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Folding@home with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 on Ubuntu

posted Feb 17, 2015, 10:25 PM by Nicolay Doytchev   [ updated Mar 4, 2016, 7:19 PM ]
For a month I've been contemplating getting a power-efficient, dedicated GPU for Folding@home. After some research, I ended up getting a Gigabyte GTX 960 WindForce 2X OC. The main reasons behind my choice among other GTX 960 variants were the quiet cooler and that this GPU draws well below the maximum power available from its PCIe slot and thus it doesn't stress the motherboard's power circuitry. Instead it feeds itself from two 6-pin PCIe power connectors. If you have similar deliberations, here's how it does at Folding@home on Ubuntu 14.04:

GPU: Gigabyte GTX 960 WindForce 2X OC
PPD: 170000
Temp: 64 C
Noise: Very quiet. I can only hear the other video card.

Note that this is a secondary GPU, so no graphics are rendered on it. If you're running it as primary, your PPD will be lower. In order to get the new GPU working, I had to install the NVIDIA 346 driver, which I did by rebuilding the 346 packages from the xorg-edgers PPA on my system. You can learn how to that here. This method is not trivial but it works and it avoids both upgrade issues, as well as replacing your whole xorg stack with an unstable version.
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