Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

250 Unit Milestone

It’s been 13 months since my last milestone, but I’ve hit 250 work units on SETI@Home, which means I get my second certificate. With this new laptop being much, much faster than previous computers I can now send in units after just 5 hours of computing time. That said, I have the computer off overnight (even though this one is silent) so it only works when I’m out during the day, but I can still send in at least one per day.

Compare that with 16 hours on the old machine and 40 hours on my parents’ machine, and you get an idea for how fast this little baby is :). It’s also good proof that processor clock speed says very little about CPU output – if you use my parents’ machine as a benchmark at 400Mhz, then this should be a 3.2Ghz machine since it can process units 8 times faster. But it’s only 2.2Ghz. Similarly, using my previous 900Mhz laptop as a benchmark, this would be getting on towards 2.8Ghz, but again, it’s not. I have a feeling that the fast FSB is something to do with it – you can have the world’s fastest processor but a slow FSB speed will have it lying idle for most of the time due to bottlenecks. But I’m not a hardware geek so I may well be wrong.

I’m currently in the library with the laptop on batteries (an impossibility before) downloading 1.1. With an average download rate of 65KB/sec, compared to an absolute best of 6.5KB/sec in my room, you can see why I’m here. Admittedly the speeds are capped – had I been on one of the wired in computers downstairs I’d have been thundering through at over 1MB/sec, but anything’s better than 56k. And that file I was downloading last night? I managed around 300KB of it before I got disconnected 🙁 .

One Comment

  1. I’m on my 818th work unit at the moment.
    Keep this to yourself but I used to (illicitly, sort of – I was the IT manager and I gave myself permission) run it on my work computer at my last place of work. After I’d left and moved to my new job I had a moment of horror one evening, when I thought that I’d forgotten to remove it and it would still be running on that PC. But then I remembered that the hard disk had died a couple of weeks before I left and I’d never bothered to reinstall setiathome. Phew.