Seven to kill XP on 22 October?

By , the in OS - No comment
Seven to kill XP on 22 October?
According to analysts at Forester, this October 22 will mark the official, public death of Windows XP.

First-class professionals, who have largely rejected a large-scale migration to Vista will see a good compatibility in Seven with Windows XP applications via a virtualised mode in the OS. Seven is also much closer to XP than Vista in terms of resource consumption, which could allow installation on some older equipment, without much degradation in performance.

Seven offers several other advantages over XP:
  • Switching to DirectX 10 by default
  • Implementing a new graphics layering system, more powerful than Vista
  • Improving overall desktop usability
  • Integration of the latest generic drivers, which should reduce the number pre-installation BSODs
  • Improved security (improved UAC, but also a virus scanner integrated into the OS)
  • Perfected management of 64-bit resources (more than 4 GB of RAM will be addressed properly)

For us, the benefits are primarily related to a moderate use of equipment, and better management of large amounts of RAM (BigAdv for example will benefit here). Using a 64-bit processor is also a gain in terms of the performance of the core calculations.

We shall see if after October 22, you still have the temptation to downgrade to XP on your new machine, or simply switch to Linux out of a sense of resigned defeat.

Source: Fudzilla

AMD launches its OpenCL SDK!

By , the in Drivers - 3 Comments
AMD launches its OpenCL SDK!
This is actually version 2.0-beta4 of the Stream SDK, but it has been certified as compatible with OpenCL 1.0.

But the announcement can be bewildering; in effect, compatibility with the floating double precision calculations are to be included for the Radeon 58x0 and 48X0, however the 57x0 and all other 4xx0 models are having the capability omitted. Such compatibility is necessary to perform the kind of arithmetic that Folding@Home requires, and we hope that this is merely a software restriction that can be bypassed.

This confirms however that the old Radeon 2xxx and 3xxx series will be excluded from the GPU3/OpenCL adventure. Owners of these cards will probably be well enough advised to continue to use the GPU2/CAL client already available for them.

We also note that this SDK generates code that can be run on all CPUs with SSE3 instructions (AMD introduced SSE3 in revision E4 of the Athlon 64, and Intel did likewise for the Pentium 4 "Prescott"). To see if your processor possesses the SSE3 instruction set, you can check it against this list on Wikipedia.

Source: PCInpact

After verification, Stanford doesn't use double precision in computations that run on GPU clients (because it would cost more performance than information it could add).
The lack of support of this feature won't be an issue to run an OpenCL based Folding@Home client.

Shipment of servers bound for Stanford!

By , the in Folding@Home Project - No comment
Shipment of servers bound for Stanford!
Next week, Stanford University will be taking delivery of some new storage servers. Each server will have 24 hard drives, with 2TB capacity to each, which will be a great help in providing some breathing room for the Pande Group. Unfortunately, however, the official newscast did not specify the number of servers.

This is obviously good news, as in recent weeks, disk space was teetering at a critical level, which could have lead to reduced activity on some projects, as well as a lack of units being assigned. This near-crisis is a stark reminder of the benefits that Storage@Home will soon be providing to the project in the form of distributing quite a bit of stored data amongst S@H users for off-site safekeeping.

Source: The official blog

The end of the GTX 2xx?

By , the in Hardware - No comment
The end of the GTX 2xx?
Since the advent of the GT300/Fermi, rumour is becoming increasingly rife; it is suspected that nVidia's partners may be tempted to put a quicker end to the commercial life of the GTX 260, 275, and 285, owing to the expense involved in producing these chips.

For comparison, the GTX 260 costs $170, as opposed to $159 for its more modern equivalent, the Radeon HD5770. nVidia would retain the low-range GT100/GT200 for their entry level market, then produce variations of the economical GT300/Fermi. This would reduce the number of SP, and enable nVidia to produce 40nm chips at a lesser cost.

For us mere mortals who are primarily concerned with folding, this is relatively good news, as we will benefit more quickly from the perks of the new GT300 architecture. nVidia is in no hurry to confirm the rumour, though; after all, they wouldn't mind shifting as many of the soon to be old-hat GTX 2xx series cards as possible over the Christmas holidays...

Source: VR-Zone

Atlas Folder leads the way

By , the in Folding@Home Project - 3 Comments
Atlas Folder is the most active contributor to the project. He is heavily involved in the fight against Huntington's Disease.

Atlas Folding's cluster was already very powerful. However he decided to further enhance its contribution! "Phase 2" has been assembled with a total of 31 9800GX2s and 23 GTX295s.

Two videos to capture the excesses of Atlas Folder!

All the teams of Folding@home tip their hat to Atlas Folder for his impressive contributions to the project.

The Atlas Folding site: click here

US Radeon 5870s available from $379.99

By , the in Hardware - No comment
US Radeon 5870s available from $379.99
News has arrived that some North American retailers have begun offering the Radeon HD5870 - as well as the Sapphire and Diamond cards - for general sale.

Sapphire are charging $379.99 for the SAPPHIRE 100281SR Radeon HD5870 (Cypress XT), specs: 1GB 256-bit GDDR5; PCI Express 2.0 x16; HDCP-Ready; CrossFire Supported Video. Meanwhile, Diamond is charging $384.99 for the DIAMOND 5870PE51G Radeon HD5870, with identical specs.

Tiggerdirect also has available the Diamond ATI Radeon HD5870, specs: 1GB GDDR5; PCIe; Dual Link; DVI. They are charging the slightly higher price of $394.99 to ship them to you today. If you can cough up $380 plus the shipping charge, and are in the States, then you can get your hands on an HD5870 in no time.

It's currently very difficult to obtain one of these cards in Europe at present, and those that can be found have been priced to the order of €380; €50 more than the RRP.

The US-retailed cards can be obtained from Newegg and TigerDirect.

Source: Fudzilla

Radeon HD 5870 & 5850 PPD projections

By , the in Folding@Home Project - No comment
Radeon HD 5870 & 5850 PPD projections
Initial user reports regarding client performance and PPD output on the GPU2 client are beginning to emerge.

It seems that in its default configuration, the HD 5870 produces 4600 PPD on a WU with 973 atoms (384 points). After setting certain environmental variables, it is possible for the same card to produce 6000 PPD.

In neither cases was information obtained on the operating system being run, or the environmental variables which were set. For comparison, my HD 4870 and its 800MHz GPU clock (with properly configured environmental variables) gets 2700 PPD on a unit of 973 atoms, and 3400 PPD on a unit of 1392 atoms.

All hopes are now on the GPU3 client, which we remind you uses OpenCL instead of Stream/CAL. We'll keep you posted when we have other performance benchmarks, and more information on the GPU3 client.

First Gigabyte HD5770 on sale

By , the in Hardware - 4 Comments
First Gigabyte HD5770 on sale
Gigabyte's new ATI HD5770 has been spotted for sale in an Australian retail store, priced at AUD $262.90, €158 and £146.43.

From what we have gathered, the specs are as follows:

  • 1GB GDDR5 (1100MHz) on a 128-bit BUS
  • GPU clocked at 825 MHz at 40nm with 960 SP, 40 TMU and 24 ROP for a total of 1.3 billion transistors
  • a total TDP of 100-120W at load, and 15W idle

Additionally, it features 2x DVI; 2x HDMI; and 2x DisplayPort. The DisplayPorts would appear to be becoming standard on new ATI-based cards.

European prices are expected to be in the €130 to €150 range, in contrast to the generally murderous more costly Australian pricing schemes.

Unfortunately, we must wait for the GPU3 OpenCL client before being able to (hopefully) fully enjoy the potential of these cards on the Folding@Home.

Equipment reliability: the numbers

By , the in Hardware - 18 Comments
Equipment reliability: the numbers
Equipment reliability is a topic that can quickly draw trolls, as the subject is, well... subjective, and powered by Fanboys(TM). However, rare is the fanboy that actually has the hordes of equipment that would be required to accurately judge the reliability of an entire brand. Instead, what we usually hear is "I've always used [insert brand name here] and it works very well for me." offers an interesting case study based on figures returned by SAV. Teeth will grind...

Enthusiasts folding 24/7 (or even if they're not), will find some good reading here, courtesy of Google Translate.

None of this absolves the user from running his or her hardware at a sane clock-speed, however. As the Supreme Overlord - and recent receiver of a punitive one-minute ban - R_34 once said, thousands of years ago: "He who would fold long would do well to take care of his MOSFETs". Sage words, sage words... :\'(

AMD Phenom II X2 550 core unlock guide emerges

By , the in Hardware - No comment
AMD Phenom II X2 550 core unlock guide emerges
There have been numerous articles and guides written on the unlock capabilities of the X2 and X3 series, but now there has emerged a guide on unlocking the Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition CPU's extra cores. As a result, AMD could theoretically now find their sales of the model increasing amongst the overclocker base.

Members from Lab501 have posted a detailed guide on unlocking the two extra cores on the 550 processors, and out of an attempted 120 unlocks, they were successful in 81 of their attempts.

Unfortunately, not every motherboard will allow the user to successfully pull off such an attempt, so it's worth checking whether yours is in the list of supported boards. The article is in Romanian, but you can click here for a good Google-assisted translation. Good luck!

Source: Fudzilla