This is a platform for User Generated Content. G/O Media assumes no liability for content posted by Kinja users to this platform.

Folding@home: Electrons Cost Money

Illustration for article titled Folding@home: Electrons Cost Money
Screenshot: Excel 2007 for Geeks and the Obsessed

I have two GPUs, a 1060/6GB and a 1080 ti, both installed in a Precision 5820 workstation. Our typical monthly utility bill for our home, during temperate months, is about $100. We live in the SF Bay Area and cool our home at night and close the windows during the day when it gets hot. Our home is well insulated.


The most recent two recent utility bills were $300.

Now, I realize that some of you would love a $300 utility bill, especially at the height of Summer.


Because of the quarantine, we’re home all the time and some additional power usage is to be expected. And for sure, I expected running one or two PCs and GPUs 24/7 would not be free. It turns out that running the 5820 with both GPUs folding costs minimally $78/mo in Tier 1, and $100/mo in Tier 2 of the usage-based electricity pricing. This is not sustainable for me.

Bottom line: Folding 24/7 with the two GPUs uses more electricity than my entire household uses on some days.

Illustration for article titled Folding@home: Electrons Cost Money
Screenshot: Extreme Overclockers

Actual usage is about 3.8 amps at 120 volts AC. This would be down, I assume, from having each GPU running in a separate case, particularly since I do not fold on CPU slots.


Time for Plan B. I am investigating what it would cost to set up an off-grid, “cabin”-type solar power storage that would provide entirely for the power to operate the 5820 with both GPUs. I haven’t gotten a price for that yet, but my preliminary investigation suggests $8-10k when you add in the large flooded lead acid batteries. We’re talking 3.8 amps x 24 hours is a lot of amp hours at 120 VAC. Any such system would pay for itself at $80/mo. and rather than simply buying electrons, I’d be buying a backup electrical system for my home during an extended power outage.

Anyhow, this is my report. The folding is more expensive than I’d hoped it would be and I have to figure out what to do next. I’m not folding right now because there’s a heatwave and a bunch of wildfire smoke in the air.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter