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Old September 29, 2012, 12:24 PM
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Default Looking for Input on Buying First Dedicated Folding Computer

Hi, I've been looking into buying/buiding my first, full-time folding computer and I'm just looking for some input on a prospective purchase from a local seller.

For $700 I can get:
Tyan S4985 motherboard
3 x Opteron 8431 CPUs + 1 x Opteron 8439SE (I'm assuming the 8439SE will run at 8431 speeds?)
4 x stock AMD CPU coolers
8GB DDR2 ECC reg. RAM
Corsair 850W semi-modular PSU
Rosewill Blackhawk Ultra case (Modified to fit 16"x13" SSI MEB sized motherboard)

Hard drive is not included.

Looking around Google and eBay I understand that $700 is an excellent value for the parts, and being able to pick it up locally and skip out on shipping is a big plus, but what I'm trying to figure out is if it's folding performance could be outdone by any other system I could build for $700.
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Old September 29, 2012, 12:34 PM
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24 cores plus all the other stuff for 700 bucks i think is a decent price. Are you going to fold with ubuntu or windows? I think windows ultimate only see's 2 sockets IIRC. Ubuntu will require a little more work to setup, but will get you more PPD with the big wu's. There is a good guide over at [H] for the setup. Its easy once you get it running. 24 threads should get you 120-150 thousand PPD roughly with Big WU.

700 bucks for 120-150k PPD is a good value, with maybe 400W power draw.
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Old September 29, 2012, 12:53 PM
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If all goes well I'm planning on using Ubuntu. I say "if all goes well" because I'm pretty inexperienced with Linux. Thanks for the guide, it'll help.
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Old September 29, 2012, 07:05 PM
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Do it! $700 is an outstanding value for those parts!

One thing to note, though, is that the 8439SE won't play nicely with the 8431's because it has a different TDP (137W vs. 115W). In fact, knowing how finicky the S4985 is on the best of days, I would be surprised if the system could even POST with mismatched TDP chips.
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Old September 30, 2012, 06:29 AM
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I was a bit concerned about the mismatched chips. However, it's currently owned by freeloader1969 and he's been using it as a 24/7 folding machine so hopefully the mismatched chips won't be much of a problem.

If it does end up being a problem I can always try to swap out the three 8431's for 8439SE's or the one 8439SE for an 8431.
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Old September 30, 2012, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gafanden View Post
If it does end up being a problem I can always try to swap out the three 8431's for 8439SE's or the one 8439SE for an 8431.
All you can do is try it and see how it goes, then make changes if needed.
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Old September 30, 2012, 10:25 AM
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the chips are from the same family so they will run at the common speed, in this case 2.4 GHz. If you want to have a preview of what it will do consider my rig, which is a pair of Opteron 2419, hexacores at 1.8GHz. They never jump over 15K PPD on their best units. Extrapolating from my case, a pair of 8431 will do 20k PPD and double that will get you 40k PPD. This would be extrapolated under Windows. Probably you could install Windows Server 2008 and see all 4 sockets as Win7 Ultimate will only see 2. If you are a newbie at Linux , believe me , it will be complicated to configure everything. I really doubt it will complete -bigadv WUs in time, very good at SMP but -bigadv I don't think so. You can ask the seller for more info
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Old September 30, 2012, 04:09 PM
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I'm the owner of said rig. The system will complete Bigadv units with time to spare. The system is good for 120 to 130K PPD. Gafanden, had I known you planned on using it for Folding, I would leave the hard drive in it which is currently running Ubuntu 12.04 (it's only a crappy 160GB HD, but it does the job.) I would just change the username, team and passkey in the config file for you.

Kakao Stats - Production History - freeloader

Quote:
[15:25:11] Working on queue slot 02 [September 29 15:25:11 UTC]
[15:25:11] + Working ...
[15:25:11]
[15:25:11] *------------------------------*
[15:25:11] Folding@Home Gromacs SMP Core
[15:25:11] Version 2.27 (Thu Feb 10 09:46:40 PST 2011)
[15:25:11]
[15:25:11] Preparing to commence simulation
[15:25:11] - Looking at optimizations...
[15:25:11] - Files status OK
[15:25:15] - Expanded 30304527 -> 33158020 (decompressed 109.4 percent)
[15:25:15] Called DecompressByteArray: compressed_data_size=30304527 data_size=33158020, decompressed_data_size=33158020 diff=0
[15:25:15] - Digital signature verified
[15:25:15]
[15:25:15] Project: 8101 (Run 23, Clone 4, Gen 43)
[15:25:15]
[15:25:15] Assembly optimizations on if available.
[15:25:15] Entering M.D.
[15:25:21] Using Gromacs checkpoints
[15:25:26] Mapping NT from 24 to 24
[15:25:59] Resuming from checkpoint
[15:26:03] Verified work/wudata_02.log
[15:26:04] Verified work/wudata_02.trr
[15:26:04] Verified work/wudata_02.xtc
[15:26:04] Verified work/wudata_02.edr
[15:26:04] Completed 39805 out of 250000 steps (15%)
[15:28:41] Completed 40000 out of 250000 steps (16%)
[15:54:49] Completed 42500 out of 250000 steps (17%)
[16:20:59] Completed 45000 out of 250000 steps (18%)
[16:47:08] Completed 47500 out of 250000 steps (19%)
[17:13:17] Completed 50000 out of 250000 steps (20%)
[17:39:24] Completed 52500 out of 250000 steps (21%)
[18:05:32] Completed 55000 out of 250000 steps (22%)
[18:31:41] Completed 57500 out of 250000 steps (23%)
[18:57:50] Completed 60000 out of 250000 steps (24%)
[19:23:49] Completed 62500 out of 250000 steps (25%)
[19:49:52] Completed 65000 out of 250000 steps (26%)
[20:15:57] Completed 67500 out of 250000 steps (27%)
[20:42:04] Completed 70000 out of 250000 steps (28%)
[21:08:10] Completed 72500 out of 250000 steps (29%)
[21:34:19] Completed 75000 out of 250000 steps (30%)
[22:00:29] Completed 77500 out of 250000 steps (31%)
[22:26:34] Completed 80000 out of 250000 steps (32%)
[22:52:32] Completed 82500 out of 250000 steps (33%)
[23:18:36] Completed 85000 out of 250000 steps (34%)
[23:44:45] Completed 87500 out of 250000 steps (35%)
[00:10:53] Completed 90000 out of 250000 steps (36%)
[00:37:03] Completed 92500 out of 250000 steps (37%)
[01:03:09] Completed 95000 out of 250000 steps (38%)
[01:29:19] Completed 97500 out of 250000 steps (39%)
[01:55:25] Completed 100000 out of 250000 steps (40%)
[02:21:35] Completed 102500 out of 250000 steps (41%)
[02:47:44] Completed 105000 out of 250000 steps (42%)
[03:13:53] Completed 107500 out of 250000 steps (43%)
[03:40:00] Completed 110000 out of 250000 steps (44%)
[04:06:09] Completed 112500 out of 250000 steps (45%)
[04:32:16] Completed 115000 out of 250000 steps (46%)
[04:58:23] Completed 117500 out of 250000 steps (47%)
[05:24:22] Completed 120000 out of 250000 steps (48%)
[05:50:26] Completed 122500 out of 250000 steps (49%)
[06:16:32] Completed 125000 out of 250000 steps (50%)
[06:42:42] Completed 127500 out of 250000 steps (51%)
[07:08:49] Completed 130000 out of 250000 steps (52%)
[07:34:57] Completed 132500 out of 250000 steps (53%)
[08:01:03] Completed 135000 out of 250000 steps (54%)
[08:27:09] Completed 137500 out of 250000 steps (55%)
[08:53:15] Completed 140000 out of 250000 steps (56%)
[09:19:25] Completed 142500 out of 250000 steps (57%)
[09:45:35] Completed 145000 out of 250000 steps (58%)
[10:11:45] Completed 147500 out of 250000 steps (59%)
[10:37:49] Completed 150000 out of 250000 steps (60%)
[11:03:58] Completed 152500 out of 250000 steps (61%)
[11:30:00] Completed 155000 out of 250000 steps (62%)
[11:56:12] Completed 157500 out of 250000 steps (63%)
[12:22:07] Completed 160000 out of 250000 steps (64%)
[12:48:11] Completed 162500 out of 250000 steps (65%)
[13:14:15] Completed 165000 out of 250000 steps (66%)
[13:40:19] Completed 167500 out of 250000 steps (67%)
[14:06:24] Completed 170000 out of 250000 steps (68%)
[14:32:31] Completed 172500 out of 250000 steps (69%)
[14:58:32] Completed 175000 out of 250000 steps (70%)
[15:24:33] Completed 177500 out of 250000 steps (71%)
[15:50:42] Completed 180000 out of 250000 steps (72%)
[16:16:47] Completed 182500 out of 250000 steps (73%)
[16:42:55] Completed 185000 out of 250000 steps (74%)
[17:09:00] Completed 187500 out of 250000 steps (75%)
[17:35:08] Completed 190000 out of 250000 steps (76%)
[18:01:16] Completed 192500 out of 250000 steps (77%)
[18:27:25] Completed 195000 out of 250000 steps (78%)
[18:53:30] Completed 197500 out of 250000 steps (79%)
[19:19:39] Completed 200000 out of 250000 steps (80%)
[19:45:47] Completed 202500 out of 250000 steps (81%)
[20:11:55] Completed 205000 out of 250000 steps (82%)
[20:38:01] Completed 207500 out of 250000 steps (83%)
[21:04:09] Completed 210000 out of 250000 steps (84%)
[21:30:17] Completed 212500 out of 250000 steps (85%)
[21:56:28] Completed 215000 out of 250000 steps (86%)

Folding@Home Client Shutdown.
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Old September 30, 2012, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeloader1969 View Post
I'm the owner of said rig.
Ah ha! So it does work as is after all. I retract my earlier assertion. That particular board, incidentally, also happens to be one of the most stable S4985's I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Pretty good overclocker too, if you want to have some fun fiddling around in Windows.

My own 4 x 8439SE machine does about...

210k on P6903
230k on P6904
160k on P8101
260k on P8102

...in terms of PPD, with about 550-580W AC.
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Old October 7, 2012, 07:51 PM
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As a follow up, I did purchase the folding rig from freeloader1969 earlier this week. I'd first like to thank freeloader 1969 for parting with his system. He's a really friendly and upfront guy and I'd vouch for him if he's ever selling anything here on this forum.

Second, I'd also like to thank you guys for your input. It made the decision to take the plunge that much easier.

Third, after installing Ubuntu 12.04, struggling (successfully) with the video drivers to give me a resolution above 800x600, and installing FaH, I have the rig up and running, folding for the Hardware Canucks folding team. It's currently working on it's first bigadv WU which will hopefully be finished late tomorrow.
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