Print 23 comment(s) - last by Ringold.. on Dec 6 at 7:26 PM

New version adds support for Radeon X1800 and X1600

Folding@Home has released a new Folding@Home GPU client. This brings the GPU client up to version 5.91 beta2. While previous Folding@Home GPU clients only supported ATI Radeon X1900 series graphics cards, the latest beta2 adds support for more GPUs. This release adds support for ATI’s Radeon X1800 and X1600 series of graphics processors.

As the Folding@Home GPU client relies heavily on pixel shader performance, the performance differences between the X1900-series and other ATI GPUs is tremendous. The Folding@Home GPU FAQ claims:
We now support serveral classes of GPU boards, including X1600, X1800, and X1900 class GPU's from ATI. At the launch, we supported X1900 cards only. X1800 cards do not provide the performance seen in X1900's and so we strongly recommend X1900 class cards (although we now officially support X1800). X1900 and X1800 cards are actually quite different -- they have different processors (R520, R530 vs. the R580 [in the X1900 series]). The R580 makes a huge difference in performance -- its 48 pixel shaders are key, as we use pixel shaders for our computations.
The latest beta2 release still only supports ATI GPUs. There’s no mention of support for NVIDIA GPUs at the moment. The latest Folding@Home GPU client can be downloaded from the Folding@Home download page.

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not for the casual folder
By KashGarinn on 12/5/2006 3:09:53 AM , Rating: 2
I tried downloading the thing to see if I could run it, and had some troubles.. I'm using an x1900, and it didn't work, couldn't be bothered setting it up after trying for about 20 minutes.

Anyone actually got the thing to work on his x1900 ?

RE: not for the casual folder
By JarredWalton on 12/5/2006 4:00:21 AM , Rating: 2
Works fine for me. You need to run the proper drivers (6.10 or 6.11 I believe work, but not 6.12 or anything prior to 6.10). Not sure what else is required - a DirectX update, probably. Once that is done, it has worked without a hitch for me. Still, the GPU client causes some PC sluggishness, even with X1900 XT 512MB. I hear the 256MB cards really lag when FAH GPU is running.

RE: not for the casual folder
By phusg on 12/5/2006 7:06:50 AM , Rating: 2
The primary issue now appears to be the CPU use of the GPU core. Due to how graphics drivers work in Windows, the CPU must poll to see if the GPU has completed. This polling is very CPU intensive (as the GPU does complete its work fairly quickly). We are working on a fix to this...

How does this sluggishness feel? General sluggishness or only when playing a 3D game? Can you link to the different experiences between 512MB en 256MB cards? I'm looking to buy an AGP X1950 and would like to know if this really makes a difference.

RE: not for the casual folder
By bobsmith1492 on 12/5/2006 7:15:31 AM , Rating: 2
The F@H core shuts down automatically when you start a game, though it doesn't restart itself (in the old version, at least.)

I've been running it on my x1900GT, and while it's running, Windows' GUI hiccups every few seconds. If you're scrolling down a web page, it catches at one spot, then jumps ahead again, or if you're watching a movie, it freezes up for maybe a quarter second then resumes.

RE: not for the casual folder
By phusg on 12/5/2006 7:33:23 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks, sounds like you only want this thing running when you're not actually at the PC. Does the client have detection of mouse movement that automatically pauses the client, or can you set it to run only overnight? Or is it all manual control? Shame the BOINC version of FAH is delayed, it provides all these types of control functions...

RE: not for the casual folder
By FujiT on 12/5/2006 9:58:14 AM , Rating: 2
i'm running it and it seems to be pretty good. Don't really notice that much of a lag. I never got around to follow the instillation rules. Kind of downloaded the latest driver, DX9 and installed the console version.

BTW, I did notice a pretty big lag with the GUI version. Yeah, that was bad. But for me, the console is pretty good. I'm 60% done with a 396ish point WU that i started like 6 hours ago

RE: not for the casual folder
By phusg on 12/5/2006 11:01:13 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting. What are your specs though? Do you have more than 1 CPU core? If you have 1 dedicated to FAH and another to work on then it wouldn't surprise me your lag is hardly noticeable...

RE: not for the casual folder
By FujiT on 12/5/2006 12:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
when i use trillian and all the graphics, there is a slight lag but other then that it all feels good.

Opteron 165 @ 2.3somthing GHz
2.5 GB DDR333 (single channel)
X1950 Pro Extreme (powercolor)

Also, stanford recommends that you only run one CPU core and one GPU for max. performance.

RE: not for the casual folder
By phusg on 12/5/2006 2:05:58 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks. Yes, a dual processor (and lots of memory) would be ideal for background FAH. My dilemma is that my gaming rig (where the X1950 would also be useful!) isn't dual core...

By jkresh on 12/5/2006 1:40:51 AM , Rating: 2
I understand why they didn't end up supporting the 7800/7900gtx's (though I believe the project actually started on the 7800), but with the 8800's incredible shader performance I really hope they release something for it soon. As it would be nice to get a comparison between the 8800 and the x1950 in terms of general purpose gpu (the 8800 should win).

RE: 8800gtx
By otispunkmeyer on 12/5/2006 4:10:01 AM , Rating: 3
it should be easier to do on the G80 too, since its 128 shaders are unified (scalar) and NV even have something called CUDA where programmers can write programs in C and have them work on the 8800

RE: 8800gtx
By Xajel on 12/5/2006 4:30:22 AM , Rating: 2
even if it's nice to see the comparison, but to be fair; we should wait for R600 and do the compare between it and G80 :)

RE: 8800gtx
By phusg on 12/5/2006 6:51:31 AM , Rating: 2
Strange sense of 'fair'. The R600 isn't availble yet, so what's wrong with comparing the fastest cards that you can actually go out and buy? As long as you redo the comparison when the R600 is out I don't see the bias.

RE: 8800gtx
By mindless1 on 12/5/2006 8:28:38 AM , Rating: 3
Are you insane? This is not a video card fanboy contest, it is merely what can be used to get a lot of F@H work done, like, now, not some grand "what if future thing" nonsense. There is no fair or unfair, there's what hardware someone HAS and whether it can be put to good use.

whats the point?
By adam92682 on 12/5/06, Rating: 0
RE: whats the point?
By Chocolate Pi on 12/5/2006 2:12:36 PM , Rating: 4
Tell me about it, what a waste of time this is... I can't believe people would consider using otherwise wasted processing power to cure diseases a worthwhile activity. I mean, seriously who cares about humanity or fighting illnesses? I want my expensive computer to just sit there doing nothing all day!

Computers are for playing minesweeper, not helping the sick. Everyone knows that!

RE: whats the point?
By adam92682 on 12/6/2006 2:37:43 AM , Rating: 2
i think the version that looks for aliens would be much more worthwhile.

RE: whats the point?
By Ringold on 12/6/2006 7:26:41 PM , Rating: 2

You'd cure cancer and look for aliens when there are still more prime numbers out there?!!?

Get your priorities straight, man!

Why No nVidia Yet?
By AggressorPrime on 12/5/2006 3:04:00 PM , Rating: 2
Are they pro-ATI or something? They say they want the best performance, but they first invest in ATI's mainstream before they go to the most powerful GPU, the G80. Their saying that ATI has faster GPUs for this type of processing than nVidia is as ridiculous as ATI saying that their mainstream GPUs totally own the GeForce 7950 GX2. I have a feeling some money is being transferred here...

RE: Why No nVidia Yet?
By SmokeRngs on 12/5/2006 3:36:47 PM , Rating: 3
Have you looked at the timeline for this? You obviously haven't because you would know that the 8800 series of cards didn't even exist at the time this was started.

From memory, the 7xxx series of nVidia cards just didn't cut it for use in this. It was slower than most good CPUs. There were dramatic performance improvements when running it on the newest ATI cards.

From what little I've heard, there might be support for nVidia cards but if so, the only cards supported would be G80 or newer. I would expect to see a client for this, but it might take some time. Stanford is working on the beta for the current ATI GPUs and probably doesn't have much to spare for working on the nVidia equivilent. Besides, much of the client for the different GPUs would probably be the same. Get the client stable and out of beta for the ATI cards and much of the groundwork will probably be finished for the nVidia client.

Trust me, I hope they get a client out for G80. I have someone that's probably giving me an 8800GTS. I would like to use it for folding too.

By tobrien on 12/5/2006 9:00:24 AM , Rating: 2
when was it that people first started folding on their video cards?

RE: when...
By DCstewieG on 12/5/2006 11:45:05 AM , Rating: 2
There's a timeline of the development here:

By Avalon on 12/6/2006 10:24:30 AM , Rating: 2
It'd be nice if this new version natively supports the X1900AIW now, instead of having to install your driver as a generic X1900 Series.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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