get 100,000 GPUs, we would be at the ~100petaflop level which would be an amazing feat computationally, but more importantly would be a huge resource for FAH's scientific calculations. Towards this end, we have been experimenting with a linux GPU client (no promises or an ETA, but it is something we've been looking into).
* Make running FAH in general easier for newbies/non-experts. The V7 client I think has helped with this, but there's still a lot we can do there.
* Provide more feedback in the client. We've made a push to do more with the blog and I think that's had positive reactions. I think the client could do a lot more as well. The v7 client rewrite took a lot of effort since we started from scratch. Adding in new features won't take nearly as long. I'd also like to improve its GUI to be slicker, more modern, and more visually appealing.

I should stress that this isn't to say that I don't think these are the only issues but that these are the ones on the forefront of my mind these days in terms of the donor experience....

So there is some interest there. It doesn't necessarily guarantee an upcoming client, but I just wanted to point that out.

Also, there's an feature request ticket open to pause F@h when another process becomes active, which is somewhat related to what you're talking about. https://fah-web.stanford.edu/projects/F ... /ticket/83
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby 7im » Thu May 03, 2012 4:10 pm

Another comment that applies when folding and gaming with a GPU client with the current client... http://foldingforum.org/viewtopic.php?p=215034#p215034
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby Searinox » Thu May 03, 2012 7:30 pm

I've waited on the fence for months, always trying new clients. I can wait longer if it's planned. Can't find per-slot cpu usage config, only a global setting.
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby Jesse_V » Thu May 03, 2012 7:45 pm

Searinox wrote:I've waited on the fence for months, always trying new clients. I can wait longer if it's planned. What's UNI slots?


In regard to an earlier statement, 5k PPD is pretty good productive level I'd say. There are people here with monster machines that produce astronomical PPD, and then there are others who donate a few hundred. Every contribution counts and yours is appreciated.

It is interesting that your CPU is causing you issues. Normally they do an excellent job at backing down for other applications, it's typically the GPU client that causes the most disruption (they are aware of this as I pointed out). If the SMP and GPU cause undesirable amounts of lag, you could shut them down. The "uni" slot stands for "uniprocessor", and it only folds using a single processor, and thus has the least amount of system impact. If the lag you are experiencing is not worth the productivity, consider downgrading your configuration to a uniprocessor or so and see how that goes. I'd recommend that you reconfigure after you finish WUs, so that they don't time out and get reassigned to someone else to process all over again. Hit the Finish button to do that, and wait till they all complete. Then, if you click the Configure button and go to the Slots tab, you'll see what you've set up. You can then remove your GPU slot (and your SMP slot which I'm assuming you have), and then add a Uniprocessor slot. This isn't as productive, but it'll most likely eliminate the lag you are experiencing since you'll be processing on just a single CPU core. Let us know how it goes.
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby Searinox » Thu May 03, 2012 8:24 pm

Well, with 2x uni slots the PPD dropped to about 990-1010. Worse, LAG STILL HAPPENS IN GAMES despite the cpu now sitting at 95%. Sorry, this really is looking like a bust unless I can find a way to make FAH run only while idling. Will update this post if just one uni fixes it. Btw 1x uni will pretty much bring me to less than 1/10 my initial PPD. I tried disabling antivirus and even disabling Comodo's Defense+ antivirus at driver level, I CANNOT, for the life of me, achieve zero performance impact during folding. The frames in games still stutter a little.
Last edited by Searinox on Thu May 03, 2012 8:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby bruce » Thu May 03, 2012 8:28 pm

Searinox wrote:I've waited on the fence for months, always trying new clients. I can wait longer if it's planned. Can't find per-slot cpu usage config, only a global setting.


The global CPU usage setting works quite effectively with 7im's suggested configuration of two uniprocessor slots (both at 95%). The same setting can be added within each slot, but since you'll be applying it to both, why bother?

Folding on a HD6850 requires both the resources of the GPU plus the resources of one CPU, so you can expect it to introduce lag into your game, though it could be used effectively as a screensaver or with any other method of suspending folding when your using your computer.
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby Searinox » Thu May 03, 2012 8:30 pm

UPDATE: Tested with a single core. The lag is exactly the SAME despite cpu now hanging around 50%. I honestly don't know what to think. I even closed firefox since I feared its gpu acceleration would be the problem, and it didn't help. The moment I stop ALL tasks I get okay framerate again. My system really seems to hate folding. CPU temperatures are normal and there's no downthrottle from heat. My power supply is more than fit for the config. The game isn't even on the same drive as FAH so it can't be bottlenecking there. I've looked at just about everything I can think of. Any more ideas?
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby 7im » Thu May 03, 2012 8:48 pm

What game?

Also, is Aero enabled?
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby bruce » Thu May 03, 2012 8:58 pm

bruce wrote:Folding on a HD6850 requires both the resources of the GPU plus the resources of one CPU, so you can expect it to introduce lag into your game, though it could be used effectively as a screensaver or with any other method of suspending folding when your using your computer.


I'm not a gamer, and I am not qualified to judge the limitations of game performance, but I do know there are some pretty significant differences in how specific games use system resources. How much of your CPU is used when you're just gaming? Like FAH, your GPU is probably using all or most of one CPU when you're gaming, leaving only one for the game, itself (even when FAH is not running) and many games are written for multiple CPUs. If your BIOS can accommodate an upgrade to an X3 or X4, you might get a noticeable improve the performance of your game when it's the only thing running. FAH would still probably have to be stopped and started manually but it would run better, too, while you're sleeping. (Not all X2 systems can accommodate just plugging in an X3.)
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby P5-133XL » Thu May 03, 2012 9:15 pm

The only time I ever noticed a problem with gaming and CPU folding was when it was sending and receiving WU's over the internet while simultaneously gaming over the internet. Folding wants 100% of the network bandwidth and that is incompatible with most everything that uses the internet (P2P file sharing, real-time gaming, VOIP, video streaming). The only solution that I've found that works well is to have a properly configured QOS router that can either prioritize connections or reserve bandwidth for connections.
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby Searinox » Thu May 03, 2012 10:47 pm

Aero is enabled. Games tested so far confirmed to be lagging are Starcraft 2, WoW, Resident Evil 5 and Amnesia. Basically every game I tried playing since I installed FAH. CPU usage varies, WoW will use around 60%, SC2 uses around 50.

P5-133XL wrote:The only time I ever noticed a problem with gaming and CPU folding was when it was sending and receiving WU's over the internet while simultaneously gaming over the internet. Folding wants 100% of the network bandwidth and that is incompatible with most everything that uses the internet (P2P file sharing, real-time gaming, VOIP, video streaming). The only solution that I've found that works well is to have a properly configured QOS router that can either prioritize connections or reserve bandwidth for connections.


It's not network lag, it's frame lag. I think this is the part where I shut up and disappear from the forum for another month or so then come back after I've tested some newer builds. :P
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby bruce » Fri May 04, 2012 2:52 am

Searinox wrote:Aero is enabled. Games tested so far confirmed to be lagging are Starcraft 2, WoW, Resident Evil 5 and Amnesia. Basically every game I tried playing since I installed FAH. CPU usage varies, WoW will use around 60%, SC2 uses around 50.


In Task Manager, be sure "Show processes from all users" is checked. Then you should see the Idle process absorbing around 50 with SC2. If that's true, I contend that starting a single Uniprocessor will use that other 50% without adding any lag unless you have a really small amount of RAM. In the case of WoW, you'll probably see WoW still using 60% and the FAHCore now cutting back to around 40%, again without causing any lag.

That's only true if you're running one or two Uniprocessor slots. Other slot configurations might cause lag.

Adding the setting cpu-usage xx should add idle time UNLESS the total CPU being used by all processes totals more than 100% so start with a single Uniprocessor client. (One client uses no more than 100% of one CPU, so no more than 50% of your X2 at the lowest possible priority.)
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Re: Client Feature Request: Run tasks only when PC idle

Postby Searinox » Fri May 04, 2012 11:22 am

Show processes from all users is ofcourse checked. I never said that I wasn't "seeing" anything. I saw <game name> and FAH adding up to a total of 100% every time. The system idle process had virtually 0%. When I lowered usage to 95%, system idle got around 0-10%.
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