Folding on Windows server or Linux?

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Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby Stonecold » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:31 am

I have a good XPS 730x desktop computer that I'd like to start folding with. It doesn't have a monitor, but I can put one on temporarily to set things up. Anyways, my question is, should I install Windows Server (server version because I'd guess it'd be a little slimmer) or something like Debian? It has duel GPUs, and both are quite good, so if I can I'd like to take advantage of them for GPU folding. The computer will be running unattended, which is why I'm hesitant to use Windows (plus I know more about Linux than Windows, so that's another reason), but I also want to be able to put the two powerful GPUs to work, so I'm also hesitant to use Linux. Which should I use? Will Windows Server 2008/2012 be a good choice (stable enough and able to use the GPUs) or should I just go with Debian with Windows running in VirtualBox or FAH running through Wine or what?
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby P5-133XL » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:47 am

There is no GPU client for Linux. There have been some that have gotten the v6 client to run the GPU client via Wine.

Running headless should not be a problem, but you can not run the GPU clients as a service under Windows so you have to auto-logon which may create a security issue for you..

It is invariably better to run natively than using a VM regardless of the OS you choose.

Since you will be running headless, do not access the machine using Microsoft Remote desktop if you are running the GPU clients -- It kills them. Use a Windows version of VNC.
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby Stonecold » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:55 am

I wouldn't be using Remote Desktop, I'd use SSH from my laptop with Linux (just to keep everything working smoothly and monitor CPU/GPU health. I wouldn't be using the computer for anything but folding and I'd set up the firewall to deny anything but my computer, and the FAH servers so I don't think I'd need AV software either).

So no VM? Then yeah, I'll go with Windows. Would Windows Server 2008 or 2012 be more stable/efficient? I'm guessing the server versions are more stable in general, and I don't want a lot of bulky bloatware and useless services running at once.
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby P5-133XL » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:47 am

You don't have to not use a VM, it is just more efficient without the overhead. I would argue that 2012 is too new, since the best that has been released to the public is just a release candidate, to even speculate if there are going to be stability issues. Both can be limited to just the basic core version that doesn't even have a GUI interface. I have no idea if the video subsystem is even avail to applications at that level though. I really don't have any experience with 2012 to be able to comment and I've never even tried to run a core install of 2008 (the most locked down version avail). I suspect there is going to be a learning curve and significant fiddle factor involved.
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby artoar_11 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:38 am

I have used WinXP and Win7/Pro + VMware (+OC) over 30 days without a restart. Restart only after some updates. The only problem is after a power failure. VMware can not automatically load Linux. Can Vbox autoload Linux?
Last edited by artoar_11 on Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby Stonecold » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:47 am

artoar_11 wrote:I have used WinXP and Win7/Pro + VMware (+OC) over 30 days without a restart. Restart only after some updates. The only problem is after a power failure. VMware can not automatically load Linux. Can Vbox autoload Linux?.

I'm not sure if VirtualBox can by itself, but it would be quite easy to write a Batch/Bash script to do it for you (VB has CLI support, under Linux at least).
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby artoar_11 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:21 pm

Thank you Stonecold :)
Accustomed to VMware. After a power failure starts client under Win. In this way solve this problem.

Just out of curiosity, what are the processors in the server?
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby Stonecold » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:31 pm

artoar_11 wrote:Just out of curiosity, what are the processors in the server?

Honestly, I don't remember the exact specs, but it's an 8-core (4-physical) Intel Core i7 @ 3.4 (I think) GHz, and with 6 GB of RAM. It's a few years old, but it cost several thousand dollars at the time so it's still pretty good. It also has two nVidia GPUs. I don't remember their specs either, but I know that combined they have slightly over 1000 Gflops of processing power (which I think is a bit more powerful than an nVidia GeForce GTX 675m GPU).

It's not an actual server, but that's what it's being used (it was built as just a desktop).
Last edited by Stonecold on Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby 7im » Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:13 pm

Don't waste your money on Windows Server. Win 7 is just as stable, will be more friendly to run for an inexperienced windows user, and will be easier to get working with GPUs, as the drivers can be a little finicky.
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby Stonecold » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:18 am

Alright, I'll go with Windows 7, thanks. Maybe I'll play with Server 2008 or 12 in VirtualBox or something...

How long should I expect Windows 7 to run unattended, assuming I don't update anything or do anything but run FAH?
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby Rel25917 » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:01 am

Stonecold wrote:
How long should I expect Windows 7 to run unattended, assuming I don't update anything or do anything but run FAH?


This is really more up to your hardware and software that is running than windows. I haven't tried running a Win7 comp long term yet but I had an xp machine that ran for over 280 days with daily use without a reboot. It finally got taken down due to a 3 hour power outage, not because it needed rebooted. I did have plenty of programs crash during that time(firefox mostly) but the OS stayed stable. If your hardware is good Windows will run for a good long time.
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby artoar_11 » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:20 am

Stonecold wrote:Alright, I'll go with Windows 7, thanks. Maybe I'll play with Server 2008 or 12 in VirtualBox or something...

How long should I expect Windows 7 to run unattended, assuming I don't update anything or do anything but run FAH?

If you set Windows Update -> "Download updates but let me choose whether to install them", OS waiting manually run Install. You will see some warning that there are new updates. So waiting for your intervention.

For Win7 partition (C:) minimum 40 GB. Without restart my home PC was worked max. 30 days. Or come updates, or power failures.

WinXP and Win7 are very stable for a long time.
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Re: Folding on Windows server or Linux?

Postby divery4eyes » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:00 pm

Windows 7 is in my opinion 10x as stable as XP.
I used to be quite a heavy gpu folder and I solved quite a few problems just by converting over to Windows 7.
Under XP, I would always have to reboot, otherwise the computer would eventually blue screen.
Under 7, I get the occasional driver rest and that is it.
Bad part is that I forget to check them since they have become so stable.
I have a FIC motherboard running a gt240 and the only time it gets turned off is the when the power goes out or when it needs a cleaning.
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