There seems to be a lack of information on how to get folding at home running efficiently and quickly, as well as a general lack of pictures. So here are both! :)
What is folding at home?
Folding at home is a project, set up by Stanford, which allows people to use their idle computing power on both classic processors (CPUs) and Graphics Cards (GPUs). This computing power is used to fold proteins, a process which gives medical and biological researchers more insight into how proteins fold to their usable state, as well as why they 'unfold', leading to a greater understanding of protein structure, how they work in our body, and, most importantly, how to fix what went wrong, from curing Cancer to Huntington's to Parkinsons. If you want a more clear understanding of the actual science behind the folding at home project, tons of great info is available on their site: Stanford Folding @ Home
For a quick intro video: Folding@home Youtube Video
This guide focuses on the tech aspects of F@H, and will help you to get your computer(s) folding proteins, and earning you money. Step 1: Hardware Check
The better your hardware, the faster you can, of course, mine/fold. Many crypto-currency users already have mining rigs, most of which have very powerful GPUs.
While you could fold with low-end hardware, the heat it produces, mixed with the energy it requires, may make it not worth the effort, or may be your excuse to buy that new GPU you've been eying. For benchmarks, we will be assuming we are using [b]Core 17[/b], which we will cover in detail later. I will create another thread where we can work on pooling benchmarks, however here is a quick view of some of the most popular hardware.
Any ATi card from the 5xxx, 6xxx, and 7xxx series should run fine, as should any NVidia 5xx, 6xx, or 7xx cards. Titans currently have some performance issues.
An average Intel i5-2500k can hit somewhere in the ballpark of 5-6000 PPD, an i7-3770 gets somewhere around 7200PPD.
Important Note About Cores:
For optimal performance, your miner should have a core on the CPU for each GPU on your system. If you have three 7970s on one machine, that Sempron 145 will be a bottleneck. For scrypt-mining, I built my rigs with single-core CPUs and 2 7950s each, as well as some rigs with some 7970s jammed into them. One rig with a Sempron 145 Sargas + 2x7970 has times when the CPU usage zooms up to 100%, and the GPUs stop running for 10-20 seconds. It appears that some task that must be completed on the CPU is reached by one of the GPUs, so the machine spends 100% CPU time working on that CPU-specific piece of the folding puzzle. While this is going, both GPUs are starved of the necessary CPU time, and so they go idle. However, in one machine with a 2x7950 and a FX-8350, I can get great performance. It seems that 1/4 of the time (on average) is high-CPU time, so having a core for each GPU and an extra core for running high-CPU-time tasks should eliminate bottlenecking. 3 GPU systems should have a quad-core processor.
Step through the installer, leaving everything as default until the end, where you uncheck to 'Start Folding At Home'.
Once the program is installed, you will have a short-cut on your desktop, which starts the Folding At Home program. We need to make a slight change before we launch it.
Right-click on the desktop icon, and click on 'Properties'.
The Properties window will come up. We need to change the launch arguments to include:
This allows the client to use the bleeding-edge core_17 core, which is significantly (by a factor of 2x to 10x) faster than the core13-16 mixes, as well as being the core used for all benchmarks above.
Now double-click on the desktop shortcut. Then, find the FAHControl application, usually located here:
You will be asked about folding anonymously, click on "Configure Identity".
This will bring up a window.
Enter your desired username, "224497" for the TeamID, and then click on the blue "Click here to open the Folding@home passkey request..." link. This will bring up a window:
Enter the username you put in the previous window, along with a valid email address that you have access to. You will, soon after, receive a passkey via email. Enter that into the 'passkey' entry on the FAH Client window, and enter it again into the 'confirm' box.
Now, you can finally start folding. The machine *should* automatically detect all GPUs and CPUs. If your system has a small amount of cores (1-2), you may want to right-click on the CPU, and click 'pause':
[b]Note: this will make your CPU stop folding. This is done to conserve CPU power to feed your GPUs on systems with very weak processors.
Now, you need to sign-up for the pool, in order to be rewarded.
Go to: Cryptobullionpools.com in a web browser, and sign up for an account there, using the same username as you input into the F@H client.
Confirming You Are Running Core_17:
To make sure that your GPUs are using Core_17, take a look at:
and make sure that you are clicked on the job(s) that are running on GPUs. The ones on CPUs will say something along the line of "Core: 0xa3". 0x## means a GPU-type Job.
Some jobs take as little as an hour and a half to complete on competent hardware, while some take 8+ hours. The picture above shows a 780 running, with a good overclock.
No fees in the folding pool !
Thanks to Vorksholk and Cryptobullion for the folding pool and easy to follow guide