There has been great wailing about BOINC dropping support for the NVIDIA 390 series driver. I’m told some Linux distros don’t even include it anymore. Windows 10 users got to see a black screen after an OS update if they had either a Quadro or NVS 310 because support for the driver was dropped. Sadly they didn’t choose to fall back to generic drivers.
Personally I have a small collection of NVS 310 and Quadro cards. Windows users were dumping them several years ago. Some of these had 1GB of RAM with dual display port. You could get them for as little as $10 each. While 48 CUDA core is a bit pathetic for number crunching when you are trying to cure cancer, it is more than enough for a general user and developer.
But BOINC won’t recognize it
Not exactly true.
Under Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and some of the “newer” distros it is true. Under Mint LMDE 5 Elsie and Manjaro Cinnamon this is not true. Yes, I’ve written about the troubled history of Manjaro and BOINC before. With the Cinnamon edition things have markedly improved. Sadly I had to take it off the two machines I had it running on prior to writing this. We can still get you screen shots of the Elsie machine.
Yes, it works!
There you see the NVIDIA 390 driver and one of my Quadro 2000 cards. People are dumping these for about $10 each as well if you shop around. 192 CUDA core can do some crunching. Oh, it cannot hold a candle to those 8GB cards with thousands of CUDA core, but it does okay.
My “spare” machines are older models. Mostly I buy small form factor machines these days. The machine we are talking about right now is an ancient tower machine.
The 6-core Phenom II is definitely a “dated” processor, but combined with this card it can help cure cancer, AIDS, COVID-19, and many other things until I need to press it into service again.
Why would you want these cards?
Your older machines don’t have the extra power lead required by those 8+GB behemoths. I don’t even know if you can get something like that for small form factor desktops. “Spare” machines are always old machines. None of the projects I care about support Intel GPU.
Yes, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and even Adobe are trying to push consumers to “buy new,” but y’all don’t need it. Microsoft is a legacy platform. Most medical facilities I know of are still running Windows 7 with no plans to upgrade. We will see just how long the end to extended security updates lasts. It’s a national security thing and upgrading the desktops in an Emergency Room wholesale is a dicey proposition.
Most of the machines with Windows 7 on them today won’t move forward to Windows 10, they will move to Linux. Many will become “spare” computers and people will finally decide to see what BOINC is all about. When $10-$20 can really increase your crunching, you do it.
When I started out with dual floppy computers, if one lasted five years, it was amazing. We didn’t have standards, things were changing rapidly. Around the time Intel came out with gen-4 processors, the industry stabilized. That Phenom II X6 was introduced in 2010 and is still going strong in 2023. Gospel truth, for someone who just needs to check email, surf the Web, and do a family budget it is way more than enough. In 2013 we had announcements for Intel gen-4. The machines are still running, many or most of them anyway. 98% of the market has zero reason to upgrade.