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Steps to Reduce your Folding Costs

post #1 of 71
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Perhaps the single biggest drawback for folders is the cost of Energy. We need to find a way to reduce the cost of electricity for our folding rigs. My electric bill has increased between $60-$100 a month from my dedicated 24/7 F@H rig, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced this!

Looking at a few numbers of average cost per kwh around the world (Per Wikipedia):
Australia: 19.67 first 1755kWh/qtr, then 28.88
Canada: 6.18
Germany: 30.66
Ireland: 20.5
Russia: 9.49
Spain:19.69
Sweden: 27.34
UK: 19.18
US: 11.20


I have a few ideas to help offset the cost of F@H:

1. Off-Peak Electricity:
Many power companies offer reduced rates for electricity during off peak hours (typically something like 9pm-7am). Ask your power company if they offer this. If you have a 24/7 F@H rig like me this only helps at night. But consider running your other electricity consuming devices after 9pm and/or before 7am. Run the dishwasher at night, laundry at night, take a shower during these times, etc. This may not help offset the cost of your folding rig, but it will help you save on electric!

2. Performance Per Watt (PPW)
If you're not involved in folding yet, or are looking to get new hardware to fold consider getting the most efficient hardware. The Fermi cards from Nvidia were the efficiency champs when it came to folding, however I believe the Sandy Bridge architecture has surpassed Fermi in efficiency.

I can't seem to find a list of PPW hardware, I'll work on a thread for this when I get a chance and update this one.

3. Type of folding:
Consider SMP vs bigadv vs hugeadv. Each type uses 100% of your CPU, however bigadv yields a higher PPD than SMP, and hugeadv an even higher PPD than that of bigadv. I plan on hooking a Kill-a-watt up to my rig and testing the difference in power consumption, but logic would lead me to believe 100% CPU consumption draws the same power regardless of what the CPU is calculating.

If you're paying to fold, get the most "bang for buck" and maximize your PPD. Just remember you must have the hardware to support bigadv and hugeadv. Refer to these excellent guides here:
Bigadv/SMP by Zodac
Hugeadv (aka big bigadv) by eloverton2

4.Operating System
For the same hardware you'll get slightly better PPD in Linux. However, unless you have a dedicated rig for folding most people will use Windows. An alternative which isn't quite as good as native Linux, but better than Windows, is to fold in a virtual machine using VMWare or VirtualBox, or some other type of virtual hardware.

Older guide, but should still work:
SMP in Ubuntu Guide by zodac

5. Efficient Cooling:
It's known that electronics are more efficient at lower temperatures. That being said you can sustain a higher overclock with lower temperatures. Regardless of cooling solution (water / air / etc) if possible move your rig to a naturally cooler location. Basements are usually a good choice. :thumb:

Personally I open my windows in the winter in my office/man-cave to allow naturally cooled air into the room. Just keep an eye on the humidity!

6. Solar DIY:
I've got an idea for a Solar DIY project. I have very little electronics expertise/knowledge and I'm not even sure if this is possible but it's worth a shot. My idea is to acquire inexpensive solar panels and somehow tie it into the UPS (battery backup) that my folding rig pulls power from. I'm looking at something like this. Again there would have to be some major modifications but if I can pull it off it'll help to offset the cost of folding. If anyone has electronic experience please PM me. I plan to start a thread for this project, I'll update this with a link later.

7. Folding Rig Placement (Per Stu.):
Folding rigs can generate a lot of heat! A typical 24/7 rig can heat a room all by itself, so if you invest in multiple rigs, make sure to spread them throughout the house! By doing so, during the winter months, you may be able to reduce the heating bill of the house by a substantial amount, because in most places, electricity is cheaper than gas. (Except where I live, Pennsylvania. Natural gas is MUCH cheaper than electricity.)

8. HP Cloud Services Beta (aka fold on someone elses "dime")
The HP cloud service (HPCS) as defined on their site is:
"HP Cloud Services will provide public cloud infrastructure that is business grade, open source based, and developer focused. Our initial Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings, HP Cloud Compute and HP Cloud Object Storage, are built on HP’s hardware and software, with a developer friendly integration of OpenStack™ technology – backed by exceptional customer support.

Allows you to deploy compute instances (virtual machines) on demand. It lets you customize your instances to handle your changing workloads and add new instances to quickly scale."

So in a nutshell you can create a VM, install your favorite OS and run it on HP's hardware. Did I mention you can use this VM to fold on? ;) You pay nothing during the Beta so why not get started and fold on it?! I just got accepted into the beta, and will start my folding VM over the weekend.
Sign up here
Zodac has a guide for configuring F@H on this here


Solar DIY concept / Implementation
Many thanks to Magus2727 as he sent me a very detailed message on this which I will copy and place below:
Quote:
Hello,

I read your "Steps to reduce your folding costs" thread and can give some input as to what needs to be done or looked at.

What I would do, is as follows, use an array of deep cycle car batteries, some high efficient (20%) Solar cells, a Pure Sine wave 120V inverter, and a UPS of 1000 watts or better.

The set up would be to have the solar cells (with the appropriate hardware/equipment to provide 14.5V to the batteries (or 24v is a 24 volt inverter is used, usually more efficient). Then attach a pure sine wave inverter (most cheap inverters use a modified sine wave which does not play well with power strips nor UPS), then a UPS between the inverter and the PC as an extra level of both protection and so the PC can be set to auto shut down if the battery bank was to "be empty"

some rules of thumb, deep cycle car batteries should not be discharged more than 50% when being recharged via a trickle charge (like solar). Inverters are usually about 85% efficient.

So for a theoretical system that pulls 300 watts per hour. in a 24 hour period you need to provide 7,200 watts, which means after efficiency losses in the system (assuming 15% loss) you need 8,820 watts but remember the battery capacity needs to be about double that so you don't fully discharge your batteries. So your Solar DIY system needs to handle 16,560 watts. In a 24 hour period you may only have 7-8 good hours were your solar panels are operating at peak capacity (9am to 5pm, this will shorten during winter but lets not get into that at the moment) so assuming over this 8 hours you need to fully recharge your system (while your system is still pulling power). So needing 8,820 Watts to be replenished plus aprox 2,400 watts that the system pulls during those 8 hours you need a solar array that can deliver 1,400 watts an hour.

Note that this is for a 300 Watt system. a 600 watt (which might be more realistic for a single dedicated folding rig, or even 900 watts will be twice or 3 times as much power)

The largest solar panel on a quick search was a 120 watt panel @ $650. needing 12 of these would set you at $7,800 + $200 for needed equipment to connect up to batteries.. For the Batteries 16,560 Watts equates to about 1400 amp hours. The Odyssey 31-PC2150MJT-H can deliver on average 100 Amps per hour over a 20 hour span. these costs $430, even though 1 might be enough I would get two setting the price $860 for the batteries. Samlex makes good Prue Sine Wave inverters that cost around $200... depends on wattage. And then lastly a UPS about $200.

SO for a 300 Watt system to be completely off the grid would be $9,200

Now typically the 300 Watt computer over a month will be 223kWhours at starts 19.1 cents is $42.37 a month ($508 a year). assume the system needs new batteries every 5 years and new solar cells every 15 years. in 5 years you would have spent $2,540 if the computer was connected to the grid. or $7,626 in 15 years. in that 15 year span you would have spent a total of around $11,000 in the initial cost and maintaining of the system vs $7,626 if you just left it hooked to the wall.

Now if you paired this with electing for doing peak power metering and only using the off grid power (usually at night, I know here in Utah I just read the peak time is weekdays from 1pm to 9pm). This means you only need solar power and battery array to handle power over a 8 hour period and not the 24 hour before mentioned. this would most likely be your best bet as you would only need 3-4 solar pans.

Another thought is to drop the solar panels (as they are what cost a lot) and charge up the large battery bank during the night / non peak times and then just run from the batteries during the peak time. I have seen on average about 1.5 cents savings per kWh doing this. so a 300 watt system over a year would have 74.4 kWh during peak and 148.6kWh off peak. if 1.5 cents is the saving. $14.136+$26=$40.14 a month (a $2 savings per month just going with the dual meter system. Now incorporating a battery bank and equipment say it costs you $750 for everything. would be $39 a month, a $3.20 savings.

Once again battery replacement every 5 years (running 1 battery @$ 430) over a year that's $40 in savings $200 in savings over 5 years. You may be able to get away with a smaller battery ($200) and it may last 10 years in that case you would have started to save money... but still not to the point that you have recouped the cost of the initial investment.

While this may be better optimized it is shown that most efforts to pull your computer off the grid or to "cheat" the system do not end up saving you money but rather cost you more money. Now if your wanting to protect the environment (one of those we fold to cure cancer but we burn more power causing more load on the power stations creating more pollutants... etc a viscous circle)

The savings may be more apparent in large systems or farms and you can taylor your battery reserve more to what your computer needs are but in general the savings is not visible.

Hope this helps in your other thread you talked about writing. I can provide more details or data or information if you so wish to have it.

Edited by CarlosSpiceyWeiner - 2/23/12 at 5:04am
    
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post #2 of 71
Go Canada biggrin.gif

Cheap energy + Bulldozer folding + GFX folding doubles as heating which means I don't pay for heating too thumb.gif
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post #3 of 71
canada ftw!! i think i will start folding soon, it won't cost me a lot..
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post #4 of 71
From my last statement in MN - Energy Charge Winter 1106 kWh @ $0.063650. I guess being this close to Canada is a good thing...for a change.
    
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post #5 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckwheet View Post

From my last statement in MN - Energy Charge Winter 1106 kWh @ $0.063650. I guess being this close to Canada is a good thing...for a change.

typical arrogant remark
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post #6 of 71
Its not arrogance, it was meant to be funny, but I guess it got your panties in a knot. Sorry about that.
    
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post #7 of 71
Dudes on here wear panties? :-/
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post #8 of 71
7. Folding Rig Placement
Folding rigs can generate a lot of heat! A typical 24/7 rig can heat a room all by itself, so if you invest in multiple rigs, make sure to spread them throughout the house! By doing so, during the winter months, you may be able to reduce the heating bill of the house by a substantial amount, because in most places, electricity is cheaper than gas.

You could definitely rework that paragraph, but I wanted to add to the list!

edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deeeebs View Post

Dudes on here wear panties? :-/

It's a Canadian thing... wink.gif
 
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post #9 of 71
#1 Dont fold on GPUs

biggrin.gif
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post #10 of 71
folding is not that big of a problem specialy when its winter. during summer ppl have 1-3 air condioners in their homes and they take use amount of watts compare to a PC so overall folding will only cost 5bucks more than what you pay monthly
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