Help needed! Headless Ubuntu box, GPU crunching & Boinc

Discussion in 'Installation/Configuration' started by [email protected], Mar 7, 2014.

  1. danhansen@denmark

    [email protected] Member HowtoForge Supporter

    Hello friends ;)

    I'm trying to build a headless Ubuntu rig to crunch data using the boinc-client. CPU crunching works like a charm, but the GPU is another matter!
    As soon as you are trying to make it "headless" the problems appears. Me and several others have been trying for more than 1 1/2 month to get it to work.
    There's several way some has got it to work, they say. Some trough OpenCL/CUDA, some trough "Wine" and some just give up and does it using GUI.

    I tried to make a Ubuntu Server box with the minimum required X packages. I tried to make a Ubuntu Desktop box and then remove the GUI to keep it as headless as possible.
    Using the standard Ubuntu Desktop Edition will mean that it works, but it's slow. There's a significant difference between the result of a box running the Desktop Edition and a box running e.g. the Server Edition, even though the GPU doesn't run on the Server Edition. This is the problem!

    I found a guy in the Netherlands who solved the problem. But ever since the Ubuntu update to 12.04.4, it doesn't work any more. The Nvidia CUDA driver .deb file doesn't work with 12.04.4.

    I tried several different distro, always the same issues! If anyone have a working headless GPU crunching rig I would very much like to know about it. We have been discussing this in several forums.,, ubuntu community,, Nvidia developer forum,, and a couple more.

    I've been fighting this issue for a long time. If those of you who really knows about Linux, GPU processing and CLI environments would please come to our aid, I would be so much happier than I am right now.
    I don't mind reading, I don't mind trying and I don't mind asking and trying all sorts of suggestions. But I do mind to give up! This has been my worst problem ever! I've never had a problem where everything works against you. And when you suddenly finds a solution, then a update destroys that as well...

    If anyone is interested in the discussion we did, all the materials and the work we have done so far, please don't hesitate to let me know. I will make a list of all treads and posts in forums, links to all the related sites and copies of all the ToDo's I did up until this moment ;)

    Ubuntu 12.04 is the one I know best.

    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  2. pkcarlisle-dot-com

    pkcarlisle-dot-com New Member

    This may not address your issue, but this is my understanding of the BOINC/GPU processing concept:

    BOINC is a framework under which many different @Home projects run. Largely these different projects running under the BOINC framework have different processing specifications and so take advantage of different capabilities of the client computers. Therefore, you will need to adjust variables in BOINC to reflect, not BOINC itself, but the specific @Home project that you are crunching numbers for.

    As an example, the [email protected] project does not take advantage of the GPU for additional processing capacity with some video chips, but does with other video chips. So, even though the BOINC interface (command line or GUI) has an option to permit using the GPU, that option may need to be disabled if you are crunching numbers for the [email protected] project. A help page covering which @HOME projects can use which GPU chipsets can be found here: but just keep in mind that not all video chipsets can provide GPU processing capabilities for all @Home projects, even though the BOINC interface provides GPU processing as an option.

    In the end, I suspect that the specific OS you are running is not as important as the specific video chipset on the machine.

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