BOINC!

I was thinking that I have my fileserver on 24/7 and a 2.6GHz Pentium Dual Core is a bit overkill, so I decided to look at what distributed projects were going on these days. I used to run the United Devices screensaver a few years back, as well as some SETI on my old Pentium III-500 laptop and Bovine RC5 challenge on my StrongARM RiscPC’s.

I found the World Community Grid Help Conquer Cancer project uses the Linux-friendly BOINC program, so set my E5300 fileserver to work, and also my freshly overclocked and watercooled Core i5-750. Here are my statistics.

I found some useful resources for stopping BOINC from slowing your boot process, allowing remote login via RPC, allowing local login without a password etc. here and here.

As my Core i5 has a CUDA-capable Nvidia 9400GT graphics card I thought I’d try the GPU Grid project via BOINC too. Well that was a mistake – it makes the desktop totally unusable and heats the GPU to a toasty 68c or so!

Update: I’ve overclocked to 20×170=3.4GHz now, idle temps are up to 29c and load is up to 55c, chipset and case temps are up a degree or two also, so a 28% overclock is about as far as I’m going to go I think.

It seems the coretemp module isn’t modprobe’d by default, so I’ve added it to /etc/rc.local and now I can gauge the four core temperatures as well as the possibly less accurate CPU temperature.

3.4GHz

Update 2: gone back to 3.2GHz due to temps (now down to maximum 50c coretemp, or 37c CPU thermistor) and stability issues. Hopefully 3.2GHz is the sweetspot, gonna run BOINC overnight at full poke to test.

Update 3: Corsair are going to send me some extra screws to attach the two 120mm fans to the radiator of my H50-1 to make up for me having to order the retention bracket kit as the one from Amazon was defective.

3.2GHz has been running stable at 100% load off and on for 24 hours, so I think I’ll leave it at that. Funny its the same speed my Q6600 got to, although its only a 20% overclock from 2.66GHz, not a 33% like the 2.4GHz Core2Quad.

Watercooling

I’ve just installed my Corsair H50-1 watercooler on my Core i5 750 box and its amazing – I’ve idled as low as 14c at stock speeds, I’m now overclocked to 3.2GHz (using this tutorial on Youtube) and am getting ~20c idle and haven’t got above 41c under load yet – that’s running four instances of the mprime torture test.

I also installed the new RHEL6 beta1 under VirtualBox. Its supposed to be based on Fedora 12/13, so is nothing new really, still a big step up from 5u4.

RHEL 6b1
Click for bigger image

Sunday Night

Just watched Hancock, which was actually an OK superhero movie with a difference – this guy didn’t really want to be a superhero and was a bit depressed!

I’m currently installing Fedora9 on the new PC, its going to be replaced by Fedora10, but I just wanted to check the hardware was all Linux-friendly and it seems it is – the installer found the SATA2 controllers fine and they’re running at 3Gbps, it identified the 1Tb drive fine and hdparm -t reports 117MB/s! It sees all the 8Gb RAM, it identified the four cores and is running the CPU in 64-Bit mode (32c temps); it identified the IDE controller fine and the network card is working fine although its using the r8169 driver for some reason, but it negotiated 1GigE so that’s lovely.

I tried to overclock the CPU again a bit earlier, but I definitely can’t get more than 3.2GHz from it – it seems Kev and I’s Q6600’s have a high VID at 1.325v, even though they’re G0 stepping, they seem to use as many volts as the B3’s. So I thought I’d stick to 3.2GHz but try to reduce the Vcore a bit – well that hasn’t worked either. So I’m sticking with 400×8 @ 1.4v as that’s rock solid with over 14 hours of Prime95.

Update: Just watched Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, which was alright but just seemed like Disney made it just to promote a few rides and a video game or something, it was very product-placement-y.

Update

I’m back from my trip to Brighton. Brighton seems to be split into two these days – the super poor chavs, mostly made up of Muslims, single mothers and students and the uber rich Sloane rangers with their two-Jags and Mercedes 4×4’s.

Shoreham and Worthing haven’t changed that much – I was surprised to see how many of the little highstreet shops (like Top Banana and Adur Travel) were still in business, probably helped by all the development of the Ropetackle area.

Since I’ve been back I’ve been having terrible memory issues, I guess I got out of my routine. I might look out for a whiteboard for my computer room, bigger than the one in the kitchen (which is for shopping list).

I’ve built my new PC, the case is amazingly large, as is the CPU heatsink/fan – a 3″ cube of aluminium and copper heatpipes with the capacity for 4x120mm fans! I was very impressed with the screws, cables, thermal compound etc. that came with it – I didn’t have to supply anything myself and I’ve even got some spare SATA cables.

Its currently running Vista64 as I’m waiting for Fedora10 before putting Linux on it. I managed to overclock it from its stock 2.4GHz to a nice 3.2GHz easily enough with 8x400FSB at 1.4V. Temps are 31c idle and the maximum I’ve got it to after 11 hours of Prime95 on all four cores is 58c load. I tried all ways to get it to 3.4 or 3.6GHz, but even though it will boot it bluescreens under any load, and I don’t fancy upping the voltage any further than the 1.45V I tried, so I’ll stick with a rock solid 33% overclock. Screenshot.

My central heating install is being delayed even further, apart from the gas board not filling in the holes in the road, the plumber isn’t coming for over a week and hasn’t purchased the radiators yet. Its getting pretty cold here lately too, although my fire is keeping me nice and warm in the lounge.

Pip & Co. came over last night and we tested out my new Henry after haircutting – JP is very hoover-proficient and knows all the adaptors/switches etc. I’m very impressed with it, its amazing how it easily picks up stuff you’ve never even noticed before, let alone been able to hoover up; and it switches from tile to rug nicely too.

I’m having an easy day today, watching a film and some Heroes etc; M&D might come over later for pool and curry night. Ooh I’ve got to go put the washing out whilst its sunny/windy and then get some diesel.

Catchup

Its been a while since my last post, so thought I’d put a few bits together.

I’ve watched Batman 2: The Dark Knight, which was OK, very dark, but overly long at 2.5+ hours. Anyone who has watched it will know what I mean when I say it should have finished at that point about half an hour earlier, before going off on the tangent.

I thought Iron Man was actually better, it was shorter that’s for sure; about a guy who creates an endoskeleton to escape capture, and goes on to try to save the world with it.

I also watched Get Smart, which was a comedy about an inept secret agent. Much better than Johnny English.

Finally I watched Alone In The Dark 2, which seemingly had nothing to do with the far superior first movie, except it turns out that the main character in both was the same person – you wouldn’t actually know this as the actors were of a completely different race!

I’ve taken the plunge and bought a new PC. I’ve selected the components to be a bit future-proof (well my Pentium4 has lasted a good four years and is still going strong) as it has a quad-core CPU which I’m going to overclock past 3GHz, 8Gb RAM and 1.25Tb of hard disk space!

Sun have just announced that they are almost ready to release their xVM Server product, which is a bare-metal hypervisor based on Xen, and in direct competition with VMWare ESXi, although it is opensource.

I might give xVM a try on my new PC when it arrives, as I think I’ll wait for Fedora10 (due mid November according to the schedule) before installing a longterm operating system – not worth configuring Fedora9 and then have to start again for 10. xVM seems much less Windows-exclusive than ESXi is, as its controlled by web interface that works on Firefox for Linux and Safari for MacOSX, and has a local console, not just RDP.

I just upgraded WordPress to the latest 2.6.2, the upgrade went much more smoothly than usual – just move the old one out of the way; copy wp-content, .htaccess and wp-config.php back over; upgrade some plugins and the database and away you go. The stylesheet modifications I made are still in place.