BOINC and electricity

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MattDavis
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Message 39472 - Posted: 16 Apr 2007, 2:24:32 UTC

An interesting point comes to mind: It may not be worth running BOINC on old computers because the science completed by an old 450MHz desktop may not outweigh the expenditure of electricity and thus fossil fuels. Is the tiny amount of science crunched by old computers worth the extra pollution?

What do people think about this?
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Message 39480 - Posted: 16 Apr 2007, 3:18:29 UTC - in response to Message 39472.  

An interesting point comes to mind: It may not be worth running BOINC on old computers because the science completed by an old 450MHz desktop may not outweigh the expenditure of electricity and thus fossil fuels. Is the tiny amount of science crunched by old computers worth the extra pollution?

What do people think about this?

As long as the WU is completed before the WU\'s deadline the computer will contribute to the project. The CO2 produced by the process of generating the electricity to power that computer, is another issue. I suggest buying some solar panels or wind turbine, connecting a battery and then plugging in the computer. This will produce free carbon neutral power for the computer, although this is expensive.
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Michael G.R.

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Message 39484 - Posted: 16 Apr 2007, 5:02:24 UTC - in response to Message 39480.  

As long as the WU is completed before the WU\'s deadline the computer will contribute to the project. The CO2 produced by the process of generating the electricity to power that computer, is another issue. I suggest buying some solar panels or wind turbine, connecting a battery and then plugging in the computer. This will produce free carbon neutral power for the computer, although this is expensive.


It would probably be cheaper to just upgrade to a new faster computer. Even if you shut it down when you\'re not using it, it will probably do more science and take less electricity than an old 450mhz crunching all day.
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Message 39488 - Posted: 16 Apr 2007, 5:46:58 UTC

Well I would say, it depends on what other use this machine still would have. If you are running a 450 MHz only for crunching, I would suggest to shut it down.
If the PC is running anway, why not crunching.
About the power usage: An AMD K6-2 450 is rated with 18 W, an AMD 64x2 4400+ with 89 W. This is only the CPU tho, the rest from the system uses probably nearly the same ammout. Also, the AMD x2 probably cruches 10 times faster or even more.

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Message 39494 - Posted: 16 Apr 2007, 7:49:53 UTC
Last modified: 16 Apr 2007, 8:04:09 UTC

39472: \"It may not be worth running BOINC on old computers because the science completed by an old 450MHz desktop may not outweigh the expenditure of electricity and thus fossil fuels. Is the tiny amount of science crunched by old computers worth the extra pollution?\"

Great point. More generally, at what RAC does a dedicated host become environmentally justifiable? Maximizing a dedicated host\'s RAC/watt can involve more than getting the most power-efficient CPU - unplugging the monitor, keyboard, mouse and video card (assuming the host isn\'t being used) will save a good amount of energy.

And though I haven\'t experimented with it yet, BOINCpe supposedly makes for more energy efficient computing because it uses a CD-ROM drive instead of the typical hard disk configuration. I would be interested to know the average energy savings from switching to CD-ROM based BOINCpe. The only way I can think of to easily measure the difference is with a power meter, something like a P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electric Power Usage Monitor.
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Message 39495 - Posted: 16 Apr 2007, 8:03:47 UTC

it\'s an issue for me. Most of my computers are remotes, but the ones here are all on 24/7 apart from one. I don\'t think it\'s such an issue in France and some other countries because the majority of the electricity is nuclear and so there\'s no CO2 cost.

Obviously there\'s a cost and a benefit to having them on, but IMO if it\'s slow and wouldn\'t otherwise be on, turn it off. Of course they should all be running BOINC while they\'re on though!

There are a lot of things you can do to make computers more efficient though - two of my computers here now run BOINC from compactflash cards - the adapters were about £6 each and the 512MB cards are less than that each. I set BOINC to write to disk at most once every 5 mins and this way the HDs can spin down as BOINC isn\'t writing to the HD any more.

I\'ve undervolted my laptop which has lots of benefits such as longer battery life and it runs a *lot* cooler.

Use smaller, high-efficiency PSUs as they\'re more efficient when near their power limit - high efficency ones i use are Seasonic and QTechnology ones.

LCD monitors must have made a big difference over the last few years too...
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Message 39496 - Posted: 16 Apr 2007, 8:16:38 UTC - in response to Message 39495.  

For me, the time of year has an effect. During the winter, I\'ll run some old slow PCs as crunchers, with the added bonus that they heat my house. But they\'re getting switched off around now as we get into spring.
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Message 39497 - Posted: 16 Apr 2007, 10:06:14 UTC - in response to Message 39496.  

For me, the time of year has an effect. During the winter, I\'ll run some old slow PCs as crunchers, with the added bonus that they heat my house. But they\'re getting switched off around now as we get into spring.

That\'s a good point - if the heating would otherwise be on then you might as well use computers to produce the heat! I was planning on getting a few old rigs running for this purpose through the winter but the memory costs weren\'t ideal...
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Message 39505 - Posted: 16 Apr 2007, 16:23:41 UTC

Thanks everyone for your input. I asked this because I was discussing the issue with a friend.
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Message 39515 - Posted: 16 Apr 2007, 17:47:09 UTC

there\'s another point here too - how much energy will be saved by the creation of a drug that has a major impact on a major disease - it\'d be millions of times more energy saved that expended by the extra computer. Or from the ability to determine protein structure without the energetic expenditure of a lab for however long it takes... it could be considered an energetic investment i guess.
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Message 39517 - Posted: 16 Apr 2007, 18:26:43 UTC - in response to Message 39515.  

Matt, yeah, I gotta think that the energy used by a sub 1000MHz computer is fairly high compared to the science. Not much of a point to crunch with based on power costs & pollution.

Overall, computers save the world FROM pollution and wasted resources. Computers do the work that it used to take 20 people to accomplish (OK, I just made that up). So the freeing up of those resources makes us a lot more productive. Just think... 20 people need 20 desks and 20 light bulbs, etc.

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Message 39525 - Posted: 17 Apr 2007, 1:35:46 UTC

If you\'re running 8 400Mhz machines and can afford to replace them with a single dual core 3-4Ghz cpu, then you\'ll be spending less on electricity with the single new system.

Contributing to Rosetta or Boinc projects in general shouldn\'t be limited to just those of us with faster machines. If the Carbon Dioxide produced from electrical production is considered a big deal - then encourage everyone to plant a few trees for every computer they use.
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Message 39542 - Posted: 17 Apr 2007, 16:29:50 UTC

exactly. Ive got lots of green stuff around my house besides trees. It does quite well in attracting wildlife and changing out CO2 for O2. So keep a few plants around the house to help clean up the air and keep your machine from getting to dusty.
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Message 39544 - Posted: 17 Apr 2007, 18:34:56 UTC - in response to Message 39472.  
Last modified: 17 Apr 2007, 18:37:14 UTC


What do people think about this?

We need more Nuclear Power Plants. After all, at it\'s inception, weren\'t the predictions that by now we\'d all get nearly FREE electricity????

Then we could run whatever we want.

same goes for toll roads and bridges. Those tolls were supposed to stop after they were paid for???


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Message 39545 - Posted: 17 Apr 2007, 19:15:31 UTC - in response to Message 39544.  


What do people think about this?

We need more Nuclear Power Plants. After all, at it\'s inception, weren\'t the predictions that by now we\'d all get nearly FREE electricity????

Then we could run whatever we want.

same goes for toll roads and bridges. Those tolls were supposed to stop after they were paid for???

at its inception the thought was to recycle the fuel which was done away with in the 70s.......and security which costs millions was cost free at the time because it was non-existent.. just 2 of many i bet they did not figure in at the time
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Message 39564 - Posted: 18 Apr 2007, 7:33:51 UTC

A number of high profile \"anti-nuclear\" environmentalists have actually come around to the idea that nuclear is the lesser of a number of evils, and that a new generation of nuclear plants is required to offset the energy gap. I watched a lecture by Professor Richard Muller of Berkeley on this subject recently.

What is really sad is that we still have to rely on \"dirty\" nuclear fission reactors. We are not yet able to generate useful quantities of energy from nuclear fusion.

What I regard as criminal negligence is that after the completion of the work at JET, the involved governments agreed to the funding of the next generation of fusion research plants. This would hopefully result in a workable prototype commercial reactor for global use. With money and will available, the squabble came down to where it should be built - unbelievable. Years wasted arguing over insignificant detail.
Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream.
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Message 39630 - Posted: 20 Apr 2007, 0:04:43 UTC
Last modified: 20 Apr 2007, 0:05:28 UTC

just wait until wind and wave energy get more efficenet
i read that russia is working on a big wave energy project
over here in my little neck of the woods i got 4 nukes, 2 old 70s era and 2 late 80s units, 4 wind turbines plus one other in the harbor. More wind turbine is planned for later on. The city is demonstrating solar power and we have the 2 incinerators doing co generation as well. Also have one gas turbine plant that runs one unit all the time and alternates with the other one or runs both if their is heavy demand.
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Message 39642 - Posted: 20 Apr 2007, 10:19:54 UTC

We have no nukes here. Many of the large wind turbines you see around the world are made here, many are installed in the West of the country here, there are also many sited offshore. There is a large farm just offshore from Copenhagen, in the Øresund between Denmark and Sweden. The toruists go to look at it - can\'t imagine why, they just go round and round.

Combined heat and power with district heating is pretty much the norm here, even small towns have district heating with co-generation. Waste incinerators typically are connected to district heating networks.

In Helsingør, we have experimented with producing Biogas from household organic waste, (we have seperate refuse bin for this). The plant basically works, but the energy it produces is more expensive then simply burning the organics in the regular incinerators, so for now it is only a research station.

Wave power is impractical apart from a few select locations on the West coast.

A good number of houses have solar water heating, and photovoltaic arrays are appearing on a few houses, although the payback period is very long.

we have bioethanol in our road fuel at varying percentages depending on the fuel company.
Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream.
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Message 39669 - Posted: 20 Apr 2007, 16:41:31 UTC
Last modified: 20 Apr 2007, 16:44:10 UTC

If I throw the old computer away I will be adding to the landfill. I know they can be recycled, but the closest place to me is 80 miles away and they charge money ($20-$30) for recycling. The landfill is free and 10 miles away. I don\'t begrudge my 486 its 60 watts. As long as it works it stays out of the landfill.
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Message 39673 - Posted: 20 Apr 2007, 17:53:36 UTC - in response to Message 39669.  

If I throw the old computer away I will be adding to the landfill. I know they can be recycled, but the closest place to me is 80 miles away and they charge money ($20-$30) for recycling. The landfill is free and 10 miles away. I don\'t begrudge my 486 its 60 watts. As long as it works it stays out of the landfill.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.AGGREED.......FULL SPEED AHEAD
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Message boards : Number crunching : BOINC and electricity



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