Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How to Maximize Folding@Home Points Per Day (PPD)

Folding@Home (folding at home) is a distributed computing program of Stanford University that lets you help finding cures for different diseases by performing complex calculations with your computer. After solving each problem, you earn points proportional to your contribution. The more points you earn, more helpful you are for medical research. In this article I'm going to show you how to maximize your folding at home points per day and make the most of your computer's hardware. Thus you will be more helpful to medical research and will increase the chance of finding cure for different diseases.

  1. Make sure you are running the latest version of the Folding@Home client
    You can take a look at the Folding@Home website from time to time in order to see if there's an update to the Folding@Home client. Newer versions of the client usually include bug fixes and performance improvements, so you will be able to earn more points out of your hardware.
  2. Confirm your identity to take advantage of the early return bonus system
    You you haven't setup a username and password, you should do so, check out the Folding@Home Passkey page for more information. By having an identity when folding, you will receive bonus points if you quickly solve and return the results to the folding servers. Medical research benefits a lot from receiving quick results to the problems and that is why your point per day will increase if you return results faster.
  3. Try to finish working units before stopping the client
    Folding at Home Advanced Control Window
    The faster you finish a working unit, the better for Folding@Home, because it will be able to continue with the next working units of the project and complete it faster. That is why the early return bonus (ERB) system was developed. A nice tip you can follow in order to take advantage of the early return bonuses is to not start a new project if you don't have enough time to finish it. For example if you plan to use your PC for 11 hours and the current working unit reports that its going to take 10 hours to complete, then it's better to right click the Folding@Home icon in the system tray, select Advanced Control to open the advanced control window and click the Finish button (see the screenshot). Thus the Folding@Home client will stop folding when the current working unit is finished and will not fetch another one. A new unit will be fetched and started the next time you start the folding client and you will not loose any time that will considerably decrease the points and the value of the results your computer has calculated.
  4. Decrease the checkpoint frequency
    Folding at Home Advanced Settings
    If you plan to follow the previous tip, you can increase your folding at home points per day (FAH PPD) even more if you decrease the checkpoint frequency. At a given time interval, for example every 15 minutes, the folding client saves the current progress and results from the currently running working unit to disk. This makes it possible to continue working from almost the same point in case you quit the folding client or you turn off your computer before the current working unit has been finished. This process of saving data to disk takes some time that can otherwise be used for calculations and that is why this process decreases performance and points. To decrease the number of times data is saved to disk open the Advanced Control window, click the Configure button, select Advanced Tab and move the slider for Checkpoint Frequency to the right end.
  5. Update your video card drivers
    New releases of video card drivers usually improve stability and performance, so it's possible that they will increase your folding at home points per day (FAH PPD), too.

See also:


  1. I have done some work about a year ago which I never followed up on. Here are some calculations I made. If all the processing for F@H were done on efficient graphic cards (say RTX2080) I calculated F@H uses about $5 million dollars per month in electricity. Obviously, the actual amount is much higher.

    Using an ammeter to calculate my own power usage on several computers, I can say that using the CPU as a slot for F@H on computers with efficient graphics units (say newer than 3 years) will actually decrease points per day while increasing power. Unfortunately, the default F@H chooses is to use the CPU as a slot. Frankly I got discouraged when my quite good laptop started buring up when both the CPU and GPU were used as slots even though points per day went down compared to using the GPU alone.

    Personally, I think the F@H organization should discourage people from using old computers (or even all CPUs) in their operation as they simply are not "green", unless they replace electrical resistance heating of a building.

    One might also be interested in this link:

    1. I agree. Folding with the processor (CPU) is totally not worth it nowadays. It's best to use a recent graphics card (GPU). Any mid to high end GPU released in the last 4-5 years is much better and power efficient for folding than a CPU. I have also found that Nvidia GeForce graphics cards are usually better and more power efficient at Folding@Home than AMD Radeon ones.