Folding@Home: Don't Be a Leech!

November 16, 2023 ren 3 minutes

      It’s about that season, you know what that means!

      Image of a heater spewing Folding@Home logos.
      original credit: Umar Farooq on Unsplash. you could be doing this.

      Oh hey, I’m awake again. Let’s check the clock– Oh jeez, last post in August? Better rectify that.

      Welcome back to another episode of Ren complains about something for no reason, this time it might actually be of use to some people.

      Winter’s fast approaching, and that means it’s heating season. Did you know? 42% of people in the UK own space heaters. That’s almost half the population, completely fine with the risk of space heaters causing 86 percent of household heating deaths (in America, anyway.). And that’s just off of one search online.

      As a disclaimer, this post is only targeted towards those people that keep their computers in their bedrooms. This is irrelevant to everyone else. We’re clear on that? And now that the audience is purely those individuals (hopefully), I’ll say that I see you keeping on your computers all night because you’re simply too lazy to turn it off.

      And if you run a space heater in your room? Well, that’s even worse! Now you’re using double the electricity when you have a perfectly fine heater sitting right in front of you. For shame, you’re a leech!

      If your room is small enough, you may want to look into using Folding@Home. You’ve probably heard of it during the Covid-19 pandemic, and may have even contributed to it yourself, before turning it off since it makes your computer too loud for you. Well I’m here to tell you that you should still be using it, especially in winter!

      When you run a space heater in your room with your computer sitting idly there looking pretty, you’re having a heater do the grunt work of spewing out heat and ripping money out of your electric bill. It’s just sitting there! Giving you heat and doing nothing else, next to your computer, that can also give you heat with the benefit of contributing to disease research!

      A bit of a personal anecdote, I own a 2010 Mac Pro. That thing is wildly inefficient. But that’s good for this use case in particular! I set up Folding@Home, it uses both my CPU and GPU (on Windows, it only uses CPU on macOS, boo.), and I can sleep soundly at night knowing the computational power isn’t just sitting there, being used on literally nothing. It’s like Bitcoin, except actually helpful for society!

      The situation is even better if you have some old computers lying around. Have an old tower? Put it to work in a random room and see how much heat it gives you! You might be surprised! Hell, it’s even available for the Raspberry Pi, if you have any of those lying around. And if you don’t like the noise of the one in your room? Set it to “only when idle”, so your gaming does the same thing for you. That works too.

      Is this post going to convince anyone? Probably not! But I like screaming to the void. That’s just me.


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