Hotdog's Experiences

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Hotdog's Experiences

Postposted on Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:47 am

edit: I know this has been mentioned before on this forum, but I figured I'd share my thoughts too. Since I'm awesome.

Sounds like a dirty title. And it is. In a nerdy sort of way.

After spending all day at work (what can I say... IT Manager+nothing to do=surfing, lawl) looking into the Linux SMP FAH client, I decided to take the plunge and install it on a few machines at home.

Caveat: I knew/know nothing about Linux. I know how to type su to login as a super user, and... well, that's it.

So, I followed directions. I'm not going to link directions here, because google... well, is google. Just google "I don't know how to install something please help me oh god dear god" and you'll probably find it. Hell, if you have a basic, working knowledge of Linux, the Stanford directions alone are plenty.

My first step was: "Well Hotdog, WHICH MACHINES?"

That was fairly simple. My main machine, the C2D, and the X2 Server, since.. those are the only ones that would do it. The thing I learned, and was saddened by, was this: The 8xx series Pentium Ds don't do VT, thus, you can't use VMWare to run a 64bit version of Linux (which is required for the SMP client). This made me sad, since I have... well, 4 8xx series processors. Tear. I always knew the 8xx series wouldn't do VT, but was like "When the hell am I going to need to run a 64bit OS ontop of XP?"

First machine I did it on was my C2D. E6600 @ 3.6ghz, 2GB RAM, etc. Tossed VMWare on it (can get it from vmware.com, and free serials. Or you can bit-torrent it, you dirty dog), and fumbled my way through creating a "64 bit virtual machine".

I had decided upon Ubuntu, since it was pretty and mentioned a lot on the forum posts I read. Plus... just say the name. U-bun-to! tee-hee. I'm easily amused.

Downloaded Ubuntu 6.10 DVD, tossed it in Daemon tools, and went through the install process of VMWare. Let me say this: If I can do it, you can do it. It's that easy.

The X2 was no different. There are 0 drivers to install for either instance, at least in my case.

Enough with the install jibber-jabber, right? Anyways, here is what I found:

1) It is incredibly fast. 6minute steps on a 500-or-so point project is crazy. My X2 was getting 3 minute-a-step on one of the projects. It is simply crazy, crazy fast.

2) It is a resource hog. It truly is. It's much heavier then running 2 FAHs, even back in the days of running 2 QMDs (mmm... bandwidth limited Netburst platform). Have plenty of RAM. No RAM=gonna suck.

3) The CPU usage will top out at ~80%. This is a known fact, and nothing to be "worried" about.

UGN (the name I fold under) had a huge day yesterday, 5k+, but it wasn't all the Linux clients, heh. Just didn't want people to think it was THAT amazing.

If you have an X2 machine, a 9-series Pentium D, or a C2D, and plenty of RAM, I implore you to install VMWare and get this folding. It's simply crazy not to at this point, especially while the points are so high. If they re-evaluate the points (which I hope they don't, seeing as how it is a resource heavy endeavor), it might not be so worth it, but for now: Do it. Do it now and do it hard.

I liked it so much, in fact, that I ordered 2 920ds off ebay for cheap: They'll be going into two of my 820d machines, simply so I can VMWare on them. The 820ds will then morph into either a Linux box, or something.
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Postposted on Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:10 pm

wait so you are running these clients on a windows xp box through a linux os via vmware?
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Postposted on Sun Jan 21, 2007 4:25 pm

Correct. Windows XP 32bit (Actually, one machine is Windows server 2003, but same difference), VMWare Server, 64bit version of Ubuntu.

VT must be enabled on the Intel machines, and I *THINK* every X2 processor will do it... I know the X2 I'm using is an old school, right-at-release 939, so I think all of them will work.

8xx series Pentium Ds will not work, sadly.
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Postposted on Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:35 am

Great post hotdog!
I've heard that some people with an OCed 6600 can get over 2K PPD with the SMP client!
One step by step install guide is at http://forum.folding-community.org/ftopic16941-0-asc-45.html
Not sure why the Pentium D 800s don't work and the S939 X2s do work - neither has VT. Note that the Pentium D 9x5 (e.g. 915), don't have VT. Neither do the C2D 4xxx series.
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Postposted on Mon Jan 22, 2007 5:47 pm

Very cool Hotdog! Positive software experiences are always heart-warming. :D

I will have to look into doing this when I upgrade my computer. :wink:
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Postposted on Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:13 pm

I'm not sure what it is in the 939 X2s that let it work- It was my understanding that "Pacifica", the AMD-version of VT, didn't come out until the AM2... but I might be wrong, lawl.

And you're right: Only the 9x0 processors will do VT. The 9x5 processors will not- a stupid choice in my mind. Why disable that? It's silly.

Anyhoogle, yes, a future upgrade would definetly benefit from being able to this. It's amusing. I can look at porn in the VMWare Linux machine, and no one will be the wiser.

Porn is the driving force behind all of this, I won't lie.
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Postposted on Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:18 pm

Hotdog wrote:I'm not sure what it is in the 939 X2s that let it work- It was my understanding that "Pacifica", the AMD-version of VT, didn't come out until the AM2... but I might be wrong, lawl.

And you're right: Only the 9x0 processors will do VT. The 9x5 processors will not- a stupid choice in my mind. Why disable that? It's silly.

Anyhoogle, yes, a future upgrade would definetly benefit from being able to this. It's amusing. I can look at porn in the VMWare Linux machine, and no one will be the wiser.

Porn is the driving force behind all of this, I won't lie.


What!?! :o :o I thought you were motivated by the opportunity to contribute to the betterment of mankind. :wink:
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Postposted on Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:19 pm

Does VMWare still require Windows users to install IIS (Internet Information Services - web server software)? I'm not a big fan of that idea.
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Postposted on Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:22 pm

No, it doesn't require IIS. It prompts you to install it, but it's not needed. I believe it's only used for HTTP monitoring of clients- not a big issue in my case.

And no Jeff. It's for the porn.
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Postposted on Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:31 pm

Hm. I obviously should've given it a closer look back... whenever it was I looked at a beta version. :oops:

I'm going to have to look at which versions of Linux the SMP client is set up for, libraries-wise. Though, the fact that the choice you made apparently works helps me in my quest for ease of laziness. :wink:
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Postposted on Tue Jan 23, 2007 12:21 am

Erm, why did you use that Daemon tool? It seems the VMWare server has whatever facilities it requires for 64 bit Ubuntu built into it, though what the differences are that would require it to be different from other flavors I've no clue. Somewhere there's probably docs to read, but gee that's almost like work. :lol:

Also, there are other virtual machine software sellers than just VMWare. IIRC Microsoft at least had been offering a free version some time last year, I think it was a 2004 version, whatever that means. Don't know if that's still the case. So maybe some other virtualization software might work with the 820Ds you have.

Finally, the SMP FAQ says, under Policy Notes, that the client will stop working after 2 months.

They also say below that about "believed to be fixed" bugs that the client formerly did no checkpointing, which would be a big problem for me if they didn't fix it, probably meaning I wouldn't be able to run it for any extended length of time if I did get it running. Is checkpointing working for you? Meaning can you shut the VMWare Linux down and start it up again and get the WU to start where it last checkpointed.

The main problem I see right now is that I can't make a dedicated machine for it, especially since it wants a dualcore or at least a 2 CPU machine. My main workstation is my only dualcore, and since I often use most of my RAM when working under Windows, I'd have to figure out a way to switch to the Linux client when I stopped during other hours, which would ruin my Windows clients' output during that time, and then when I was working again I'd have to stop the VM Linux machine. Oh well, interesting thought, anyway.
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Postposted on Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:14 am

I wonder if VMWare's own snapshot ability would be good enough for "pausing"?
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Postposted on Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:03 am

I only used Daemon Tools because I've used it a lot in the past- That, and I didn't see the VMWare "Mount image" option until the third machine I installed it on, heh.

As for other virtualization, there is a chance the MS one might work- I'll have to check. But running a 64bit version on top of 32bit XP, I think that might require something more "deep" than the free MS version.

The current version does do checkpointing, and I've reset/stopped the clients many a time, and had no problems.

My question right now is, however: Is there a "lighter weight" 64 bit OS I could be using? Ubuntu is nice, friendly, and all of that, but it has everything: I don't need a second OS in VMWare to have Firefox, OpenOffice, a pretty GUI, etc... but I would like a functional GUI. So that's something I'll have to look into.
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Postposted on Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:11 am

Hotdog wrote:My question right now is, however: Is there a "lighter weight" 64 bit OS I could be using? Ubuntu is nice, friendly, and all of that, but it has everything: I don't need a second OS in VMWare to have Firefox, OpenOffice, a pretty GUI, etc... but I would like a functional GUI. So that's something I'll have to look into.
Don't you need the multimedia stuff also for you pr0n? Don't think you will be satisified with just static images, no? :lol:
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Postposted on Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:12 am

I'm very easily satisfied. It makes dating much easier. Sometimes my date just pays for a ride or two for me on the mechanical bull, and I'm done for the whole night.
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Postposted on Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:19 pm

Ahem. Anyway...

If you still want a GUI, then having extra software costs you nothing much except disk space. The first time I read your post I thought maybe Slackware would be a candidate since it at least used to be one of the most lightweight user-must-configure-everything distributions. Doesn't look to be that way any more, though. Not exactly a surprise, of course. But I think some still make non-GUI versions. That's the most lightweight way to go, surely.

After some point it becomes too much of a PITA to worry about a small fraction of the processor's cycles. Stanford should just port it to Windows sooner and quit bothering us with extra work.

Yeah I started playing with it some more after my last post, and yeah it looks like I can make it go. But it is indeed a pig. I gave it barely a GB of RAM for the entire VMware thing, and 128 MB less for Ubuntu. Loaded it from the image on my HD, though, which sped things up. I'm not a fan of some of the things in that distribution, but then this is the first time I've played with Linux in nearly a decade.
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Postposted on Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:19 pm

You're right, at some point it does become far too much work to worry about a percent or two either way. I think the bigger issue might be the fact VMWare doesn't officially support Ubuntu, so you can't install the VMWare Tools, which, if I'm right, basically give it better video drivers and such, makes it smoother. At least that's what it did for me back when I ran Server 2000 in a VMWare window, the tools made the whole experience much better.

Mayhaps the Ubuntu 64bit "server" might be better... it'll have Apache and things I won't be using, but it's bound to be a bit lighter-weight from an applications standpoint, but I know it has no gui. If I feel brave I may try it.


edit: Voila! http://www.xubuntu.org/

From the site:
It is lighter on system requirements and tends to be more efficient than Ubuntu with GNOME or KDE, since it uses the Xfce Desktop environment, which makes it ideal for old or low-end machines, thin-client networks, or for those who would like to get more performance out of their hardware.


I'll for sure be trying that... looks much friendlier.
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Postposted on Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:25 pm

Well, when I played with it I found that it doesn't detect my sound hardware, which matters little to me.

VMware let me choose Ubuntu 64 bit for my OS, though. As I said before, I have no idea what change that produced since it's the only thing I've tried so far. There's also something in the VM server under the VM menu item about "Upgrade Virtual Machine" which I tried, and didn't notice any difference afterwards. (Had to shut down and restart for it to take effect.) Meh. I was getting 10 minutes a frame last night when I ran it. After I paused one of my Windows clients it dropped down to... 6:38 on one frame (WU was a 3025), anyway. I got a 364 point GROMACS on one Windows core today, though, so I won't be running Ubuntu until that thing's done. Yeah, my poor Ubuntu WU may expire before I can get it back. It's an experiment. They'll get over it.

Edit: I was wrong about that 6:38. I must've misread it. It appears to do around 8.6 minutes or so per frame w/o the Windows clients running.

One thing I want to be able to figure out how to do is to copy & paste things from one OS to another. That would be useful, so I wouldn't have to type in URLs that I don't have bookmarked, for example. I don't think that worked when I tried it.
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Postposted on Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:54 pm

OK, here's my update.

I finished that 364 point WU tonight and got a crappy 2126 to replace it. Meanwhile, I think it's taking about 8-9 minutes per frame (100 total frames) for the two 3025 Work Units I've gotten so far on the Linux SMP client running under VMware, which is free for the downloading as Hotdog mentioned in the original post. (Since he's awesome. :lol:)

That's 587 points in probably less than 15 total hours, or 939.2 points per day. I'm running an AMD Opteron 165 (1800 MHz stock) upclocked to ~2581 MHz and stable enough to use for work. It will run faster, but eventually at some point it will mess up the file system somehow and not want to boot, and then I have to run expensive software to retrieve such things as email files and text notes I haven't backed up. Anyway, this is an incredible increase in daily point production.

And what's more, I can leave my Windows Folding clients running at the same time. They slow down to a crawl, but they keep going. As Hotdog points out above, the VMware system gets somewhere in the range of 80-some percent of the CPU. And you have to give it enough RAM to run the folding software speedily. While I won't run it while I'm working on the machine, in the evenings and over night I do run it, now. I'm running it as I type this in Windows, as a matter of fact. My first WU, which I stopped for most of a day to let another finish and because I can't run it during working hours, finished with only 40% of the alotted time remaining for it. That's because they want the WU back in 1 day at best, and 2 days at worst. Since getting the VMware client going is fairly simple to get up and running, and you can make scripts to quickly run the folding client, it's not much effort to get moving on this. There are stupid things you will want to play around with, though. I had to change the number of processors VMware thought I had, and also since I don't have a floppy drive installed I changed that to using an image file or some such thing to emulate one. I should probably have kept a log of the things I did, but I was dubious when I started this experiment. Dummy.

If you have a machine that can run this software, which includes any AMD dual-core and all the new Intel C2Ds and some others, you will do your own and your team's output a great improvement if you begin to run it. If you have any dedicated boxes meeting that requirement, and now that I check the memory utility on that "box" (heh) it shows it's using about 450 MB for itself and the rest in cache, so next I'll be experimenting with how little RAM I can allow the VMware software while maintaining good performance, and it may well be that machines with under 1 GB can run it well. I did give it 8 GB on a spare drive I have, but so far it has used under 2 GB of that, and I'm sure a less full-featured Linux client would have an even smaller footprint.

The only odd thing is that the Linux clock seems to lose almost 1/5 of the time passing. Its clock is now 25-26 minutes behind the real time after running for 1 hour and 56 minutes. Oh well. So don't trust its frame times, use Windows' clock instead. I do run it fullscreen over night since I assume it gets more of the CPU that way, though, so I can't time that except by going back and calculating the actual time used. I just know the thing offers killer points, though, so I'm running it. :wink:
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:35 am

Note that (older?) X2s (and Opterons) have an issue with clock timings that can cause the SMP client (and the clock) to run slower than it should (due to sync problems). AMD has a patch for that called AMD Dual-Core Optimizer http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/0,,30_182_871_13118,00.html
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 6:45 am

Yup, the Dual-Core Optimizer worked to fix the time-sync delay my X2 was having, and it looked like it worked for some other people as well, from my limited research on Google.

I now have the VMWare/client running on 3 machines: An X2, a 920d, and my C2D. I got the second 920d installed in a machine I want to use, but I'm waiting for the other 512MB of RAM to arrive.... I have no great desire to run VMWare on a machine w/ only 512, it just sounds like a messy idea :P

I honestly haven't been running the Windows client as well... I guess I might as well, since it's priority is low, and it'll just take up the remaining "spare" cycles. I'll probably go ahead and change my windows client to use only the smaller, and probably the no-deadline units, simply because of issues with speed/memory usage, but there's no harm in running it along with the VMWare, I reckon.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:44 am

It doesn't seem to make much difference to the VMware SMP client when running a regular windows console client (at least for an X2 - not sure about a C2D as it has a shared cache). The windows console client will run very slowly of course (as it will likely have an average of 10% of the CPU), but when the SMP client finished a WU, there is a fair amount of time before it starts a new WU that the windows console client can run quickly in.
Note - do NOT select projects with no deadlines. There hasn't been any of those in a long time!
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:15 am

Ah, fair enough, if there's no work units, I won't be selecting that :D

I'll try to run a windows client along side the SMP when I get home, see how it works over night. I realize it'll run dog slow, but I should at least finish up the work I had queued... I know my C2D was 85% into a 364 pointer when I turned em off :D
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:50 am

All these points discussions are giving me visions of "dancing on Leors head" once I can upgrade my computer and start rebuilding my farm. :D

Anyone want to buy a nice house in Cincinnati? :)
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:24 pm

I've never used those AMD/MS dual-core/hotfix things before, and haven't seen a need for them. But I'll give that one a shot. Have to reboot to get it going, though. The horror. :lol:

It does look like it should be possible to run with a 512 MB machine if you get a lighter-weight OS. I noticed the whole shebang was taking over 600 MB the last time I checked this morning... can't say why, though. Of course, it's hard to justify buying a dual core machine with that little memory.

Hotdog: Your assignment is to see if that MS virtualization software is still out there, and if it lets you do stuff with the 8x0 series Intel CPUs. Get on it. :D
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:31 pm

Alrighty, I'll see if I can find it. I know the MS Virtualization thing is out there, but the whole running a 64 bit-in-32-bit might be a bit too much to ask, especially with 800 series :D
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:43 pm

*tear*

Q. Does Virtual Server 2005 support 64-bit processors?

A.

Virtual Server 2005 R2 runs on both 32-bit and 64-bit (x64) host operating systems. It supports both AMD64 and Intel IA-32e/EM64T (x64) processors. Note that Virtual Server 2005 R2 does not support Itanium (IA-64) processors. Earlier versions of Virtual Server run on x64-based hardware provided it is running a 32-bit version of a supported host operating system.

Note that Virtual Server 2005 R2 requires that guest operating systems be 32-bit.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:51 pm

Oh well. :x
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 4:36 pm

You could test run one of those 64 bit Linux distros from a live CD, and then if it looks good install on a HD and do the SMP stuff from there. In fact, you should be able to run the SMP thing even from a live CD, but you've got the problem of not having stored checkpoints. I did that once, but it's a PITA having to wait until it's done and then killing it and uploading the WU. You have to calculate when it will finish and be there when it's done, and of course a UPS might be important if you're all in RAM. :o

All in all, a hard disk is necessary for certainty and the ability to change things around w/o losing work.

Ninja-edit: I restarted the machine, by the way, and now the Linux clock is overtaking the Windows clock. :roll: (I let it run during lunch, and took an extra half hour to let it finish the WU it was on, to boot. :o)
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:02 pm

Yeah, the clock thing is still odd. On my C2D, it's overtaking the Windows clock, but on the X2, it seems to be okay... it's like 2 minutes fast, so it'll probably be a lot more noticeable soon, heh.

Live CD is a very good point: Save money/hassle of a hard drive. I'll have at least 2 820Ds that won't have a home, and I might as well do that, live boot em. Losing WUs isn't a huge issue to me, in all honesty... if power goes out, it goes out.

Speaking of live boot, I have this S754 A64 I need to get up and running too... so lazy. So very, very lazy.
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