Your gaming computer can do a lot more than you can image – five projects for GPU computing

GPU computing - what your GPU can do other than gaming
Those who have been dreaming of curing terminal diseases, expecting for becoming riches or hunting for aliens can make this become a reality with the help of their GPU – usually installed as key gaming PC components, which will turn them from a dreamer to a go getter. This is because your GPU is capable of doing more than just sitting in a gaming computer – blasting through the Battlefield 3 or discovering Skyrim’s virtual world – it can do much more than just runing PC games.

 

In fact these graphic rendering engines have been created by utilizing the Parallel processing architecture, which is highly valued by the researchers. Moreover, the most powerful supercomputers in the world have been created using our GPU’s.

 

Besides this, there are some that have been created utilizing the borrowed time on GPU’s of the plain enthusiasts. An easy to do software program called as BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Open Computing) allows you to release the untouched strengths of your graphics card for a common benefit. There are several distributed computing projects that allow users to download this software.

 

Below we have mentioned the five projects along with the links that will explain you how to begin, and will allow you to throw in your NVIDIA GPU in the mix.

 

Highly valued by the scientists: NVIDA GPUs are used in some of world’s fastest super computers

 

Further reading: what’s GPU computing?

 

Cure Alzheimer’s Folding@Home

Folding@Home was started in 2000 by Vijay Pande, a Stanford University Professor, and today it boasts of having 279, 000 members. It is one of the fasted computing systems of the world.  It simulates how the proteins in your body can assemble themselves. And in case of a misfire, how they could cause diseases.

 

However researches feel that by treating such ”misfolds”, they can actually cure ailments like the Alzhemer’s. This project has helped in producing around 109 research papers from its data.

 

The project can be downloaded from this website- http://folding.stanford.edu/home/the-software/

 

The software of this project will automatically take the advantage if you have a modern GPU.

 

Find Aliens SETI@Home

If you are a fan of UFOs, then you could actually use your GPU for helping the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) at the University of California in Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory. With the aim of separating unwanted noise received from the space that might point out some transmission from ET, SETI@Home examines the data received from the Arecibo radio telescope. It was originally started in the year 1999, but till date they haven’t found any signs or proof of an extra terrestrial, and are still making efforts to find it.

 

How to Begin: If you have a NVIDIA GPU which has CUDA-capability feature, then you can visit this site – http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/cuda.php. In case if you do not know whether your GPU is CUDA-frienly or not then click here: https://developer.nvidia.com/cuda-gpus

 

You can help SETI with its search on finding real life aliens.

 

Hunt for Treasure Bitcoin

Although its true origin isn’t clear, there’s a lot of computer science involved in “distributed consensus” system which tracks the Bitcoin expenditure and generation of currency. Since past 3-4 years the popularity of Bitcoin has substantially increased. A bitcoin was valued at $2 in October 2011, but now it’s around $96. In fact in the month of April this value reached its peak at $266. A highly proficient machine is required for making huge profits or it can be just an enjoyable game.

 

How to Begin: Some site where you can understand or download Bitcoin mining software is wiki. https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Main_Page

 

Search for the Cure GPUGRID

Your GPU could even join in the struggle against HIV. To analyze the structure, movement and functioning of an atom to gain more understanding on HIV maturation, cancer drug resistance, and why do some proteins involved in the neural disorders resist the treatment, Catalonia’s Universitat Pompeu Fabra, GPUGRID had hosted an event. Although, GPUGrid is small with just 2,000 active contributors, since 2007 it has blended many works like explaining the HIV’s maturation process, which was in fact simulated for the very first time.

 

How to begin: You can check on the compatibility of GPU and then download the drivers & BOINC client, and if you want to participate, you can log on to- http://www.gpugrid.net/join.php

 

Do It All World Community Grid

Through World Community Grid you aren’t just helping or being member of a project but you will be joining around 66,000 others who will help by giving their contribution in the projects of organization that include clean water, AIDA & clean energy research.

 

Founded by IBM in the year 2004, over 600,000 users have contributed around 750,000 years of computing research. In 2011, IBM’s supercomputer Jeopardy competitor, Watson, helped IBM by donating the game show with $500,000, which became useful to the World Community Grid.

 

How to begin: You can register with World Community Grid – http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/ and then download the BOINC client software that you will need.

 

12 Reasons Why PCs are still Better than Tablets

Desktop Gaming PC VS Tablet

Just the other week the computer industry was stunned by the fact that the first quarter shipments declined by around 14% on a yearly basis. Industry experts were quick to look into the contributing factors which led to this drop. The major contributing factor they determined was the shifting preferences of consumers to mobile devices and tablets. So we thought about how it would be if there were no personal computers on this world and only tablets. Tablet computers are excellent to manage your email and for light web surfing, but are they powerful enough to do everything a pc is able to do? Don’t answer yet, we will go through what are the major advantages of using a personal computer. You will give up these benefits if they did not exist on our world.

Multitasking With 17 Windows Open at Once

Both the Android and Apple tablets allow you to open up multiple windows at one time, but you don’t have the ability to use these apps at one time by having them both displaying on the screen. The one exception is the Windows 8 tablets which integrated their Snap feature. But even with this the maximum amount of apps you can have running on the screen is 2. It is extremely difficult to operate a computer like this.
People are used to using multiple programs at one time. You want to work fast and quickly access Photoshop, Skype, Firefox, Stickies, Internet Traveler, HipChat and Microsoft Excel.

Tablets got Easily Destroyed and Stolen

Desktops do not travel well. The advantage of this is they are in one place and therefore are much less likely to be stolen or broken. By contrast tablets often break because many people are careless with them and just throw them on the couch or bed. But sometimes they crash to the floor and the screen shatters. Likewise tablets are hot are therefore a big target for theft. They are very easy to spot and many tablet owners flaunt that they own one. Laptop computers are stolen, but not as often as tablets because they are smaller and more mobile.

Using Multiple Monitors

A tablet computer can only be displayed on one screen. Although you do have the ability to make your tablet show up on your computer. However forgetting tablets running Windows 8, you don’t have the ability to use an external display to operate your tablet apps and operating system or your hardware on several displays at once.

Storage Problems for Large Data and Movies

A large tablet computer with 128GB and you can add another 256GB with an expansion card; it is still under 400GB. Now taking into account the apps and operating system you will have considerably less space. You will not have a lot of space to store your video content and pictures. You can always use a portable hard drive but who wants to lug that all over town?

Editing Super Slick Videos, Images and Audio

Do not even mention GargeBand, iPhoto or iMovie. To do some serious editing of videos, images and audio you require a full blown set of controllers and features that only a pc can provide. You have to use programs such as ProShow Producer, Final Cut and Photoshop to do the job right. These applications separate the men from the boys.

Playing Serious 3D Games

Angry Birds has taken off in the age of the tablet because it’s not a real game with multiple player options, advanced physics engines and awesome 3D graphics. A desktop is the best way to play graphics intensive games with its advanced graphic cards and performance based CPUs.
The newer type of Haswell tablets are going to give the end user a much better experience for the gamer, but you won’t have the ability to play Battlefield 3 at the highest possible settings. Plus you shouldn’t even think about using gesture controllers on your tablet computer.

Connecting 10 or More USB Peripherals

Look at your iPad really quickly and you will notice it does not have a USB port. Even with a Windows 8 Tablet or Android there is just one such USB port. It is true that Bluetooth helps with connecting external devices but it is definitely not perfect. It would be nice to have a few ports to connect USB devices such as a keyboard, portable hard drive, keyboard, mouse, flash drive, microphone or gaming controller.

Repairing and Upgrading Hardware

Personal computers are the outliers to an ever increasing disposable society. The desktop computer is manufactured to be upgraded and has many open slots to do just this. Even notebook computers can to some extent be upgraded. By contrast tablets are designed to go obsolete in a short amount of time because it can’t be upgraded. They are built so it is virtually impossible to open them up. Even in the event you could it is still almost impossible to do an upgrade.

The Dreadful Keyboard

Quickly pick up your tablet computer and try to type anything you want more than 300 words onto your tough to type on keyboard. You refuse to do this or try and give up after 53 words? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Now try the same operation on a Bluetooth keyboard for mobile devices. Okay you still refuse. This is perfectly understandable. You must have a keyboard which won’t hurt your fingers after typing out 2 sentences. You require at the bare minimum a laptop keyboard and if possible a keyboard made for desktops.

Detaching From the Online World

Not being able to take your desktop computer on a hiking trip isn’t a horrible as some may may think. Having wires connected to the desk enables you to disconnect when you leave your desk. Being connected to technology 24 hours a day can be exhausting and sometimes you just need to disconnect. It is very hard to disconnect if you take a long a tablet to your fishing trip.

Creating and Working with Large Spreadsheets

It is always difficult and boring for most to work with any type of spreadsheet. When you work with a long and complicated one good luck writing and computing formulas using a touchscreen.

Running a Social Media Campaign

Tablets computers are excellent for reading through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Linkedin, or posting a small update on Pinterest account. However if you are required to do a lot of social posting for your job then you will need a laptop or desktop to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Microsoft is about to increase Windows 8 upgrade prices

Microsoft to increase Windows 8 upgrade prices by five times
Simply a friendly reminder from the Microsoft Windows Blog, Windows 8 pricing changes are going to take effect on 1st February, that’ll be just about a week and a half to go. Hurry, if you were planning a upgrade to Windows 8 then you should do it before the due date.
Windows 8 upgrade costs for different editions would be priced as follows (in US dollars):
The Windows 8 Pro upgrade version will be accessible online and at retail for $ 199.99 MSRP.
The Windows 8 upgrade edition will be accessible online and at retail for $ 119.99 MSRP.
The Windows 8 Pro Pack (AKA Windows Any Time Upgrade) will be priced at $ 99.99 MSRP.
The Windows 8 Media Center Pack will be priced at $ 9.99 MSRP.
More details could be found on Microsoft Blog – “Update on Windows 8 Pricing”.

Free Anti-Virus Software Programs Round-Up – All Compatible With Windows 8

Free Antivirus Softwares For Windows 8
Since much loved Microsoft Security Essentials was unable to be installed on Windows 8 platform (still recommended if using earlier Windows systems), we are seeking anti-virus alternatives as even with enhanced Windows 8 security features (Defender that claimed to have same level of protection as MSE) users would still want extra protections for their computers. We’ve done the research and now we’re sharing a list of free anti-virus software that were compatible with Windows 8 here. Note: these are permanently free software not time-limited or trial version) :

Comodo Anti-Virus

Windows 8 Compatibility – 32-bit/64-bit

Comodo provides heaps of functions, especially when it costs absolutely nothing to get it. It gives you an extensive protection based upon analysis of software behavior and if considered unsound or possibly harmful, it will certainly inform you and recommend a removal. Comodo is among the cost-free software to be the handful one to provide a firewall program along with anti-virus. Comodo also provides the functionality that you come to expect, including web mail tracking (scans for your email) and task monitoring (scans for processes that you are currently running). There are additionally daily updates that provide the most recent virus signatures, to get you protected from the most recent viruses.
Note it comes with adware like GeekBudy and a dragon web browser(will load itself as the default browser), which you can not decide whether or not to install them during the installation process, sounds annoying but considering it is freeware and you can always uninstall these useless add-ons later.

Avast Version 7

Windows 8 Compatibility – 32-bit/64-bit

 

http://www.avast.com/free-Anti-Virus-download

 

The free edition of Avast Version 7 guards against viruses and spyware, and in place of 24/7 customer support, Avast also allows for remote assistance from a “geeky” friend. Unlike other free Anti-Virus software programs which download updates on a scheduled basis, Avast’s virus database updates in real time. Avast Version 7 even has an early-load antimalware driver (ELAM) to provide additional protection against system level rootkits and bootkits. When the independent Anti-Virus software testing company AV Comparatives tested Avast in December 2012, it received the second highest protection rating – Advanced.
Note you may need to apply the Avast BSOD fix for a Windows 8 installation despite that it has a Windows 8 compatible logo in Windows 8 compatibility centre.

AVG Anti-Virus Free 2013

Windows 8 Compatibility – 32-bit/64-bit

 

http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage

 

AVG Anti-Virus Free 2013 blocks viruses and malware; it also has a rootkit detection and removal feature. In addition, AVG Anti-Virus Free 2013 offers basic email and identity protection. AVG Anti-Virus Free 2013 includes a one-time only use of AVG’s PC Analyser, which will do a onetime system clean up and fix all of the errors it finds. AVG Anti-Virus Free 2013 will work with all versions of the Windows 8 operating system except Windows 8 RT. It’s also important to mention that, unlike some of the other free Anti-Virus software programs available for Windows 8, AVG offers free 24/7 customer service support. When AV Comparatives tested AVG’s Anti-Virus software in December 2012, it received the Standard protection rating.Note: there were reports that it could cause Windows 8 BSOD (Driver IRQL not less or equal – avgwfpx.sys) under some circumstances, seems to be fixed by AVG updates as we didn’t get any problem running it during tests, but if you ever had stop errors like the above, disable all network associated modular of it, especially the AVG firewall, as Avgwfpx.sys is one of the firewall drivers.

Free eScan AV Anti-Virus Toolkit 12.x

Windows 8 Compatibility – 32-bit/64-bit

 

http://www.escanav.com/english/content/products/MWAV/escan_mwav.asp

 

The Free eScan AV Anti-Virus Toolkit 12.x protects against viruses, malware, adware, and keyloggers. After it scans and cleans the computer, it provides a report of its findings and, if necessary, detailed instructions to remove harmful files. Unlike other free Anti-Virus programs, the eScan Anti-Virus Toolkit does not need to be installed onto the hard drive. It is downloaded as an executable file to run as needed. It can be saved to the hard drive, a USB drive or CD-ROM, or even pinned to the start menu to execute on startup. When AV Comparatives tested the eScan toolkit, it also received a Standard protection rating.

Zone Alarm Free Anti-Virus + Firewall

Windows 8 Compatibility – 32-bit/64-bit

 

http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en-us/zonealarm-free-Anti-Virus-firewall.htm

 

Zona Alarm’s distinguishing feature is that, not only does it offer Anti-Virus and antispyware protection, it also has a two-way firewall that monitors programs for suspicious behavior. Zone Alarm Free Anti-Virus + Firewall comes equipped with the Zone Alarm Security toolbar, which performs site checks, offers private browsing, and includes a search bar. As a last distinguishing feature, Zone Alarm’s free Anti-Virus software program offers identity protection by monitoring your credit, and it will even alert you to changes in your credit file.
Free Anti-Virus software usually comes with no warranty, but thinking of getting them without costing you anything and most of them are as good as paid software, we’d definitely like to recommend it to every Windows 8 user.

Fix Avast Windows 8 BSOD Blue Screen Of Death Error – DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

Fix Avast Windows 8 BSOD Blue Screen Of Death Error - DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
Avast is known to be one of the greatest free anti-virus software you can find over the Internet. However when it comes to Windows 8, it seems to have some compatibility issues.

 

Using Avast most current version 7.0 in Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro may occasionally cause Blue Screen of Death with error code “DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL (ndis.sys)” or “DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL (aswnet.sys)” or similar stop errors to this, especially when you use old Avast installers for a fresh Windows 8 install.

 

The reason for the stop error looks to be the incompatibility of some Avast system drivers, so if you are using Avast and having the above random BSOD issues, please check the following steps to apply a simple fix:

 

1. Shut down the network driver

Go to the Avast user interface > Real-Time Shields > choose “Network Shield” and find the Stop button on the right panel and click on it then choose “Stop for permanently”.

 

2. Patching your Avast software

  • This URL will lead you to the patch hosted on Avast.com: http://public.avast.com/~rypacek/patches/
  • Before patching it you should turn Avast self-defense module off, go to the main screen of Avast and click on settings > troubleshooting > find and uncheck the option “enable Avast self-defense module”. Patching will fail if the self-defense module is on as it’ll prevent changes from being made by other software or users to its sensitive directories. Find and download 32-bit or 64-bit package, unzip and copy all the patch files to “C:\Windows\System32\drivers” directory. You’ll need to have an administrator privilege otherwise you may not be able to copy it to a system directory of Windows 8 thanks to the enhanced security in Windows 8 (even you are with administrator account you may still be asked and you should always choose the option “proceed anyway”).
  • Once the files are patched, enable Avast self-defense module and restart your computer then you are done with the patching.

 

Avast had Windows 8 compatible icon from Microsoft Security Centre , however it seemed that had nothing at all to do with the BSOD we had. The thing is that it seems to be able to run on Windows 8 the first time and it runs pretty normal and you may not have the BSOD for a period of time, then suddenly it goes into a stop error when you are runing a software that’ll need to establish a network connection so it’s certainly something to do with the network shield – suggest to disable it. By applying the fix introduced above you should be fine with Avast installed for now.

Introducing Driver Fusion (formerly Driver Sweeper) – Free Driver Management/Removal Tool

driver fusion free driver removal tool fromerly driversweeper

As a gamer, one of the most important things that you should do in every few months time would be upgrading the graphics drivers. Both NVIDIA and AMD are releasing new drivers periodically (for AMD it’s patching it monthly). Most of windows PC users can simply use the official NVIDIA/AMD installers without any problem for driver upgrades.

However if you would like to switch between NVIDIA and AMD cards, or you simply run into driver related problem – eg. you download a wrong driver version and would like to uninstall it and correct it or you believe it’s some kind of graphics-related problem, it’ll be highly recommended that you use software like Driver Fusion to perform a complete driver wipe-off and then choose and install the correct version again.

This is mainly because uninstalling graphics drivers by official uninstallers are not clean uninstallations, you would still have some files – mostly DLL’s – left in your system folders and windows registry, unfortunately official uninstaller would never clean it up. So with these files stayed, you could hardly say if your problems are caused by hardware or simply an interference between old and new of driver libraries or different versions of driver files.

So here we introduce Driver Fusion (formerly DriverSweeper) to you, Driver fusion has a free edition and it’s enough for your daily use as the core functions that you are going to use would be advanced driver detection (so it won’t miss anything up) and smart driver removal – that are all included in free edition.

What’s more you can do the same to many of the other drivers from Intel, Microsoft, Realtek and more.

It’s with a Metro UI – like what windows 8 has – eye-catchy and ease to use.

To remove a driver, simply choose / highlight it in the main screen and click “analyze” button, in the next analysis result pages, review and then click “delete” button, it’ll ask you to reboot your windows system to apply the wipe-off, just follow the prompt and reboot your system, then you are done with it. After that you can fresh install your new drivers and feel comfortable as you know there are no previous driver files left.

Driver Fusion could be downloaded from its official website, here is the link: http://treexy.com/products/driver-fusion

Alternatively you can download it from CNET: http://download.cnet.com/Driver-Fusion/3000-2086_4-75748005.html

Descriptions from official website:

Driver Fusion is the complete driver solution for your PC. It helps you to manage your devices and assist with a complete uninstall of old system drivers in the easiest possible way. Driver Fusion keeps your PC running efficiently and effectively with advanced system driver removal which even deletes those files, directories and registry entries that are left behind by the normal vendor uninstallers. By removing old device drivers before installing new drivers you will ensure that your PC will reach its maximal performance.

The clear uncluttered user interface guides the user step-by-step in the removal of the different kind of device drivers such as sound drivers, keyboard drivers, mouse drivers and graphic card drivers. Driver Fusion automatically updates its cleaning process by using the Treexy cloud driver database which ensures the best possible removal of Windows device drivers, in particular those unused, conflicting and unwanted drivers. Device control is the advanced Windows device manager that allows the user to restart, enable or disable any installed device and it is even possible to easily uninstall, backup or restore the device drivers.

Best of all, Treexy Driver Fusion does all this for free and can be downloaded as freeware. Combined with additional features such as device driver backups, system protection, custom filters and a desktop icon manager, Driver Fusion offers a complete solution to all your driver analysis and management needs.

   

 

Program not working? Hardware not supported? Use Windows 8 Compatibility Centre To Find Out!

windows-8-compatibility-center-browse-by-categories

We’ve been using Windows 8 for a while, however we’ve found some old hardware and software that were working good with Microsoft’s previous Windows system like windows 7 / windows vista / windows xp are having problems when ported to the latest windows 8 system, in other words windows 8 is having compatibility issues with these hardware/programs. If your favorite programs are not compatible with windows 8, you’ll have to look for alternatives for them, or simply stay with earlier windows 7 system. We’ve already learnt that without patches some Anti-Virus programs would cause Windows 8 Blue Screen Of Death.

So the questions is how do you know if a certain program is Windows 8 compatible? Do you have to try to install them one by one and run them in order to find out if they are incompatible with windows 8? Definitely not. Microsoft has built up a database with public access so everyone can use it to check the compatibility with all current hardware and software.

Follow the link to visit Windows 8 compatibility centre:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/compatibility/

It’s simple to use, you can either browse the product categories or search for a specific product in the top search bar, you can easily find out weather your hardware/software are compatible with windows 8 or not in this way before actually getting windows 8 installed or getting a new computer with windows 8 pre-installed.

All our desktop computers are fitted with components that are windows 8 compatible. However if you have old hardware, eg. printers/scanners, that you are still would like to use with the new one, it’ll be the best to use windows 8 compatibility checkup prior. 

Windows 8 Much Missed Start Menu – Alternatives (Classic Shell)

classic-shell-screenshot

As we might never see start menu again – Microsoft no longer implements start menu in latest windows 8 system –  some were forced to get used to the new tablet-oriented Metro UI (which is very hard for some to use, many users didn’t even know how to shut down their desktop computer properly with windows 8 newly designed UI), some others are wondering if there is a way to bring start menu back.

We’ve found some cool stuffs that can be used as replacements of traditional windows start menu.

Here is the one  that we currently install to every pre-built computer to make it more like a traditional (XP, VISTA, 7) windows system – Classic Shell

Classic Shell is an open-source freeware which means it can be downloaded and used free. Looks familiar now? It comes with skins that you can use to get the familiar windows 7/vista/xp or windows 2k/98 start menu ported to your windows 8 system. Very good program that makes everything combined flawlessly as a start menu replacement. Installation and configuration are simple. You’re definitely going to love it if you are a start menu lover.

We’ve also found some other replacements of windows start menus, all of them are awesome. However some of them are paid software. If you are interested, just click on the following links and have a look, see if there are any you could use:

Stardock’s Start8 – Windows 8 style Start Menu – 30-day free trail

IOBit StartMenu8 – Looks exactly like Windows 7’s Start Menu

Pokki – a bit different than the traditional MS start menu design but you can categorise your apps and settings

 

Windows 8 Productivity – Hotkeys and Keyboard Shortcuts Round-Up

windows-8-Shortcuts-and-hotkeys

One of the obvious changes in Windows 8 is that Microsoft finally killed the start menu, replaced it with the new metro start screen, mainly because MS Windows 8 is a tablet-oriented OS.

However desktop users may find it hard to get used to the shiny tablet-friendly start screen as many only have a regular monitor other than a touch screen to use with their PC’s.

It may have a learning curve as windows 8 makes your computer a quite different one. To transit to windows 8 UI faster, the following keyboard shortcuts will be helpful.

Windows 8 Productivity - Hotkeys and Keyboard Shortcuts Round-Up