BOINC on Mac OS X

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Dirk Broer
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BOINC on Mac OS X

Unread post by Dirk Broer » Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:28 pm

Say you get get/find an old Mac, is it possible to BOINC with it?

Well, as I found out with my Power Mac G3 Image that is not as easy as you'd think.

What are the prerequisites?

The giveaway is already in the title of this post, BOINC on Mac OS X. It just won't work on OS 9, as was the OS of the G3 I found in a dumpster. The absolute minimum version of OS X that is supported by BOINC is OS 10.3.9, and that will give you at max a 6.6.36 client.
The Power Macintosh G3 (Blue & White) -as is the full official name of my best apple- can officially be upgraded to at max Mac OS X 10.4.11 Tiger, which could mean a 6.12.35 BOINC client. Unofficially you can install Mac OS X Leopard with a PowerPC G4 CPU upgrade and LeopardAssist, but this still will get you no further than a 6.12.35 BOINC client.
The G3 ran, depending on the version, at 300 to 450 MHz. so I am thinking of using the casing for a new AM1 system or so.
An alternative could be Linux for PowerPC, but then you can -slowly- run only Set@Home, what a bummer...

But we now know that you need a better/later Mac than a G3. Would a G4 do? Image
Well...The earliest G4's were hardly better than the G3, running their PowerPC G4 CPUs at 350 to 500 MHz, but there is a 2002 edition that has a Dual 1 GHz PowerPC G4 -dual in those days still meaning two CPU's. Still these -and later G4's- are all hampered BOINC-wise by their PowerPC architecture because, as with the G3, you can't get them past a BOINC 6.12.35 client.

The Power Mac G5 then?Image
At the risk of sounding repetitive: even the Power Mac G5 (In its ultimate version with four DP DC "Quadcore" 2.5 GHz PowerPC 970MP CPUs) is hampered BOINC-wise by its PowerPC architecture and can not get a better BOINC client than the 6.12.35 version. Still, I will pull it out of the dumpter if I see one....

After the Power Mac G5 we got the Mac Pro, here next to a dustbin, you'd think: Image
Actually it is THE latest in Mac Pro design...
With the Mac Pro you can run the latest BOINC client (7.6.12 using a 64-bit Intel CPU and running OS X Version 10.6.0+)
Last edited by Dirk Broer on Sun Oct 18, 2015 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BOINC on Mac OS X

Unread post by Dirk Broer » Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:13 am

Not exactly out of the dumpster, but I just bought a 2nd hand Powermac G5 with what appears to be a dual CPU board, like this:
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Janos (retired)
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Re: BOINC on Mac OS X

Unread post by Janos (retired) » Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:21 am

Very cool
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Re: BOINC on Mac OS X

Unread post by Dirk Broer » Sun Oct 18, 2015 1:15 am

Back on topic: what can you do with an OS X-based machine?

PowerMac friendly:
Albert@Home: Gravitational Wave S6 Folllow-up #1
Einstein@Home: Binary Radio Pulsar Search (Arecibo)
Enigma@Home: Enigma 0.76b
MilkyWay@Home: MilkyWay@Home 1.01
Moo! Wrapper: Distributed.net Client 1.03
Quake-Catcher Network: QCN Sensor 7.17 (nci)
SETI@home: Is there a platform that is NOT supported by Seti@Home?
SETI@home/AstroPulse Beta: And can the same not be said for its Beta project?
WEP-M+2 Project: Random-base WEP Factorization 1.08
WUProp@Home: Data collect version 3
Yoyo@home: Cruncher 519.01, ECM 0.02 and Harmonious Trees 0.10

MacPro friendly:
Asteroids: only Intel based OS X applications
Atlas@Home: only Intel based OS X applications
CERN CMS-dev: only Intel based OS X applications
Citizen Science Grid: only Intel based OS X applications
ClimatePrediction.net: down, but there is an OS X application, which I have placed here for safety reasons...
Collatz: only Intel based OS X applications
Constellation: down, but there is an OS X application, which I have placed here for safety reasons...
DENIS@Home: only Intel based OS X applications
Ibercivis: only Intel based OS X applications
Leiden Classical: though NOT mentioned in the apps page, there is an OS X application, which I have placed here for safety reasons...
malariacontrol.net: only Intel based OS X applications
MindModeling@Home: only Intel based OS X applications
NFS@Home: only Intel based OS X applications
NumberFields@home: only Intel based OS X applications
POEM@HOME: only Intel based OS X applications
Primaboinca: only Intel based OS X applications
PrimeGrid: only Intel based OS X applications
RALPH@home: only Intel based OS X applications
RNA World: only Intel based OS X applications
Rosetta@home: only Intel based OS X applications
SRBase: only Intel based OS X applications
SZTAKI Desktop Grid: only Intel based OS X applications
The Lattice Project: only Intel based OS X applications
theSkyNet POGS: only Intel based OS X applications
TN-Grid: only Intel based OS X applications
vLHCathome: only Intel based OS X applications
World Community Grid: There is an OS X application, which I have placed here for safety reasons...

No OS X:
123numbers: nothing, no OS X at all
Bitcoin Utopia: nothing, no OS X at all
Burp: nothing, no OS X at all (and Linux and Windows only 64-bits)
CAS: nothing, no OS X at all
Cosmology@Home: nothing, no OS X at all
DistributedDataMining: nothing, no OS X at all
EDGeS@Home: nothing, no OS X at all
FiND@Home: nothing, no OS X at all
Gerasim@home: Windows only (both 32- and 64-bits)
GPUGRID.net: nothing, no OS X at all
LHC@Home Classic: nothing, no OS X at all
Radioactive@Home: nothing, no OS X at all
SAT@home: nothing, no OS X at all
Universe@Home: nothing, no OS X at all
Volpex@Home: nothing, no OS X at all
YAFU: nothing, no OS X at all

No information:
BealF: down, seems to be Linux only at the moment
Boinc@Fiit: down, seems to be Linux and Windows only
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Re: BOINC on Mac OS X

Unread post by Eric W. » Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:28 am

I have a macbook pro too. It runs BOINC perfectly but it makes it really so slow.
Note that my macbook is 3.5 years old.
Eric Wazowski, 16 years old student from Baths.
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Dirk Broer
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Re: BOINC on Mac OS X

Unread post by Dirk Broer » Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:36 am

Eric W. wrote:I have a macbook pro too. It runs BOINC perfectly but it makes it really so slow.
Note that my macbook is 3.5 years old.
Well, what CPU does it have, and how much RAM has it? Note that BOINC runs better when each core/thread has at least 1GB RAM, and more RAM is sometimes needed for extra hungry projects. My latest builds all have 16 GB RAM (for quad cores/threads) nowadays.
You can also limit the amount of resources BOINCS takes when YOU are using the computer and give it more when the computer is 'idle':
Settings - Disk and Memory
  • When computer is in use, use at most 50%
  • When computer is not in use, use at most 95%
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