About Green F@H

Hi, I’m Chris, and this is a blog about Folding@Home and energy efficiency.  If you want to learn about how to use your computer to cure cancer in the most efficient way possible, then you have come to the right place.  This blog assumes you already know what F@H is, and is targeted to current or potential contributors to the project who want to get the most points possible without wasting too much electricity.  Although the site is very specific with regards to the F@H project, any distributed computing project and any computer can benefit from being more efficient.  This information will be most useful for people who have desktop PC’s, especially custom home-built systems, but anyone who has ever touched a computer should be able to learn some cool things about saving money, electricity, and the environment.

For more info, check out the first two posts:

Intro 1: Welcome

Intro 2: What’s the Point?

6 responses to “About Green F@H

  1. Hi, I’ve been folding for several years now, and I’m glad to have found your page. I’ve been looking for ways to fold more efficiently in terms of time and energy. Your GPU article was very helpful, thanks. So far I’ve only been doing CPU folding on my AMD Ryzen 5. Have you done any research on the most efficient # of CPU cores to use when folding?

    Thanks

    Bri

    • I haven’t done as much on that yet, but I would think the best bang for the buck would be all of the cores (less hardware sitting idle that way, using electricity that is not being applied to folding). Also, due to how Stanford awards the quick return bonus, adding more cores will reduce the time it takes to get a work unit done, this providing more PPD on top of the normal amount you would get from having more cores active (you do more work in a given period of time, and that work is now valued more too). Stay away from prime numbers of cores (3, 5, 7, 11), etc. These are numerically difficult to work with, and have been shown to offer poor performance.

      I’ll try to check this out sometime soon…just got a new Ryzen and need to figure out how to tune it for efficiency.

  2. I just starting running folding@home with the COVID-19 fun, trying to do my part 🙂 Thanks for putting up this blog Chris!

    I’ve got a Ryzen 7 3700X, which is 8 core/16 thread 65W, so already a pretty efficient part. The only modification I’ve made so far is to set ECO mode in Ryzen Master, which limits the total socket CPU power to 60W. I have an undervolted rx580 as well, also folding. Radeon software reports about 75W for the GPU, but it occurs to me that this must be chip power and not board power. The total system power is usually ~220W, so I’ve got still got a lot of energy going somewhere else …

    • Awesome setup, and welcome! It’s a great way to contribute.

      What motherboard do you have / what chipset? Some of the X570 chipsets need some help to not consume a bunch of power. 220W isn’t terrible, but I agree there is probably some room for improvement.

      To start, I’ve found on AMD systems that precision boost overdrive (PBO) and ECO mode can fight each other. It’s better to just enable ECO mode from the bios (usually in the AMD overclocking section). If you enabled ECO mode within Ryzen master, chances are you had Precision Boost Overdrive set to enabled in the BIOS first (or else ECO mode doesn’t show up in Ryzen master).

      To see if you are having a conflict, try:

      1. Make sure PBO is enabled in BIOS (on my Asus board, this is in the AI tweaker section)
      2. Open up one of the profiles in Ryzen master and enable ECO mode

      (this is where most people stop. It will say its running in ECO mode, but PBO is still boosting clocks and voltages in the background).

      3. Reboot the system and enter BIOS. Go to the PBO setting and switch it to “AUTO” or “DISABLED”
      4. When the system comes back up, you should see that ECO mode is still active in Ryzen Master, but voltages and power use are way, way down. This is the little game I had to play at least to get ECO to work right on my Ryzen setup.

      Another thing you can look at doing is disabling core performance boost (same as Intel’s turbo core) within the AMD Overclocking section of the bios. This is the thing that pushes voltage and clocks as part of the processor’s default operating mode (performance emphasized vs. efficiency) Switching this to off will let your 3700x run at its base speed on all cores without turboing, which requires exponentially more voltage for every 100 MHz or so more core clock.

  3. Thanks for the ideas. My board is an Asrock B450M Pro4, so not a high-end board (actually Microcenter threw this in for $20 when I bought the 3700X, so I’m not complaining). I’m not able to find a PBO switch in the BIOS. I did find one to turn off Core Performance Boost, and that did what you’d expect — most cores hit the default 3600MHz now when folding, rather than higher, so that saves some power.

  4. Just wanted to say I love the blog – keep up the good work 🙂

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