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knowshisonion
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2012-11-10 01:53:22

Greetings everybody,

I am new to the concept of BOINC, and it has pushed my knowledge of computers farther than my previous point of utilizing them only for web surfing as well as a few apps. And I have this forum to thank for that.. But I've got a lot of learning to do. With that, I am curious as to how long term use of BOINC effects computers, namely my MBP.

Since learning about and downloading BOINC about a month ago, I would say I have kept my computer on 95% of that time. Typically during periods where it is not in use (overnight included) I turn it from using 50% of the processor to 100%, and using 70% of CPU's time. During the times with only 50% of the processor running, the CPU will float around 75-85 C, and sometimes a little over 90 C with 100% of it crunching. I've heard that going over 80 C (roughly 170 F) constantly can reduce the overall life of my computer, and it being as costly as it was, I don't want that (yeah yeah, I know. Shouldn't have gotten a Mac. Shhh.)

Today I bought a laptop stand with USB powered fans, but I'm not seeing a real reduction in CPU temp while utilizing the processor's full power. Before I just had a separate 8 inch fan blowing on it, that would be used only while at full processing power.

I'm kind of wondering if I'm being a computer-hypochondriac, or if there really is no need to worry about running my computer nearly 24/7 at high CPU usage and temp, OR are MBPs even okay to run BOINC with? In my mind I have it equated to a car's engine (which I'm more acquainted to than computers): If you run at a high RPM constantly, its life would end more quickly than say the normal-paced driver.

I must say though, the BOINC bug has bitten me and I'm hooked. But if it calls for my computer's $1,100 life to be shortened ... I would rather invest in a desktop that can be used strictly as a BOINC worker. Obsessed? Probably.

Here's what I'm working with, if it matters, e.g "this particular model has x problem that can be solved by doing x" ..

Macbook Pro 7,1
Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.4 Ghz
1 processor, 2 cores
L2 Cache size is 3 MB
4 GB RAM, 1067 Mhz DDR3
Bus speed of 1.07 Ghz
NVIDIA GeForce 320M with GPU
noderaser
 
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2012-11-10 06:50:00

On my MBP, I have it set to a max of 70% CPU. If it were a desktop I wouldn't be too concerned, but laptops don't have the best cooling systems. A few years back, I actually managed to melt a Pentium 4 laptop. Fortunately, it was under warranty and I had it repaired with the manufacturer none the wiser. Ever since, I've throttled all my laptops running BOINC back just a little bit, to be on the safe side.
knowshisonion
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2012-11-10 08:10:12

If you don't mind my asking, how often and how long have you been running it on your laptop? I've been considering shutting it down overnight, and keeping it going at full bore only a few hours a day to prevent the presumably shorter lifespan..
Bruce Kennedy
 
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2012-11-11 05:27:11

knowshisonion wrote:

If you don't mind my asking, how often and how long have you been running it on your laptop? I've been considering shutting it down overnight, and keeping it going at full bore only a few hours a day to prevent the presumably shorter lifespan..


I've been running BOINC on my wife's ASUS Core2 Duo T6600 @ 2.20GHz laptop for 3 years next month. It's been running 24x7 at 100% CPU except for when she needs to check out Facebook and then I'm kind enough to set it at just 95% for BOINC.
ebahapo
 
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2012-11-11 18:37:57

Low-quality laptops suffer from poor cooling capabilities and BOINC may push the heat generation beyond the limits of a badly designed CPU cooling system. You said that it's a Mac, so not a low-quality laptop by any means. Therefore, I'd venture saying that its cooling system can cope with the maximum heat that the CPU can generate. However, in order to do that, the fan will be on full blast all the time and, unless it sports ball bearings, its life will be shorter than if you didn't run BOINC.

These are my considerations when I wondered about running BOINC on any laptop. So, in order to not affect its life span significantly, I tried to limit how much CPU BOINC used so that either throttling would be enough to keep the temperature within limits or that the fan would be slow enough to not be heard. In my experience, this limit typically 25% of the CPU.

This means that my contribution to BOINC is decreased quite a bit, but it's not insignificant. Another consequence is that projects whose WUs long for a long time may not be suitable anymore, so I avoid running them on laptops, only on desktops, whose cooling capabilities are not only beefier, but also easier to replace or upgrade.

HTH
knowshisonion
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2012-11-13 02:24:41

Thanks for the replies everyone, I'll keep going strong on BOINC with my laptop. I conclude the fan will regulate the temperature just fine, and if/when the fan dies out from overuse they're only $50 and easy to replace. It's staggering to know it's possible to run at 100% 24/7 for that long, my "car engine" analogy was apparently pretty far off.

I will definitely be looking in to getting my hands on a desktop to up my contribution to BOINC projects. Perhaps I'll be fantasizing about tripping across a used Maingear computer or something of the sort ...
noderaser
 
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2012-11-14 04:09:12

After I reduced the CPU load on the replacement P4 laptop to 60%, it ran without incident (until it was replaced) for another 3-4 years on a pretty rough duty cycle, though not 24/7. I've not had any problems with the two MBPs I've had since then; my current one has been running 24/7 for the better part of 3 months, in pursuit of WCG badges.

CPU life isn't quite liken an engine where "wear" is determined by a number of cycles/revolutions and mechanical wear, heat is the enemy of a CPU--so if things are kept pretty cool you can keep it running full bore indefinitely.
knowshisonion
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2012-11-14 23:03:43

noderaser wrote:

After I reduced the CPU load on the replacement P4 laptop to 60%, it ran without incident (until it was replaced) for another 3-4 years on a pretty rough duty cycle, though not 24/7. I've not had any problems with the two MBPs I've had since then; my current one has been running 24/7 for the better part of 3 months, in pursuit of WCG badges.

CPU life isn't quite liken an engine where "wear" is determined by a number of cycles/revolutions and mechanical wear, heat is the enemy of a CPU--so if things are kept pretty cool you can keep it running full bore indefinitely.


60% is where I have had mine since recording the temps at different loads. At least on my MBP 60% on both cores keep the temps at 60-70c with 75c at most and fans hardly over the standard 2,000rpm minimum (these were recorded with no other apps running.) This seems to be a happy balance, going up to 70% power makes the cpu exceed 80c and forces the fans to 3000+ rpm.

I'm still being overcautious, but that's just the way I am. Now when I get a hold of a desktop, however...
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