Cheap-ass F@H box

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Cheap-ass F@H box

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2002 3:25 am

I can't even believe I am actually thinking of doing this, buying some equipment exclusively to run F @ H! Anyways, you would need something cheap and effective.

I am thinking: an ECS motherboard (K7S5A cuz it has networking built in too), Athlon T-bird, XP, or Duron CPU (depending on price/performance and budget), SDRAM (could buy cheap second hand. Does F @ H depend on memory bandwidth very much?) case, PSU, surplus vid card (I went to an auction and most of the stuff was crap-for my personal use-but there were a bunch of old 2 & 4 MB vid cards for ~$5. Also at computer shows sometimes); HDD (optional I suppose - could you get a linux kernel that would run off a floppy and then load F @ H via floppy?) You could get away pretty cheap with something like that, even if you had to buy the CPU new.

Jeez, I can't believe I would even consider buying a computer just to fold, considering how stingy I am. :o

Your thoughts?

EDIT: Silly me, I just realized you would need at least a small HD to store projects and d/l WU's. Or would you...?

EDIT MkII: no need for HD: http://forum.folding-community.org/viewtopic.php?t=35
MadManOriginal
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Postposted on Fri May 10, 2002 7:36 am

Get a Duron, I think they have the best price/performance ratio for F@H, judging by the times some people are discussing in the forum. And you don't need fast RAM, my guess is that it's not dependent on memory bandwidth. The main need here is processor power, since a Duron has about the same core as an Athlon, and they're must faster at folding than Pentiums, they're the best choice. And get a crappy vid card, it won't affect the performance in a F@H Linux client.
radix
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Postposted on Fri May 10, 2002 8:29 am

Duron 1gig = ~$40 = smoooothness :)
Your bargaining posture is highly dubious.
Coldfirex
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Postposted on Mon May 13, 2002 11:38 am

P700_Src/Peptide to P707_Src/Peptide(Tyr->Ala) require 'more' RAM according to the description (http://folding.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/allprojects#700).

I dunno how much 'more' means but I think my XP 1600 seems quite slow at them because it only has 128mb RAM.
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Postposted on Mon May 13, 2002 6:36 pm

I have an Athlon 750@850 and an Athlon 1000. The 850 is running a P700, and the 1000 is running an ProteinA. The 1000's Core_56.exe is using about 5000K of RAM, where as the 850's Core_56.exe is using 15000K. Both readings were from Win2K Pro's Task Manager.

Not really much, but I guess since we have some systems with just 32 or 64MB of RAM, that could make the difference between a little swapping and a lot of swapping. I also wonder if the increase in ram usage also means the FSB is used more, and consequently, if the L2 is used more... hmm...

.:Ttocs
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Postposted on Mon May 13, 2002 8:50 pm

Madman: You don't need a HD in the box to store the OS, just get a NIC w/a bootrom and do it all over the network. I think the K7S5A supports remote booting w/ it's internal NIC. May want to double check on that.
DiMaestro
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Postposted on Sat May 18, 2002 3:39 am

I'm working on a linux bootable cdrom just for pepes like you.

boot off cdrom. It loads linux into ram disk.
downloads binary into ram disk
checks for floppy disk with config file. If it finds one, it uses it.

else it prompts you for info, starts folding, and copies config file to floppy disk (if floppy disk present)

The idea is to build cheap boxes w/o hard drive that can be run headless once the config file is created- w/o needing to buy stuff like a hard drive.

I thought about doing it completely floppy based but I'm not sure I can fit support for all mobos/nics on a floppy.

It will work with dual/quad cpu boxes too.
When I'm done with it that is ;)

It also would be good for old machines you have lying about.

When I finish it I'll post a link to the iso here.
resedit
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Postposted on Sat May 18, 2002 10:07 am

resedit - sounds badass. Let me know if you need help or want some beta testing.
Forge
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Postposted on Sun May 19, 2002 12:19 am

http://forum.folding-community.org/viewtopic.php?t=35

someone beat me to the concept.

I'm gonna look at what he's got and see if I can contribute (I really like the idea of saving at least the config file on a floppy so you can boot it headless- something he isn't implementing yet)
resedit
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Postposted on Sun May 19, 2002 8:31 am

LinuxBIOS would be the ultimte way of doing this, Loads the linux kernel form the bios and them mounts all the drives via NFS or whaterver, the only problem is dosent work with that many bords

http://www.linuxbios.org
tarball
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