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Old November 14, 2008, 06:31 AM
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Question Help a noob build a desktop for folding.

I'm looking for some help to build a relatively cheap desktop as a folding slave. I'm sure there are people here that fold, but if you're not familiar it's a distributed computing app from Stanford that studies proteins.

Link if you're interested: Folding@home - Main

Anyway, I am definitely not leet when it comes to hardware, but I have a few friends on the same folding team and I am getting my azz kicked...so it's time build a desktop just for folding.

Here's the initial info I can provide, based on the sticky....

PLEASE when POST threads asking for input on system builds tell us...

1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing. Folding. Ideally, I would like to have a multicore machine with 2 GPUs. This would allow me to run 2 instances of the GPU client and 2 instances of the CPU client.

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread. Around the $1K range?

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from. Canada. I live in Thornhill and work in Mississauga, so I have decent access to computer stores, or I am happy to order online.

4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc, etc, etc, you get the picture. Prefer nVidia based GPUs...for some unknown reason the ATI GPUs seem to be slightly less efficient at folding. No preference for other hardware.

5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are. I have a couple of older cases lying around the office, but I will require a new mobo, cpu, psu, gpu, ram and a couple of case fans. I would reuse an older hdd and optical drive unless you guys suggest otherwise.

6. IF YOU have searched and/or read similar threads. I have not found any threads specifically for folding...the problem for me is that it is tough to stay educated on GPU tech and GPU value for $.

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds. I would OC the system if the forum members here gave me some coaching. I suspect that my budget will preclude any serious cooling mods, though. This desktop will be kept in office, so noise/power comsumption/room heat are not concerns for me.

8. WHEN do you plan to build it? ASAP.

If it will help you guys make some video card recommendations to me, here's an article that explains why shader processing is more important for folding than sheer benchmark results: Legit Reviews - F@H - 4,500+ Points a Day w/ a $36 GeForce 9600 GSO - What $36 Buys You When It Comes to Folding

Thanks a ton for any system building help you provide and let me know if there is anything else I can do to fill in the blanks.
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Old November 14, 2008, 07:25 AM
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FYI, we have our own team. I would hope you join the HWC Team.....right?

Anyways, here is what I would buy based on the lowest prices in our Price Comparison Engine:

P5Q Pro motherboard: $154
E8400: $189
2X 9800GT: $240
4GB G.SKILL F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ: $65
Corsair TX650: $100
Western Digital Caviar GP 500GB: $66
Windows Vista x64: $120
Antec Three Hundred Case: $57

TOTAL: $991


That will give you:

- A mobo with dual GPU capabilities
- A highly overclockable CPU
- An efficiency PSU
- Two good GPUs for Folding
- A case with good airflow
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Old November 14, 2008, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKYMTL View Post
FYI, we have our own team. I would hope you join the HWC Team.....right?

Anyways, here is what I would buy based on the lowest prices in our Price Comparison Engine:

P5Q Pro motherboard: $154
E8400: $189
2X 9800GT: $240
4GB G.SKILL F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ: $65
Corsair TX650: $100
Western Digital Caviar GP 500GB: $66
Windows Vista x64: $120
Antec Three Hundred Case: $57

TOTAL: $991


That will give you:

- A mobo with dual GPU capabilities
- A highly overclockable CPU
- An efficiency PSU
- Two good GPUs for Folding
- A case with good airflow
I noticed that you have an F@H forum/team after I made this thread.

I notice that you have recommended 64 bit Vista...does it have any conflicts with the F@H software?

Thanks.
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Old November 14, 2008, 07:34 AM
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I was using Vista x64 when I was folding without a problem. The client installed without a problem and ran quite well actually. Many here will recommend using a Linux client but my take on Linux and hate for Windows XP is well known so I won't go on about that.

Plus, I wouldn't be caught dead using XP 64...
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Old November 14, 2008, 08:03 AM
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Which vendors 9800GT would you pick?
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Old November 14, 2008, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orkin View Post
Which vendors 9800GT would you pick?
BFG. Canadian RMA facility, great customer service and a good price:

Canadian Prices: BFG Technologies - BFG GeForce 9800GT OC 625MHZ 512MB 1.8GHZ 256BIT GDDR3... - BFGE98512GTOCE

Another option is this EVGA model
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Old November 14, 2008, 08:07 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

AFAIK the benefits of Linux for FAH is based on using the SMP client. I haven't seen anything to suggest that Linux is a better OS for GPU folding.
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Old November 14, 2008, 08:10 AM
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Hi Orkin, welcome to HWC. Kudo's on wanting to setup a dedicated Folder. The best video card on a PPD/$ basis is the 8800GS...and here's a great price. I would suggest 2 of those and the cheapest quad-core you can get(if using XP).GPU2 uses a fair amount of CPU under XP, but is much better under VISTA. A Q6600, 2X2GB of DDR2, 2x 8800GS and a decent mobo should work well.

Let's see what we can do here:

Motherboard: GA-EP45T-DS3R $169.53 (before MIR)

Graphics Cards: 2x ASUS 8800GS $94.32x2=$188.46(before MIR)

CPU: Intel Core2Quad Q6600 $228.99

RAM: 2x2GB-Mushkin Redline PC2 8000 $84.99 (before MIR)

PSU: Corsair TX750 $144.99 (before MIR)

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (250GB) $58.30 (Price-Match to NCIX) ..Big enough for Folding..and quick.

Case: CoolerMaster RC690 $86.40 (Price-Match to NCIX)

OS: VISTA Home Premium 64 Bit $130.34 (Price-Match to NCIX)

Monitor: ASUS VW193T 19"LCD $210.90 (before MIR)

Total - $1133.37 before taxes/S&H...but there's probably ~$150 in MIRs if you can get them.
I threw in the monitor... i didn't know if you need one. It's still a decent monitor, 19"...should you want to do more than Fold.. and it's pretty cheap.

That system should get you ~11,000ppd.

These are just a few suggestions. GL

Last edited by 1Tanker; November 14, 2008 at 08:16 AM.
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Old November 14, 2008, 08:15 AM
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... or a 9600GSO as an alternative.
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Old November 14, 2008, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3.0charlie View Post
... or a 9600GSO as an alternative.
Yeah they're quite similar..it's just that the 8800GS price is a steal...if you get the MIR.
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