POWER SAVER BUILD - the good, the bad and the expensive

David Rapalyea
David Rapalyea
Joined: 3 Jan 13
Posts: 79
Credit: 63,886,821
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Topic 196904

A tip of the hat to Byond, mikey, Mike Davis and Alec, among others.

First and foremost I did not meet my goal of 35-45 watts to produce 10,000 cobblestones per 24 hours of run time. My best preliminary estimate is 240 watts to produce 52,000 cobblestones per 24 hours run time. Thats 46 watts per 10,000 and might be higher. However, 50 watts seems a sure thing.

The Build
ASRock Seven pcie3.0 Mother Board $289
Seasonic ATX 360 Watt Gold Plus PSU $77
Intel G630T CPU Dual Core 2.3ghz $95
4 GB DDR3 $38
Windows 7 Home $$80
DVD Drive $20
Full ATX Case $80
Solid State 30 gig HD [price not listed] apx $60
____
$739.00
Labor Not Itemized
Grand Total Including Tax $784.43

Existing GPU’s Tested on this machine:
Two GTX 650 running together
One GTX 650 plus one GTX 660
One GTX 660 by itself [did not work!].

MY OBSERVATIONS
First, put me on the wall of shame; this is the first time I paid for Windows. All previous PC’s have been used. I did copy [steal] a few DOS 360 floppies in the 1980's for my original 8088 personal builds. But statute of limitations may apply. It gets worse though. The builder said he could not get the machine to run more then two of my four GTX 650‘s because they draw all their power from the pcie bus. The bus had an extra power plug but that was apparently not enough. Though it is not clear more then two 650‘s can work on the same machine anyway.

Things did not get better when I mounted an additional GTX 660 with separate six pin power to the seven slot mobo. BOINIC found it, but then ignored one of the 650's. It probably does not matter for a couple of reasons. For instance, I believe the dual core can not fully feed so many cards. And I believe the 660 can do better, but for this build it does not matter since the purpose was to get the most production from the least power. And no matter what combination I tried the power/production ratio stayed the same. About 50 watts per 10k stones. The CPU added a couple or three thousand stones which brings the total draw down to 46 watts. Running dual tasks increased GPU production marginally. If I do another build I will get a quad and and a couple of 660‘s and see what happens. I could upgrade this build to a quad, as others suggest. But I committed to the dually and wanted to test it anyway. Besides. Come winter I can mount all my various extra cards on my many EBAY specials and eliminate propane costs altogether.

As for the 660 not working solo? Who knows and right now I don’t care. The build is done, up and running. I’m thinking of other things. Specifically, as Summer is here I need to shut down the six machines now running GT 610/620 cards. That’s 600 watts right there. And maybe one or two GT 630‘s. I am quite fond of the 630‘s, but they take more then one hundred watts for just 7k work!.

Arecibo 19 Oct 2012
Just Because The Space Alien Is Green
Does Not Mean You Should Go

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
Moderator
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POWER SAVER BUILD - the good, the bad and the expensive

Quote:
First, put me on the wall of shame; this is the first time I paid for Windows.


Don't worry. Recently for me was the last time I paid for Windows.

Quote:
I did copy [steal] a few DOS 360 floppies in the 1980's for my original 8088 personal builds. But statute of limitations may apply.


Ah. I reminisce ....

Quote:
Come winter I can mount all my various extra cards on my many EBAY specials and eliminate propane costs altogether.


Absolutely. I have found - being on reticulated 'natural' gas - that my winter bill is lower if I use these new fangled Babbage heating units.

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter ...

... and my other CPU is a Ryzen 5950X :-) Blaise Pascal

mikey
mikey
Joined: 22 Jan 05
Posts: 8,758
Credit: 922,403,716
RAC: 5,681,121

RE: A tip of the hat to

Quote:

A tip of the hat to Byond, mikey, Mike Davis and Alec, among others.

First and foremost I did not meet my goal of 35-45 watts to produce 10,000 cobblestones per 24 hours of run time. My best preliminary estimate is 240 watts to produce 52,000 cobblestones per 24 hours run time. Thats 46 watts per 10,000 and might be higher. However, 50 watts seems a sure thing.

The Build
ASRock Seven pcie3.0 Mother Board $289
Seasonic ATX 360 Watt Gold Plus PSU $77
Intel G630T CPU Dual Core 2.3ghz $95
4 GB DDR3 $38
Windows 7 Home $$80
DVD Drive $20
Full ATX Case $80
Solid State 30 gig HD [price not listed] apx $60
____
$739.00
Labor Not Itemized
Grand Total Including Tax $784.43

Existing GPU’s Tested on this machine:
Two GTX 650 running together
One GTX 650 plus one GTX 660
One GTX 660 by itself [did not work!].

MY OBSERVATIONS
First, put me on the wall of shame; this is the first time I paid for Windows. All previous PC’s have been used. I did copy [steal] a few DOS 360 floppies in the 1980's for my original 8088 personal builds. But statute of limitations may apply. It gets worse though. The builder said he could not get the machine to run more then two of my four GTX 650‘s because they draw all their power from the pcie bus. The bus had an extra power plug but that was apparently not enough. Though it is not clear more then two 650‘s can work on the same machine anyway.

Things did not get better when I mounted an additional GTX 660 with separate six pin power to the seven slot mobo. BOINIC found it, but then ignored one of the 650's. It probably does not matter for a couple of reasons. For instance, I believe the dual core can not fully feed so many cards. And I believe the 660 can do better, but for this build it does not matter since the purpose was to get the most production from the least power. And no matter what combination I tried the power/production ratio stayed the same. About 50 watts per 10k stones. The CPU added a couple or three thousand stones which brings the total draw down to 46 watts. Running dual tasks increased GPU production marginally. If I do another build I will get a quad and and a couple of 660‘s and see what happens. I could upgrade this build to a quad, as others suggest. But I committed to the dually and wanted to test it anyway. Besides. Come winter I can mount all my various extra cards on my many EBAY specials and eliminate propane costs altogether.

As for the 660 not working solo? Who knows and right now I don’t care. The build is done, up and running. I’m thinking of other things. Specifically, as Summer is here I need to shut down the six machines now running GT 610/620 cards. That’s 600 watts right there. And maybe one or two GT 630‘s. I am quite fond of the 630‘s, but they take more then one hundred watts for just 7k work!.

WELCOME to the world of multiple gpu's in a single machine!! Windows itself is part of the problem, if there is no resistance on a gpu during bootup it often turns it off as uneeded and won't turn it back on, AT ALL! You can get around this but building yourself a Dummy Plug, the details are here:
[url]http://www.overclock.net/t/384733/the-30-second-dummy-plug

It REALLY is easy and my local Radio Shack has a pack of 5 resisters for 2 bucks. If you have a 2nd monitor plugging it during bootup and then unplugging it will work too.

Next you will need a cc_cofig.xml file to tell your pc to use ALL the gpu's for crunching, here is an example of one:

1
1

This file simply tells Boinc to use all the gpu's it finds and to skip the benchmarks. In SOME cases when Boinc does the benchmarks it has caused problems, that line avoids those.

Next thing is your pc will need a larger psu to run multiple gpu's plus all the other stuff. Now that Windows is loaded you can remove the dvd, saving some power though. Windows is a POWER HOG, it uses much more then one would think as it does background stuff all the time! Win7 even defrags in the background!! Some of the stuff can be turned off, some cannot. Also go into the Boinc Manager and edit the time to Checkpoint the tasks, by default it is set to do it every 60 seconds, I have mine set at 900 seconds which equates to every 15 minutes. This will cut down on the harddrive almost constantly running and save power. I have found several times that using a bigger psu has caused pc's to 'come to life' in a machine when I was thinking it just can't be that easy!

David Rapalyea
David Rapalyea
Joined: 3 Jan 13
Posts: 79
Credit: 63,886,821
RAC: 0

THANKS Mikey! My

THANKS Mikey!

My inclination is to leave this machine alone for the time being and build another referencing your suggestions as well as those of other members. Might even try "The Other Brand". This machine fully feeds the 650 (est 18k stone/day) and comes sort of close with the 660 (est 30k/day) total about 52k/day including CPU production; According to benchmarks ratios [1800 v 4000] the 660 might be capable of 40k/day. However, in my mule machine which can not fully use either card I observed power draw/production in both cards is roughly proportional to their actual production in this machine, so not much effect on watts per 10k stones with either card in either machine; 50watts/10k stones each, plus PC overhead.

One more reason to build a second machine is for backup; don't close down a large percentage of production while futzing around. In addition I can keep my 100k+ RAC and close down the rest of my more power hungry machines in the Summer. I have about a dozen EBAY specials running gt610/620/630 GPUs, which all draw on average 100watts each. This 240satt machine can replace at least half of them, and a slightly stronger machine would shut down the rest. Then in the Winter I can turn on the entire menagerie and increase production to as much as 200k or even 250k, depending on the second build.

I will copy and print your post for reference and put it in a safe place. Probably the same place as my power/production records for all GPUs which I can not find right now! Further, if the second build is a roaring success I might then upgrade this guy. I am beginning to better appreciate drunken sailors and their spending habits. Its Fun.......

Cheers
Rapalyea

Arecibo 19 Oct 2012
Just Because The Space Alien Is Green
Does Not Mean You Should Go

David Rapalyea
David Rapalyea
Joined: 3 Jan 13
Posts: 79
Credit: 63,886,821
RAC: 0

Hi Mike Hewson Regarding

Hi Mike Hewson

Regarding Babbage heating units. I never bothered with watt meters till this project. Recently I got two identical looking HP core duo 2.3ghz [$69.95 each plus shipping] from the same vendor. These otherwise identical machines did not, however, have the same type of Power Supply Units. One drew a bit over three hundred watts [no GPU in sight either machine]. The second PSU must have been supplied by Souther California Edison and drew 640 watts. At first I thought the watt meter went bad.

But nooooo. I invite anyone to better this benchmark for a singe PC of any type/era as long as it is free of GPU infiltration. I think I must hold a record of some sort. We can sort it all out and notify the proper authorities at Guiness.

Rapalyea

Arecibo 19 Oct 2012
Just Because The Space Alien Is Green
Does Not Mean You Should Go

Beyond
Beyond
Joined: 28 Feb 05
Posts: 117
Credit: 148,719,734
RAC: 0

RE: Recently I got two

Quote:
Recently I got two identical looking HP core duo 2.3ghz [$69.95 each plus shipping] from the same vendor. These otherwise identical machines did not, however, have the same type of Power Supply Units. One drew a bit over three hundred watts [no GPU in sight either machine]. The second PSU must have been supplied by Souther California Edison and drew 640 watts. At first I thought the watt meter went bad.


Hopefully you bought a better PSU for it. Even the more efficient one is not good. My X6 builds with 2 HD 5850 GPUs draw under 500 watts and do > 50k credits a day if I put both GPUs on Einstein. The newer AMDs should do better...

archae86
archae86
Joined: 6 Dec 05
Posts: 3,071
Credit: 6,015,722,737
RAC: 2,526,341

David Rapalyea wrote:First

David Rapalyea wrote:
First and foremost I did not meet my goal of 35-45 watts to produce 10,000 cobblestones per 24 hours of run time. My best preliminary estimate is 240 watts to produce 52,000 cobblestones per 24 hours run time. Thats 46 watts per 10,000 and might be higher. However, 50 watts seems a sure thing.

As reference, I have recently converted two machines which formerly used single GTX 460 cards to use single GTX 660 cards. Neither host is fully bare-bones, and neither sports the most power-efficient currently available CPUs (one has a second-generation Nehalem, the other a Sandy Bridge).

While I generally prefer to do my system power efficiency numbers as cobblestones per day/watts, I've converted my tables to your watts per 10,000 cobblestones/day to allow a more direct reference.

For the newer host, the most power efficient operation I obtained used three GPU jobs and zero CPU jobs, and scored 41.3 on your metric, with a computed RAC of 38,756 and measured system power averaged over a multi-hour period of 160 watts. Adding CPU jobs raised the RAC, but raised power consumption faster, so the most power-efficient configuration I could find used the 3+0 setup.

On the older host, which has more power-consuming peripherals, and a CPU/bus setup that so far seems less able to support the GTX 660, the most power-efficient configuration I have found so far (with much less thorough exploration), runs 3 GPU and 3 CPU jobs, with computed RAC of 40,199, power of 224 watts, and thus scoring 55.8 on your metric. It is NOT a higher RAC machine at comparable settings--it is just that the higher overhead power consumption pushes the power efficiency minimum out a ways.

I think in keeping the graphics card happy that latency is the key thing. To that end I suspect you would do best in choosing a CPU with the highest uniprocessor performance, while upping the core count (or using HT) would, I judge, most likely hurt rather than help your metric. I assume chipset has latency effects, and would hope that usually the more modern chipsets would help latency, but not too sure that chipset power consumption effects are readily available.

I think on a fully power efficiency optimized cruncher build, an SSD main drive (zero HDs) would help, but current SSD offerings vary quite widely in power consumption, and their actual power consumption is not always well documented, so part selection on this component might be as important as selecting a high efficiency power supply. Also, if one is running Windows, the minimum capacity required may be higher than one might expect. (Linux people can chuckle here, justifiably). With proper SSD selection this won't hurt power much, but does hurt cost.

Lastly, I suspect motherboards vary quite a lot in power consumption, but I've seen very, very little documentation or benchmarking giving one help in selecting on this basis. But in general I suspect that one wants a motherboard with a modern chipset, but as few bells and whistles as will suit one's application.

Even fans burn a surprising amount of power, so selecting efficient ones that provide just enough air flow is probably helpful. I suspect this means large diameter slow speed ones, with the slow speed provided at full 12V rather than by a control scheme, most of which waste power.

David, most of these are just musings on my part on attaining high system power efficiency for Einstein work, and not really directed specifically at your expressed interest--I'm just exploiting your thread to put some thoughts out.

David Rapalyea
David Rapalyea
Joined: 3 Jan 13
Posts: 79
Credit: 63,886,821
RAC: 0

archae86 VERY helful post.

archae86

VERY helful post. I did not realize I could throttle the CPU. Just figured it would do what ever was left over. I will try that on this little dual core unit and see if the 660 does better then 30k stones/day. Yours is doing what I predicted from the benchmark of 4,000. I also shut off one of the two or three dozen fans this case one came with. It also has blue led lights that would do justice to a New Orleans bordello. They come on automatically after dark but probably don't use enough electricity to worry about. I will do another rig, but will continue to read observations here online and do some research. My IRA growth permits me to even consider the nuclear option. TWO titans and a Platinum PSU. I have slow DSL [1.2 meg] but suspect it can keep up.

What do you know about the Radeon(?) cards. What I have observed is they might use less power. But I got snagged by the CUDA nomenclature. Never heard of a cuda till I started this hobby a few months ago. Finally, I have not explored power consuption on my solid state hard drive. It is small at 30 gig and with only a couple of programs loaded it has 7 gigs remaining. I would like to stumble accross a Microsoft programer in a dark alley one night.

I got it because I just wanted to see the difference. My little dual core did a complete restart of WIN 7 in 15 seconds. THAT was fun. Incidentally, this IS one hell of a case. It has an actual external slot that accepts a SATA hard drive. Just push it in! Finally, before A/C season arrives I have mounted every last GPU I have in the semi-efficient HP core duos. Had to take nippers to the frams on several of them since they are only half hight. A frig'n total of EIGHTEEN PCs. Right now I only have this one serious machine, plus good PSU pushig an old GTS 450.

These machines are not power hogs, really. Maybe 110 watts each, but in Winter they really reduce propane costs. I believe 3,000 watts produces 10,000 BTU. My ventless fire log set is small and produces 10,000 BTU per hour. One gallon of propane, I believe, contains about 90,000 BTUs, and I think Propane was about three buck a gallon this year. The last delivery was 90 gallons instead of the more typical 180 - 200 gallons. Electric bill went up from $80 per month to $140.

This is what happens to you in retirement. Lots of minutia....

Arecibo 19 Oct 2012
Just Because The Space Alien Is Green
Does Not Mean You Should Go

archae86
archae86
Joined: 6 Dec 05
Posts: 3,071
Credit: 6,015,722,737
RAC: 2,526,341

David, So in speaking of

David,

So in speaking of "throttling" CPU usage, there are two things you can do, at least, and I've done both, but my post only referred to using the setting provided on your account page (for any project) under "computing preferences" for the location (also often called venue) within which the host of interest is classed (discoverable in the "location" column by following the "view computers on this account" link). The setting of interest, assuming one is using a BOINC of non paleolithic age, is the "On multiprocessors, use at most
Enforced by version 6.1+" one. You specify it as a percentage, between 0 and 100, but this gets translated to an integer number of actual active CPU jobs. For your 2-core, saying 50 will probably get you one CPU job running, and saying 100 will probably get you two running. I think saying 0 will get you zero running, but am not sure. This setting seems to have no effect on the CPU jobs which support the GPU jobs. My experience with the only Kepler I've tried--the 660--is a bit odd, where on my quad-cores the GPU jobs actually ran slightly faster with more CPU jobs running, where the number of CPU and GPU jobs were both low--but then turned over. Your case differs in every way, so the only thing is to try and see.

Another form of throttling, and more likely the form one images when using that word, is to cut down the fraction of the time a job is running, possibly to a fixed fraction (which BOINC appears to support but I've not tried), or to a varying fraction managed to attain a desired reported CPU temperature--which around here is, I think commonly accomplished using Fred's TThrottle software. You probably don't want to use that as part of a quest for maximum power consumption efficiency Einstein computing, though it may be of use to people trying to avoid overheating rooms, limiting summer power consumption, or the like.

I have very little to say about the whole Radeon vs. Nvidia thing. As with many things in the world of computers, sometimes "it's the software, stupid". No matter how good or bad hardware may be, the total environment must give you a good outcome on that hardware for the choice to make sense. About a year ago my impression was that the AMD graphics hardware was not well supported with a development environment easing the creation of applications of interest to BOINC projects, while NVidia had a much more supportive offering (and in at least some cases devoted internal resources to some aspects of application development). So, depending on the project, sometimes applications for the AMD graphics hardware were missing, or greatly underperformed the alleged capability of the hardware. Today that situation for the Radeon cards of current interest seems to have improved radically, at least at Einstein. Today the big support-driven discrepancy is that there is a lot of moderately capable graphics hardware sitting on Intel CPUs of the Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge persuasion which is almost unused for BOINC-type processing. Possibly there is some horrible hardware flaw that makes it hard, but so far as I am aware the primary issue is application development and runtime support.

So, my only advice is to check around that the things you are interested in actually run well on hardware you consider choosing, and maybe trying to peek into the future as to whether that is likely to stay true.

As this is an Einstein thread, I'd be wonderfully pleased if anyone in the know would chime in on the likely near and medium term prospects for utility of mainstream NVidia, AMD/Radeon, and Intel of recent (Sandy Bridge and on--not the horrible earlier stuff) flavors here on Einstein. A little information I've seen elsewhere suggests that Sandy Bridge generation Intel hardware may never get used, but that the Ivy Bridge and later stuff just might, at least on some BOINC projects. As Ivy Bridge absolutely dominates current Intel CPU shipments, there is a tremendous and very rapidly growing amount of hardware sitting out there on desks everywhere, so the BOINC project that figures out how to use them can get a huge boost of computing from the "silent majority" who will never buy $200-$600 graphics cards, and figure out how to install them and configure them just to get a bigger BOINC contribution.

David Rapalyea
David Rapalyea
Joined: 3 Jan 13
Posts: 79
Credit: 63,886,821
RAC: 0

archae86 I met my goal of

archae86

I met my goal of 35-45watts per 10k stones. Daily production calculated 53,048 stones at 230 watts for 43.35w per 10k stones. This was possible by throttling the CPU to zero as you suggested, cutting 5-10w. I saved maybe two watts by shutting down three of the five lighted case fans. The case has two more big lighted fans cooling a monster bay with six empty slots. For the heck of it I may cut the wire just out of curiosity. I doubt it would get me two more watts though. Not enough to break 40w. And my meager rig in this huge vented case needs NONE of those five fans.

There IS a way this machine CAN break 40w. I ran two GTX 650s together in carefully selected slots for 39,344 stone/day at a touch less then 165w. Rounding up to 165s gives 41.9w/10k stones. Rounding down to 160w you get 40.6. I could probably break 40w with one of the better platinum plus PCUs, and cutting the two fans. That would be a funny thing to do. But I could gain bragging rights to having broken the 40w barrier! And the displaced gold PSU would have a good home in another machine.

I think I will shoot for 35-39w/per 10k stones in my next build. A low powered quad with that PSU and two GTX 660s. Might produce close to 80k stones/day at around 300w. Also, I sure don’t need this seven-pcie-slot-plus-all-available-options mobo, with five lighted case fans. I have never seen anything like this beast, and I think it adds unneeded watts. The idle draw is 70w with a 35w processor. It actually idles worse then my lowly HP core duo that pulls only 55-60 watts with the very same PSU.

This all is rather goofy, but hobbies can get that way, but it gives me things to ponder. Just don’t get me started on the 32 lane pcie bus on this sucker. Feeds two separate 16 lane clusters for a total of seven slots. All very perplexing. For instance, the GT660 ran the same production in either 16 or 8 lane slots, but drew significantly less power in the 8 slot, maybe 10 watts. And the little GTX 650 really needed the full 16 lane slot.

Now I am rambling. Later....
Rapalyea.

Arecibo 19 Oct 2012
Just Because The Space Alien Is Green
Does Not Mean You Should Go

Beyond
Beyond
Joined: 28 Feb 05
Posts: 117
Credit: 148,719,734
RAC: 0

RE: I think I will shoot

Quote:
I think I will shoot for 35-39w/per 10k stones in my next build. A low powered quad with that PSU and two GTX 660s. Might produce close to 80k stones/day at around 300w.


As alluded to before, there's lower power ways (and simpler, and less expensive) to get to > 80k.

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