Couple of questions (from a newbie)

So I’m thinking that I’d like to run the beta Folding@Home Nvidia client (which runs through CUDA). I downloaded the necessary files, but I have a couple of questions that I can’t seem to find the answers to.

1: Does the CUDA driver replace the regular Nvidia display drivers? I do play games on this system, and as most gamers know, drivers can make a big difference.

2: The F@H FAQ claims that the GPU client will run in the background without disrupting normal GPU functions, slowing down as necessary when the GPU is in use by other processes. I had heard that the CUDA drivers completely took over the video card, and in order to keep the display running you’d need either another video card or you’d have to settle for (temporary) software rendering. Am I thinking of an older version of CUDA, or does F@H somehow modify the CUDA code to achieve this?

I suppose the second question is something I could find out after installing it, but the first question is something I’d really like to know before I go ahead with it.

  1. is sort of a sideways answer - you need NVIDIA drivers with CUDA capabilities. If you have a fast “gaming” driver that’s older than CUDA, you may lose those few % driver speedups when you install a newer CUDA-enabled driver. I don’t think you’ll lose any speed.

  2. Things run simultaneously. When a CUDA operation or “kernel” is running, that’s all the card does - for a fraction of a second. You’d get some stutter if you had a badly-behaved CUDA app running in the background. Smart CUDA apps mix the processing nicely or disable themselves, like F@H probably does.

If your drivers are 169.09 (169.21 maybe, not sure) or newer, you already have CUDA support included with them. CUDA drivers are included in regular display drivers now.

Thank you for the prompt replies! F@H says to use CUDA driver 174.55 or better, but I guess it’s safe to assume that the most recent Nvidia drivers will come with the most recent CUDA drivers, so that resolves any issues with my desktops. Only question left is, will it work on my laptop? It’s sporting an 8800M GTX, but I’m pretty sure that laptop video drivers are specially tailored for their systems. Any chance that my Sager NP5793 (with driver version 174.90, for whatever that’s worth) will run CUDA?

F@H requires display driver 174.55 or later due to changes that were added to the CUDA driver. F@H may or may not work at all with older drivers (with respect to CUDA).

So the recommended driver for F@H GPU2 client for GTX cards is 174.55. Is this a display driver, or just an update to the CUDA portion of the driver? Again, I realize that the CUDA drivers are already installed on my machine, but my laptop in particular will suffer if I shove a non-Sager processed display driver down it’s throat (and my desktop will probably play games crappily). I know that they say it should work with 174.55 or newer, but if you look around on their forums, it’s full of posts saying it really only works on just that one driver. If I go to the CUDA home page and download drivers from there (that’s where the Folding@Home webpage sends you), will that overwrite the whole display driver, or just the CUDA part?

174.55 is a complete update to both the display & CUDA drivers. It would be extremely unlikely (although not impossible) that a newly released driver would only update CUDA or display but not both.

Lame, guess I need to wait for them to fix up the beta some more so I don’t need that exact version. Anyway, thanks for the help.

It would also be nice if they could come up with a linux GPU client. I have a lot of processing power to donate 16 hours per day (8800GTX & T10P) but I cannot…