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SETI @ HOME TIPS



Let me answer a few questions that came in since my earlier posting.

1) Someone asked how long it should take to do a work unit on his xxx
machine should take to do a work unit. Here is what I'm clocking with
machines running Win2K:

  - 533 MHz Celeron:           14 h
  - 450 MHz Pent 2 "Data Acq": 13 h
  - 350 MHz Pent 2 "Data Acq": 13 h
  - 600 MHz Pent 3 laptop:     10 h
  - 1.0 GHz Pent 4 "Data Acq":  9 h
  - 1.3 GHz Pent 4 "big box":   7 h
  - 1.5 GHz Pent 4 "big box":   6 h
  - 866 MHz Pent 3 "Data Acq":  6 h

The "Big Box" machines are used for office duties. The Celeron is my wife's
word processing & Email box. The Data Acquisition machines are online
fulltime doing 24/7 data acquisition tasks. The laptop is a Sony SR-7k VAIO.
All machines are running full-time.

You will note that, for a given clock speed, the Pentium 3 machines are
about 50% faster than the new Pentium 4. Newer ain't always better!


2) Other inquiries came from people who were taking 100s of hours per work
unit. If you are running the normal Windoze screen saver version (the one
you pick up by default at http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/download.html),
I suggest you disable the screen saver and you will find it runs about least
twice as fast. The reason for all this is that the pretty pictures in S@H
take almost as much time to as it takes to do the FFTs and pattern
recognition.

To disable the S@H screensaver, move your cursor on the background screen
and hit the right-hand mouse button. Then select [PROPERTIES] and then
select the [SCREEN SAVER] tab.

Select [NONE] as a screensaver. To save the CRT and electricity, select
[POWER] on the same screen and select [ALWAYS ON] and [TURN OFF MONITOR
AFETER xx MINUTES].

If you want to see how you are doing, maximize S@H's pretty screen. Then,
after you have become satiated with the pretty pictures, minimize the screen
to the toolbar.



3) Those of us who want to achieve blazing speeds and don't care about
seeing the pretty pictures have a more elegant solution -- use the command
line version of the S@H software available at
http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/unix.html. Don't let the "UNIX" name in
the URL scare you off. The Windoze users want to fetch the version named
"i386-winnt-cmdline.exe". If you are running some version of Windoze other
than NT, don't be worried about the "WINNT" in the name.

The command-line version is unpleasant to use. I recommend you use a very
nice front-end called SetiSpy which is free from
http://personalwebs.myriad.net/roelof/setispy/. You run SETISPY, and it runs
the command line program. It keeps some interesting statistics for you,
shows your progress, and even provides an access to the S@H web site so you
have one-click access to Team AMSAT's progress. In the next issue of the
AMSAT Journal, K5NRK tells you what some of these statistics mean.

If you use SETISPY in conjunction with the command-line version, you should
have no problem keeping up production rates like I show above.


4) G3RWL points out another problem that has been hurting lately -- the S@H
server at Berkeley is badly congested and constipated. You may have to wait
12 hours to post a work unit that only took you 10 hours to generate.

But there's a fix for that problem too -- and it's what most of the "big
guns" are doing. Another freeware program is called SETI DRIVER. It can be
fetched from http://www.wakeassoc.com/setidriver/. What DRIVER does is to
fetch a number of work units when the S@H Internet server is up and working.
It then parcels out work units whenever your S@H client needs them. It sends
the results back when the server is working and fetches more units. I keep
10 in each machine's queue here, so each machine only needs to access the
Internet server every few days. This works out especially well for the S@H
copy on my laptop.

I haven't tried it, but SETI DRIVER is supposed to be able to work with the
stock "pretty pictures" "screen saver" version of S@H.


These schemes work very well for me -- the 8 machines I listed above produce
~20 work units per day for me.

73 de Tom, W3IWI





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