NUCs and BOINC Projects

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MossyRock

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Message 112594 - Posted: 30 Aug 2023, 18:16:01 UTC

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience running the small-form-factor NUC computers with BOINC projects.

The reason I am considering NUCs is that I'm trying to reduce my energy usage. Therefore, my primary concern is not so much the performance. It is the heat. With my past power-hungry desktop machines with GPUs I was always able to run them at 100%, 24/7 because I installed cooling systems as necessary to keep temps within limits.

With off-the-shelf NUCs I'm not so sure that their stock cooling systems and designs would handle BOINC 100%/24/7. I'd hate to have to throttle them to keeps temps in line.

I'm looking at keeping the cost at below $400 per NUC and I will be needing at least two.

Any guidance? Thank you very much!
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Profile Dave
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Message 112595 - Posted: 30 Aug 2023, 18:22:56 UTC - in response to Message 112594.  

Rather than throttling them, if temps do get a bit high I would reduce the number of cores in use for CPU work. That means tasks still get finished at full speed. I don't really do GPU work as my main project doesn't give out any. If at some point I get a second graphics card I might use one for crunching and one for my monitor.
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bwindsor22

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Message 112596 - Posted: 30 Aug 2023, 18:26:57 UTC - in response to Message 112594.  
Last modified: 30 Aug 2023, 18:27:18 UTC

Not an Intel NUC but I've been running these two for a couple of months with no issue. The are small form-factor PCs with AMD chips:
https://www.amazon.com/Beelink-GTR6-Windows-Computers-Desktop/dp/B0BTHP8TNW
https://www.amazon.com/Beelink-Windows-Computer-Display-2-5Gbps/dp/B09SYR619R

I need to keep my windows open because of the heat generated during the day, but otherwise no issue.

FWIW I ran a cost analysis earlier this year and decided Mini PCs were a better bang for the buck as compared to desktops: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oTH_pctZzEnrgjiLow6jFyLJsl9jcBdemTAzX8eoNbg/edit?usp=sharing
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MossyRock

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Message 112598 - Posted: 30 Aug 2023, 19:53:17 UTC - in response to Message 112595.  

Thank you. Reducing the number of cores is indeed better than throttling.
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MossyRock

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Message 112599 - Posted: 30 Aug 2023, 19:55:21 UTC - in response to Message 112596.  
Last modified: 30 Aug 2023, 19:56:55 UTC

Thank your for your reply and the links any your analysis spreadsheet.

Do you run these at 100% on all cores? What core temps are you seeing and what are your ambient temps?
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Profile Keith Myers
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Message 112600 - Posted: 30 Aug 2023, 20:32:08 UTC - in response to Message 112598.  

Lots of reviews of mini-PC's. Seems to be popular choices for low-cost, low energy consumption for basically full power computing equivalent to the best laptops minus the screen.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mini+pc
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MossyRock

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Message 112601 - Posted: 30 Aug 2023, 21:07:35 UTC - in response to Message 112600.  

Thanks, Keith.
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bwindsor22

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Message 112606 - Posted: 31 Aug 2023, 0:17:42 UTC

Yes, I do run Boinc on all cores. Usage typically varies between 60% and 100% with a "Waiting for Memory" status on some tasks when the CPU usage is lower. I have 12GB of ram which isn't always 100% used, but perhaps Windows is saving some for itself. I also think the "Waiting for Memory" tag is sometimes associated with LHC@Home jobs, which use a virtual machine.

Checking on the Ryzen 7 mini PC, I see that the motherboard temperature is 87 degrees C after running continuously all day.

Lots of good mini PCs out there as Keith says. One suggestion is to look up the CPU in passmark to compare. https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

Let us know what you end up choosing!
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MossyRock

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Message 112608 - Posted: 31 Aug 2023, 14:19:40 UTC - in response to Message 112606.  

Hi bwindsor22,

Thanks for your information.

I was having trouble locating the computer that has the Amazon item number B0BTHP8TNW but found the other one. It is an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H with a max CPU temp of 105 C.

You're seeing a motherboard temp of 87 C. Can you get a CPU temp?
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Bryn Mawr
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Message 112613 - Posted: 31 Aug 2023, 19:10:21 UTC - in response to Message 112594.  

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience running the small-form-factor NUC computers with BOINC projects.

The reason I am considering NUCs is that I'm trying to reduce my energy usage. Therefore, my primary concern is not so much the performance. It is the heat. With my past power-hungry desktop machines with GPUs I was always able to run them at 100%, 24/7 because I installed cooling systems as necessary to keep temps within limits.

With off-the-shelf NUCs I'm not so sure that their stock cooling systems and designs would handle BOINC 100%/24/7. I'd hate to have to throttle them to keeps temps in line.

I'm looking at keeping the cost at below $400 per NUC and I will be needing at least two.

Any guidance? Thank you very much!


For somewhere around £400 / desktop I put together 2x24 thread machines that run flat out on all cores drawing less than 140 watts at the plug (OK, when the GPU is running a task the power draw can go up to 142 watts but I’ve never seen it above that).

I suspect that when you factor in the cooling in the small form factor and the efficiency cores in the intel chips, you would struggle to match that with an NUC.
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Profile Keith Myers
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Message 112617 - Posted: 31 Aug 2023, 20:14:49 UTC

You should stay away from Intel hybrid cpus for BOINC computing. No scheduler so far can figure out how to keep tasks off the efficiency cores reliably.
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MossyRock

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Message 112618 - Posted: 1 Sep 2023, 1:18:15 UTC - in response to Message 112617.  
Last modified: 1 Sep 2023, 1:18:34 UTC

Bryn and Keith, good points, thanks. I will keep these in mind. I will probably go with an AMD platform since I'm more familiar with them.
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Niko

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Message 112656 - Posted: 8 Sep 2023, 13:16:19 UTC - in response to Message 112594.  

Consider AMD Mini PCs for BOINC tasks as they offer a good balance of performance and efficiency. Watch temperatures, and if needed, reduce core usage rather than throttling. Explore cooling options if your NUC gets too hot.
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MossyRock

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Message 112664 - Posted: 10 Sep 2023, 16:26:49 UTC - in response to Message 112656.  

Thanks, Niko. I'm looking at AMD NUCs now. There aren't that many cooling options other than stock for them, at first glance.
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Profile Dave
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Message 112665 - Posted: 10 Sep 2023, 17:52:15 UTC

For me, the right answer will depend a lot on the projects you are most interested in. While I crunch other projects during the big gaps in work availability from CPDN that is my main project.They want work units crunched as quickly as possible. (Whatever you might think from the deadlines.) That means for me, running a tower with good cooling. (I use liquid cooling but there are more than adequate air cooling options.) For those tasks, the think that I can do to speed up my current system the most is to get faster RAM and more of it if I want to use all cores at once. With CPDN on my box maximum throughput of tasks is using N-1 real cores where N is the number of real cores present. With MCM1 tasks from WCG I get significant throughput gains using up to 2N-1 cores so all except one virtual core. Most of my crunching will be done from solar once I get a battery for about six months of the year. During the darkest months I will reduce my hours of crunching.
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MossyRock

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Message 112668 - Posted: 12 Sep 2023, 3:20:51 UTC - in response to Message 112665.  

Thanks for your information, Dave. I used to run CPDN. Right now, my main goal is to drastically reducing my energy costs. We moved to an area with insane electricity costs (upwards to $0.35/kwh) and I saw our electric bills increase $100/mo over what was already an unacceptable amount when running my big machines 24/7.

This is why I'm looking at AMD NUCs. So, I'm really not concerned about throughput as long as the WUs complete before their deadlines.
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