If you have just landed here on this post please take 5 minutes to read about the World Community Grid, BOINC, and My Project so you get the idea of what I am trying to do. Don’t have time? well In a nutshell I’m using my PC to help scientists map cancer markers, fight AIDS, study clean energy solutions and uncover genome mysteries. Once I get it running perfectly and with as minimal energy use as possible I’m going to remove it from the electricity grid and power it with renewable energy be this solar, wind or by another device of my making. This is a back dated post for a step by step walk through of what I’ve been doing with my project. I tend to forget to post updates so need to recap everything so far.
So with everything running how I wanted it to, although more expensive than I originally thought I began testing with a very old PC to see what I could remove or alter to reduce energy cost on mine. I work on old PCs in the room next to our loft which is also an overspill for storage. It was only then that I saw the box for Mrs Nangs PC, I took a quick look and that’s when I found out that her PC had a GTX 560 Ti a much more powerful GPU than my GT545.
So with her PC at her mothers I needed to get it back and do some tests. Fortunately It had been 6 months since I last checked the drivers and cleaned out the inside, heat sink and fan so it wasn’t a problem. I did all that I was supposed to do and then installed BOINC using the exact same settings as my PC. Everything worked fine straight off the bat, but her GPU was like it was on steroids. I thought it would be better but not by such a huge margin.
The GT545 was running a work unit in around 40 minutes give or take a few seconds. The GTX560Ti was doing them in 8-9 minutes. So I set Mrs Nangs PC up for a 24hr electricity test like I had done with mine. When I came back to check the next day I was pretty shocked the PC had averaged 320W per hour. Or €20.21 average per month. Not good.
But then something strange happened. For each result returned to SETI and WCGrid you get points and there are a whole host of sites you can check to see your rank in each project, across the entire BOINC network, Compared to other users from your country and so on. And I kind of began to fixate on the points. I wanted to get my points as high as possible as quick as possible. I’m a pretty competitive person so I blame that for my irrational thinking. I was wilfully breaking my own rules dum dum daaah which was naughty.
I ran like this for a week or so but finally came to my senses, I have a specific goal set out and I need to stick to the rules. Otherwise I may as well go out and buy every cheap ex gaming PC with an i7 processor that regularly pop up for sale when people upgrade. Would be great for the points but I would need 2 jobs to pay the electricity bill.
So with that I set BOINC to receive no new tasks on Mrs Nangs PC and let it run off the work units already downloaded (remember never let down your Wingman).
I also paused SETI tasks on my PC to see what the electricity usage was for the GT545. Running the CPU and GT545 was pulling an average of 172W per hour. After stopping the GPU tasks that dropped to 119W per hour. I made the decision that running an inefficient GPU was not worth the energy draw and as such have completed my last SETI work units until such time as I can purchase an MSI GTX 750Ti 2GB Gaming GPU it runs at the same wattage as the GT545 but performs better than the GTX 560Ti.
As much as I would love to find ET for SETI, the WCGrid and my project will always take priority over SETI. I consider the work WCGrid do and the research they run incredibly important to our future as a species (The clean energy project alone could drastically change our world) and if my financial situation was different I would run as many PCs as I could to help. Maybe in the future with a little bit of hard work and some good ideas I will be able to do that.