FAH Highlights and Updates
Over the past week or two, the Folding@Home (F@H) project has undergone some pretty significant changes. We first start off by a new video that explains (in layman terms) what the F@H Project is about and how one can participate. Following the release of this catchy video, a redesigned website is up and running which can be viewed here. On the updated homepage of F@H, you will find the latest public relase of V7.3.6 which has a very easy to understand interface and doesn't require any technical information to set-up. It is cross-platform compatible thus, can run on Windows, Linus and OSX. A brief overview of the new features is available below for those who fancy detailed descriptions. Please read the content after the break.
Furthermore, the F@H Project has passed the 10 Petaflops scale and is hovering around 12 Petaflop... an impressive achievement!
Finally, a new GPU programmer, Yutong Zhao, has joined the F@H Team. This brings great news to GPU folders.
Remember that our team number is 69411 so if you aren't already on our F@H Team, you may want to show some True Guru3D Spirit and join now to help move our team from the Top 50 in the world to the Top 40 in the world :)
Below, a brief summary of important aspects of the new F@H Client.
The new Web interface is designed to be very easy to use, especially for new donors. It focuses on simplicity, cross-platform support and integration with the Web. When you install the new client, it will automatically offer to open Web Control for you. Later you can access it via a bookmark, the system menu or the system tray icon in Windows.
One thing you will notice immediately in Web Control is the folding power slider bar. This allows you to easily control how much of your system's resources Folding@home uses. You can adjust this level at anytime and FAHClient will automatically reconfigure itself, without requiring a restart. However, please note that some changes require first finishing the current work unit before they can be applied. There's no longer any need to worry about all the low-level configuration options needed to customize Folding@home to your computer's needs or to optimize for maximum performance. All you need to do is click and drag the slider to your desired level of contribution.
If you are familiar with FAHControl, you will notice some major changes. FAHControl is now considered our expert interface. This will allow us to focus on features for expert donors. Do note that the novice/advanced mode, project descriptions, system/notification tray icon and local client start up/quitting have been removed. The result is a much leaner FAHControl and less confusion about how FAHClient is started.
FAHControl now has a folding power slider bar which is still inked to the Web Control. The Fold/Pause/Finish/View buttons are now accessible by right clicking on individual slots instead of buttons on the main toolbar.
NOTE:The default position of the slider is less than the 100% that you were used to. See Performance Levels
FAHClient is the workhorse which communicates with our servers and manages the folding process behind the scenes. For new installs, FAHClient will now start off paused while it waits for you to either tell it to fold anonymously or configure a name and/or a team and/or passkey before the first work unit is downloaded.
In Windows, FAHClient has gained its own system/notification tray icon which now has features found previously in FAHControl. This allowed us to run FAHClient behind the scenes in Windows, just like it does in Linux and OSX, yet still give you control over the process without having to run a low-level tool like Task Manager. It has a popup menu which allows you to quickly control folding or shut it down completely. Please note that in Windows 7 and above, system/notification tray icons automatically go in to the overflow area after 45 seconds. This is a "feature" of Windows and Microsoft has intentionally made it very difficult to get around this. You can configure Windows to always show the icon or you can find it again easily by opening the icon overflow area.
FAHClient will detect if the computer is idle (OSX/Windows only) and start "Idle" folding slots. This new version also makes sure your laptop keeps folding when it is plugged in by keeping your computer from going completely to sleep. As with previous versions, FAHClient will detect if your laptop is running on battery and automatically disable itself to save your battery. Our aim is to get the maximum contribution from your computer while running in absolute stealth mode. You should hardly even notice it's running with default settings!
Many versions and several years ago, Folding@home ran exclusively as a screensaver but that was dropped somewhere along the way. Presumably because screensavers have become less popular now that they are no longer required to "save" your screen. However, we've now brought back that feature for new reasons.
The new Folding@home screensaver is now installed but not enabled by default in Windows (OSX doesn't have the screensaver yet). This screensaver will activate folding on GPU(s) only when the computer is idle. Because of this, GPU slot(s) are now enabled by default, in "Idle" mode, on all machines with compatible hardware running Windows operating system (GPU folding for Linux/OSX is in the works but there's no ETA). This guarantees that GPU folding will not interfere with desktop application(s) or game(s) which, in the past, were a deterrent for some users. Donors with high performance computers can increase their work unit yields by choosing to fold on GPU(s) even when not idle.
Windows Installer Changes
Aside from not enabling the screensaver by default, as mentioned above, the installer now creates a "Folding@home" shortcut which both starts FAHClient, if it's not already running, and opens Web Control. This ensures that FAHClient is started before Web Control.
The installer will also try to shutdown any running FAHControl in addition to shutting down FAHClient. Although it can only shutdown V7.3.3+ FAHControl.
In addition, a drop down box in the uninstaller has been added which asks you to tell us your reason for uninstalling. If you leave it to the default then nothing will be reported. Otherwise it will contact a server at Stanford to record your selection. We hope to use this to better understand why people might leave F@H unhappily and then focus our attention on addressing the most common reasons.