All credit for this thread should go to babychunder, as he set up the original thread on the old Custom PC forum - I'm simply recreating it here for continuity. --------------------------------- I thought I'd jot down a few tips to pass on what I've learned, so that new / existing folders can squeeze those last few points out of their rig. Might not be 100% accurate so please feel free to improve the thread. Best Clients 1. Windows GPU2 console client 2. Windows GPU2 systray client 3. SMP client (Native Linux/OSX) 4. SMP client (Windows with Linux under VMWare) 5. SMP client (Windows) 6. GPU no-nonsense console client (Windows) 7. GPU GUI client (Windows) 8. No-nonsense console client (Windows or Linux) Best Operating System - all clients except GPU2 1. Linux/OSX 2. Windows with Linux under VMWare 3. Windows Best Operating System - GPU2 client 1. Vista (uses less CPU) 2. Windows 3. Native Linux under WINE Best GPU Hardware 1. 9800GX2 / 8800GX2 2. GTX280 3. GTX260 4. 9800GTX+ / 8800GTX+ 5. 9800GTX / 8800GTX 6. 9800GT / 8800GT 7. 8800GS 8. 9600GSO 9. 9600GT / 8600GT I have only listed nvidia hardware because ATI's isn't that good. But if you already have a top-end ATI card you will probably get more PPD than a low-end nvidia. Just don't buy ATI if you want to fold. Best CPU Hardware 1. Quad Core 45nm Q9xxx 2. Quad Core 45nm Xeon E54xx 3. Quad Core 65nm Xeon E53xx 4. Quad Core 65nm Q6xxx 5. Dual Core 2 45nm E8xxx 6. Dual Core Woodcrest Xeons E51xx 7. Dual Core 2 65nm E6xxx 8. AMD Quad Core 9xxx 9. AMD Tri Core 10. Dual Core AMD Opteron 11. Core Duo Mobile 12. AMD 64 x2 13. Core Solo Mobile 14. Pentium M (Dothan) with 2mb cache 15. Pentium M (Banias) with 1mb cache 16. Single Core AMD 64 17. Older Pentium 4 Netburst Architecture, larger cache sizes are best 18. Older Pentium Mobile 19. Celerys and Simper-ons Obviously the higher the clock speed the better. After that consider the FSB speed, higher the better. Some CPUs with the same clock but higher FSB are cheaper anyway. Last CPUs with larger cache will fold quicker. There will be some overlaps between processor classes, for example a high-end DC Opteron will smoke a low-end Core 2. Similarly, 2x Dual Core Woodcrests will outperform a single Core 2 Quad because of the extra cache and the higher memory bandwidth of the duallie motherboard. Pretty much all of these CPUs can be overclocked; however the Xeons are for experts only. If your mobo allows you to clock up an E2160 to faster than an E6750, then its worth considering despite the small CPU cache. Best Memory Configuration 1. Four FB-DIMMs in Quad Channel mode 2. Two DDR2s in Dual Channel mode 3. Two DDRs in Dual Channel mode 4. Four DDR2s Dual Channel 5. Four DDRs Dual Channel 6. One or three DDR2s 7. One or three DDRs In all cases you should have at least 1GB (2x 512) of memory. If running VMWare, you will need at least 2GB (2x1GB). With Quad Cores, shoot for 4GB if possible. Latency matters, the lower the better, but it’s less important than clock speed. DDR2-800 with CAS4 is the minimum you should shoot for if it’s a new build. DDR2-1066 or better if you can afford it. Best Client Mix 1. As many GPU2 clients as you can get GPUs in a box 2. 2x Quad Core Xeons – Four SMP clients 3. 1x Quad Core C2D – Two SMP clients 4. 2x Dual Core Xeons - Two SMP clients 5. High-end Dual Core machines – One SMP client 6. All other Dual Core machines – One SMP client 7. High-end Single Core machines – One Console client The above assumes non-Windows SMP clients. You should only consider the Windows SMP client if you can’t run Linux or get VMWare working, or don’t have enough RAM to support VMWare. When using mixed clients always use "affinity changer" (choice of three tools) to do SMP in pairs and have a dedicated core per GPU. Google for details. Alternatively just right click on the folding processes in Task Manager to set affinity. Never mind that Stanford recommend four cores per CPU client, it runs fine on two. Two clients gives better PPD. Your low end machine (Celery, Simperon etc) still has value and is best used as a mule for a GPU2 client. Look out for electricity cost. Any of the Mobile chips on a Desktop mobo will save you money. After that, the Core architecture is best, followed by the AMD, with Intel P4/Xeon Netburst bringing up the rear. The best Points Per Day per Watt comes from Xeons and the Quads; the worst is from the P4 Netburst and Celeri. GPU2 client PPD/W is much better than SMP; a quad will pull at least 300W for about 2500PPD while a GPU about 100W for about 5000PPD (assuming an 8800GT). Last if you are overclocking, don't push it too far. An unstable OC will cost you points and waste Stanfords time. You may think you have a stable overclock using Prime, Orthos etc but folding is much more demanding and will always find any weakness or instability.