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First Dedicated Folding Rig Need Advice

post #1 of 12
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After folding on my laptop 24/7 for about two years I finally decided to build a dedicated rig. Because of financial constraints I am getting pre-owned and refurbished components only. Here's the build and costs:

1. MB: MSI K9A2 Platinum Edition
2. CPU: AMD Phenom X4 9950
3. RAM: OCZ Platinum 2x2GB PC2 8500
4. CPU Cooler: Xigmatek HDT X963F
----------------------------------------------...................$163
5. GPU: 2x PNY GTX 465 Refurbished.............$218 (Thanks OCN!)
6. PSU: Corsair TX750..........................................$ 50

The primary objective is to max out on GPU folding spreading across 4 PCIe x16 slots. The CPU is quite an old one but I eventually plan to upgrade to an AM3 6 core (still not sure about this) to do some SMP folding as well. I will upgrade the PSU sometime during the process.

This will be a headless system. So please suggest what type of monitoring program I should use to monitor hardware from a laptop running Debian Linux. Electric bill is no problem btw.

I understand the performance/advantages of AM3/AM3+ & DDR3 over my AM2+ & DDR2 build. However, as I've failed to get a decent AM3 board with 4 double spaced PCIe x16/x8 slots for prices I can afford, I opted for the next best thing--in my sig rig. Questions are:

1. As per my understanding, Fermi GPUs use relatively less CPU/RAM time/bandwidth compared to non-Fermi ones. So, how badly will my current build limit my PPD(=science productivity)?

2. After maxing out on GPU, will it be a good idea to upgrade the CPU to a Thuban and do some SMP folding as well? Given that pre-AM3 builds have some power related issues with overclocking will it be, money and performance-wise, a bad idea to use Thuban on an AM2+ board?

3. Did I just waste money getting the MB+CPU+RAM for the given price? If so, Please suggest a good AM3/AM3+ MB for >$200 which has plenty of ease/opportunity with folding on GPUs.

Thank you all for your time.
Edited by metalmayhem9 - 10/20/11 at 10:13am
    
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post #2 of 12
I use teamviewer to monitor my rig and dedicated folding rig. If you register you can save the logins for pcs you want to monitor and just double click to sign in.

http://www.teamviewer.com/en/download/index.aspx

Has support for Linux and Android/IOS too.
Edited by G3RG - 10/20/11 at 10:19am
 
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post #3 of 12
The mobo will comfortably hold 3 GPU's, but the placement of the SATA connectors will kind of limit the size of the card you can put in the slot that's right next to it. You can put a single slot card in that spot and it'll work.

At one point I had 3x GTX 260's and a 9600 GSO on that board. I had a Phenom II X940 and then later a 965 SMP folding on it too. You shouldn't run into any limitations on the CPU if you're not SMP folding and very little if you do. With only 2 465's to start with I doubt you'll see any PPD loss from folding SMP as well.

I also used to use TeamViewer for headless folding. Easy to set up and monitor when needed.

I'm pretty sure that when I was maxing out the same board I was using a TX750 PSU but you may want to use a calculator to make sure you have enough power as you add cards down the road (should you decide to do so).
Edited by AvgWhiteGuy - 10/20/11 at 10:22am
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post #4 of 12
I too have run that board, but I had a 1035T X6 for 3 months, and before that I was a 440 X3 for almost a year. I also had the sides off of the box, and a box fan pointed to the inards. It ran great until the cat desided to mark my computer as his.

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post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by metalmayhem9 View Post
I understand the performance/advantages of AM3/AM3+ & DDR3 over my AM2+ & DDR2 build. However, as I've failed to get a decent AM3 board with 4 double spaced PCIe x16/x8 slots for prices I can afford, I opted for the next best thing--in my sig rig. Questions are:
I've got that board, love it for a GPU farm. Right now it's running on a lowly AII 255 which is driving a 560Ti and a 9800GTX (I know, I have to get more cards).

Quote:
Originally Posted by metalmayhem9 View Post
1. As per my understanding, Fermi GPUs use relatively less CPU/RAM time/bandwidth compared to non-Fermi ones. So, how badly will my current build limit my PPD(=science productivity)?
Fermi's don't use much CPU cycles, less even with -advmethods enabled. Those WU works the cards harder but use next to no CPU time, so any SMP folding would be almost unaffected. Haven't run 4xFermi but that would probably work too with the -advmethods if the cards can be adequately cooled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AvgWhiteGuy View Post
The mobo will comfortably hold 3 GPU's, but the placement of the SATA connectors will kind of limit the size of the card you can put in the slot that's right next to it. You can put a single slot card in that spot and it'll work.
If you use a 90 deg angled SATA cable you can put long double slotted cards in every PCIe slot. Had a 9800GTX that extended over the connectors but used a angled connector to make it work.
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post #6 of 12
My only concern would be the price of the CPU cooler. Why did you choose that one of a Noctua or Silver Arrow?
 
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by G3RG View Post
I use teamviewer to monitor my rig and dedicated folding rig. If you register you can save the logins for pcs you want to monitor and just double click to sign in.
Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by AvgWhiteGuy View Post
At one point I had 3x GTX 260's and a 9600 GSO on that board. I had a Phenom II X940 and then later a 965 SMP folding on it too. You shouldn't run into any limitations on the CPU if you're not SMP folding and very little if you do. With only 2 465's to start with I doubt you'll see any PPD loss from folding SMP as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renegadesl1 View Post
I too have run that board, but I had a 1035T X6 for 3 months, and before that I was a 440 X3 for almost a year. I also had the sides off of the box, and a box fan pointed to the inards.
It always feels better to have some assurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by stu. View Post
My only concern would be the price of the CPU cooler. Why did you choose that one of a Noctua or Silver Arrow?
I didn't. It came with the CPU

Quote:
Originally Posted by AvgWhiteGuy View Post
The mobo will comfortably hold 3 GPU's, but the placement of the SATA connectors will kind of limit the size of the card you can put in the slot that's right next to it. You can put a single slot card in that spot and it'll work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arvidab View Post
If you use a 90 deg angled SATA cable you can put long double slotted cards in every PCIe slot.
Yep! a 90 degree angled SATA cable is the way to go with this.
But there's one thing....when I'll have 4 cards, how do I access the power button? Do I need to get some type of switch extension to turn it on? Or setup network boot on it?
    
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post #8 of 12
For the power button you can easily rig one up or setup wol.
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post #9 of 12
I just used a long piece of plastic, maybe one of those floss stick things with the changeable inserts to hit the power button. Just leveraged it against the GPU to hit it.

Basically this
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post #10 of 12
Easy solution: don't turn of you system. And set up auto power on in BIOS, if it loses power it will boot up automagically.
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