Keeping new volunteers

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Message 89467 - Posted: 31 Aug 2018, 23:21:05 UTC
Last modified: 31 Aug 2018, 23:33:21 UTC


Statistics shows that only 2% of users are active ( I myself started running BOINC and Rosetta only recently and wanted to share one possible way to keep a slightly larger share of new users, using my own new starter experience.

When I downloaded BOINC through Rossetta website and started running it, the biggest problem I got was overheating. I think if you are a non-technical or less committed volunteer, it would be quite a turn-off when the fan starts going like crazy and the laptop boils up on your lap! And then you just think it is not good and going to cost you a new computer, and I think some (or many?) people would just stop doing it altogether, instead of trying to work out how to solve it.

I do not know whether it is a material problem for new volunteers, but I would assume that it is a problem at least for some people.

But I think it can be quite easily solved. We could just add instructions directly to the Join page around how to set options to avoid overheating.

I know that all these options are described in BOINC FAQ, but I am pretty sure less committed / non-technical volunteers will simply not go looking for it and read through all of it to find a solution. Perhaps, if setting these options was a part of the joining checklist, it would give new starters the answer without extra effort on their side and also reduce the fears that they may have after noticing overheating. There are only two main options that people will need to adjust (number of CPUs and CPU time), so it will not look like a complicated process.

What do you people think?

Thank you.
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Message 89482 - Posted: 4 Sep 2018, 1:35:04 UTC - in response to Message 89467.  

I think you're right to some greater or lesser degree.

I forget what the default settings are when Boinc installs, but I think there are just one or two settings that need to be changed under "Computing Preferences". Maybe just under the Computing and Disk & Memory tabs. Tweaking those will solve a few basic issues here at Rosetta
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Message 89512 - Posted: 10 Sep 2018, 3:15:09 UTC

That's a good idea. I'll look into this. Thanks.
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Message 89521 - Posted: 10 Sep 2018, 15:14:10 UTC - in response to Message 89467.  

It is not a Rosetta problem and more about "insufficient cooling" than "overheating". The cooling system in most computers is designed to only handle normal operation of 10% to 15%. When you put the computer system under stress, it "sweats" the same way a human does who starts "running" instead of "walking". I am not aware of any program, Rosetta, BOINC project or ..., that will not kick the fan on if loading the system to 100%. Switching the transistors on consumes power. The largest transistors are the ones driving memory buses. Floating point operations wiggle transistors that most average code doesn't and increases the heat production. The BOINC applications with floating point operations are even better heaters ... PrimeGrid.

If you do a search for "BOINC overheating" there are many years of discussions about heating problems. The BOINC Manual does have a section on HEAT, but it does not give a magical answer. You might just put the BOINC link on the Rosetta pages as a reminder for the new crunchers.

I went through the process of trying to find the right BOINC knobs, number of CPUs, % of Time, or .... to shut the fan up ... not fun and not good results.

I finally gave up and budgeted a liquid cooler into my system costs. I have bought my last couple systems as barebones systems I configured through Portatech. No problems with the Portatech systems, but they have terrible customer service.
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Message 89586 - Posted: 19 Sep 2018, 10:58:14 UTC - in response to Message 89467.  

Laptops are horribly cooled, so I'd look for that before buying 1, but BOINC will run by default at 60% CPU time, on 100% of Cores, depends how you use your Laptop, if you game or use 3D Apps it will take a lot of resources and computing power so CPU Cores and GPU will saturate probably, and won't be that much help, so maybe custom tweaks should be done. IMO a good computer should be able to sustain 100% workload, mine is overcloacked 10% CPU 8-Core and GPU, stable
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Message 89678 - Posted: 2 Oct 2018, 13:34:50 UTC

Rosetta is not a new project so there has been plenty of time for users to come and go over the years. Many quit when they see their electrical bill.
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Message 89869 - Posted: 10 Nov 2018, 12:18:56 UTC - in response to Message 89678.  

I run Rosetta on several Lenovo & Dell laptops. They run at 100% 24 hours a day 7 days each week. I have done this for years because I can usually find cheap laptops that just need a little attention. I had to replace a fan in one of the Lenovo’ machines but all of these machines appears to run fine. I put them on a wire rack so the get good air flow and I blow out the air vents & fans with some compressed air. Once they are setup, they usually run fine for years. Our MacBook Pro also does a great job but the fans are much louder.


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Message boards : Number crunching : Keeping new volunteers

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