Need help putting together a Computer for boinc

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robsmith
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Message 103193 - Posted: 24 Feb 2021, 18:34:06 UTC - in response to Message 103192.  

Sadly there is no simple answer - If you look back I've given you some idea of a starter kit, based on what is available in the UK.
A simple answer is CPUs, there isn't too much difference barring number of cores and clock speed.

That said there are a couple of families to avoid these days, the AMD FX series are really showing their age now, also the older Intel Celeron & Atom series.
GPUs are far more of a problem - each project has its own set of applications, which may change "at random", and even when a given project supports both AMD & nVidia GPUs one may substantially out perform the other (at a given price point). Apart from the very low end GPUs just about any GPU will make a CPU look slow, but even then that's only a guide not a rule. In the days when SETI was running there was a killer application developed that would only run on more recent nVidia GPUs under Linux, but the techniques used to get this performance didn't work well on any other combination - so were nVidia GPUs better than AMD? Across the board not really, but with that combination of application and operating system.

Early on you posted something about a budget of about 500. Given the way GPU prices have rocketed in the last few months I would suggest that you look to spending that initially on a reasonable CPU/RAM/Motherboard combination that will allow, when funds permit, adding a GPU or two to it. But what GPU I hear you ask, well that depends on how much you want to spend and what is available at the time. For example, if you were in the UK and had about 400 to spend you could get an RX580, or a GTX2060 both of which are comparable general performance, but on a given project one will outshine the other - I think on MilkyWay the RX580 would be the better. The generalised benchmarks do not really tell the story when considering the applications developed by the numerous projects that use BOINC so you have to look at the message boards for your chosen projects to see what people are using and what they are rejecting.

So, and I know this isn't much help.
Budget - how much do you want to spend "now", and how much in x-months time?
If your "now" budget is only about 500 then you aren't going to be able to get a GPU of any worth, so have look at what the US box shifter (e.g. NewEgg) and see what they are asking for a 4-8 core AMD Ryzen 3 or 5 with, at the very least 4GB memory, 8GB would be better and 16 will last you a fair time. Make sure the motherboard will take two "double width" GPUs and the case is a reasonable size, not one of those silly pizza box things.....
With so many of the usual suppliers struggling to get parts it is very hard to be specific as a lot really are "Here today, gone tomorrow, and double the price next month" - totally frustrating :-(
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Peter Hucker
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Message 103197 - Posted: 24 Feb 2021, 18:58:23 UTC - in response to Message 103172.  

You can certainly just run with your existing hardware and add another gpu or upgraded gpu. But you are not going to find a reasonable cost on a used gpu in the current no stock anywhere environment.
Best you can hope for is someone to gift you an old gpu or for a token price or whatever.
I've been buying Radeon R9 280X cards 2nd hand for £70 on Ebay. The last of the good uns before they ruined DP.

And I don't know why I keep hearing about "stock problems" in here. In the UK anyway, nothing is out of stock, except for fridges and freezers, and that's more or less sorted now.
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Peter Hucker
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Message 103198 - Posted: 24 Feb 2021, 18:58:34 UTC - in response to Message 103162.  

But often times there is no substitute for a server platform's ability to support dozens of cores and gpus. The reason I wanted to upgrade my TR host was to support the gain in cores that moving to an Epyc workstation motherboard and cpu provided and still be able to support the four gpus that host has always supported.

And the possibility of supporting as many as 7 gpus natively on the motherboard if I moved to single slot water cooling blocks.

Was a mostly painless move other than the initial issue of the cpu socket was not tightened up fully from manufacturing.
Easier just to use riser extensions. Connect 100 to any motherboard if you want.
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robsmith
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Message 103203 - Posted: 24 Feb 2021, 20:01:47 UTC - in response to Message 103197.  

...and just about every GPU, while listed is on back-order, half the motherboards likewise, many popular CPUs (low & mid price AMD & Intel).
I can't work out which excuse is the correct one, but my money is on the Far Eastern board manufacturers hitting back after he US introduced large tariffs on imported electronic components.
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chimmey17

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Message 103206 - Posted: 24 Feb 2021, 23:50:25 UTC - in response to Message 103114.  

so after talking with some other people it seems like I could run two GPUs in one system. I am using a MSI b450 gaming pro carbon board and an rx5700xt. my question is would this work and due to bandwidth would I see a decrease in the workload that I should see from the second GPU. Sorry if it is a bad thing to ask this late in this thread I really wanted to do servers and did not think about using my own pc but if it works I may do that for now but there are a lot of things at play so do not think that your advice is going to throw away if that makes sense.
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Les Bayliss
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Message 103208 - Posted: 25 Feb 2021, 0:57:55 UTC

Most people that start with BOINC, do so with simple computers. A lot these days with laptops.
And most never go near servers.

So you're starting by jumping in at the deep end.
And a lot of what you want to know, you'll probably have to work out yourself.
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chimmey17

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Message 103209 - Posted: 25 Feb 2021, 1:31:57 UTC - in response to Message 103208.  

100% I know I am going in deep and I am up for learning and failing I just want to try and lower the costs that I will get from failing or at least try. And it brings a cool element to me that this is a less traveled route that still has a lot of problems which I feel is more fun than click and boom BOINC is running. But I do have to save up so in that time I will try and learn more about servers and such.
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Profile Dave

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Message 103213 - Posted: 25 Feb 2021, 5:45:49 UTC - in response to Message 103206.  

so after talking with some other people it seems like I could run two GPUs in one system. I am using a MSI b450 gaming pro carbon board and an rx5700xt. my question is would this work and due to bandwidth would I see a decrease in the workload that I should see from the second GPU. Sorry if it is a bad thing to ask this late in this thread I really wanted to do servers and did not think about using my own pc but if it works I may do that for now but there are a lot of things at play so do not think that your advice is going to throw away if that makes sense.


One potentially expensive consequence of adding a second video card to your system is either instability due to power supply not being up to the job or worse a catastrophic failure of the PSU if it is a cheap one so do check it is up to the job.
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robsmith
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Message 103215 - Posted: 25 Feb 2021, 8:54:28 UTC - in response to Message 103206.  

The basic spec of your current computer is a good starting point, so you could either clone it or add to it depending on your budget :-)

A couple of questions.
Which CPU have you got, and how much RAM? With that motherboard you are looking at an AMD Ryzen, but which one (there are dozens that will work with that board).

The impact of running two GPUs on a computer's PCIe bandwidth is very minimal - most applications send a bundle of data to the GPU and let it get on with its job, then collect the results and send some new data; much the same applies to memory. If you are talking about the bandwidth on your network, yes it will increase your bandwidth on a per-day basis as the more tasks are run the more bandwidth (bytes per day, not per second) will be consumed. Let's try and put some figures on it (these are crude examples, not real) If a task took 10min 0.00sec on a single GPU, then running two GPUs you would run two tasks, each taking 10mins 0.01sec.

One thing you may not have realised is that most project applications work on only one GPU, so with two GPUs you are running two tasks on GPUs at a time not one task across two GPUS. This is a bit different to CPUs where there are a number of applications that will run on as many CPU cores as they can (and that really does impact on one's ability to use the computer for anything other than BOINC or very simple other activities - no gaming...)
So, with 4-core CPU available for use and two GPUs you might be running you might find that the CPU is running 4 tasks (one on each core) each taking 2hrs and 2 tasks on the GPUs each taking 10min. So, in an hour the GPUs have completed between them 12 tasks, while the CPU has only half finished four tasks.
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Peter Hucker
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Message 103224 - Posted: 25 Feb 2021, 18:46:33 UTC - in response to Message 103203.  
Last modified: 25 Feb 2021, 18:47:07 UTC

...and just about every GPU, while listed is on back-order, half the motherboards likewise, many popular CPUs (low & mid price AMD & Intel).
I can't work out which excuse is the correct one, but my money is on the Far Eastern board manufacturers hitting back after he US introduced large tariffs on imported electronic components.
I had no problems at all buying any new parts recently in the UK. The only thing on back order were the brand new fastest Ryzens.

As for tariffs, childish government nonsense. No country should charge tariffs on imports. Shouldn't countries be working together and trading fairly? If I buy something made in the UK, I pay 20% VAT on it. I don't expect to pay more tax if it's made in China. Tariffs are basically a silent war.
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Peter Hucker
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Message 103225 - Posted: 25 Feb 2021, 18:50:05 UTC - in response to Message 103208.  

Most people that start with BOINC, do so with simple computers. A lot these days with laptops.
And most never go near servers.

So you're starting by jumping in at the deep end.
And a lot of what you want to know, you'll probably have to work out yourself.
Or just ask in here. I learned a lot about GPUs in these forums.
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chimmey17

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Message 103341 - Posted: 1 Mar 2021, 20:38:41 UTC - in response to Message 103225.  

sorry for very late reply. I have been asking around the world grip forums as it seems like there server cpus are very useful and make sense.
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chimmey17

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Message 103342 - Posted: 1 Mar 2021, 20:44:59 UTC - in response to Message 103215.  

thanks for the reply and sorry for getting back to you late. But I after thinking about it and picking the projects I want to work on and based on the prices of gpu at the moumnet i think I am just going to stay with my certain gpu and build a cpu forced system mainly for use on world grid. and I did know that they would be running different tasks which is nice becuase if I where to add another gpu I would most likely have it run a different project.
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Peter Hucker
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Message 103344 - Posted: 1 Mar 2021, 21:08:40 UTC - in response to Message 103342.  

thanks for the reply and sorry for getting back to you late. But I after thinking about it and picking the projects I want to work on and based on the prices of gpu at the moumnet i think I am just going to stay with my certain gpu and build a cpu forced system mainly for use on world grid. and I did know that they would be running different tasks which is nice becuase if I where to add another gpu I would most likely have it run a different project.
If you mean world community grid, the coronavirus research is about to go onto GPU. A couple of beta phases have happened, the second of which crashed on almost everyone's machine, they're getting there slowly....
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robsmith
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Message 103345 - Posted: 1 Mar 2021, 21:29:56 UTC - in response to Message 103341.  

This really depends what you mean by "server CPUs" - ranging from the positively ancient four core Intel & AMD offerings up to the current crop of Intel & AMD very high core count offerings. One key thing with almost all server-grade CPUs is that they are very fussy about the type of memory they require (often exasperated by the motherboard you settle on). So when it comes to splashing the cash make sure you budget for not only a lot of RAM but a lot of RAM of the correct type (dare I mention the grief that some of us suffered in years gone by with certain HP & Dell server systems....) Look very carefully at each part of the system and make sure they are "certified*" to work with each other or you could end up with a very expensive doorstop (worst case) or something that has far worse performance than you would expect.


* - Most of the reputable motherboard manufacturers publish lists of memory that should work with a given CPU on their motherboard with particular CPUs.
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Peter Hucker
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Message 103347 - Posted: 1 Mar 2021, 21:42:39 UTC - in response to Message 103345.  

This really depends what you mean by "server CPUs" - ranging from the positively ancient four core Intel & AMD offerings up to the current crop of Intel & AMD very high core count offerings. One key thing with almost all server-grade CPUs is that they are very fussy about the type of memory they require (often exasperated by the motherboard you settle on). So when it comes to splashing the cash make sure you budget for not only a lot of RAM but a lot of RAM of the correct type (dare I mention the grief that some of us suffered in years gone by with certain HP & Dell server systems....) Look very carefully at each part of the system and make sure they are "certified*" to work with each other or you could end up with a very expensive doorstop (worst case) or something that has far worse performance than you would expect.

* - Most of the reputable motherboard manufacturers publish lists of memory that should work with a given CPU on their motherboard with particular CPUs.
I have a couple of old Dell servers (R410 and R510 boards with two Xeon X5650 CPUs on each). The only requirement over and above the usual is that it's ECC RAM, which for some reason is slightly cheaper. If I don't make them all the same geometry (something I'd never heard of before) or the same size, then it switches off double/triple channel, which causes no noticeable slowdown, but does involve pressing F1 every time it boots, which makes running it remotely a nuisance.

The main reasons I'd never do it again is I bought the CPUs and motherboards then ended up splashing out on loads of silly extras:

1) They require things to be connected you're not using, like a PCI express riser board even if you have no cards, the front panel LCD display to tell you the fans aren't working, and the front panel USB connectors.

2) The power supply is not standard ATX. It uses the same connector, but luckily I spotted all the wires were in the wrong order. They (quite sensibly?) have all the 12V wires together, but the colours are different and there's extra stuff too, so not being able to find the pinout to make it work with a normal supply, I had to buy one specifically for that board, along with its seperate voltage convertor (the supply is 12V only, the stepdown is done seperately for 3.3V/5V/etc.)
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Profile Keith Myers
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Message 103350 - Posted: 1 Mar 2021, 22:17:38 UTC

Most of the HP and Dell servers use proprietary hardware. IOW, OEM board partners build specific motherboard designs that lock you into using only their kit. You have to use their proprietary memory, storage devices and even cpus. They utilize a TPM module on the motherboard that only allows the proprietary hardware to work. So repair and upgrades are very costly normally.

That is why I like using non-OEM branded motherboards that will use any non-branded parts. Look at generic Asrock Rack, Gigabyte and SuperMicro motherboards for best compatibility.
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Peter Hucker
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Message 103354 - Posted: 2 Mar 2021, 0:54:59 UTC - in response to Message 103350.  

Most of the HP and Dell servers use proprietary hardware. IOW, OEM board partners build specific motherboard designs that lock you into using only their kit. You have to use their proprietary memory, storage devices and even cpus. They utilize a TPM module on the motherboard that only allows the proprietary hardware to work. So repair and upgrades are very costly normally.

That is why I like using non-OEM branded motherboards that will use any non-branded parts. Look at generic Asrock Rack, Gigabyte and SuperMicro motherboards for best compatibility.
I've used many Dell servers at two workplaces, and I've never bought genuine RAM. If they'd have pulled anything like that on me, I would have cancelled the contract permanently.
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chimmey17

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Message 103365 - Posted: 2 Mar 2021, 14:19:13 UTC - in response to Message 103344.  

Yes I do mean world community grid, I do understand that they have started gpu beta testing but due to them having other projects would they not have projects that run best on cpu?
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chimmey17

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Message 103366 - Posted: 2 Mar 2021, 14:26:42 UTC - in response to Message 103345.  

yes it does kind of suck how specific the parts need to be. That is why I am running all of my parts through a home lab server,
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Message boards : Questions and problems : Need help putting together a Computer for boinc

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