Quote:
Originally Posted by afjewkes
I'm currently running a LL first test for an exponent  if this was to find a prime, would I get credit at the end of this test (which is up to 2^79 for this exponent) and then a potential award once it's been checked by over users?

There is no "award" beside of the credit (which can be used for nothing, except boasting to your friends that "look, I do math research!" hehe), except for the case when your exponent turns out to generate a prime number. In that case there may be a money reward, like $3000 or so, and you will be famous for a week
. The chances you find a prime are extremely slim. If you work in 332M range and find a prime, you can get the
EFF award, and be famous for a little longer.
Quote:
Another question, I'm running an exponent on a slower PC that seems to be taking 53 times longer? And in prime95 it says stage 1 is x% complete, how many stages are there?

"Stages" are only when talking about "P1 factoring". There are 2 stages, each taking the same amount of time, about. This P1 is a "helping" phase, which tries to factor that big number, and in case it succeed, you will avoid running the
_LONGER_ (in time) LL test. You can not find a prime running the P1, but you may be lucky and avoiding wasting even more time trying to prove a prime (by LL) which in fact is composite, having a small factor. P1 can find this factor and avoid time consuming. Now, on the other hand, you should
NOT get P1 work, unless you expressed explicitly that option, or unless you selected a insanely huge exponent for which P1 was not done enough. That is because there are dedicated software tools that work on different hardware (not on your CPU) which are more efficient in doing P1, and there are few guys here who like to find large factors, so they do a lot of P1, using "special" hardware, "filtering" in this way the exponents. What is left after these guy's work should be "ready for LL", and no P1 should be necessary. This of course, unless you chosen deliberately an exponent which is "too big", and these guys here didn't reach it with their P1 machines... Which I recommend you to cancel, and start a normal "LL front" exponent (the "front" is now around 7980 millions, and slowly advancing).
Another idea is that you start first with doublechecking smaller exponents, which will be good for you as a beginner, from three points of view: first, they finish faster (because the exponents are smaller) giving you a small satisfaction (and some fast "credits"), second, you can get a residue which you compare with the other guy who did initial test, and in this way you know that your hardware is working properly, and it is apt to do the longer LL tests, and third, during this testing period, you learn how the things are going here around. More info about P1, LL, DC, etc., you can find on
gimps' math page.
Edit: crosspost with Unc, I had this page open since morning (lunch break here now) but no time to write, and didn't see you posted, sorry.