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Questions on building a folding server

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I am trying to price up a NAS server that will do 24/7 folding. I did a post here on the build. I had some question regarding what I need for folding.

In terms of folding and hardware, should I be looking at a 2 or 3 core cpu? And can I go with 2gb ram or go with 4gb?

In terms of the os, I can get server 2k3 for free and then there is freenas. I dont know which one I can fold on.
Edited by Mugen87 - 5/29/11 at 8:38am
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post #2 of 22
Bump.
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post #3 of 22
I am trying to come up with a reason to say 3 cores would be enough to make it worth doing. We have our smp folding that will handle dual core(barely) and 4 core cpu's(very well) and and the single core client also, but I can't think of how to make the client use 3 cores. Of course your lowly 4 core 955BE will get you going if you want to stay in the mainstream. Most of the old prebuilt servers (that cost 20,000 when new) don't do squat when it comes to folding.

I have it, can you describe what you are building in a different way?Keep in mind that folding wants the highest horsepower cpu's(cores/threads) and as many as you can present. Low powered stuff and folding mix like oil and water, you want to build lots of raw computational power.
Edited by PCCstudent - 5/29/11 at 8:36am
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post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Sorry I just relized I forgot the link in the op. That should tell better what Im going for.

I want to build a Nas server that functions as a folder. Im not building a dedicated folder, but if the server will be on all the time then let it fold. Also this is a budjet machine, Im not going for hella folding numbers on it.

So I guess I will go dual core and should I go 4gb ram? Still want to know which OS.
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post #5 of 22
The folding demands do not dictate 4gb but with the price of ddr3 so low I would go with 4gb also. I use Server 2008R2 all the time for folding so I can give that input but I have no idea on how freenas and a folding client work together.

The demands of a NAS and a computer that is folding are so very different. When this NAS computer that is also folding is "ON" it will not just be ON it will be ON at 100% cpu usage, making a lot of heat. This is quite different than what the cpu would be asked to do in its NAS role.Folding demands and takes the very most out of your hardware, it is a very intense,demanding activity to put you equipment through.
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post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
I do understand the demands of folding. I have 4+ 120 fans that will be in the case, I need to find them all. Dosnt f@h give up cpu cycles if the network needs something?

So I am going server 2k3 with 4gb. I can do dual core now, then upgrade later down the line.
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post #7 of 22
I just did this. I have an i7 2600k and a bunch of hard drives. I installed Linux mint configured Samba for sharing over the network and installed the FAH client.

Be warned, you make break Linux and need to reinstall it. I've done this too many times to count. It's also not for the faint of heart but I yield 20k - 25k more credit wise in linux bigadv folding vs windows 2k8

There are a lot of useful quides on the internet for Linux filesharing
    
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post #8 of 22
^ This

If it's literally just a file server, a GUI-less linux build would be excellent for folding / NAS

Samba shares are very easy to setup in Linux; as Patrick says there are guides out there, but it really just requires grabbing one (samba) package, and adding one conf file.
post #9 of 22
I used Windows Home Server with F@H and its works good. There is even an add-on for it. WHS is based of server 2003 except for WHS11 which is 2008.
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post #10 of 22
To answer your question about what hardware to get - it depends on your budget,how many PPD you want, whether you pay for power or A/C and how hot it is where you live.

If the budget is tight, then folding doesn't really influence your choices. By low-end kit that will use relatively little power and fold SMP. Your PPD will be low (3-4k for the hardware you listed), but the build will be cheap. Power costs will be moderate, as low-end CPUs are not too efficient in terms of PPD/W.

For a little more money add in a low-end GPU (GTS 450, GT 430 or GT 240). These will get better PPD/W (~9k/100W, ~3.8k/50W & 4k/70W respectively for the cards mentioned) so cost less in power, but you have to buy the cards upfront. Don't bother with SMP on low-end hardware if you're worried about power costs - it ain't worth it.

If you want the best PPD/W then nothing beats i7 2600k currently. If you can afford the build (which is only a few hundred $ more if you're building a full server anyway) then you'll get ~45k PPD folding -bigadv for ~$600 upfront and ~200-250W power consumption. Nothing else comes close to that kind of efficiency, but obviously the upfront costs are a little higher.

All of the options will handle the 'server' tasks just fine and will perform pretty much identically in that respect - for most uses you won't notice the difference.

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

About OS - any Windows will do (my GPU folding rig runs Server 03 R2, because I have it). Linux will get you more PPD if you go with the -bigadv options but can be tricky to get working with GPUs. For regular SMP (as you would run on lower end hardware) it doesn't really matter what OS you choose.
Edited by the_beast - 5/29/11 at 11:52am
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