Using your computer while folding

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Using your computer while folding

Postposted on Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:42 pm

Curious to hear any feedback about this.

I have a reference GTX 660 Ti overclocked to about 1163 MHz boost on a system with a 4770k @ 4.1 GHz, and another system with a 4690 (non-k) and a GTX 750 Ti with the boost clock hitting 1345 MHz. Both PCs have the latest version of GeForce Experience, and the latest beta driver. Both PCs run Windows 8.1 and version 7.4.4 of the Folding@Home client.

On the 660 Ti while folding on the CPU & GPU, flash video is iffy. If I pause a video, Alt-Tab and come back, the video is jumpy and unwatchable. Sometimes this is the case from the start, without doing anything else. Games are always unplayable, around 10 to 20 FPS. Even playing GZDoom with the Brutal DOOM mod... I can't tolerate the stuttering and will change it to Light or pause it until I'm done gaming.

On the 750 Ti while folding on the CPU & GPU, I feel like maybe I see a dropped frame on YouTube a couple times a minute but I never had to back off the folding. The weird thing is that I can game while folding and it's pretty much as smooth as when I'm not folding. Both with Guild Wars 2 maxed at 1920x1200 and Skyrim with 50ish mods (no ENB) at 1680x1050.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with the Kepler and Maxwell Nvidia GPUs? What's it like on the AMD side? I'm hoping to upgrade the 660 Ti once the newest higher end cards have been released on both sides later this year and this type of scenario will definitely factor in. I can give more details on the setups if needed.
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Re: Using your computer while folding

Postposted on Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:26 pm

CPU folding is good because the OS scheduler does a good job shuffling low priority processes/threads. However, GPU "threads" don't get the same treatment. So the best is still to pause/shutdown the GPU client before you launch anything that uses the GPU non-trivially.
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Re: Using your computer while folding

Postposted on Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:24 am

That's pretty typical. If you use GPU-Z you can measure your GPU load utilization... for GPUs hitting 100% loads under Folding@home you are going to either have to endure the lag or turn off GPU folding when using the computer. Flash video will frame skip heavily, and anything in VLC occasionally develop artifacts as well. VLC will also skip frames when this happens unless you disable it in settings. GPU Folding used to be fairly inefficient, my GTX 480 would see ~60% load utilization on average a few years ago. At 60% it barely affected light games and didn't affect video or flash video playback. Today it gets a permanent 100% load utilization because F@H is fully optimized for the card... as new GPUs get fully optimized for they will also experience the same effects.

The "light" setting in Folding@home doesn't really apply to GPUs. I've tested it and either the GPU folding is off... or it is on. There doesn't seem to be a middle-ground option. If you aren't experiencing system lag during games then odds are it turned GPU folding off when set to the "light" load profile.

Flying Fox is correct, GPU scheduling doesn't work the same as CPU scheduling.... one can play games with minimal FPS loss during CPU folding, but that just isn't the case with GPU folding. You'll need to turn off GPU folding when using your system or simply endure it. Given most web browsers now use GPU acceleration they will also lag during GPU folding, so I flat out turn off GPU folding until I'm done with the system.
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Re: Using your computer while folding

Postposted on Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:10 am

Flying Fox wrote:CPU folding is good because the OS scheduler does a good job shuffling low priority processes/threads. However, GPU "threads" don't get the same treatment. So the best is still to pause/shutdown the GPU client before you launch anything that uses the GPU non-trivially.


I noticed this when I first started folding last year on the main machine with the 660 Ti. I had accepted that doing much else while GPU folding would not be acceptable.

Kougar wrote:That's pretty typical. If you use GPU-Z you can measure your GPU load utilization... for GPUs hitting 100% loads under Folding@home you are going to either have to endure the lag or turn off GPU folding when using the computer. Flash video will frame skip heavily, and anything in VLC occasionally develop artifacts as well. VLC will also skip frames when this happens unless you disable it in settings. GPU Folding used to be fairly inefficient, my GTX 480 would see ~60% load utilization on average a few years ago. At 60% it barely affected light games and didn't affect video or flash video playback. Today it gets a permanent 100% load utilization because F@H is fully optimized for the card... as new GPUs get fully optimized for they will also experience the same effects.

The "light" setting in Folding@home doesn't really apply to GPUs. I've tested it and either the GPU folding is off... or it is on. There doesn't seem to be a middle-ground option. If you aren't experiencing system lag during games then odds are it turned GPU folding off when set to the "light" load profile.

Flying Fox is correct, GPU scheduling doesn't work the same as CPU scheduling.... one can play games with minimal FPS loss during CPU folding, but that just isn't the case with GPU folding. You'll need to turn off GPU folding when using your system or simply endure it. Given most web browsers now use GPU acceleration they will also lag during GPU folding, so I flat out turn off GPU folding until I'm done with the system.


Until recently I would've 100% agreed with everything you said, Kougar. Even playing FTL while folding on the GPU resulted in stuttering that had me pausing it (or setting it to "Light", pausing the GPU side). But then I noticed that there wasn't any stuttering on the machine with the 750 Ti. One day I forgot to pause folding at all and didn't realize it until later. I took a screenshot... Sorry I'm not folding for TR just now but I'll be back when I can put out better numbers. Image
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Re: Using your computer while folding

Postposted on Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:18 pm

Interesting. The question is, was that because Maxwell is better at handling multiple concurrent jobs, or simply because the folding client isn't maxing it out yet?
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Re: Using your computer while folding

Postposted on Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:42 am

It might also be because he hasn't maximized the graphics settings in Guild Wars 2. F@H is fine, but I wouldn't sacrifice the quality of my view of Tyria to keep it running while I was playing.
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Re: Using your computer while folding

Postposted on Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:49 pm

I can leave folding running while I run my 3D graphic applications, even when I am performing a render with the CPU cores. Process Lasso shows the folding tasks will just duck down and let the render proceed, then when the render is done, the CPU folding picks up again. So most of the time I leave folding on max.

But games and OpenCL rendering (on AMD cards) don't get along with GPGPU folding, so if I'm messing about with either of those things, I'll put the folding client down to "idle". This way, if I shut down the game and forget to start up folding again, at least it will run when the system hits "idle" (aka, screen goes blank). I've observed that folding is not the fastest this way, but at least "something" will run while I'm sleeping.
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