BOINC and electricity

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Profile Greg_BE
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Message 39676 - Posted: 20 Apr 2007, 18:17:17 UTC - in response to Message 39642.  

lil ol belgium has i think 2 other reactors for power generation plus these 4 here. there are a few other gas turbine plants that are more modern than this eye sore by me. electrabel is our electricity provider. wind turbines are not that popular yet due to cost and location problems. as for food waste, that is sent to a food waste compost center to be treated and bagged. our area is to spread out and the water table to close to the surface to run any sort of steam network, though with the nuke center and the incinerator and the gas plant here you would think that wouldn't be a problem. Also i wondered if the refineries and their flames could be harnessed for making steam. The heat off some of the chemical plants flames here is amazing. The color is bright orange when they run. They muffle the sound, but still. Only problem I see is that this is not a constant source of heat, it comes and goes alot. Our local swiming pool center is solar heating the water, but the electricity demand is to great for solar power there. most houses here use natural gas or stove fuel in the winter to heat the house and in summer just open the windows at night and then close them and the shades/curtains in the winter to keep cool. my little computer does a good job of keeping the front room warmer, not to mention the deep freeze warms things up a bit and the refrigerator as well.

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.


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larry1186

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Message 39715 - Posted: 22 Apr 2007, 7:11:30 UTC

Personally, I think it comes down to an individual's preference. What are you willing to sacrifice? Will you use your 3 GHz machine for gaming online and expend all that electricity for mere entertainment?

If everybody obtained the most efficient computer for crunching and trashed their old computers, just think of the resources needed for production and the waste in the old boxes. The initial investment has already been made for the sub-GHz boxes out there, so if it can contribute in a timely manner, so be it. Now, my parent's Apple IIGS running at 2.6 MHz might be pushing it... But where is the line drawn? It's a personal choice.

Although my two 266 MHz boxes will probably be only running at night, utilities hate high demand during the day in the summer.

(p.s. to MattDavis - I cannot stop thinking about Team America when I see your name, think "Matt Damon"... HA!!! oh what a great flick...)
Don't get distracted by shiny objects.
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mr.kjellen

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Message 39758 - Posted: 23 Apr 2007, 12:20:37 UTC

I tend to think of it this way.
My PIII 1Ghz boxes make about 100c/day. My quad core Xeon3210@3.2GHz makes about 5000! That's 50!! P3's.
The xeon draws around 360 watts w/o the screen turned on, but it has a 8800GTS video card and is oc'd about 65%. I'm guessing it would draw around half w/o oc and video card.
The PIII's each draw around 45 watts.

Multiply 45w times 50 and compare that to to 360w, that's 2250w vs. 360w. Thats a HUGE difference. Both for the pollution AND the (at least my) wallet!

I have free electricity at the office, but the older boxes take up a lot of room and make an awful lot of noice! Just not worth it any more.
Now that it's warming up outside I'm pulling 6 PIIIs sub 1GZ, and I won't look back!

/Anton

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Bender10

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Message 43095 - Posted: 3 Jul 2007, 13:53:04 UTC - in response to Message 39494.  

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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Bender10

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Message 43098 - Posted: 3 Jul 2007, 14:05:40 UTC - in response to Message 39494.  
Last modified: 3 Jul 2007, 14:08:51 UTC

Hi student,

I just ran across your post while looking for some BOINCpe stuff.

I've been playing with BOINCpe for a little while (on and off). Right now I have 2 boxes (soon to be 3) running on it. Here is the thread for our board:

http://amdusers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3760

No professional testers, just poking around. It is an interesting platform.

Right now I have both boxes booting from 'Flash Drives' (even less power draw than a CD-rom). Box #2 has an ASUS micro ATX MB, with onboard video, lan, No drives, 1 gig ram and a X2 4200(89w) with no OC. It runs at 100 watts at 100% cpu usage. This is the only 89w cpu I have. Everything else is 65w (4800's and 5200's).

I have 5 of these boxes right now, and plan on running BOINCpe on all of them.

EDIT: I have a Kill-a Watt....
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Message 43099 - Posted: 3 Jul 2007, 14:47:36 UTC - in response to Message 43095.  

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.


Only problem is there's no paging file when you run like this so you need to make sure you're not going to run out of RAM. As Bender10 does, I have a few machines (including my MCE2005 mediacentre) running on compactflash which is great and really easy (as long as you're not running the enhanced write filter which is a bit more involved).

I believe one of the biggest differences can be made by getting a high efficiency PSU that isn't too big for the machine (they're more efficient when running near capacity)- I tend to use Seasonic S12 series which are great - very quiet.

Also, decent thermal compound, and keeping the machine cool will keep temps down and therefore reduce resistance. Other options are undervolting - using bios/rmclock etc...

If you need air-con on then that adds a huge amount of power required, but if you need heating on, then the computer might as well be doing something useful with the energy first.


Danny
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Bender10

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Message 43109 - Posted: 3 Jul 2007, 16:46:43 UTC - in response to Message 43099.  

If you run 'straight' BOINCpe, there is no writing to the 'Flash Drive'. The OS is loaded onto a 'RamDrive'. So, no writes to the 'Flash' which may shorten the life of the 'Flash', unless you program a backup to the 'Flash'.

I have run the following Projects on BOINCpe so far, with a 256 'RamDrive' (this leaves me a little over 512MB free ram for crunching) with no memory issues (yeti).

And since BOINC likes 128 MB ram or better, This works good. I am toying with going up to 1.5 or 2 gig of ram for my BOINCpe boxes


PROJECTS:
BOINC (about 12 different projects), D2OL, TSC and Pi Segment.

With D2Ol and TSC, I typically run with about 100-200 wu's on the 'RamDrive' each. I have yet to use more than 50-70 MB of the 'RamDrive' while running most projects. Execpt for BURP, That takes up a lot of space (>35 MB)...

NOTE: I just finished running 5 days worth of Proteins wu's from a BOINCpe box...
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MikeD

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Message 43167 - Posted: 4 Jul 2007, 15:46:16 UTC
Last modified: 4 Jul 2007, 15:47:10 UTC

A previous post mentioned use of a slower machine wasn't germane as the point of it all is to finish the work units. If this can be done, then why not... At the same time it's worth mentioning that when Distributed Processing was originally envisioned, it was to make use of unused cpu cycles while doing regular work on our PC's. It wasn't to "Crunch" as an end in itself. To do so is a waste of electricity and a harm to the environment.
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Message 43183 - Posted: 4 Jul 2007, 22:31:55 UTC - in response to Message 43167.  
Last modified: 4 Jul 2007, 22:33:38 UTC

A previous post mentioned use of a slower machine wasn't germane as the point of it all is to finish the work units. If this can be done, then why not... At the same time it's worth mentioning that when Distributed Processing was originally envisioned, it was to make use of unused cpu cycles while doing regular work on our PC's. It wasn't to "Crunch" as an end in itself. To do so is a waste of electricity and a harm to the environment.

You're absolutely right regarding computers that are on anyway - it's beneficial for them to be crunching for the small increase in power consumption, although the mitigations listed can all be applied to these to reduce their power consumption. However, there are lots of people with dedicated 'crunchers' - are these environmentally damaging? I can't decide (and I'm heavily into environmental issues and sustainability!). In the short run, they are obviously polluting, although if they weren't on then maybe the bakerlab would have to employ their own machines for the purposes, with air con etc.

IMO it's more complicated than that though. A simple example is that if the bakerlab produces a successful carbon sequesting enzyme then that would almost certainly massively overcompensate for the extra energy utilised by the dedicated computers running rosetta. I guess that depends on whether the results would have been as good with all those crunchers turned off. Another example is that I run some machines overnight that wouldn't otherwise be on. My understanding is that there is an excess of electricity available at night due to the reduced demand (my electricity costs around 3.5p between 12am and 7am, against ~14p for the rest of the day!). If the computers are producing heat, then, assuming the area will be heated anyway, then they might as well be on. If you consider the environmental costs of a single car journey, or the costs of treating one person with a disease such as cancer, the environmental costs there can be quite high...

For now I'm leaving mine on (no dedicated crunchers - they all have a purpose - some are just remotes of family/friends etc, so they're only on when in use and and at home i've got mediacentres/server/main PC). I consider rosetta as energy use rather than energy waste. I reduce my power consumption as much as i can practically in every other way though (efficient car, low energy light bulbs, high efficiency psus, recycling, careful use of water etc), and if i needed air-con at the same time i wouldn't run the pcs 24/7. However, I can't see any environmental justification for running crunchers that run seti or OGM etc...
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Message 43199 - Posted: 5 Jul 2007, 7:17:58 UTC

just a simple point here.

i do 24/7 crunch to try and help this project along and hopefully soon they will get to cancer which is the main reason i came to this project.

atm its cold here in northern europe so by leaving my computer on and its running about 53C cpu plus whatever comes off the powersupply i can keep the temp in the front room at shirt sleeve level, maybe a little cooler, so i dont freeze and there is no need for petrol heat. (no electric heat here and the gas stove is to inefficient to use)

i keep all the lights off during the day when i am home to conserve energy and i don't need them either. if i need a light here by the computer i use one of the little desktop halogen lamps. not much draw there. the only other electricity use outside of keeping food cold and frozen is the tv and vcr (dvr is to expensive for me at the moment).

so i serve a good cause and i keep the front room comfortable and use about 160 watts of electricity in the process. not a bad trade off.
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Message 43214 - Posted: 5 Jul 2007, 9:04:56 UTC

hehe since when Belgium is northern europe ? ;) I got 25° here in "real" norther Europe ^^

I personaly dont run my PCs for crunching only - they do crunch when doing other stuff, but thats it. The question, when a rig is insufficient is quite hard to answer i think. When it comes to work done compared to electricity used, no actualy home PC can beat any of those super cluster machines, f.e... So it would be more efficient to donate for such a machine and let it run Rosetta then to build cruchers at home.

It would be interesting, how high the power consumption per year is from those ppl, who run some dedicated cruchers at home (in kwh/year). Ive heard some ppl who live in a small appartement alone do use up to 9500 kwh/year, which is pretty shocking to me. Last year we hit about 5000 kwh (small house, 3 persons, 3 PCs - not running 24/7 tho, electric sauna and in the winter car engines get heaten with electricity aswell) - which is already too much for me, trying to go down to near 4000 kwh if possible.
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Message 43217 - Posted: 5 Jul 2007, 10:20:16 UTC - in response to Message 43214.  

lmao, ok mainland europe, you guys up there in ice world have the true north.
man your lucky at 25c its only 16-17c here at the moment with lots of rain showers and clouds. dang brits are to blame.
well this machine 100% when idle and about 70% when active in crunching RAH.
I use it for email and web browsing and an occasional Age of Empires game, so lots of spare cpu cycles to spare when not gaming.

i'll have to look at my actual power draw on this power supply and then figure out how to put that into kwh/year. thats for later.

hehe since when Belgium is northern europe ? ;) I got 25° here in "real" norther Europe ^^

I personaly dont run my PCs for crunching only - they do crunch when doing other stuff, but thats it. The question, when a rig is insufficient is quite hard to answer i think. When it comes to work done compared to electricity used, no actualy home PC can beat any of those super cluster machines, f.e... So it would be more efficient to donate for such a machine and let it run Rosetta then to build cruchers at home.

It would be interesting, how high the power consumption per year is from those ppl, who run some dedicated cruchers at home (in kwh/year). Ive heard some ppl who live in a small appartement alone do use up to 9500 kwh/year, which is pretty shocking to me. Last year we hit about 5000 kwh (small house, 3 persons, 3 PCs - not running 24/7 tho, electric sauna and in the winter car engines get heaten with electricity aswell) - which is already too much for me, trying to go down to near 4000 kwh if possible.


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Message 43293 - Posted: 6 Jul 2007, 5:59:40 UTC - in response to Message 43217.  
Last modified: 6 Jul 2007, 6:00:56 UTC

lmao, ok mainland europe, you guys up there in ice world have the true north.
man your lucky at 25c its only 16-17c here at the moment with lots of rain showers and clouds.


Hehe, why did i spoke it out loud? Today I got hit with bad weather also :) Not raining yet, but i bet any money it will soon ^^

Same about my PCs, I hardly ever go on 100% CPU load without Boinc, only for gaiming and for compressing some videos, which is like <15 hours/week. Most of the time im using it to browse, chat or work on our webpage. I could use the cool n´quiet function instead of crunching, but given that i have a highend GPU which pulls a lot of power even when idle, I think doing some BOINC compared to those 20 watts more is a good deal.

Talk about Games&BOINC:
What I experianced btw is, that some prjocts are rather instable when they have to share CPU power with other applications then other. I did run Rosetta while playing FEAR most of the time, although it only made some progress during the map switches, but atleast it didnt crash. Later i run a SAP model and played some Simcity 4, after i ended the game i saw, the model had crashed - since then i always shut down BOINC before i hit any game.
Another weird thing is: My brother does play a lot of DiabloII, when BOINC is turned off , Diablo uses 100% CPU power, when he leaves it on, BOINC manages to grab 60% CPU power, without slowing the performance of the game - weird stuff :p
http://www.MIAteam.eu
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Message 43299 - Posted: 6 Jul 2007, 7:19:19 UTC

well with age of empires i can run a game and not crash any work units and manage a reasonable game performance and boinc performance. the settings are for boinc to use 70% cpu when in use. So that leaves 30% for gaming and its not that cpu or graphics intensive if you set it right. I had to dull the graphics down a bit because the characters were moving to slow due to the performance of the graphics card. If I get into a marine battle then I have to pause boinc and then continue playing and resume boinc when done.

with a amd 2800+ and a radeon 9600 i don't use that much electricity.
deep freezers and refrigerators use more. cool and quiet is a nice feature of msi boards, but my system does not get hot enough to benefit from that program. its more of a monitoring program for cpu temp.
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Charlie

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Message 43347 - Posted: 7 Jul 2007, 17:25:55 UTC

As to Gameing i run 2 WUs my Music in the background and 2 Clients of EVE-online. I get no errors so far and no lag on the game. As to running the machines 24-7 if you are worried about the polution factor use Compact florescents where ytou can in your house. I prefer the the true Sunlight bulbs to the others but 23 watts instead of 100 is a big saveings per bulb.

charlie
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Message 43374 - Posted: 8 Jul 2007, 10:24:55 UTC

The games should run fine since the the BOINC project should stop crunching when another program demands the CPU time, which being a game will be at a higher priority level than 'idle' assuming the project has set the priorities correctly.

The only thing you will notice is a slight delay as memory gets retaken. Though with CIV or AOE where there can be low level cpu usage times and are not so taxing till later in the games you will see boinc run.
That is if you have the memory set to a level of 'in use' where it can run.
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Message boards : Number crunching : BOINC and electricity



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