Guide To Setting Up Stanfords SMP Windows Client

Preamble

Stanford image

Guide: Setting Up Stanfords SMP Windows Client

This guide is intended to be used as an easy reference for members who wish to run Stanford University's Windows SMP client. Hopefully it will answer all questions regarding setting up and maintaining the Windows SMP client, and make running the client as pain-free as possible. But as always...

# Note: Overclock3d.net can in no way be held responsible for any loss of data by following this guide. The guide is written purely as an easy to read installation reference, and the information/ opinions contained and expressed within are purely those of the author. As with any work undertaken upon your PC, always ensure that valuable data is backed up.

What is the SMP client?

In the past, Windows users wanting to participate in Stanford' Folding at Home (F@H) Project, have had to resort to running either the GUI or console versions of Stanford' software. The main issue with using the console version was the lack of a native installer for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX platforms which would make effective use of processors with dual-cores or more. With the multi-core processors now becoming more mainstream, there was a need for a client which would allow those processors to run more efficiently when 'folding' and also decrease the time taken for simulations to be completed.

SMP means "Symmetric Multi-processing" and it is a term that generally refers to the situation where a computer has more than one processor core. Dual core CPU's are pretty common and even 4-core boxes (currently implemented as dual socket dual core computers, such as Apple's Mac Pro) are becoming common. With advances from Intel and AMD, quad core processors are on the horizon, with 8-core and even 16-core boxes soon to become common.

According to Stanford University, the SMP client can increase the overall folding performance on a multi-cored processor by around 4 - 6 times that of running two versions of the older text based console together to achieve the same result. The SMP client was originally intended for multi-core CPUs, which generally do not support HT. For machines with 2 physical CPUs, Stanford recommend enabling HT for the SMP client as this presents the operating system with what looks like 4 logical processors (and their SMP client is intended for 4 processors). If you have 4 physical CPUs, they do not recommend using HT, as this presents the operating system with 8 logical processors, which will make the SMP client run inefficiently (especially since the logical processors coming from HT run much slower than the normal ones).

Currently Stanford provides support for three operating systems: Windows, Mac OSX/Intel, and 64-bit Linux. They are working to port to 32-bit Linux and hope to have that ready to beta test soon. The Windows version of the client has recently been released and runs under both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.

Anyway, let's have a look and see what we need to have for our installation...

Preparation

It should be made known that the SMP client as it stands is currently in open beta phase of testing i.e there will be bugs to be ironed out along the way. Currently, Stanford has a list of the known SMP client bugs (many of which exist for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX platforms) which have been made available at their F@H Project public forum. I would advise that you head over there and familiarise yourself with some of the known issues. I have listed the more common, problematic ones below. However, a significant amount of the other issues listed at the Stanford F@H Forum are purely cosmetic, and as such have been excluded from this list.

Known Bugs and issues
  1. The core needs some time (often as much as 4 minutes) between work units to finalise work.
  2. Printing to the log file sometimes gets weird due to multiple threads
  3. The SMP core appears to be confused about disabling optimizations, so Stanford suggests running with the -forceasm flag if you notice that the SSE was disabled unnecessarily.
  4. The core will print "No option -tpi" 4 times during the start up of the core
  5. If a server with SMP WU's is not available or is overloaded, the client will be assigned to 0.0.0.0, which tells the client to wait and try again.
  6. If you fail to register your password by running mpiexec –register the cores fail to start. There is no error message, just a hung client.
  7. There are potential errors if you've chosen a hostname for your computer which also exists on the internet. If your machine is called "MyComputer" and a ping MyComputer gives you any appreciable time delay, change your computer's hostname.
  8. SMP clients can be affected by changing network settings.

* When installing the Windows SMP beta client it requires that the account under which the client runs MUST have a password. Blank passwords will cause the FAH cores to fail.

* If installing the client on a Windows 2000 or XP based PC, Microsoft .NET framework v2.0 must be installed (please make sure that this is done prior to installing the client). You may download Microsoft' .NET framework v2.0 from here. For those wanting to run the SMP client on a Vista based machine, the .NET framework is not required as Vista comes bundled with it already.

* The SMP beta client is extremely susceptible to overclock instability other problems associated with your PC. If your overclock appears to be stable, it is best to double-check using a stability test program which stresses the CPU using code very similar to the F@H simulation software. Feel free to download and check your overclock stability using StressCPU v2, which can be downloaded from here.

* You'll need the Windows SMP beta client which can be downloaded from here

Now that we have tested our overclock is nice and stable, and we've installed a password on our user account and installed Microsoft's .NET, we can now proceed with the SMP beta client installation. I have taken the liberty of including supporting images to help with every step of the installation process too. Let's go...
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Most Recent Comments

19-06-2007, 07:55:55

PV5150
For those of you who requested a guide in setting up the SMP client, it has now been done. I hope that you find it easy enough to understand and if you have any problems feel free to ask. I will be adding a little bit to the end of the article very shortly, but in its current form should have you up and running in no time.

LinkQuote

19-06-2007, 08:11:51

Rastalovich
Excellent guide PV, hope it didn`t dent u`r hols too much >.<

Am I to assume straight-off-the-bat, that if u`r using a stripped install of XP with amoungst other things .Net framework (V2) not installed - unless u choose to install it, u can`t run SMP ?Quote

19-06-2007, 08:12:45

Toxcity
Truely amazing guide PV!

But should I wait for my current work units to finish before I start running the SMP console?Quote

19-06-2007, 08:14:00

PV5150
Thanks Rastalovich it was my pleasure. I still have plenty of hols yet to burn, so it's cool.

In answer to your question, unfortunately the SMP client requires .NET in order to run simulations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toxcity
Truely amazing guide PV!

But should I wait for my current work units to finish before I start running the SMP console?
Thanks Toxcity...that help you out? Yes you should finish your current WU's otherwise they will simply be passed onto someone else to do. Plus it's results that Stanford will have to wait further time forQuote

19-06-2007, 08:16:42

PV5150
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Toxcity'
Truely amazing guide PV!

But should I wait for my current work units to finish before I start running the SMP console?
Thanks Toxcity...that help you out? Yes you should finish your current WU's otherwise they will simply be passed onto someone else to do. Plus it's results that Stanford will have to wait further time for.Quote

19-06-2007, 08:19:53

Rastalovich
In relation to the Tox question, I would *like* to assume that a work folder is a work folder and u should be able to transfer one to the other - however, in this crazily slanted world we live in, I bet u can`t >.< I guess the same thought should be given to making mac work folders work in pcs and vice-versa, but ???

I`d be interested if any fashion of `queueing` could be sorted out for work-loads. Reason I ask is if u have 10 pcs folding, then suddenly have to use these pcs for something else, it`d be ideal to gather up all the work folders on each one and be able to stack it all on another pc to be dealt with when it has time. It`s a pita to make the thing ask for net acess and introduce folders from another pc and so on..Quote

19-06-2007, 08:21:08

Toxcity
I am haveing a little bit of trouble at the moment.

I cannot seem to get the install.bat files to work.. Keeps coming up with "The system cannot execute the specified program."

Whats that mean Mr Pv? :eh:Quote

19-06-2007, 08:32:42

PV5150
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
In relation to the Tox question, I would *like* to assume that a work folder is a work folder and u should be able to transfer one to the other - however, in this crazily slanted world we live in, I bet u can`t >.< I guess the same thought should be given to making mac work folders work in pcs and vice-versa, but ???

I`d be interested if any fashion of `queueing` could be sorted out for work-loads. Reason I ask is if u have 10 pcs folding, then suddenly have to use these pcs for something else, it`d be ideal to gather up all the work folders on each one and be able to stack it all on another pc to be dealt with when it has time. It`s a pita to make the thing ask for net acess and introduce folders from another pc and so on..
Erring on the side of caution I would say that it 'may' be possible to transfer work folders, but the SMP client can be a little touchy to say the least. Something as simple as a flakey network connection can cause the wu's to fail. I guess the only way would be to try and see how it goes...you may be lucky. The -queue and -send all flags work fine with the client afaik.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Toxcity'
I am haveing a little bit of trouble at the moment.

I cannot seem to get the install.bat files to work.. Keeps coming up with "The system cannot execute the specified program."

Whats that mean Mr Pv? :eh:
Are you running the SMP client in Vista Tox? It may be a UAC issue, and you may have to give it permission to run the SMPQuote

19-06-2007, 08:35:06

Toxcity
I am running it in Server 2k3!

Not sure what is causing this, loads of event logs have been made though!Quote

19-06-2007, 08:41:43

Toxcity
FIXED!

My stoopid mistake.. didn't have Net Framework installed! Quote

19-06-2007, 08:45:08

PV5150
ROFLMAO I'll have top go back put that section of the guide in bold and in capitals for you. Glad you got it sorted mate Quote

19-06-2007, 08:56:26

Toxcity
Thanks for the guide PV!

Im sure it will help loads of peeps as it did me.Quote

19-06-2007, 08:58:33

PV5150
Sweet, good to hear mate Quote

16-08-2007, 17:11:39

Rastalovich
Chances are I`m not going to be able to complete a project 2morrow, so I`m gonna take a look at this then.

Have some other issues mind: What effect does changing u`r password have on the smp that`s already up and running with u`r old pass used ? I`m assuming it`d want u to upd8 it also.

The console has a -verbose x (or similar command) that implies that it will show u more of the work being done in the console window than just the default (3) steps of 1% - do we know if this works with the smp ?Quote

17-08-2007, 19:43:06

PV5150
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
The console has a -verbose x (or similar command) that implies that it will show u more of the work being done in the console window than just the default (3) steps of 1% - do we know if this works with the smp ?
Hi Rastalovich and sorry for the delay in getting back to answer your question. In short I'm not sure if that flag is supported, however, you can always try it...the console will/should spit back an 'unsupported flag' error or ignore it altogether if it isn't. If it does, simply remove the tag.Quote

05-09-2007, 12:46:14

chudley
Finally got my PC up and running and first priority was to get this installed and up and running. games can wait

It says it is currently working on WU1, how do i know which type of unit it is?Quote

05-09-2007, 19:12:46

PV5150
You need to download F@hMon mate. Quote

05-09-2007, 19:30:19

Azreil_2
Thanks for this ^^ setp up the client on my Quad today :P, need to buy those heatsink fans soon i think, running with the side off and a big fan is annoying :PQuote

01-10-2007, 05:36:55

PV5150
Just a heads up for those of you running the Windows SMP client! Stanford has released an updated client which contains nothing more than an extension until February...the old one ran out yesterday. So if you are having trouble getting the client started, then update it to the new one (5.91 beta) and you'll be fine.

Link to new client here

Discussion hereQuote

01-10-2007, 08:07:51

chudley
That will explain a couple of things then . It is a link to the GPU client peeves.Quote

01-10-2007, 08:29:52

Mr. Smith
I failed to get this working. Got in a mood and gave up! Will try the new one tonightQuote

01-10-2007, 08:33:11

Rastalovich
It can wind u up. U think u got everything right.. and it don`t work.

U restart and suddenly it works --- go figure !

(not always the case obviously)Quote

01-10-2007, 09:54:14

PV5150
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='chudley'
That will explain a couple of things then . It is a link to the GPU client peeves.
ROFL woops my bad. Link changed Quote

01-10-2007, 11:59:22

chudley
Thats me back in the fold- so to speakQuote

07-12-2007, 08:15:30

Rastalovich
Instead of chucking in SMP on some quads, I decided to make 4 regular folding consoles just to run them for 12 or so hours at a time to test stability and heat of the setups.

Now these pcs went off and got the infos and happily folded away. Problem was tho that they never sent any results back.

Queued them tho, so I offloaded them to another pc and did a "-send all" each time - no probs there.

However, what does this say about the Vista setup that these quads have ? There was nothing funky about the .cfg for them, as the same .cfg was used in the "-send all".

Thing is, although I`m gonna obviously SMP them, aside from the beta nature of it, I don`t want another issue clouding something else.

Could it be that the info wasn`t sent cos nothing else web-wize had been used on the OS b4 ? Thinking something to do with IE arguements ?Quote

17-01-2008, 18:54:47

jasonjman
am pretty stupid, and not full of wisdom but waht the hell is folding, all i have gathered so far from google, s that it enhances dual core processors (usually) by 4-6 times, so i'm wondering whether it'll work on a single CoreQuote

17-01-2008, 18:55:50

FarFarAway
If you've got it set, reset "use IE settings" - it doesn't workQuote

17-01-2008, 21:39:07

Pseudonym
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='jasonjman'
am pretty stupid, and not full of wisdom but waht the hell is folding, all i have gathered so far from google, s that it enhances dual core processors (usually) by 4-6 times, so i'm wondering whether it'll work on a single Core
Basically, folding is the process of building virtual proteins. Proteins play a massive role in all biological activities, so knowing about them can help find cures for diseases such as cancer and auto immune disease. Which would be nice.

It takes a lot of processing power to fashion a protein, so if lots of people do a bit, it gets done much faster.

It has been made into a competition of sorts because people love to show off and compete.

You install one of the many clients on your PC, assign it to you and your team(43461) and let the points roles in.

I think the stickies give quite a good explanation. Follow the links one.Quote

18-01-2008, 09:11:18

jasonjman
ah thanks i'll do it at home then, prefferably cause am at school right now hmmm

EDIT:

Installing now

EDIT:

Taking its time [Completed 0 out of 1500000 ste[s <0> ... has it jammed on me? lmao, i got such a crap comp

EDIT:

Nvm downlaoding the SMP client and it's out of 500,000 steps, still 0 percent though .... Quote

02-02-2008, 12:03:12

Toxcity
Hello guys!

Just installed the SMP client on 64bit windows and it doesn't seem to like it.

Just flashes up and then closes..

Anyone know the solution?Quote

02-02-2008, 13:41:39

Rastalovich

09-03-2008, 01:09:54

twenty

10-03-2009, 08:11:30

Freak
I have jsut installed this to see if its better than two normal consol versions..... ATM it dont look like it. Graphics seems to not be folding anywhere near as fast.

Still I will let it fold a frame and see what fahmon says....Quote

10-03-2009, 10:38:37

tinytomlogan
if you close the viewing window it will fold faster freakQuote

10-03-2009, 11:32:07

Freak
Viewing window? I only ever use the console versionsQuote

10-03-2009, 12:10:13

tinytomlogan
Ahhh right ok my bad

Have you got dual cards then?Quote

10-03-2009, 13:27:52

monkey7
SMP quite takes the GPU's cpu power, yes. You could try running it at 80% and see what the PPD does.Quote

10-03-2009, 13:53:34

Freak
ahh yeah, didnt think of that one

cheersQuote
Reply
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