F@H Tweakers Guide
1. Preparing Your Computer for Folding (Difficulty: Very Easy)
Most PCs are not ready for prime-time when it comes to maximizing folding production. Various programs and settings can either slow Folding at Home to a crawl or stop it from working altogether. Follow these simple steps to keep Folding at Home humming along.
Disable Your Screen Saver, System Standby, and Hibernation.
First and foremost on the checklist for prepping your system is to disable any screen saver. In the best case scenario, all screen savers use CPU resources that would otherwise be utilized by Folding at Home. To prevent monitor burn-in and conserve energy, use your computer's power management options and have Windows automatically turn off your monitor after 20 or 30 minutes of inactivity. To do this, Right Click on any empty area of your desktop, select Properties. Hit the Screen Saver Tab and make sure it says (None) (don't use "Blank Screen"). Then, hit the Power button, and use the Turn off monitor pull-down menu and select a 20 or 30 minute inactivity period.
While you're in the Power Scheme window, make sure that System Standby is set to Never. A computer that's in standby mode will not fold.
Finally, if you see a Hibernate tab, click it and make sure to uncheck Enable hibernate support. As is the case with system standby, a system that's in Hibernation will not fold.
Get rid of spyware!
Not only is spyware bad for anyone who values privacy, but spyware steals CPU cycles that should be folding proteins! Rid your computer of spyware with either PepiMK's Spybot Search & Destroy or Lavasoft's Ad-aware.
Spybot S&D: http://spybot.safer-networking.de/
Destroy all Viruses
This should be a no-brainer, but viruses happen. Clearly if your processor is spending its time reproducing an e-mail worm, deleting your files, or otherwise wrecking havoc with your system, it's not folding! Do yourself and the world a favor and keep your system free of viruses by running antivirus software and doing system scans and virus definition file updates every week.
2. Folding Performance Begins "At Home" (Difficulty: Easy)
Update to the Latest Version
Stanford University's Folding at Home research team is constantly improving and updating the client software. You should periodically check the Folding at Home Downloads page to ensure you are running the latest version of the software. The current client for Windows is version 3.24, with 3.25 available as a "beta" release. Here are the links to the download areas:
Official Release Client: http://www.stanford.edu/group/pande...g/download.html
Beta Client Download: http://www.stanford.edu/group/pandegroup/beta/beta.html
AMD owners are especially encouraged to use the 3.25 Client, even though it is currently beta.
Get a new core
Whenever you upgrade to a new client version, it's a good idea also to delete your FahCorexx.exe files (where xx represents a two-digit number). The FahCore files are located in the folder in which Folding at Home is installed, usually C:/Program Files/Folding@Home. By deleting the core files, you ensure that Folding at Home will download the latest version of the required core. Since the core file is the program that actually performs the folding simulation, you definitely want to be using the latest release.
Once you have the latest client installed, there are a few configuration settings that are often overlooked. By making some simple adjustments, you can make sure that Folding at Home performance is maximized.
Optimize Graphical Client Settings
For those of you folding with the Graphical Client, right-click the protein icon that appears in the lower-right corner in the system tray: Then, select Configure.
A new dialogue box will appear with three tabs, User, Connection, and Advanced. The User screen should have your User name and Team number, which hopefully is Team number 11108 for Team Maximum PC Magazine. However, we're interested in the Advanced view for performance tweaking, since the default settings are not fully optimized.
At the Advanced view, you want to do three things. First, uncheck Logos enabled. Then, under Core Priority, select the Lowest Possible setting. Finally, make sure to select your Client type for Folding at Home. Make sure to hit OK to have your changes stick.
Optimize Console Client Settings
The Console is for more advanced users who are used to dealing with the command-prompt. The first time you run the Console, you are able to configure the settings. You're going to want to make sure you properly configure the following items:
First make sure the User name and Team Number are correct. Then, when you are asked whether you wish to Change advanced options, type yes and hit enter.
1) Select fah for client type.
2) Select idle for core priority
3) Select 100 for CPU usage
4) Select no for Disable highly optimized assembly code
If you've already run the Console version, you're going to have to create and modify a shortcut to the Console program to reconfigure it. Right-click on the Console executable file and select Create Shortcut. Right-click on the newly created shortcut and you'll see the Target line which contains the location of the Console executable. After the quotes of the target, add the following flag: -config. That should be [space][dash] and the word config:
Double-click the shortcut and now you'll be able to reconfigure the console client!3. All Fold One, One Fold All! (Difficulty: Medium)
Whether you're using the graphical client or the console version, you're going to want Folding at Home to startup whenever your computer reboots. If you only have one user account on your PC and you're running the graphical client, you're all set. However, those of you with multiple users accounts, or those running the console version, should create a short cut for the Folding at Home program in the Startup folder for "All Users." This way, no matter who logs into the computer, Folding at Home will be up and running.
Remember, this is only for systems that have multiple users. By default, Windows XP and Windows 2K are designed for multiple users, and you may follow these steps if you have, or intend to have, more than one user account. If you have Windows 98/Me that has been set up with multiple users accounts, you should also follow these steps, but do not do the following with Windows 98/Me that has not been configured for multiple users. a)
Graphical Client Instructions
First we're going to "cut" the startup shortcut that was created during the graphical client install. Right Click on Start and select Explore:
Click on the +
symbol next to Programs to expand the Program directory tree. Then, click on the Startup folder:
Right Click on your Folding@home shortcut and select Cut. For Win98/Me)
Now, for Windows 98 or Me users, you need to scroll up the directory tree on the left side until you see "All Users" under the "Windows" folder. Expand All Users by clicking on the + symbol next to it, and then expand Start Menu and finally, expand Programs. Click on the Startup folder. Then, in the right-side frame, right click on the empty space and select Paste. If you have done it correctly, the shortcut will appear.
You're all set. Now Folding at Home will run on startup no matter who uses your computer! 4. All Folding, All the Time a)
We need more power to the engines Scotty! (Difficulty: Easy)
We're now getting to one of the most important aspects of Folding at Home, and that is convincing you to leave your computer running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A computer that is powered "off," to be blunt, folds proteins about as well as a pet rock, so it's important to keep your computer powered up as often as possible. Now, if you're worried about someone logging on to your system while you're away, Windows 2K and Windows XP owners should fear not. For Win2k, simply press CTRL-ALT-DEL and select Lock Computer. This will require any trespassers to log on with your password in order to gain entry, yet Folding at Home will run merrily along in the background. Locking the computer under WinXP is even easier, simply press the "Windows" key and "L." Unfortunately, Win 98/Me owners will need third-party software to "lock" their computer, but anyone interested in security shouldn't be running Win 98/Me in any event. b)
Sorry, you do not have permission to send and receive data (Difficulty: Medium)
Another issue we've encountered that puts a damper on our Folding fun is software or hardware firewalls that have unintentionally blocked Folding at Home. For users who are running software firewalls, it's very important to not only give the client permission to access the Internet (preferably without having to ask permission), but, if your software contains an automatic Internet Lock (such as Zone Alarm), you should give the Folding at Home client "Pass Lock" permissions. Remember, Folding at Home's client never requires server privileges, so feel free to disable server permissions for the client. Finally, keep in mind that any time you upgrade the client, most software firewalls will detect it as a changed or even new program, and you'll have to re-issue permissions and "Pass Lock" privileges all over again. Without doing so, Folding at Home will be stopped dead whenever it needs to access the Internet to send and receive data.
Finally, for those with hardware firewalls, remember that the Folding at Home client needs the ability to send packets over Port 80 and 8080. So, if you are having communication issues, make sure that you're allowing port 8080. 5. Advanced Folding Tweaks a)
It's all in the flags (Difficulty: Easy)
Just when you thought it was safe to go into Folding, there are a few advanced Folding tweaks and tips for the more adventurous folders. First, right-click on the startup shortcut and select Properties. (To quickly get to the Folding at Home startup shortcut, simply Click Start > Programs > Startup and you'll see the icon for Folding at Home -- if you don't see it, then follow the Win98/Me steps here to get to the proper Startup Folder).
A new "Shortcut Properties" window will appear, along with a "Target" line. You're now going to add the following flags after the quotes: -local -advmethods -forceasm (that's [space][hyphen]local[space][hyphen]advmethods[space][hyphen]forceasm):
These flags will further optimize your Folding at Home settings. For a description of each flag, check out here: http://www.stanford.edu/group/pande...userguide.html
Two folds are better than one (Difficulty: Advanced)
For those lucky users with dual-processor machines or rigs with hyperthreaded P4s, you can run two instances of the Console version simultaneously. It's rather involved, but well worth it to see both of your CPUs (or both of your virtual CPUs) being utilized to their fullest. These instructions assume you are running Win2K Pro or XP Pro.
First, create two separate directories and dump FAH3Console.exe in each one.
Then, you're going to have to make a shortcut to each FAH3Console.exe. Paste the Shortcuts into the Cocuments and SettingsAll UsersStart MenuProgramsStartup folder so that both FAH consoles will startup every time the system boots up.
Right click on each shortcut you've created. You'll see the "Target" line: "C:Program Filesetc.etc.FAH3Console.exe"
Now, you MUST add the -local flag, if you haven't already done so here. Remember to add the -local flag for each shortcut. It's also a good idea to add -advmethods and -forceasm.
Now, you're almost set. Double click on one of the shortcuts you created. The first time you do, you'll be asked to configure FAH. Aside from your username and Team No. (select team No. 11108 for Team MPC), one of the configuration options is to set the Machine ID for the first FAH3Console.exe program to "1" (when you get to the point where we run the second FAH3Console.exe, you'll need to set the second one's Machine ID to "2").
Now that one instance of FAH is up and running, go into your task manager and hit the "processes" tab. You'll see FAH3Console.exe there. Right click on it and choose "Set Affinity" and set it for CPU 0 only (uncheck CPU 1). You'll also see FAHCore_xx.exe running. Set that for CPU 0 too.
Now you're ready to run the second console (again, launch it by clicking on your second created shortcut). When you configure it, set it for a different machine ID ("2").
In take manager, you'll set the Affinity for your second instance of FAH3Console.exe for CPU 1. Now, this will be tricky as you'll see two FAH3Console.exe's running. You can check which one is the first one by checking the affinity. The new one will have both CPU 0 and 1 checked, while the first one was just set to CPU 0.
Do the same thing with the second FAHCore_xx.exe. Set it to CPU 1 only.
Now you're running two instances of FAH, and they are taking full advantage of your processors.
As long as you don't close out the Console programs, they'll remember their affinity. If you close them, or restart or reboot your computer, you'll need to go back and set the affinity again.
6. Quick Troubleshooting Tips
While Folding at Home works fine for the overwhelming majority of users, some people do encounter problems. If you're having display problems with the graphical client, make sure that you're running in at least 16-bit color and that you have the proper video-card drivers installed. If, on the other hand, you notice system instability (lockups), the simple fix is to lower the percent of CPU usage. For those using the graphical client, this can be done by right-clicking on the protein icon that's in the system tray, selecting Configure, and then selecting the Advanced view. Lower the CPU usage slider to the second-to-the-last-marker, hit OK and then quit and restart Folding at Home. If you still experience lockups, lower the slider to the third-to-the-last marker.
Users of the console-based client will have to reconfigure the console as explained here. Select 95 percent for CPU usage requested and, if that doesn't do the trick, reconfigure again for 90 percent.
Keep in mind that system lockups with Folding at Home are generally caused by inadequate cooling. If your system is overclocked try lowering your overclock and see if that fixes the problem.
Additional troubleshooting shooting tips can be found at http://www.stanford.edu/group/pande...lding/faq.html
7. Be a Part of the Bigger Picture!
Folding can be much more than a personal contribution of your PC's processing power. There is a thriving community of "folders" and scores of online forums dedicated to this worthwhile project.
The official Folding at Home forum is located at http://forum.folding-community.org/
. There, you will find the latest news regarding Folding at Home, usually before the main website is even updated. You can also discuss any problems you may have with the software that is not covered here, or read up on issues with Stanford University's servers.
Additionally, you can become involved in the friendly competition that exists among the thousands of folding "teams" as they try to outfold one another. The official team ranking page is located at http://folding.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/searchteamstats
. A more interesting interactive stats page, complete with graphs, can be found here: http://statsman.ww-testsites.co.uk/...html/index.html
For those of you who have joined up with Team Maximum PC Magazine (Team No. 11108), you should also check out our official Folding at Home forum here: http://forums.delphiforums.com/folding
Finally, for those of you who have gone completely folding mad, you can purchase Folding at Home T-shirts, Coffee mugs, tote bags, etc. here: http://www.cafeshops.com/folding
Best of luck folding!
NOTE: Originally written by [Ch]amsalot (Number Six)
Notes from EOC - AMD- the -forceasm should be changed to -forcesse
needs to be added?