Our laptops have slowed WAY DOWN while running BOINC

Message boards : GPUs : Our laptops have slowed WAY DOWN while running BOINC
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508Jaguar
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Message 56754 - Posted: 18 Oct 2014, 6:11:16 UTC
Last modified: 18 Oct 2014, 6:12:38 UTC

Hi, I've been running the BOINC software for years with no problem. Within the last 1-2 weeks, however, BOINC is now slowing my laptop down to the point where I have to turn BOINC off (quit the program entirely). Same thing is happening on my wife's laptop also.

We're both running MacBooks with Mavericks.

Mine is a pretty speedy model:

Hardware Overview:

Model Name: MacBook Air
Model Identifier: MacBookAir6,2
Processor Name: Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 1.7 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 2
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 4 MB
Memory: 8 GB

I've tried reducing the CPU %, swap file %, Memory % in BOINC preferences, but it has not helped. My computer slows to a crawl now anytime that BOINC is running.

Even the keyboard buffer slows to the point to where I have to stop typing to 'let the screen catch up' and have what I've typed appear. Had to quite BOINC just to type this post.

I'd like to continue to run BOINC, but need some suggestions on how to 'fix' what's happening.

Like I mentioned, I've been running BOINC for years with ZERO problems. Not sure what's changed recently to cause these new issues.

Thanks.

p.s. Did I post this in the right section of the forum?
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noderaser
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Message 56755 - Posted: 18 Oct 2014, 6:30:17 UTC
Last modified: 18 Oct 2014, 6:31:22 UTC

Have you tried suspending GPU work? On both my macs, I have them set to suspend GPU when the computer is in use, otherwise I get stuttery behavior and general slowness. I can run CPU without any issues.

It would also help to know what projects you are running.
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508Jaguar
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Message 56756 - Posted: 18 Oct 2014, 7:56:32 UTC - in response to Message 56755.  

OK - I had this:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7_K1Kmoyz8sbXlIb0dTOW1tbHM

And I changed it to this:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7_K1Kmoyz8sa2kwVVg3UDZ2Rnc

Is that correct?

What does the GPU setting effect?

Thanks.
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Profile Jord
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Message 56757 - Posted: 18 Oct 2014, 8:13:34 UTC - in response to Message 56756.  

That's correct.

I see you run Seti@Home, and that you have Astropulse work. This runs on the GPU, as can be seen by the OpenCL part of the name. Work run on the GPU runs much much faster than on a CPU, as any given GPU has many more cores than a CPU has and all those cores work on one task simultaneously, thus speeding up the work.

But because this work is done on the GPU, the graphical processing unit, this can also impact on the draw speed of that same GPU. Which is why the default setting for BOINC is not to use the GPU when the system is active in the first place, only when it's idle. And in the case of notebooks/laptops, this may mean you now have to leave the top open.

Why this changed? Seti has just released a new Astropulse application, version 7. It does a better job of searching for those nifty aliens hiding in the broadband signals. It can look deeper into the data and get more information out of it than its predecessor could. And that may impact negatively on older GPUs.
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508Jaguar
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Message 56758 - Posted: 18 Oct 2014, 14:48:37 UTC - in response to Message 56757.  

Thanks for the explanation. Much appreciated.

Does my removal of the checkmark from: "Use GPU while computer is in use" mean that my laptop will no long process the AstroPulse data? And only process the SETI data?

Thanks.
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Profile Jord
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Message 56765 - Posted: 18 Oct 2014, 18:33:25 UTC - in response to Message 56758.  

No, it just means that your computer will no longer crunch Astropulse when they are in use by you, only when you're leaving it alone for the amount of minutes as stated in the "Only after computer has been idle for N minutes" value. In your case, 1 minute.

Astropulse is a form of searching for SETI. The original Multibeam application searches the narrow band broadcasts, whereas Astropulse searches the broad band broadcasts. If you want to opt out of running AP, you'll need to specify this at the Seti@Home project preferences page, It may be easier to state not to use the GPU your system has, by unchecking Use ATI/Nvidia/Intel GPU.
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508Jaguar
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Message 56773 - Posted: 18 Oct 2014, 20:08:09 UTC - in response to Message 56765.  

Thanks again for the explanation and help. I think I'm good to go now. (y)
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noderaser
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Message 56792 - Posted: 19 Oct 2014, 0:57:15 UTC

OS X seems especially sensitive to GPU computing in terms of responsiveness, my settings are to pause GPU computation during use where "in use" means no user input for 1 minute. I will also manually pause before watching things on Netflix and Youtube or playing games, as they need the extra graphic muscle for smooth performance. You can also set preferences to pause GPU computing while certain applications are running; I have a config file to do this on my DVR when using Media Center.
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Message boards : GPUs : Our laptops have slowed WAY DOWN while running BOINC

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