Donate your unused computer resources to Folding at Home

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by HDFan, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    In an old previous post

    the Macrumors Folding at Home team had donated over 1 billion points to the Folding at Home medical research effort. This is also a great tool to help evaluate how your system responds with high loads, as it will max out all of your cpus at 99% while it is running.

    The FAQ is rather old (IOS 9), but gives some additional information, such as the MacRumors team number (3446).

    Here is an updated link to the Stanford website:

    and a screen shot from the Folding at Home web client:

    Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 17.14.15.png

    Although your cpu utilization will be ~99% while it is running, the priority (nice) level is low (19) and you may not notice it with most applications. The Safari nice level, for example, is 0 (lower has higher priority). For heavy CPU bound applications it is simple enough to go to the Web site and temporarily suspend folding.

    The only
    downside, other than maybe temporarily having to suspend folding, or possibly system slowness on older systems, is that there is the extra electricity cost when fully engaging all of your cpus. When folding my system runs at 441 watts with all 18 cpus (36 virtual) fully engaged. Power consumption drops to ~346 watts with it turned off, so I am using an extra 105 watts of power an hour. That's ~920 KW hours which with the expensive electricity where I live (~$.20 per KW/h) costs about $183.96 a year. For most people with fewer cpus and less expensive electricity the cost would be much less.

    It's nice to help make the world a better place during these dark times.
  2. jtara macrumors 65832

    Mar 23, 2009
    You aren't donating your unused computing resources. You are donating electricity.

    Electric delivery alone in S. California (San Diego) is almost .30/kWh.

    We just went to demand billing, in addition to delivery, the cost of the electricity itself is:

    Summer .37/on-peek .12 off-peak .06 super off-peak
    Winter .28/on-peek .08 off-peak .045 super off-peak

    Total ranges from .345 super off-peak winter to .67 on-peak summer

    Just send them money, which they can presumably use to find compute power in efficient and economically-located data centers.
  3. HDFan thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    After seeing your numbers I reviewed my rates, which are $.21, $.28, and $.43 (tiered usage).

    The cost to them for using your resources is relatively low, including application development and internet fees. Add to that the cost of your electricity (ignoring wear and tear hardware issues) gives a relatively low total cost.

    If you donate $1 and they used that for a datacenter, a whole bunch of other costs have to be paid in addition to electricity. Salaries, equipment costs, real estate costs, and, of course, profit, which would at a minimum reduced the value of that $1 by 30%, likely more. If that datacenter is a low cost energy state it might be a wash cost wise.

    It is an easy way to give, as most people won't make the effort to send a check. It makes any dollars that they do receive go that much further.

    But, of course, charitable giving is an individual thing. I can see why you don't want to participate.
  4. jtara macrumors 65832

    Mar 23, 2009
    Actually, I did - many years ago when it was a new curiosity.

    Now, if I can find those 5 free Bitcoin I got back in the day before it crashes to the ground, I can make a generous donation! ;) One of these days I will plug in my ATA "toaster" and go through the old ATA drives, then figure out how to access the SCSI ones. The wallet is on some EXT3 filesystem from a Linux box. I also tried Mining for a couple of days, until I realized not only was I running my computer hot, it would cost a lot in electricity, AND I would need to run the A/C to keep it from over-heating my office (spare bedroom).

    I we are going to waste electricity, I would rather we do it with this than Bitcoin, though. Bitcoin was threatening to create an energy crisis there for a while, but I do think we can now stick a fork in it.

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