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Print 37 comment(s) - last by InsaneScientis.. on Mar 21 at 9:10 PM

PS3's next big update to add new Web surfing options and background downloading

The powerful PlayStation 3 will soon be getting the ability to simultaneously walk and chew gum, so to speak. An upcoming system update to bring the PS3 firmware to version 1.6 will give users the ability to download files from the PlayStation Network in the background.

Currently, PlayStation 3 owners must halt all activity and remain focused on the download progress bar. Any attempt at another operation on the console will cancel the download, which is non-resumable. Users will greatly appreciate this new feature when it comes to downloading large files, such as Gran Turismo HD Concept at 625MB.

Another recently announced feature to be included in the 1.60 update is the introduction of Folding@home functionality, giving owners of a PS3 the opportunity to use their new game system to help find real-life cures to diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis and many cancers.

Version 1.60 will also improve the Web browsing ability of the PS3. The update will bring zooming and new resolution settings for easier surfing, plus a full-sized keyboard on-screen for more convenient text entry.

Although the 20GB PS3 may soon be extinct, especially after confirmation from retailer memos, Sony is adding a software feature so that the WiFi-less PS3 variant will be able to connect with the PSP for Remote Play.

Details of the update were first found from a Japanese press release dating the release date of the new firmware to be March 22. The timing of the new firmware closely coincides with the launch of the European launch of PS3.

While not yet applicable to Japanese and North American consoles, the European PS3 features revised hardware that omits the Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesizer, a chip used for hardware backwards compatibility for PS2 games, in favor of costs. An upcoming firmware update is expected to introduce software emulation of over 1,000 PS2 games for the European PS3. It is unclear how the different hardware specification and software requirements will affect future and current Japan and North American PlayStation 3 consoles.



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Folding@home
By feelingshorter on 3/19/2007 10:58:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
According to Sony, the Cell processor inside each PS3 is roughly 10 times faster than a standard mainstream PC chip at protein folding calculations.


Can anyone with a PS3 comment on the Folding@home speed compared to a regular PC?




RE: Folding@home
By MrDiSante on 3/19/2007 11:23:44 PM , Rating: 1
While it may or may not be true that the Cell may be 10X faster than the run-of-the-mill CPU, it's about equal with a standard mainstream GPU. And since folding@home can currently be run on ATI Radeons (still beta though), it's a load of BS.


RE: Folding@home
By MrDiSante on 3/19/2007 11:24:29 PM , Rating: 2
*10X faster at folding@home. Not 10X faster for general purpose. I really want an edit function.


RE: Folding@home
By cochy on 3/20/2007 1:20:59 AM , Rating: 2
oh boy here we go again...


RE: Folding@home
By Samus on 3/20/2007 6:50:11 AM , Rating: 2
Its funny how sony and apple love to bash PC's. They should get a room together and make geek love.


RE: Folding@home
By nerdboy on 3/20/2007 8:43:32 AM , Rating: 2
Sony Ilove


RE: Folding@home
By thestereotype on 3/19/2007 11:24:10 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
...dating the release date of the new firmware... March 22.

I don't think anyone will be able to comment for a few more days.


RE: Folding@home
By jkresh on 3/20/2007 1:50:22 AM , Rating: 2
those numbers correspond to what folding at home shows on their site (but that is over a single core, so its probably twice as fast as a core 2 quad), an x1950xt is about 2-4 times faster then the ps3 and if they get a beta out for an 8800 or r600 it will be even faster.


RE: Folding@home
By MonkeyPaw on 3/20/2007 7:39:33 AM , Rating: 2
Call me crazy, but I just wouldn't want to leave my $600 PS3 (if I had one) running all day and night at 100% CPU.


RE: Folding@home
By therealnickdanger on 3/20/2007 7:43:43 AM , Rating: 2
But Sony designed it to last 10 years! That's why it has a 10-year warranty! Oh, wait...


RE: Folding@home
By Scabies on 3/20/2007 9:46:42 AM , Rating: 2
it has been reported that the PS3 client can crunch around a frame a second, whereas my CPU client does one every 27sec (C2D @ 2.5ghz)
Granted, the GPU client is tons faster than the CPU client due to specialized coding, I'm sure if Stanford made a C2D-coded client, it would rock.

It has also been said (by Stanford) that if 100,000 PS3's joined the folding effort, their current aggregate folding power would double. Who knows how many CPUs are currently folding, but its far more than 100k.


RE: Folding@home
By InsaneScientist on 3/20/2007 11:15:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
it has been reported that the PS3 client can crunch around a frame a second, whereas my CPU client does one every 27sec (C2D @ 2.5ghz)
Granted, the GPU client is tons faster than the CPU client due to specialized coding, I'm sure if Stanford made a C2D-coded client, it would rock.


F@H, according to the Pande group, is almost 100% floating point operations.
That's why we haven't seen a 64-bit native client yet (and probably never will). x64 increases (theoretically can double) performance on integer operations, but it has almost no effect on floating point ops, unless the op requires a massive amount of memory (read: more than 2GB for a single process). F@H would see only a fraction of a percent gain from moving to x64 - not nearly enough to be worth the coding and testing that would be necessary.

But, I digress...

The reason that GPUs scream at F@H is not that the code is specially optimized for them (though it is), but that they are Floating Point powerhouses (as graphical operations are almost exclusively FP ops). AMD's teraflop system, for example, has an incredible amount of processing power due to its use of two R600 GPUs for processing, but that horsepower is only good for floating point ops.

CPUs, by defenition, are not specialized. They must be able to handle any type of instruction, so they will fall miserably short when compared to a processing engine optimized for a single type of operation. Unfortunately no code optimization that Pande Group does for the CPU is going to allow any CPU to even begin to approach the level of processing power that the GPU has.
Imagine trying to optimize your code enough to allow a modern FPS to run exclusively on the CPU, with no processing done by the GPU. It can't be done. The CPU just can't compete with any GPU when it comes to floating point ops.

Last I checked, Pande Group was using Intel compilers for the Folding project (part of the reason that F@H sucks on the K8 architechure)... so it effectively already is optimized for Intel architechures.

Sorry to burst your bubble... I wish they could do it too.

quote:
It has also been said (by Stanford) that if 100,000 PS3's joined the folding effort, their current aggregate folding power would double. Who knows how many CPUs are currently folding, but its far more than 100k.

Based on Sony's claims, I would have expected it to be somewhat less than 100k needed... but then again, Sony of late hasn't exactly been what you could call reliable.

To answer your question, there are roughly 191,000 CPUs currently active in the Folding @ Home project. (there have been over 1.7 million unique CPU IDs registered at one time or another, but I'm assumming that they're going by what's actually being produced at the moment, not the theoretical output of everything they've ever had)

If they need 100,000 PS3s to double their current processing power (meaning that 100k PS3s would be roughly equal to their current CPU power) that means that a PS3 is only 2x powerful as the average of those 191k CPUs.

Considering that fully 25% of those CPUs are Athlons (which probably includes Athlon 64s, but F@H is not friendly to the AMD K8 architechure. P4s are much faster due to the compilation optimisations) and another 16% are either Pentium IIs or PIIIs, that paints the PS3's F@H production in a pretty anemic light.

It's sounding like this thing would barely be on par with a Core 2 Duo as far as churning through WUs is concerned. :-S


RE: Folding@home
By SmokeRngs on 3/21/2007 1:41:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's why we haven't seen a 64-bit native client yet


I've been running the SMP Linux client for around 1 1/2-2 months now. Requires a a 64 bit Linux distro. It puts out about 2000 PPD on an E6400@3.2 Ghz.

quote:
part of the reason that F@H sucks on the K8 architechure


Until the C2D, the A64 was the CPU to have for Folding. It was better than anything else out there. It would get better PPD than a much higher clocked P4 and use much less power while doing so since it was a much more efficient architecture. The C2D rapes it right now on the regular and SMP clients but that's recent history.

From the time of the A64 launch until the launch of the C2D, A64's ruled the roost for folding with the exception of the QMD core based proteins which would only run on P4's. They would only run on P4's because of using the Intel compiler. The Intel compiler didn't allow for the correct optimizations for QMDs to be run on A64's. I don't remember the exact problem but it was something along that line.

I would expect PS3 production to be similar to the GPU folding for ATI cards running the GPU client. If I remember correctly, it was said GPUs could equal up to 10x the performance of a general purpose CPU. That 10x performance hasn't been shown in the real world but it is faster than a general purpose CPU. I would expect PS3 production to be similar based on that.

I would expect additional optimizations to the client and the actual processing cores in the future to increase efficiency for the PS3 client and the GPU client.


RE: Folding@home
By InsaneScientist on 3/21/2007 9:10:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've been running the SMP Linux client for around 1 1/2-2 months now. Requires a a 64 bit Linux distro. It puts out about 2000 PPD on an E6400@3.2 Ghz.


My apologies, I meant Windows client.

I'm not sure why they made it that way, though... based on what they've said, there's no advantage for F@H to at 64-bit.

quote:
Until the C2D, the A64 was the CPU to have for Folding. It was better than anything else out there. It would get better PPD than a much higher clocked P4 and use much less power while doing so since it was a much more efficient architecture. The C2D rapes it right now on the regular and SMP clients but that's recent history.


Hmmm.... all of the people I've talked to (and my own experiences are similar) get better results on P4s than A64s. I wonder why the difference. :-S

quote:
I would expect PS3 production to be similar to the GPU folding for ATI cards running the GPU client. If I remember correctly, it was said GPUs could equal up to 10x the performance of a general purpose CPU. That 10x performance hasn't been shown in the real world but it is faster than a general purpose CPU. I would expect PS3 production to be similar based on that.


The GPU processing is supposed to be roughly 30x the speed of a CPU, and they actually do get close to that figure from what I've heard. The reason that we don't see the people running the GPU client with obscenely high scores is that the GPU WUs have a different point system, so as not to leave the rest of us in the dust.


RE: Folding@home
By rupaniii on 3/21/2007 12:40:16 AM , Rating: 2
I have an X24400 with 1gb and a 7900gt.
I'll set it to 100% cpu and put it up against my PS3 on friday nite after the update hits.

Hope I can find this article by then.


PS3 is slowly but surely fixing the problems
By daftrok on 3/19/2007 11:47:39 PM , Rating: 3
Now it needs to fix what I believe are the main issues:

1) Browser runs a tad slow, but maybe this update will fix a few of its problems

2) PS1 game downloads can't be played on PS3 only PSP.

3) More GUI customization (icon sizes, background image, etc.)

4) Rumble (which will most likely be solved).

5) Scale EVERYTHING (ps1, ps2, DVDs, ps3 games, blu-ray movies, movies on HDD). Let US choose what resolution to run at and LEAVE it at that resolution, be it 480i,480p,720p,1080i,1080p, and eventually 1440p.

6) Give us VGA/DVI/HDMI settings and release a VGA cable. Let us choose from a variety of resolutions, from 800x600 to 2560x1600 (and all the 16:10, 16:9, 4:3, 5:4 ratio resolutions in between). Of course, the super high resolutions would really only be used for web browsing and photo viewing, but maybe ps1 games/dvds/ps2 games/movies can be upscaled to that resolution.

7) Finish up on the software emulation (fix it too I heard) so that people will stop bitching and moaning about the meager 1200 games emulated and do everything.

I'm sure there are a few other things I missed but I believe these are the top seven things (in no particular order).




By Aversio on 3/20/2007 1:29:54 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
which is non-resumable.


Will this be fixed at the same time as background downloading?
Cause 600+ mb on a slower DSL line is quite a download only to have someone wipe it out by using the microwave while talking on the cordless phone!


By otispunkmeyer on 3/20/2007 5:34:56 AM , Rating: 5
i think what you need mate is a PC :P


By therealnickdanger on 3/20/2007 7:45:04 AM , Rating: 3
Or an Xbox360... ;-)


By Aversio on 3/20/2007 2:15:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
i think what you need mate is a PC :P


Obviously I've got one. Got a few actually, like most DT's. But that's not the point. This is yet another "feature" that should have been there at launch. How many months will it take?


RE: PS3 is slowly but surely fixing the problems
By RobFDB on 3/20/2007 7:53:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
4) Rumble (which will most likely be solved).

Won't they have to release a new controller for that?


By Derka on 3/20/2007 8:26:09 AM , Rating: 2
Yes they will need to release a new controller. However you won't see me dishing out 50 bucks for something that should have been included in the first place.


By nerdboy on 3/20/2007 8:41:08 AM , Rating: 2
It's okay sony will release a single update for all those things. So get ready for update 1.7 next month.


RE: PS3 is slowly but surely fixing the problems
By AstroCreep on 3/20/2007 10:35:37 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I like to dream too. :)


By nerdboy on 3/20/2007 10:45:23 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry my mistake queue sarcasm. I forgot to put that in there.


waits for the trolls to emerge.
By R3MF on 3/20/2007 5:17:30 AM , Rating: 2
just give me a Linux GPU driver and i will be happy.




RE: waits for the trolls to emerge.
By EarthsDM on 3/20/2007 10:22:12 AM , Rating: 1
Give me (or Adobe) a decent compiler for the cell processor, and I will be very happy : D


RE: waits for the trolls to emerge.
By FITCamaro on 3/20/2007 12:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
Talk to Sony about that...oh yeah....you'll have to pay money to develop for it yourself.

Gotta hand it to Microsoft with their new XNA studio. For a very minimal amount of money, you get to write your own code for the 360. And in a development environment far nicer than anything Sony will ever have.


RE: waits for the trolls to emerge.
By JimFear on 3/21/2007 3:49:50 AM , Rating: 2
Erm, Linux openly runs ont he PS3, Linux is open source therefore you'd only be paying wit your tme to develop it, ratehr than being hella anal about homebrew like MS is witht he 360 you can freely run nix on a PS3 which is what most hackers are trying to get running on the 360. I'll give it to MS about XNA though, I like that.


Folding@Home
By m9105826 on 3/20/2007 8:58:01 AM , Rating: 2
When Folding@Home was announced at Stanford last week, the creators claimed that the PS3 was 30x faster at it than your average mid to high end PC.




RE: Folding@Home
By KillerNoodle on 3/20/2007 1:21:08 PM , Rating: 2
Claimed is different then actuality. So wait until the 22nd to find out.


RE: Folding@Home
By InsaneScientist on 3/20/2007 11:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
30x speed increase is what is being claimed for GPU processing.

I don't think that it's what they claimed for the PS3 (no way the Cell has as much processing power for floating point ops as an X1900 class GPU).

If that's what they're actually claiming, I expect them to fall flat on their face.
Cell may be more powerful than a standard CPU, but it's not that much more powerful.


Curious
By creathir on 3/20/2007 9:06:09 AM , Rating: 1
Now, I do not own a PS3. What exactly can you download? Is there additional content yet to download?

Are there demos and game content to download?

(Just curious, as I do not own a PS3)

- Creathir




RE: Curious
By adsmith on 3/20/2007 9:24:22 AM , Rating: 2
Yes you can download content games, demos and movie trailers for the PS3.
And I have to say I agree that the folding@home is something I could live without. While it is a good cause I don't ever plan to utilize my PS3 in such a way. It's a console system\BR Player and that is why I bought it. I would have considered a 360 if I didn't already have an investment in a lot of Playstation 2 games.


RE: Curious
By aos007 on 3/20/2007 12:58:05 PM , Rating: 2
In fact demos are quite important right now given how small the library of games is. I still own only one game even though I had console since early January.

There are also quite a few games to download, many are PS1 ports that you need PSP to play on but there are some PS3 games, including one fighting game that's a straight port from the arcade. People generally think that most of these games are good value for money. More importantly, the selection is growing at a steady pace.

Also, there is a growing list of movie trailers, and all are available in 1080p. Not sure about the value of these - I prefer some free shorts, trailers are just advertisement. The only reason to watch them is because they're in 1080p.

I'm not too happy with my purchase but the Sony Store part of the puzzle works pretty well (sans no background download, that is). I enjoy it more than Xbox360 equivalent (though Canadian version of MS marketplace is castrated).


X360 IE
By bldckstark on 3/21/2007 12:27:24 PM , Rating: 2
If my X360 could surf the internet I would call it close enough to perfect. That is the one thing I wish it would do that it does not. I would like to be able to easily use it surf the internet instead of having to swap cables from my PC monitors, or buy a HTPC. The idea of the next gen consoles was to create a cheap alternative to the HTPC, while gaming and creating a steady income stream for the manufacturer. The 360 does everything except surf.

I've got an excellent gaming platform, great downloadable content with games and shows (in HD!), excellent online gaming capabilities, reasonable price, and an HD-DVD player on the cheap (maybe not the winner of this so called war tho). I will dance a jig the day they allow surfing.




Background DL'ing just now.
By VIAN on 3/20/2007 12:12:55 AM , Rating: 1
I could've sworn that one of those retarded PRs said they had background DL'ing about a month ago.




"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007














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