Info on power consumption for GPU client candidate systems

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Info on power consumption for GPU client candidate systems

Postposted on Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:09 pm

Hello. I have posted this elsewhere, but thought you all might like to see it as it'd be of benefit to anyone regardless of team.

Part 1:

I did a little experiment to see how much power could be saved on machines that are candidates for conversion to the GPU client, but it's applicable to most machines.

The machine tested is an Athlon 64 2.0ghz Socket 754, 256mb RAM. It's a marginal folder on most Gromacs units, and only does a little better on Ambers, so I gave consideration to swapping it's motherboard out for one that's PCI-E compatible and adding an used X1900XTX card.

Baseline info:
Folding a P2124 unit, 2.0ghz. 113w used.
Underclocked to 1.2ghz 101w used.
Underclocked to 1.0ghz 97w used.

Normally underclocking it to 1.0ghz would result in much longer frametimes, on the order of twice as long. But since the GPU client isn't so picky as to the speed of the processor supplying it...

Undervolting the processor: left at 1.0ghz, 200FSB x 5 multiplier. Stock volts is: 1.45v.
1.4v 91watts used
1.35v 90 watts used
1.3v 88 watts used
1.25v 86 watts used
1.2v 84 watts used
1.15v 82 watts used
1.1v 81 watts used.

I didn't take it below 1.1v due to dimishing rate of return.

So for a dedicated GPU machine, I went from 97 watts to 81 watts by undervolting. Savings of 16w. Really I went from 113 to 81, with no real change in utility for the GPU client most likely.

It appears to me that those folk with machines capable of running the GPU client, faster than 1ghz, might realize some energy savings by slowing down their processor to 1ghz and underclocking it some. Why spend money on power if it isn't necessary?

Part 2:

Final report on this system with an ATI X1900XTX and GPU client.

Here is some data, and I'll let those of you more skilled at data analysis have at it.

Using stock CPU voltage, frame time and power useage at various CPU speeds, GPU Client on an ATI X1900XTX (650core/775mem, ie, stock 3d speed).

2.0ghz 6:12/frame 207w power
1.8gz 6:16/frame 207w power
1.6ghz 6:18/frame 198w power
1.4ghz 6:22/frame 193w power
1.2ghz 6:26/frame 192w power
1.0ghz 6:32/frame 189w power

After graphing it all up, I found that the power useage curve dropped off sharply between 1.8ghz down to 1.4ghz, and then leveled off at 1.2ghz before dropping again at 1.0. I think 1.4ghz is the sweet spot here.

Data showing power consumtion versus increase in frame time:
1.8ghz 0% reduction power, +1.07% frame time
1.6ghz 4.3% reduction power, +1.6% frame time
1.4ghz 6.7% reduction power, +2.6% frame time
1.2ghz 7.2% reduction power, +3.76% frame time
1.0ghz 8.6% reduction power, +5.37% frame time

Next I tried undervolting the CPU. Speed selected is 1.4ghz. Stock CPU voltage is 1.45v. I ran Orthos with a simulated Gromacs work unit to avoid corrupting the GPU client work unit if there was a Early Unit End due to crashing. I know the data isn't strictly comparable, but it gives an idea of what kind of reduction to expect with undervolting.

CPU voltage power watts used
1.45 (stock) 118w
1.35v 108w
1.25v 103w
1.15v 99w
1.05v 95w

I left the CPU volts at 1.05v and started up the GPU client. No change in frame times, and it's been processing for an hour now with no noted instability. Total system power useage dropped to 166-168w (keeps fluctuating between the 2 readings). So I went from 207w to 168w (savings of 39w) with a modest reduction in production of 2.6% (766 Points per day to 747: 19ppd difference).

As a side note, before I did this round of testing, I purchased an Antec 430w high efficiency power supply and tested it with the system still set up for CPU Folding. Power useage dropped from 113w to 97w. This is from an older Antec power supply rated at about 70% efficiency to the claimed efficiency of around 83% with the new one). See here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article684-page1.html
Last edited by Bill Clo on Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:21 am

Great post. In fact, I believe the proper term for this work is that you have written an article for us.

I nominate this post for a sticky, at least until the 1900-level cards are no longer out in large quantities. In fact, thinking on it some more, I believe this article deserves a place on the front page, and I'm going to email Cyril about it.

Thanks for the information, Bill Clo, and welcome to the TR forums!

(Edit: emailed Cyril).
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:27 am

How much of a drop off if one does not ditch their old AGP board and just get an X1950Pro instead of the X1900XTX? Can this setup tip the scale of cost vs ppd vs power? :roll:

I'm wondering this because not everyone may be getting used X1900XTX'es, and getting a new S939 board seems like a waste (on dead end tech). So I'm thinking just getting the X1950Pro will that help?

Discuss.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:30 am

I mentioned about that in another thread.
Basically with an older system (probably even a fast PIII) with AGP, you likely would need to upgrade the PSU for the X1950Pro AGP.
Performance of the X1950AGP 256MB is roughly 600PPD (when using 3D speeds) and the card takes quite a bit less power than other X1900 cards (and if you pick the right X1950Pro card, should be quiet as well). The X1950XTX 512MB at 3D speeds can do somewhat better (900PPD?) but initial cost (especially if need to get a new MB for it) and significantly higher power makes this option attractive primarily for those that are space limited (or that want a very fast gaming card).
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:46 am

Well the OP's scenario is an existing S939 system and with an X1900XTX, the PSU will need to be upgraded anyway if it could not even power the X1900XTX. So I did not include it in the cost. It will be interesting for a PIII era system nonetheless, may be worth it to do some thinking on this one too.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:02 am

Actually the original system is a socket 754 board (MSI Neo Platinum) that I eventually swapped out for an Biostar board that had PCI-E on it (and voltage adjustments). It's not dead end tech if it's a dedicated folder only. I keep machines for about 3 years until they are struggling to complete work (this machine took 4+ days to finish a P2124/25, whereas my A64s (@2.4ghz) do it in 3, my C2D does one in 2 days).

I already had a proper power supply; I just wanted a more efficient one. I ended up getting a couple Antec Earthwatt 380w supplies and they are working with a X1900XTX-equipped GPU client just fine. As long as you have 30a on both 12v rails as ATI suggests, you're good to go with the X1900XTX. I can't comment on the X1950Pro series.

I'm glad someone found the info of use; it sure did reduce my electric bill. I was able to retire 2 XP2700 based systems, add on an GPU client, and am still ahead on points (not to mention saving about 190watts of power).
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:15 am

Bill Clo wrote:Actually the original system is a socket 754 board (MSI Neo Platinum) that I eventually swapped out for an Biostar board that had PCI-E on it (and voltage adjustments). It's not dead end tech if it's a dedicated folder only. I keep machines for about 3 years until they are struggling to complete work (this machine took 4+ days to finish a P2124/25, whereas my A64s (@2.4ghz) do it in 3, my C2D does one in 2 days).

I already had a proper power supply; I just wanted a more efficient one. I ended up getting a couple Antec Earthwatt 380w supplies and they are working with a X1900XTX-equipped GPU client just fine. As long as you have 30a on both 12v rails as ATI suggests, you're good to go with the X1900XTX. I can't comment on the X1950Pro series.

I'm glad someone found the info of use; it sure did reduce my electric bill. I was able to retire 2 XP2700 based systems, add on an GPU client, and am still ahead on points (not to mention saving about 190watts of power).
So if you keep the 754 CPU+board, and just grab a X1950Pro, what will be the cost/power/ppd situation be like?
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:05 am

Flying Fox wrote:
Bill Clo wrote:Actually the original system is a socket 754 board (MSI Neo Platinum) that I eventually swapped out for an Biostar board that had PCI-E on it (and voltage adjustments). It's not dead end tech if it's a dedicated folder only. I keep machines for about 3 years until they are struggling to complete work (this machine took 4+ days to finish a P2124/25, whereas my A64s (@2.4ghz) do it in 3, my C2D does one in 2 days).

I already had a proper power supply; I just wanted a more efficient one. I ended up getting a couple Antec Earthwatt 380w supplies and they are working with a X1900XTX-equipped GPU client just fine. As long as you have 30a on both 12v rails as ATI suggests, you're good to go with the X1900XTX. I can't comment on the X1950Pro series.

I'm glad someone found the info of use; it sure did reduce my electric bill. I was able to retire 2 XP2700 based systems, add on an GPU client, and am still ahead on points (not to mention saving about 190watts of power).
So if you keep the 754 CPU+board, and just grab a X1950Pro, what will be the cost/power/ppd situation be like?


I can't say about the power situation since I don't have a 1950Pro. The X1900XTX runs about 120 watts at 3d speeds (650cpu/775mem).

The motherboard switch ended up costing me about $30 ($55 for the new board, offset by selling the old one for $25). I picked up a used X1900XTX for $275, and a X1950 runs what, a bit over $200 if you can even find an AGP version yet.

Points per day for a X1950 seems to run about 575-600 from what I read elsewhere.
Last edited by Bill Clo on Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:06 am

If they're actually pumping out 500-600 PPD, that wouldn't be a bad investment. Ponderous.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:09 am

$230

It has less shaders I think, so the ppd will be lower. I wonder how much. Someone in the other folding forums might know?
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:14 am

Is there a reason this X1950Pro (even if it is PCIe) has 16/48 units, and other Pros have 12/36?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814153034

If it the specs are true, it has the same amount of shaders as the X1900XT and X1950XT...

so confusing.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:06 am

RV570 are designed with 12 pipes. If it states 16 pipes and isn't a typo, it could be an X1900XT that is downclocked...?
IIRC from a TechReport review, the power use for the X1950Pro is roughly 60 watts less at load than an X1900XT
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:20 am

Yeah, you're right... the "pro" should be a whole different core, and not just a "gimped" core of a higher end card.

It's either a typo, or Jetway is just using "non spec" X1900 cores in these. Hmmm... almost makes me want to order one, simply to see. Curiouser and curiouser.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:37 pm

I'm not exactly confident of Jetway. My memory is that they rank about with PC Chips or whatever that crappy company name was (or is).
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:44 pm

Yeah, me either. But if they are crappy, they might just be dumping some of their X1900 stock as X1950s, might be cheaper for them.

Ponder ponder.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:57 pm

No reply from Cyril on my email.



Yet.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:47 pm

Ragnar Dan wrote:No reply from Cyril on my email.



Yet.


While it'd make for a good sticky, I think, I won't get all upset if he doesn't do it. At least I got the info out there.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:04 pm

It's important. It could save many users power, and increase TR's team (that's team # 2630 for those forgetting :lol:) output, too. I'd think it would warrant at least a "what the forums are talking about" link on the front page, if not Damage Labs or Geoff's Dungeon treatment.

Edit: I think just brew it! being on a drinking binge in Colorado is why it hasn't been stickied yet... :lol: (Just kidding JBI).
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:20 pm

What's most interesting about this thread is that Bill Clo has been a registered user for 3 1/2 years and this was his first post!!!! :o :o :o





Edit: Damn typo....
Last edited by BerserkBen on Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:54 pm

Probably registered for front page comments.
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Postposted on Fri Jan 26, 2007 7:07 am

BerserkBen wrote:What's most interesting about this thread is that Bill Clo has been a registered user for 3 1/2 years and this was his first post!!!! :o :o :o





Edit: Damn typo....


I've been an occasional poster on the front page news type stuff, but haven't ventured into the forums much...but hopefully made up for it with my first post, maybe? :)
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Postposted on Fri Jan 26, 2007 8:44 am

I see that Cyril did put a link to this post on the front page. Woo Hoo.
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Postposted on Fri Jan 26, 2007 9:43 am

Nice work Bill Clo! :D It took a lot of time and effort to gather all that data. We appreciate it.
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Postposted on Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:03 pm

I don't see any link. Whenever someone posts in this thread, however, it will show up on the front page under Hot Threads, like any other forum posting except those in the Bargain Basement, Smoky Back Room, and R&P, and whatever moderator forums there are. Apparently 8 lines of text or subject lines is the maximum.
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Postposted on Sat Jan 27, 2007 6:31 pm

I'm still waiting for just brew it! or idchafee to sticky this valuable article. Eventually I'll get desperate, and resort to a PM. :o
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Postposted on Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:44 pm

Heh... this thread was started while I was out of town for several days, and slipped under my radar.

Yes, I think this probably merits a sticky.

Done.
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Postposted on Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:56 pm

Well, it did finally get a front page Tidings link.

But admit it: you were drunk. :lol:
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Postposted on Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:37 pm

how did I miss this? :-?
YOU CAN RUPTURE SOMEONE'S SPLEEN WITH A WATER BALLOON!!!!
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Postposted on Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:44 pm

It's been very cold. I've been eating extra food just to keep from shivering myself out of existence. :wink:
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Postposted on Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:05 am

Ragnar Dan wrote:Well, it did finally get a front page Tidings link.

But admit it: you were drunk. :lol:

Well, there were those nightly trips to the Left Hand Brewery... so you may have a point. :lol:
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