Hi everyone

An area for greetings to (or from) NEW members of the Team and/or the Forum. Say "HELLO" here - no one will bite !!
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bigsinky
Active UBT Contributor 15+ yrs
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Hi everyone

Post by bigsinky » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:00 am

First post so go easy. Have been a BOINC user for some time, initially with SETI and now more recently with Primegrid. Wanted to get as many Primegrid badges as possible but found the length of time it took wingmen to validate some of the longer projects (Genefer 20, 21) my daily total dropped of dramatically. currently have overclocked i7 and i3 with a 1080ti and a gtx 1060. Those video cards can do some damage when it comes to crunching numbers.

Anyhoo i wanted some advice on the best setup for both of these systems. Primegrid is the project of choice but I see that challenges come up fairly often and well, being part of a team, i would like to help anyway i can. I see ppls talking about clearing caches and allocating resource shares and loading .xml files etc etc. I just join a project and let BOINC figure out what to process, so i don't know if i am getting the best out of my two main machines. I also have 2 small laptops that plod along not doing very much but hey every credit counts.

Any advice welcome

Thanks

Neil
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UBT - Mikee
Marvin the Dalek
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Re: Hi everyone

Post by UBT - Mikee » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:53 am

Hi

Welcome to the team - always nice to see a new name pop up!

Mike
Follow us on Twitter... http://twitter.com/UKBOINCTeam

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UBT - Chris Suddick
Active UBT Contributor 10+ yrs
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Location: Warrington, Cheshire

Re: Hi everyone

Post by UBT - Chris Suddick » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:43 am

Hi Neil,

Welcome to the team. I was just looking through the Rosetta stats a moment ago and I noticed your name as a new user. Rosetta is definitely a good project for your CPUs until 11pm Sunday at the very least. Soon after that there will be a new Fomula BOINC sprint announced and there will be a few of us switch over to that for a few days. Keep your eye on the new challenges section of the forum for all the latest info.

Great to see a new convert.

All the best,
Chris.

UBT - Timbo
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Re: Hi everyone

Post by UBT - Timbo » Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:15 am

bigsinky wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:00 am
First post so go easy. Have been a BOINC user for some time, initially with SETI and now more recently with Primegrid. Wanted to get as many Primegrid badges as possible but found the length of time it took wingmen to validate some of the longer projects (Genefer 20, 21) my daily total dropped of dramatically. currently have overclocked i7 and i3 with a 1080ti and a gtx 1060. Those video cards can do some damage when it comes to crunching numbers.
Hi Neil

Welcome to the forum !!

There are many members who started on SETI and have subsequently chosen to support other projects depending on their own feelings about which project is the more "worthwhile".

So, there's plenty of scope to utilise your processing power on whichever project(s) you choose. And with those CPUs/GPUs you can do some serious processing !!
Anyhoo i wanted some advice on the best setup for both of these systems. Primegrid is the project of choice but I see that challenges come up fairly often and well, being part of a team, i would like to help anyway i can. I see ppls talking about clearing caches and allocating resource shares and loading .xml files etc etc. I just join a project and let BOINC figure out what to process, so i don't know if i am getting the best out of my two main machines. I also have 2 small laptops that plod along not doing very much but hey every credit counts.

Any advice welcome

Thanks

Neil
Most of the projects can allow you to "tweak" the settings, to enable you to get the most out of your hardware.

One obvious way is to "overclock" the CPU (or GPU) but you need to ensure that your system cooling is up to scratch and that you can afford the additonal energy costs (as hotter chips draw more leccy from the wall sockets).

As far as "XML" files, these are specific to each project and are further "tweakery" to get the most out of each specific project and specific hardware. Such settings can be found on this forum as well as on some of the projects message boards (where these XML files are supported).

As I haven't "tweaked" PG on my PCs so I'll leave it to others to provide any info on XML settings to help you.

Clearing caches is only relevant in the 2-3 days before a Sprint starts - so you just run down how many tasks have been downloaded onto each computer so that when the Sprint starts, you can download as many as possible (of the chosen project for that weekends Sprint) and so each PC can concentrate on the chosen project and in the meantime, you don't have any existing tasks, that you've spent some time on before the Sprint started and which might reach their deadline, before the Sprint is over.

So, it's just a matter of micro-managing the tasks that you've already downloaded and maximising all your CPU (or GPU) can be used on the Sprint.

As far as the laptops are concerned, I tend not to recommend using them except for the projects that don't strain the CPU too much - this is simply due to the fact that most laptops cannot expel all the heat from a CPU that well and so, running projects on laptops that cause them to overheat doesn't make much sense...in fact in the early days of BOINC, one member blamed me for the damage done to her laptop as it overheated and melted some of the plastic case !!

Hope this helps
regards
Tim

Woodles
Active UBT Contributor 20+ yrs
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Re: Hi everyone

Post by Woodles » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:24 am

Hi Neil,

Welcome to the team.

Usually letting Boinc figure out what to do gets you about 95% of your optimum output anyway so no real need to tweak anything unless you have specific requirements or just like to manage every detail yourself. Resource share and .xml files fall into the latter category.

.xml
If you only run one project at a time then don't worry about resource share. If you run multiple projects (not multiple applications from the same project) then their relative resource share settings determine how much of the hosts resources are used for each project. Simplistically, a quad core host with two projects, one set to 25 and the other to 75 would be running one task from the first project and three from the second.

There's two types of .xml, Boinc general ones and project specific ones. The main Boinc one is cc_config.xml (client configuration) This can be used to tweak the operation of the Boinc client. Additional log flags can be enabled to aid in debugging a system that has errors, co-processors can be enabled/disabled/configured and fine control over the built in functions of the Boinc manager can be controlled (benchmarks, file transfers etc) This file lives in the main Boinc data directory.

The main project specific one is app_config.xml. This can be used to run more than one tasks per resource (two tasks per GPU if one doesn't load it enough) or to use non standard project executables (optimised clients) This file lives in each project directory and there can be one per project.

A couple of projects have their own unique files, these either have a different extension (.config) or a different name (srbase.xml) These files allow you to modify how the application runs the tasks (multiple cores, more/less memory )

Sprints
Sprints are normally defined with a starting and finishing time and date. Work reported to the project servers between these times is counted towards the team total for the sprint.

The important bit is "reported to the project servers". It doesn't matter if the work is completed before the sprint officially starts so long as it's only returned after the start. As the sprint project is normally known before the actually starting time, most teams 'bunker' ie, build up a store of completed work before the sprint starts and report it during the sprint.

The process is to pause any projects currently in progress, increase the Boinc cache by a day or more so that work will be requested then enable only the sprint project. Boinc will download enough work from the project to fill the increased cache and start processing the work units. Once the cache is full, Boinc network access is disabled. Any tasks completed after then are stored on the hosts and more cached work started.

When the sprint is underway, Boinc network access is re-enabled and the previously completed work allowed to upload. This means that effectively, teams get an extra days work of tasks returned during the sprint.

I haven't ran Primegrid for a while now and can't remember if there's any tweaks needed there. If you run GPU-Z while using your GPUs for crunching, it'll tell you how much load they're under. If less than ~60%, it may be work adding an app_info.xml file to utilise the unused 40%. If you're already running at >90%, it's probably not worth the effort. Be aware that upping the GPU usage from 60% to 90% will generate extra heat and power consumption.

Hope this isn't too far below your level, ask if you have any other queries, we're a friendly lot really :)

Mark

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