We are proud to announce that our latest GPU core, FahCore 17, was recently moved from beta to advanced testing, the last quality assurance step before a full release. As we previously mentioned, this core is a significant step for us. FahCore 17 is a complete overhaul from our previous GPU cores. It brings a cleaner and more streamlined codebase, new serialization mechanisms that allow us to set up diverse simulations, and improved stability. Its use of OpenCL has united our development, allowing the single core to run on both Nvidia and AMD cards, and theoretically any OpenCL-capable device. It is also our first GPU core to run natively in Linux, although we are only supporting Nvidia GPUs there for the time being as we wait for AMD's Linux drivers to mature a bit more. Overall, this core sets a strong foundation for the future of GPU core development.
On AMD cards, FahCore 17 is about 10 times faster than the old GPU cores, and on Nvidia it's about twice as fast. This is mainly due to its OpenMM 5.1 base, which contains many optimizations which deliver a significant speedup. One optimization in particular that we are waiting for is CUDA JIT, a just-in-time compiler that Nvidia may be introducing into its drivers in the coming future. Not only will this technology allow us to offer support for the CUDA platform with FahCore 17, but the JIT compiler is likely to deliver a massive speedup. For the time being, we continue to work at finding additional optimizations on our end. We have also successfully tested FahCore 17 with extremely large proteins (500,000+ atoms), which are on par with the ones used by "bigadv" CPU projects.
To run FahCore 17, you need a Fermi GPU or better and Windows or Linux, or a AMD HD5000 or better and Windows. It also currently requires proprietary drivers from these vendors. You can test FahCore 17 by adding the "client-type = advanced" setting into the extra core options in the V7 client, as in the Configuration FAQ.
We'd like to thank all the alpha testers on FreeNode's #fah IRC channel, as well as the beta testers on foldingforum.org, who have all helped us bring the core to this point!