Adjustments to the SETI@home program settings and display
To make the SETI@home software run faster,
you can turn off the system - intensive graphics. This will typically
speed up the SETI program by a factor of 2 to 3 times.
To turn off the graphics after the screensaver
program has been running for a set period of time (on Windows systems),
click your "Start" button and go to "Settings", then "Control Panel".
Double-click on "Display" and then click on the "Screen Saver" tab. When you're in that tab, you'll find a under the "Screen Saver" heading about half-way down the window, with a drop-down box below. Ensure that "Setihome" is selected with the drop-down box.
Next, click the "Settings" button. You have finally arrived at your
destination! ... You should now have the "SETI@home Screensaver Settings"
window active. Ensure that the "Go to blank screen" box is ticked
and then type in the number of minutes you want the graphics to run before
the screen goes blank. Remember that the SETI screensaver program
will analyze the data faster when the screen is blank, so the shorter the
time period which you input in the "Minutes until blank" box, the faster
your data unit will be completed.
The program will reportedly run somewhat faster at lower screen depths rather than higher depths (for example 256 colors rather than 16 bit high color or 32 bit true color). Screen resolution (eg 800 X 600 pixels, 1152 X 864, etc.) should have negligible effects on the speed.
If you want SETI@home to run constantly in the background you can select "Data analysis always runs". To do this, right-click the little green radio-telescope in your computer's system tray, select preferences and then select the "Data analysis always runs..." radio-button. in the Preferences dialog. This option is mainly for computers with a lot of RAM and a fast processor. To ensure the fastest speed when using this option, minimise the application window using the standard windows button. If you have an older PC with a small amount of RAM and slow processor, you may find that using the "Data analysis always runs" option could slow down other applications you are running at the same time.
Upgrades to your computer Hardware
Although in many instances you'll find that your system in general may run faster with extra memory (RAM)), additional RAM will probably not have a significant effect on the speed of SETI@home when running the program on its own. The SETI@home program only uses about 16 MB of RAM whilst it is running. Beyond a certain point (usually 64 Megabytes, more if you run memory-intensive applications at the same time) more memory won't improve the speed.
Installing a faster processor (CPU) on your computer will improve the speed that SETI analyses the data.
For more information on how you can help in the seach for alien intelligence with SETI at home, click here to get back to Piglette's main feature page on SETI@home and UFOs.