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New build to fold@home

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March 4, 2010 3:38:36 PM

I'm in need of building a new system. With the massive volume of folding@home 24 tables at once I am generating a huge database of players and hand histories. I expect to fold 2,000,000 times per year or more.

I will have someone build this for me. I am pretty dumb about these things but I'm trying to do the proper research.

Thoughts on items so far:

Intel core i5-750 2.66ghz cpu
asus or evga LGA 1156 P55 ATX MOBO.
Corsair ddr3 6gb ram

Random good mid tower with at least 3 fans, on sale when the time comes
550w PSU or there abouts.

HARD DRIVE OR SSD? This is where I am at now (I think). Do I go with HDD in raid or a SSD? Longevity?

I will have to buy a new video card I guess. I dual monitor and have Nvidia 8800gt now. But kinda want to keep the old desktop as a backup.

Windows 7 will be the OS.

Budget: ?? whatever.

Time frame: Ordering parts daily or as I see sales. I'd like to build this by months end.

Thanks for any suggestions or guidance.

More about : build fold home

March 4, 2010 4:56:11 PM

wtf? some sort of game?
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Anonymous
March 4, 2010 5:09:50 PM

No folding@home... look it up!!!!

Dont quite get what you want OP, to build a mean folding machine or look after stats of a folding group?
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Related resources
March 4, 2010 5:11:04 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folding@home

It's a scientific program that uses a large number of home computers to run through very complex calculations.

I don't really get what the use is either. It sounds to me like you're planning on cheating at online poker...

If you're budget is "whatever":

CPU: i7-930 $299
Mobo: Asus P6X58D Premium $310
HSF (only if you're overclocking): Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B $65. Add two 120mm fans to that, so add about $20.
RAM: 2x Mushkin Enahnced Redline 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 6 $470 after rebate
GPU: HD 5970 $700
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90
SSD: Corsair Reactor 128 GB $329
Case: HAF 922 $90
PSU: OCZ Z Series 850W 80+ Gold $200
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $25

Total: $2,608
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March 4, 2010 5:15:12 PM

WHy buold a machine for folding? Better of donating money or something.
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March 4, 2010 5:18:05 PM

Ah ... like SETI .... cool

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March 4, 2010 5:21:22 PM

The build may not be specifically for Folding, but that may be the easiest way to describe it. Any build that's build for Folding would be good at doing other calculation intense programs. So instead of saying the exact use and having to answer a bunch of questions, you could just say Folding and get a computer that's just as good.
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March 4, 2010 5:33:56 PM

What's good for the Geese (Fold@), is good for the gander (the rest).

=
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March 4, 2010 5:41:21 PM

Yes. That would be perfect.
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March 4, 2010 5:47:47 PM

MadAdmiral said:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folding@home

It's a scientific program that uses a large number of home computers to run through very complex calculations.

I don't really get what the use is either. It sounds to me like you're planning on cheating at online poker...

If you're budget is "whatever":

CPU: i7-930 $299
Mobo: Asus P6X58D Premium $310
HSF (only if you're overclocking): Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B $65. Add two 120mm fans to that, so add about $20.
RAM: 2x Mushkin Enahnced Redline 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 6 $470 after rebate
GPU: HD 5970 $700
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90
SSD: Corsair Reactor 128 GB $329
Case: HAF 922 $90
PSU: OCZ Z Series 850W 80+ Gold $200
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $25

Total: $2,608


Good build. But we need to cut cost's, I think the OP wanted a lower price build.

MOBO: Get a lower price motherboard save $.

HSF: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not as good as MAd's, but damn close. The saved 30$ is better spent of a pound of beef tenderloin, and a few lobsters in my mind.

PSU: Very, nice and effeciant but way overpriced. GEt one for closer to 100-150$.

SSD: Remove it altogether.
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March 4, 2010 5:53:01 PM

If you really need to do some cutting:

CPU: i7-930 $299
Mobo: Asus P6X58D Premium $310
RAM: 2x G.Skill Pi Series 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $360
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
GPU: HD 5850 $300
PSU/Case: Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 650W $125
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $24
HSF (only if overclocking): Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35

Total: $1,703. I'm not positive on how graphics intensive Folding is, so if it doesn't need a big GPU, switch to an HD 5770 to save another $150.
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March 4, 2010 6:01:07 PM

Ok, but you still have a a 300$+ mobo, not needed. ALso, he should look for a 5770, folding is more cpu than gpu intesice.
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March 4, 2010 6:03:36 PM

The version of Folding@Home that runs on the GPU is much faster than the one that uses the CPU. The ultimate Folding setup is to run multiple instances where you're using the GPU and CPU. A strong GPU most certainly improves your Folding@Home points per day.
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March 4, 2010 6:10:10 PM

Why not a 5670, for that matter? ... has eye-finity ... xFire ... 1GB GDDR ...

I didn't see him mention games and the 5700/5800s aren't really great for renders and wrksta apps. I am considering two 5670s (1GB) for my edit rig ... mostly to support multiple (!) displays. I kinda wonder if I should connect/enable the xFire bridge as I have no clue if that would be of any benefit (or detriment) to running 4x1080, off of 2 cards.

What is he doing that needs the major gaming gpus? (if anyone cares to answer that.).

= Al =
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March 4, 2010 6:12:28 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
The version of Folding@Home that runs on the GPU is much faster than the one that uses the CPU. The ultimate Folding setup is to run multiple instances where you're using the GPU and CPU. A strong GPU most certainly improves your Folding@Home points per day.


He's proably not using Folding as a primary use. He's more likely to be building a machine to find square roots of large numbers to hack into peoples credit card accounts.
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March 4, 2010 6:17:57 PM

I would like to get a better description of exactly what he's attempting to do. It doesn't sound legit to me unless he really is going to be running Folding@Home. It does sound more like something shady to me. If it's some sort of home brew piece of software that can't use the GPU power then there's no need for a fast GPU.
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March 4, 2010 6:19:52 PM

Look don't ask don't tell. Let's just assume for the purpose of the build that the GPU is not a factor, he will only be doing CPU calculations. He sghould consider AM3,and 890GX for it's onboard graphics, if he wants to stay under a 1K$. He wouldn't want to spend to much on a PC, and then have la policia sieze the computer for evidence in his trail.
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March 4, 2010 6:26:24 PM

"budget: ?? whatever" doesn't sound like "I need to stay under $1k" to me.

Just sayin'.
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March 4, 2010 6:37:23 PM

lol. funny responses.

I saw the a reference to "folding@home" elsewhere in this forum. But I didnt look at what it meant here.

Folding in online poker is the action you do by far the most. Possibly 85% of your actions will be folding.

and no. "builderbobftw". lol cheating at online poker is not in my scheme of things to do. I actually have a reputation from having worked in the poker business in my lifetime as being one to prevent cheats.

One thing I do know is I dont need to build high end. I mean I dont need some big ultra gaming computer.

My use is not shady Shortstuff. Just playing 24 tables of no limit holdem at a time, 6-10 hrs a day, with software that tracks my hand histories with every player I player with at the table and displays a "heads up display" on each table with updated statistics on the type of actions they take, updated every 5 secs.

All 24 tables are stacked one on top of another, and popup to the front in order of which table needs action next. I dual monitor but the 2nd monitor is for the online sites lobby to select games(tables), see stats as a whole for current sessions, surf web, etc.

oh budget: I dont want to get close to $2k to build at home. But I'd like to stay under $1200 or so I guess. But I am open.
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March 4, 2010 7:00:45 PM

Completely different uses...

How are you recording the hands? That may affect what GPU, RAM and HDD you'll need.

So based on the above, here's a revised build:

CPU: i7-930 $299
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R $210
RAM: 2x G.Skill Pi Series 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $360
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
GPU: HD 5670 $110
PSU/Case: Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 650W $125
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $25
HSF (only if overclocking): Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35

Total: $1,219. This will not be good for anything buy computational work and multi-tasking. So if you play any real games, up the GPU to the HD 5770 for another $40. Or higher if your monitor has a resolution of 1900x.
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March 4, 2010 7:10:54 PM

MadAdmiral said:
How are you recording the hands?

So based on that, here's a revised build:

CPU: i7-930 $299
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R $210
RAM: 2x G.Skill Pi Series 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $360
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
GPU: HD 5670 $110
PSU/Case: Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 650W $125
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $25
HSF (only if overclocking): Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35

Total: $1,219. This will not be good for anything buy computational work and multi-tasking. So if you play any games at all, up the GPU to the HD 5770 for another $40.


I have software (readily available and allowed) that pulls my hand histories directly off my hand history folder for the online website. This in turn compiles every action by every individual player which in turn gives you basic information on how they play, allowing you to make better decisions based on same.

I really dont think I need to go anywheres near 500gb, and since I am using a intel core 2 duo 6400 @ 2.13 ghz, vista system already I am sure i5-750 would be excellent for my needs.

so I'm basing my build off that.

Edit: oh but I was told 2 hdd's in raid (if thats the right term) would make this software respond faster/cleaner than what I have now. ** it sometimes clogs my system for 3-4 secs. But then I heard about SSD's too.
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March 4, 2010 7:16:53 PM

The thing is that the i5-750 isn't that great for multitasking, especially when you afford the i7s. The extra RAM is also a big help. As far as I know (see below), I'm not sacrificing anything in the build for the i7.

The reason I asked about the software wasn't to include it in the budget. I was asking because some software has special needs. For example, Adobe products require a huge amount of RAM, so the build would have to accomadate that. If this software basically records video of everything on screen, you might need a lot of RAM or a bigger GPU.
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March 4, 2010 7:19:29 PM

The problem with RAID (and you're referring to RAID 0) is that it also doubles the chance of losing everything to a minor glitch. So if you can live with losing everything and having to reinstall the OS, every program, reset all of your settings, and the rest that goes with it, then by all means go with RAID. However, SSDs are faster by an order of magnitude over standard HDDs in RAID. That said, SSDs don't like to be constantly rewriting data, so they're only really useful for the OS and programs, not for data. They also like to have a lot of free space, usually more than 20%.
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March 4, 2010 7:19:53 PM

The build Mad posted is a good one. Just consider intregated graphics and a 890GX if you want to spend even less. ALso, consider down/upgrading his GPU. It's to expensive for Non-Gamers, and to slow for gamers. You are better of running intergated/high end gpu for gaming Than that half assed effort of a card. Taht card realy sucks.
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March 4, 2010 7:20:31 PM

I may use my current nvidia 8800gt, thats fine and overkill really.

I see your point on the i7. Ram isnt too much an issue, I mean 6gb, 8gb whatever, but I think I meant to say a 500gb HDD was overkill I am not at 1/2 my hdd space now.
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March 4, 2010 7:21:11 PM

For your purposes, if the RAID suggestion came from the application vendor and not just some dude on the street, it's worth considering. I would not go with an SSD for the history application/tables, as it sounds like you're writing a lot of data constantly, and that will tend to limit the life of the SSD.

Typically, RAID 0 is useful for databases, audio/video editing, anything similar that needs to write frequently. For most home users, RAID 0 for an OS drive is overkill and somewhat risky, as your risk of failure is doubled. If you lose one of the drives, the whole thing is shot. I would only use RAID 0 for your OS if you are comfortable reinstalling your OS and you have backups, etc.

What might be ideal for you would be an SSD with the OS and some applications on it, and a RAID 0 array where you have the tables for the history application.

Of course, that's going to increase the cost of the system somewhat, as it would require 1 SSD and 2 same-size traditional hard drives.

EDIT: I definitely agree with MadAdmiral that you'd be well-served by going with any of the i7s (920, 930, 860), in that it sounds like your application would benefit from hyperthreading.
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March 4, 2010 7:25:53 PM

MadAdmiral said:
The problem with RAID (and you're referring to RAID 0) is that it also doubles the chance of losing everything to a minor glitch. So if you can live with losing everything and having to reinstall the OS, every program, reset all of your settings, and the rest that goes with it, then by all means go with RAID. However, SSDs are faster by an order of magnitude over standard HDDs in RAID. That said, SSDs don't like to be constantly rewriting data, so they're only really useful for the OS and programs, not for data. They also like to have a lot of free space, usually more than 20%.



ahhh...and this tracking software rewrites data every 5 secs.

so what your saying is get a *** ton of ram, and a single hdd, these may be a little slower than the top end, but last much longer less failure/downtime/headache. And in reality the entire system will be loads faster than whet I have no anyways.

am I getting it right now?
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March 4, 2010 7:26:48 PM

@bob: 890GX doesn't have integrated graphics Disregard that. I'm going slightly insane today... That's only for AMD CPUs. That means a worse CPU for what he's doing. The GPU doesn't suck, it's just not a gaming unit. It's a low power drawind card that allows a user to have multiple screens. It's powerful enough for full HD, and minimizes cords by carrying the sound thorugh it as well. You are NOT better off with integrated graphics than you are with any discrete card.
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March 4, 2010 7:30:32 PM

I don't agree with bob's 890GX suggestion, but it does have an on-board GPU. That's where the "G" in the name comes from. To be specific, it uses an ATI Radeon HD 4290.
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March 4, 2010 7:38:22 PM

My bad...

EDIT: Quick question then: why does this board (ASUS M4A89GTD PRO) have the 890GX chipset and not list onboard video?
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March 4, 2010 7:41:14 PM

I see corsair 6gb ddr3 ram packages for $170, a lot less than the ram you suggest. any real reason not to go with the corsair?
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March 4, 2010 7:45:09 PM

Bigfishy said:
I see corsair 6gb ddr3 ram packages for $170, a lot less than the ram you suggest. any real reason not to go with the corsair?


I'm guessing here, since you didn't provide a link, but the Corsiar RAM you're looking at is probably a) lower clock speed and b) higher CAS latency (probably CAS 9).

A low CAS latency is the most important thing for RAM performance. After that comes clock speed. CAS 7 is currently the best value for the performance, but CAS 6 is also available at something like $250 for a 6 GB kit.

Especially for your purposes, I think low latency RAM is worthwhile. It may not be noticeable in your perceived system response, but the faster your RAM can move data around, the faster your database updates, and the better your application performs in the long run.
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March 4, 2010 7:45:33 PM

MadAdmiral said:
My bad...

EDIT: Quick question then: why does this board (ASUS M4A89GTD PRO) have the 890GX chipset and not list onboard video?

It's not listed in the Newegg specs, but look at the board pictures and you'll clearly see VGA, DVI, and HDMI outputs. The nice thing about AMD boards is that you can tell by the chipset name whether it has on-board video. Anything with a "G" has on-board graphics (790GX, 780G, 785G, 890GX, etc...).
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March 4, 2010 7:45:45 PM

Which packages? There are a lot of Corsair 6 GB sets. If you mean these, the it's a lot slower than the G.Skills. The most important spec for RAM is the CAS Latency. The Corsairs have CL 9, the G.Skills have CL 7 (lower is faster). So it would be worth the extra $10 a set for the faster sticks.
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March 4, 2010 7:46:43 PM

coldsleep said:
I'm guessing here, since you didn't provide a link, but the Corsiar RAM you're looking at is probably a) lower clock speed and b) higher CAS latency (probably CAS 9).

A low CAS latency is the most important thing for RAM performance. After that comes clock speed. CAS 7 is currently the best value for the performance, but CAS 6 is also available at something like $250 for a 6 GB kit.

Especially for your purposes, I think low latency RAM is worthwhile. It may not be noticeable in your perceived system response, but the faster your RAM can move data around, the faster your database updates, and the better your application performs in the long run.



http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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March 4, 2010 7:48:01 PM

Yup, that's the CAS 9 kit. I would stick with the CAS 7 RAM like MadAdmiral and coldsleep suggested.
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March 4, 2010 7:49:03 PM

ok...awesome, you guys are helping me a ton!

Thanks!
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March 4, 2010 7:49:56 PM

instead of folding@home you should go to your friends houses and fold their laundry for them instead.

Regards
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March 4, 2010 7:50:25 PM

Wow... Amazing how many people can post the same answer in the time it takes to read and write a response...
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March 4, 2010 8:05:21 PM

MadAdmiral said:
@bob: 890GX doesn't have integrated graphics Disregard that. I'm going slightly insane today... That's only for AMD CPUs. That means a worse CPU for what he's doing. The GPU doesn't suck, it's just not a gaming unit. It's a low power drawind card that allows a user to have multiple screens. It's powerful enough for full HD, and minimizes cords by carrying the sound thorugh it as well. You are NOT better off with integrated graphics than you are with any discrete card.


I know, I know. I realy just don't like the idea of paying 100$+ for a card thats useless for gaming, when i could have a 4850 1gb at the same price. The low power draw can be achoved by Onboard. Also, the mutiple screens is only usefull if you have mutiple screens, wich isn't usefull for card counting at internet poker. I just think he could save a 100$ by going onboard, and if he wanted a budget, under 750$ build, 890GX is the way to go.
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March 4, 2010 8:07:04 PM

OP said he was using multiple monitors. So that means an Eyefinity card or Crossfired old cards or onboard video AND a discrete card.

The budget was $1,200, so your point is complete nonsense...
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March 4, 2010 8:08:11 PM

I do use dual monitors and will have a card as such
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March 4, 2010 8:09:48 PM

I kind of skipped what you said about the card you had...

If it's currently working fine for your uses, keep it. Just leave the new GPU out of the build to save some money.
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March 4, 2010 8:28:42 PM

Still, you hae to conceed that for most, thge 5670 is crap at it's current price.
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March 4, 2010 9:04:10 PM

Yes, the 5670 is crap in all things that it was never intended to do. All ATI released it to do was provide the ability to have multiple monitors, play full HD video and bitstream. So yes, for everything outside of ITS INTENDED USES, it is crap.
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March 4, 2010 9:11:57 PM

Baicaly, the writers here at Tom's agree with me that the 5670 is overpriced, and doesn't make sense at it's price.


"Are we saying the Radeon HD 5670 is a bad card? Certainly not, it's a respectable mainstream offering. It just costs too much. At $80, this product would offer performance more in-line with its price tag. But at $100, that spread introduces too many strong competitors into the equation. We've seen products change to adapt to the market many times before. Maybe, if we're lucky, prices will quickly drop and allow the Radeon HD 5670 to be the game-changer it can be. At the $100 launch MSRP, however, a gamer is much better off investing a couple more dollars into a Radeon HD 4850 or GeForce GTS 250".

Don Woligroski
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March 4, 2010 9:18:08 PM

I agree it's a tad overpriced. However, it will come down soon. The 5770 was released higher than it was now. It is extreme to say the card is crap though. It does was it was intended to do, at a reasonable price if you need them.

You also have to keep in mind that almost all of the articles on Tom's are written with gamers in mind. The 5670 was not meant to be a gaming card. Therefore, it was destined to get a "bad" review by Tom's. However, if you aren't a gamer like the OP, and need to use multiple monitors or have something better than integrated graphics, then the 5670 is great.

If the OP had been a gamer, the build would be completely different. Even if the OP only had $100 for a GPU, I would not have recommended the 5670. I would have gone with the HD 4850. However, the OP is not a gamer. This is the problem with people only knowing what's best for gaming. It doesn't apply to everyone
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