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4/10/01 Tuesday's News Story DetailReturn to News Page

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Reader Comments on SETI for OS X:
Published: 4/10/2001
Last Updated: 4/11/2001
In the April 9th news there was a note on the first release of SETI for OS X ( http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/macosx.html). Some readers have tried it and sent their comments. Most note slower performance with the first OS X release, but one reader sent a note he's running the unix command line version with much improved speed.

Reader comments on Seti for OS X are below (latest reports first).

" SETI@Home does run extremely slow (34 hours instead of 12), however with Mac OS X's great multi-tasking abilities, you can continuously run it in the background with little effect on what you are currently working on. I've found that using "sudo renice -20 -p *processIdHere*" speeds it up a bit, but if you are going to bother with that, you might as well just use the command line version. "

" The command line version of seti defaults to a priority of 1 on a scale of -20(max) to 20(min). Most processes run with a priority of 0 so seti is at somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to getting CPU time. If you boost seti's priority to -19, I have found I get times just a tiny fraction slower than in OS9.1. This can be done while seti is running with the command:

sudo renice -19 PID

where PID is the process number of seti (which can be found with the ProcessViewer.app or look in the pid.sah file in the seti directory). Note that you can only set more negative priorities if you have root access, hence the need for sudo. If you want to set a priority of a more positive number, you can omit the sudo if you own the process. Even with seti running at this near max priority, the responsiveness of my machine is still quite good (RevA BeigeG3 with 500MHz ZIF, 75GXP IBM Deskstar HD, 384MB RAM).
tibor "

" Seti for os X works, but very slowly. In os 9.1 I was averaging around 12 hours on a G4 400. In os X I have been averaging around 34 hours!!! I went back to Seti's web page and downloaded the unix command line version at http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/unix.html and then download version powerpc-apple-darwin1.2. All you have to do is start Terminal in os x. Then drag the seti program into terminal and then hit enter. The program then begins to run! That's it! I have been averaging about 6-8 hours per unit.
Your site rocks!
Dave "

" On my G3 B&W upgraded with a Sonnet G4 500, Seti for OSX is a pig :( It's slow, slow, slow. In 9.1 I crunch a unit between 11.5 to 14 hours. In OSX on the same machine it took 2.5 hours to do a little over 10%! I got depressed and turned it off. I haven't bothered loading it on my Pismo.

This might have something to do with the L2 cache not being enabled yet. Sonnet has not yet released a OSX fix for this yet. Or maybe this version of Seti (it is still called a Beta) just isn't right yet.
Jocelyn Wilson
VP Creative
Atomic Cocktail
Potent Solutions for e-Business "

" Mike,
Seti at Home takes about twice as long to process a unit on OS X as it does on OS 9. I'm using a Gigabit G4/400. The results were pretty much the same as the OS X beta client Seti previously had out. They also have a command-line client for other Unix OS's which I believe can be configured for OS X. It should offer much improved speed. I haven't tried it on my box though.
Clint Ragsdale
Systems Application and Project Manager
Rich's, Lazarus, Goldsmith's "

" Using the newest build of seti for OSX, I average around 19-20hrs per unit on Mac OS X

733mhz G4
768mb ram
Joe "

The problem with benchmarking SETI normally is that no two blocks are identical, but Michiro Isobe posted a note in the forums some time back there's a web site with test blocks and info for benchmarking but I can't find it now. I'd be curious as to the results as well, so anyone that tests this let me know.

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