GPU2 points & benchmark machine (and points in general)

I've talked about this in the Folding Community Forum (FCF), but I thought it's worth reminding people (especially NVIDIA-based folders new to the project).  As the GPU2 code matures, we may need to change the points per day (PPD) and/or the nature of the benchmark machine.  The PPD for the bechmark machine may go up or may go down depending on what change we decide in the end.  The main problem is that both the NVIDIA and ATI code is undergoing optimizations, which means PPD will change in complex ways.  For example, if the NVIDIA code doesn't change, but the ATI code gets optimized and our benchmark is based on an ATI card, then NVIDIA PPD will go down, even if the NVIDIA code doesn't change. 

Also, how efficient these cards are depends on the protein we run on a given card.  To address this issue, we will likely switch the benchmark machine to run a card whose PPD does not change so variably with protein, although that may be hard to find (we'll see).

Anyway, just a heads up — the PPD we see today is not necessarily what you'll see later.  Your PPD may increase or decrease depending on many complex factors (code optimization, benchmark machine, protein simulated, etc), and I expect there may be more points variability with GPUs than with other platforms (isn't life on the bleeding edge fun).  However, due to the great performance of the GPU's right now (which will likely only get better), the GPU PPD would be significantly greater than a typical CPU client.

I should also remind donors that we've been talking about rebalancing points in general, to try to get SMP, GPU, PS3, and classic points in line with the scientific productivity done by the clients.  As long as more points = more science, donors can optimize for points and that will automatically optimize for maximum scientific output.