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F@H vs S@H: Benchmarks

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  • F@H vs S@H: Benchmarks

    Well after a day of testing and resinstalling and writing, the results are in. Here is the much anticipated review I did of F@H to see if it had any negative affect to computer performance. I'll let the results speak for themselves. BTW: I did this in tweaktown fashion to make it a bit professional, and just in case a mod thinks its awesome enough to throw it up as an article I wouldnt have to do much cleaning up. Without further ado:


    As many of you know I just recently started posting in the Tweaktown Forums, however Ive been using
    the guides here for quite a while. One of the most recent additions to my hard drive was Folding@Home.
    For those of you hiding under a rock in the Beer Garden, Folding@Home is a Distributed Computing
    Program developed by Standford University to research folding proteins. In English, it's a program similar
    to SETI@Home that hopefully will help cure disease. Couldn't be for a better cause. To find out more
    go check out the website.

    I had participated in SETI@Home in the past, but stopped because it really hurt system performance when
    I was using the computer, and I was ALWAYS using the computer. So it was pretty impratical. When I
    heard about F@H I though, ugh, more slowdown, but I decided to give it a try. Well what I found, is that
    because it is set as an Idle process in Windows, it was not hurting my system performance at all. Even
    when playing games such as Need for Speed: Underground and Max Payne 2, I saw no slowdown or FPS
    drop whatsoever. So I figured its time whip out the benchmarks and see if F@H is as well written piece of
    non-intrusive software.

    Test Rig:
    So what we have here is a fine piece of machinery I like the call Baal ;) No really, its just my computer.
    Quick stats:
    Aopen AK77 Pro o/c'd to 144 mhz FSB
    1600+ XP o/c'd to 1500 mhz
    256 mb Elixir PC2100 at CAS2
    Audigy Gamer
    10/100 NIC
    WD ATA66 HD
    Xtasy Ti4200 o/c'd to 310/580

    I am using a nice stable overclock to simulate a real world situation where F@H would be running behind
    games/apps etc. The benchmarks I'll be using are SiSoft Sandra 2k4 to check is F@H idle CPU usage
    affects a synthetic benchmark. 3dMark2001SE to see if F@H running behind DX8 games would affect
    performance. And Aquamark3 to simulate a real world DX9 game, and because I think the scenes are
    pretty cool. ;)

    All Benchmarks were run after a clean install of XP Pro, with minimal background services, and no apps
    on startup besides RivaTuner to O/C the video card. Each benchmark was run 3 times and then an average
    was taken. The computer was restarted after each benchmark ran 3 times. Now, on to some numbers.

    The Test:

    Well I dont have Excel on my computer at the moment, so you won't get any bar graphs, but what you will
    get are some pretty suprising results. First lets take a look at Sandra 2k4.

    CPU Arthmetic Benchmark:
    Control Test: 5682 Mips / 2350 Flops
    F@H in BG: 5681 Mips / 2350 Flops

    CPU Multimedia Benchmark:
    Control Test: 13687 Int / 14012 Float
    F@H in BG: 13688 Int / 14007 Float

    Memory Bandwith Benchmark:
    Control Test: 2093 Int / 1935 Float
    F@H in BG: 2074 Int / 1938 Float

    Cache & Memory Benchmark:
    Control was exact same as F@H in BG.

    I was really suprised with this. I figured if any performance degredation were to show up, it would have been in
    the stressful Sandra Benchmarks. Boy was I wrong. There was no performance difference whatsoever.


    Control Test: 19173
    F@H in BG: 19220

    Again, WOW! Actually had a slight performance boost with F@H in the Background. No scores on the control group
    went over the lowest score attained while running F@H.


    Control Test: 9597
    F@H in BG: 9625

    And once again, a really cool result, with F@H beating out the control test. Its starting to form a pattern. Onto the
    rambling conclusion.

    One Word. Hotness.
    What I've discovered is having F@H running in your background has absolutely no disadvantages to your overall
    system performace at all. I also tried it out with 2 real world games, Max Payne 2 and Need for Speed Underground.
    Using Fraps 2.0 I found no difference in framrate while F@H was running in the BG. So why not run F@H? You're not
    hurting you're system performace, and you're helping to cure disease.

    Get over to and download the client and get cranking out those W/U's
    And dont forget to join TweakTown's Team: ID# 33272 so you can get your name in lights in our stats:

    Thanks to Minibubba for starting the TT F@H group and having his sig get me inetersted in F@H.
    And thanks to Tweaktown for being the coolest freakin Computer Enthusiasts to date, period.


  • #2
    wow. that's pretty awsome results. If anything, I expect a slight hit to performance. Glad to see I was wrong:D
    Now we just need a few more people to join up so we can get the team to the top, where it belongs :)
    *btw, to the guys with the power... I wouldn't mind seeing something like this on the front page to stir up some intrest in the TT DC teams ;)

    Perhaps this may be a good canidate for one of the new user reviews?


    • #3
      I had participated in SETI@Home in the past, but stopped because it really hurt system performance when
      What slowdown?
      i play AAO and my FPS are the same as with SETI off. Maybe I dont have a pretty numbers to throw at you, but even with my ****ty GF4 440mx I dont have any problems running seti and playing games. :D
      Maybe you should also do a test with the SETI setup (as described in the link in my sig) to compare it to F@H.


      • #4
        Good Idea Kane, as my Seti@Home experience was over 2 years ago, so Im sure things have changed, should have added that in the post.


        • #5
          well kane2g, why don't you run the tests and add it here ;) I'm sure we would all like to see the comparisons.

          besides, I wasn't kidding about wanting this (or something like it) on the main page to promote interest in both teams


          • #6
            I agree with minibubba, I think a small little review by Tweaktown on the front page would be a good idea. It would defintely stir up intrest in the User review contest, as pretty much anyone can review this stuff. Plus, dat mobo would be sweet.


            • #7
              no review is going to happen by me because:
              all my systems are dedicated to crunching already :D
              My settings (bios and windows) are so that my WUs are crunched the quickest possible.
              Looks like Fatguy3 has a system with a clean install just waiting for S@H install. plus we could compare the numbers between S@H and F@H on the same system. which would be nice :2cents:


              • #8
                Well I just got done another round of testing. As I'm too lazy to write up a whole report right now, I'll give you the basic results.

                In Sandra, there was no difference between a control test, F@H or S@H at all. 1 or 2 points here and there.

                In 3dMark2001SE I found a VERY slight increase when not using a Distributed Program. However this could be attributed to fluctuating temps (snowing here in the NE) and I just got done tweaking out the vid card a little more. There was only like a 100 point difference though, nothing to write home about. However F@H and SETI@H were only a few points off of each other.

                In Aqumark there was only a few points, 10 or 15 between all 3 tests. So basically, running S@H or F@H will not ruin performance at all, as far as I can tell.

                Note: I am very interested in writing up a professional comparison to be entered into the User Review Competition. :wave: wink wink....


                • #9
                  I knew S@H wasnt having any issues with performance! :thumb:
                  This deserves at least a sticky! right?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kane2g
                    This deserves at least a sticky! right?
                    sure, it's done :)
                    *and a little title revision too


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by minibubba

                      *btw, to the guys with the power... I wouldn't mind seeing something like this on the front page to stir up some intrest in the TT DC teams ;)
                      Iv noticed most of the top teams have a link on the main web site front page. Also they put folding rite where you can see it on the main forum page, in DC forums or web Teams. I had to search to find the DC forums here. The people that run this site have the power to make our folding team a powerhouse...


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Fatguy3
                        ... I had participated in SETI@Home in the past...
                        Are those Units parked in any meaningful location? Hint. Hint. ;)

                        Nice bit of analytical work Fatguy3. :thumb:

                        I do have some questions, however. I'm wondering how much progress was made on the F@h or S@h units during the benching/gaming vs the same length of time while running the DC program by itself? I suspect that the wu processing suffered at the expense of the benching/gaming.

                        I am not at all familiar with the F@h programs (GUI or CLI), however, there are three priority settings in SETI Driver for running the command line version of S@h. They are 'High,' 'Normal' and 'Low.' What setting was used while benching with S@h running and what setting corresponds to the F@h setting? Or does the CLI version of F@h operate like the typical settings for the GUI version of S@h and back off completely while there are other processes with higher prioity running?


                        • #13
                          I only had it installed for about a week, on a P3 500. So even If I could remember my username, it wouldnt be worth while anyway


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Fatguy3
                            I only had it installed for about a week, on a P3 500. So even If I could remember my username, it wouldnt be worth while anyway
                            Ok, thanks. BTW I've added some questions to my previous post.


                            • #15
                              #1 Although I did not record the times of units processed, performance defintely suffered during gameplay. This is to be expected, as @Home only eats up your idle processes. This was more of a test of Microsoft's CPU Priority Coding then anything really.

                              #2 Both progs were run in command line mode with the process set at lowest setting, Idle for F@H and Low for S@H. Im sure if I upped the priority it would result in performance loss.

                              Thanks for the questions though. I may do some tests to see how long a certain frame takes without any progs running vs Gaming vs Sandra BurnIn Test (That would be a killer) But it really wouldnt prove anything that we didnt know. Oh well, perhaps sometime today. :)