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Whats the damage?

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,586
6
76
As you know, all the distributed computing projects tell you that there is no extra strain on your system, it just uses your "unused cycles". This is obviously a lie, as your system takes less electricity, generates less heat, and receives less wear and tear while on idle rather then at 100% CPU utilization...

I was wondering though, if someone ever did an honest check of what the damage is? how much sooner can we expect items to fail? how much more heat does it generate? how much more electricity does it take? (and its average cost per month).

I am curious about those details... anyone knows?
 

SemperFi

Platinum Member
Apr 5, 2000
2,002
0
0
I haven't done any tests. I don't know how you would test something like that. On the other hand if you don't suspend your drives and basicly put your system into standby those cycles are wasted. Might as well do something with them. If you don't power down the drives and goto standby I would have to believe the power consumption difference is negligable. Again no study involved.

I can tell you my last system I had about 3 years, which is a long time for me. It ran folding the whole time. It ran great right up until the lightning hit my cable last year and took out my mother board. I can tell you it stands up to the crunching of numbers much better than it stands up to lightning. :)
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,586
6
76
well, every anandtech review that deals with power consumption alwasys lists an IDLE and LOAD figure, and the load is usually twice as much...
This would be ESPECIALLY true in my CPU since it even includes a dynamic underclocking feature. (its an amd A64 X2, not a laptop, but it has it none the less)
 

Allio

Golden Member
Jul 9, 2002
1,904
28
91
The increased power consumption and its effect on your electric bill is worth taking into account, but I don't think wear and tear on your hardware is. Some people are still crunching with P133s ;)
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,586
6
76
mmm, good point... Since it really uses the CPU and RAM mostly it really shouldn't be a problem AT ALL as far as wear and tear... with HDD use being minimal on most projects it shouldn't cause any noticeable wear and tear... Electric bill will probably go up though... assming extra 80watt.... it should cost another 8 bucks or so a month for 24hour operation (assuming it was running 24 hours a day to begin with, but on idle)...
 

RaySun2Be

Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
16,565
4
71
As you know, all the distributed computing projects tell you that there is no extra strain on your system, it just uses your "unused cycles".
No, I don't know. I haven't seen that claim made in the DC projects I currently run, or used to run. From what I've read, they claim to use unused cycles, which is true, but never have I seen them claim that there is no extra strain on the system.

This is obviously a lie, as your system takes less electricity, generates less heat, and receives less wear and tear while on idle rather then at 100% CPU utilization...
Since I've never seen any claims about no wear and tear, can't say that they are lying.

There have also been many discussions about the pros and cons of running a system at 100% utilization. Some say that the CPU temp is stable, so it helps with the life of the CPU. Some say the voltage spikes and spinning up and down of hard drives causes shorter lifespans.

I've been running DC projects for many years now (8 I think) and have never ever regretted it. I've lost motherboards, CPUs, hard drives over the years, but most were 3 years old or older. Had a couple of power supplies go quick, but that was due to bad power, a UPS fixed that.

The bottom line is, most of us running DC projects are willing to take what negligible hits there are to the life of our systems in order to help further the goal(s) of those projects. This includes the cost of electricity. The benefits outweigh the costs.

To me, a PC is a tool, similar to a car. Some people buy a car, never drive it fast, take meticulous care in servicing it, and are proud to get 500,000 miles out of it. Me, I buy one, use it to the max, if something breaks, I fix it and keep going. If too many things break, I replace it, and keep going. IMHO, Cars are meant to be driven, PCs are meant to be used. If I can also help find cures for cancer, or solve scientific questions at the same time, all the better. Nothing wrong with either approach, it just depends on what pleases the owner.

And besides, Most of the time, we stats junkies upgrade systems long before parts wear out on their own. :D
 

BlackMountainCow

Diamond Member
May 28, 2003
5,759
0
0
I agree with RS2B; same here. Been doing DC for quite a while now, had a couple of broken case fans, a bad PSU and a dead CD-drive. But I can't tell if they had died anyway, regarless of 100% CPU load or not. I rather assume that especially the CD-drive and the fans would have died anyway. The PSU is a different story. I still crunch on a PIII 600 and it never failed on me, not even a single part of that machine. :thumbsup:

I like RS2B's car analogy. If you keep your car clean and going, it shouldn't break before the time of replacement. Same with PCs. Keep the fans clean and remove dust about every 3 to 6 months (depending on general "messyness" in your rooms ;) ) and you should be fine.

Electricity costs is the only thing that could really keep me from doing more DC. Here in Germany, electricity on average is twice to thrice the prize compared to the US. So that's a major facor.

 

imaheadcase

Diamond Member
May 9, 2005
3,850
7
76
Chances are you will upgrade before your cpu/ram dies from running cpu at %100. I just got done running a a P4 for 4 years 24/7 many projects at %100 CPU usage all the time. I had to upgrade though :D
 

RaySun2Be

Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
16,565
4
71
Originally posted by: taltamir
well, as I was saying, I am looking to know HOW much impact they have.
What components? If you are concerned mostly about power, there are power meters you can get to monitor the power consumption of your PC.

As far as the wear and tear, I have no idea, although based on a lot of people's experience running DC, it's pretty insignificant.

If you are that concerned about the wear and tear on your system, then don't run DC projects. But that won't guarantee that components won't die or break.

In either case, be sure to do regular maintenance on the PC and clean out the fans, filters, etc. on a regular basis. Improper cooling is probably the biggest killer of components.

As for the rest, it's a cost/benefit decision. Those that run DC feel that the benefits of running DC projects outweigh the costs.

But we're crazy like that. :D
 

Insidious

Diamond Member
Oct 25, 2001
7,649
0
0
In my opinion, obsolesence drives the replacement of properly maintained components to a much more vigorous schedule than "wear and tear"

keep those fans in good working order and keep your case cleaned out.

If you don't use your computer, it will probably last longer.... but it wouldn't matter much since is wouldn't be doing anything for you anyway.

-Sid
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,586
6
76
Very good points people, I guess when it comes right down to it the only real noticeable impact is paying a few extra bucks a month on electric consumption. And thats quite the nice charity :)
 

BlackMountainCow

Diamond Member
May 28, 2003
5,759
0
0
Also, what most people agree on, is that a constant ammount of stress is better than stress spikes. I mean, how often did a light bulb blow on you while it was already burning? Usually they blow when you turn on the light. Same holds true - to a certain extent - to computers. The only time I blew my PSU was when I turned it on, not while it was already running.
 

Rattledagger

Elite Member
Feb 5, 2001
2,987
18
81
Well, just took a quick look, my dual-MP1600+-system will reach it's 5-years-anniversary in 9 days. :thumbsup:

In this time, not sure if it's 3 or 4 cpu-fans I've changed, the 1st. was "self-inflicted", putting the fingers into the case in the wrong spot... :eek: Also changed a couple case-fans.
Add to this, 2 psu crapping-out, 1 Antec that started delivering 4.5V instead of 5V, and one that short-circuited for some reason. :frown:

Also, one lightning-strike taking-out 2 psu, 1 network-card, and the crossed-port in the switch...

Now, the lightning had nothing to do with DC, and AFAIK neither the 2 other bad psu's.


Since was already running computer 24/7 before started DC, whatever extra power-usage is the difference between idle cpu and full speed. I've actually measured this once upon a time, but don't remember the result. Hmm, the max for this cpu according to this is 62.8W, with 2 cpu's should in theory be 125.6W, but I'm doubtful the difference to idle is so big... Still, if says 100W (80%) for 6 months = 432 kWh. With no AC, the rest is basically used instead of heating-expenses.

But, since actually 100% of the "classic" seti-wu crunched by me was downloaded with modem, and dialup around here is paid by the second... For the dual-MP1600+, this was around 20 minutes/day = 7300 minutes/year, for 2.6 years.

The price... let's say 20$/year in fans.
Power... if not made a mistake, this is average 10.6 cent/kWh => 46$/year.
Dialup... if not made a mistake, 2.2 cent/minute => 160$/year.

So, while used dialup, 226$/year, without 66$/year... Average over 5 years, 149$/year.
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,586
6
76
well, the analogy of the lightbulb is just an alanogy, it is not the situation here where you have a system that is either on in idle mode, or on in max capacity, the individual architechture of each component has to be taken into account to see how THAT works out compared to the lightbulb spikes analogy (its not an on vs off state...)

Maybe the PSU can maintain more accurate voltages at a lower stress level for example...
 

caferace

Golden Member
May 31, 2005
1,472
6
76
I would hazard a guess that most hardcore DC'ers leave their crunchers on 24/7. People that run their computer "idle" most of the time are probably much more likely to shut their computer down at least once a day. The specs for pretty much every computer component have recycle MTBF and MTTF numbers. I have no empirical evidence for this type of damage but it makes sense to me, and that's what counts. :D

As RS2B mentioned, keeping a PC maintained is key whether crunching or not. And, since people like us are very aware of the hazards of a lack of maintainance ours are probably better served than most. One argument you neglected to mention in your quest for "damage" is overclocking. We're rather notorious for that too. ;)

The only damage I've done is to my wallet and my sense of "peace", which is disturbed by some of the louder systems I have. But I'm workin' on it...

-jim

 

panhead49

Golden Member
Jan 27, 2001
1,880
0
0
if i remember correctly......the classic SETI used to right to the hard drive with info, every 10 seconds or so..........in the new BOINC i'm not sure ..:confused:

Im one of the 24/7 types......as was already stated ...it's almost always the older parts that fail @ motherboards--leaking caps
old age
@ power supply--(un-protected)
@ and ALOT of parts replaced because of upgrades
 

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