Foldit performance is a frequent topic of conversation in the Folditverse.
Some players complain that larger puzzles (puzzles with more segments) are unplayable. The exact reasons for these problems is not clear. While big puzzles can be expected to run slower, it's not clear what makes them unplayable. The goal of this page is lay out some strategies for achieving maximum performance in Foldit.
don't overdo it Edit
Foldit clients are "CPU intensive" meaning they can use 100% of one processor. Most computers now have more than one processor, see "how many CPUs?" for tips on determining how many in Windows.
Running more than one client per processor may bog things down. (And it may heat things up, see keep cool below.)
unconditional love Edit
Some conditions are really slow. Disable conditions, formerly known as filters, when hand-folding.
run minimized Edit
Running with a window "up" (visible on the screen), takes one processor by itself.
It's best to keep windows minimized to the task bar (or the equivalent) when not in active use.
run Lua Edit
Some recipes are written in the original GUI format, while many more are written in the Lua scripting language. Running a GUI recipe requires you to keep a window "up", or else the recipe stalls. GUI recipes end up using nearly two processors.
Use Lua recipes where possible.
draw down Edit
Eliminating as much drawing work as possible may also help performance.
Turning off sidechains using the "D" shortcut or "Don't Show (Fast)" under the View menu is always a good idea if you're not looking at them.
Moving the protein off the screen may also be a good strategy. A simple right-click on the background plus drag makes it easy to hide the protein. Use the "q" shortcut to bring it back into view.
The "Hide GUI" checkbox in view options or the "G" shortcut lets you dismiss the scoreboards and so on until you need them.
Selecting a passive coloring option may ease the workload a bit. For example, the "AbegoColor" option will change the color of each segment as it moves. Something like "Hydro" or "CPK" coloring should be unchanging.
Turning off "Show clashes", "Show exposeds", "Show voids" and all the "Show bonds" options is another potential resource-saver. Don't forget to uncheck "Show sidechains with clashes or exposeds"and "Pulse when working".
(Some or all of these ideas may be urban legend in terms of their performance impact with the window minimized.)
quiet time Edit
Just because you have your speakers turned off doesn't mean Foldit isn't making sounds. Making sounds can be computationally intensive. (And annoying.)
Make sure "Sound effects" and "Background music" are unchecked on "General Options", which is located under the "Menu" in the original interface or "Main" in the selection interface.
keep cool Edit
Folding is hard work, and work generates heat. Veteran player bertro has mentioned that modern microprocessors have the ability to slow themselves down if they start to overheat. This might explain some Foldit slowdowns.
On a laptop, if you happen to have, for example, a housecat, it's possible that the cooling system has become, shall we say, a little clogged? If so, the cat's natural enemy, the vacuum cleaner, may help. (Cats naturally abhor a vacuum.)
Worst case, it's possible to disassemble a laptop, clean it out, put it back together again, and have it still work. There's a cartoon with a doctor saying "sure, this is a routine operation, if you routinely have someone slice you open and fiddle with your insides". Enough said, but call me doctor, please. (Or call me a doctor, please!.)
On a desktop, an average-sized housecat is likely less of a threat. (Exotic wild pets are another story.) Desktops are probably more prone to the "CPU fan" losing good contact with the microprocessor. (Well, it's really a microprocessor fan, but who's counting?) Just google "thermal grease" and no doubt you'll be down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos in no time. (The true aficionado eliminates the fan, and installs a liquid cooling system.)
The slowdown behavior is different than immediate shutdown that happens, for example, if the CPU fan suddenly stops spinning.
house cleaning Edit
(Aside from regular vacuuming.)
Consider shutting down unneeded programs. Web browsers may be using a significant amount of CPU even with their windows minimized. Shutting down tabs or windows for active sites like social media, news, and weather may help keep your Foldit clients keep folding as quickly as possible. (On the other hand, "static" pages, like wikipedia entries, are not likely to be a big resource drain.)
There are lots of other possible CPU thieves, from hyperactive screen savers to mysterious background processes. Look for future suggestions on how to combat these phantom menaces.