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The Cell Broadband Engine tears it up when Folding@home
Sony's console dominating all other clients at Folding@home

Along with the release of PlayStation 3 in Europe, gamers in Japan and North America updated their Sony monoliths to system software version 1.60. Along with the much needed background downloading, the update brings to the PS3 the ability to help find a cure for cancer with its Folding@home client.

Although Sony hasn’t thus far been able to prove the power of the PlayStation 3 through first generation games, Folding@home may be offering the first glimpse at the new console’s much touted muscle.

According to the most recent Folding@home client statistics sorted by operating system, the PlayStation 3 leads all other platforms by a huge margin. The PS3 has 367 current TFLOPS, while the next closest is Windows with 151 TFLOPS and more than ten times more CPUs.

When it comes to pure performance though, the PS3’s Cell Broadband Processor is still no match for ATI GPUs for protein folding. The GPUs on Folding@home sit at 41 current TFLOPS, which come from only 700 processors. If there were as many GPUs folding as there are PS3s on the network, it can be extrapolated that GPUs could reach 876 TFLOPS.

Below are the current stats at time of publication:

OS Type

Current TFLOPS

Active CPUs

Total CPUs





Mac OS X/PowerPC




Mac OS X/Intel




















The version 1.60 firmware update is now available through Sony’s Web site or via the PlayStation 3 system update feature.

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How much?
By Griswold on 3/23/2007 7:07:54 PM , Rating: 2
I read that the PS3 sucks up ~180W when idle or watching a movie, now, that it never really idles when turned on or not in standby, how much energy does it burn when crunching numbers? Since we're all so keen on performance/watt numbers... anyone knows? :P

RE: How much?
By dice1111 on 3/23/2007 7:11:35 PM , Rating: 2
Great point. It could be that people are really paying for those folds.

I know my electrical bill can certaintly more juice flowing though my house... :p

RE: How much?
By tuteja1986 on 3/24/2007 3:54:15 AM , Rating: 2
I think when folding @ home releases support G80 and also R600 . Then you would see GPU rule the charts.

RE: How much?
By peternelson on 3/25/2007 2:55:58 AM , Rating: 2
Not many people have the latest gpus, or yet heard of the folding client.

I hope folding project do their nvidia port because that's where gpgpu started.

The nvidia of late 2007 will have more precision math performance which will also help.

There's a lot of gpu hardware power out there not yet harnessed, and just running a screensaver.

RE: How much?
By walk2k on 3/23/2007 7:15:14 PM , Rating: 5
It uses about 175-200 watts.

It doesn't seem to have much if any power-saving features.

When it starts up, cool, with fans on low, it's closer to 175w. As it warms up and the fans speed up a little, it edges closer to 185w. With the BD drive spinning, a little more.

Outside of that, there doesn't seem to be much increase at all with heavy CPU/GPU activity (tested playing Resistance, it's about 185-190w) versus light/no activity.

In fact the highest it seems to reach was playing music(?) with the visualizer running.... 200-205w Go figure.

In short, it seems to use an average of around 185 watts. Since I replaced all my light bulbs with CFLs, that's more than the entire rest of the house lighting uses... So, while F@H is neat, and I ran a few units overnight last night... I'm not likely to be leaving it on all the time...

RE: How much?
By SunAngel on 3/23/07, Rating: -1
RE: How much?
By walk2k on 3/23/2007 8:51:54 PM , Rating: 2
I highly doubt any PC uses 500 watts. PSU manufacturers grossly overstate the need for wattage to sell more and more expensive PSUs.

Unless you have dual quad-core Xeons, dual QuadroFX boards, and like 8 hard drives. Then maybe I can see 500 watts. Probably a more typical PC uses anywhere from 100 to 200 watts (not including monitor).

Mine uses about 150 watts MAX LOAD. (90 at idle). It's a dual core AMD 4800+, 2GB ram, 7900GTX, SATA 250GB HD... not extreme but pretty beefy.

My old Pentium 4 with 6800GT uses a little bit more but not much.

RE: How much?
By tuteja1986 on 3/24/2007 3:50:25 AM , Rating: 2
wait for 2x X2900XTX crossfire setup should eat up alone 400W.

RE: How much?
By cane on 3/24/2007 7:08:17 AM , Rating: 2
RE: How much?
By Lakku on 3/24/2007 4:02:23 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, each R600 is said, according to ATi documentation, to use 240 to 270 watts a piece. That's 500 watts just for GPUs there. Then again, those same places reporting on the power usage also says it's just a tad faster (using beta drivers) then a 8800gtx (97xx for r600 vs 95xx for 8800 in 3dM06), so I hope a card using around 100 watts more, and thus quite a bit more heat, puts up a lot better numbers then that come May.

RE: How much?
By Lakku on 3/24/2007 3:58:23 PM , Rating: 2
Well, my Core 2 Quad uses about 150watts alone at full load, though nothing I use yet uses all 4 cores, so I don't know how much it uses in my current workload. The 8800GTX uses around 150 to 180. Everything else is probably around 100 to 150 watts at least. So, my computer is close to 500 watts, and could be more if I were to run it at full load. And Im sorry, your computer is using more then 150 watts, considering the 7900 alone uses close to, if not more then, 100 watts, and the CPU uses another 60 to 75w at full load.

RE: How much?
By Lord Evermore on 3/24/2007 10:58:15 PM , Rating: 3
Your CPU and video card are the highest drawing parts in the system. Hard drives are only 2 to 3 watts during operation, CDROM drives not much more, mainboard with integrated stuff is low but I'm not sure of exact numbers. Total, maybe 50 watts maximum for the components besides CPU and GPU, even if using PCI cards for audio and network. Those two also don't draw maximum power at all times. Unless you've actually measured the draw with a meter, it's very unlikely you're anywhere near 500W, even at full load.

Aside from that, a PC running a F@H client isn't running all components at 100%. It's running the CPU (and maybe memory, I don't know much about F@H) at a high usage, and nothing else. So it's very likely a PC doing F@H would be using under 150W maximum if it was just sitting there otherwise idle, even with a dual- or quad-core processor, and 100W or less if completely idle. Even when gaming, the components aren't all constantly running at 100% all at the same time. Totally maxing CPU, memory, and GPU, plus significant drive access and network transfer plus a higher-end audio card could maybe drive it to 300W with a single fast video card, maybe 450 with 2.

Power supply needs have been shown repeatedly to be vastly overstated for marketing purposes and bragging rights. It's certainly fine to have more than enough overhead, but it's not worthwhile to spend twice as much to get 600W if you only need 400W.

RE: How much?
By joex444 on 3/26/2007 12:31:56 AM , Rating: 2
HDs actually use about 12W operation, 9W idle.

Also, the watts you pay for are the AC input. We're talking about the PSU rated as DC output, and the components we're describing are in DC. The PSU performs the AC->DC conversion, and depending on the quality can do it at between 60 and 85% efficient.

Thus, if your components use 300W and the PSU is 75% efficient at 300W you are being charged for 400W, since that's the draw from the power grid. You are also pumping 100W into the system as heat.

RE: How much?
By FITCamaro on 3/23/2007 9:06:31 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly what the guy above me said. Even a quad SLI machine likely won't use up the 1kW power supplies out there.

And a high end PC does not cost $4-7,000. Only the extreme high end comes in around $4000-4500. I priced a friend a PC and with a QX6600, 4GB RAM, 640MB 8800GTS, 250GB hard drive, 74GB Raptor, 2x500GB hard drives, X-Fi sound card, $115 case, $200 power supply, 2 DVD burners, Tuniq tower heatsink, 20.1" widescreen LCD, and keyboard and mouse it was $3300.

RE: How much?
By SunAngel on 3/23/07, Rating: -1
RE: How much?
By FITCamaro on 3/23/2007 9:46:21 PM , Rating: 3
I don't shop at Dell. Therefore, I could care less about their prices. You can build the PC for that. From where, it doesn't matter.

RE: How much?
By CascadingDarkness on 3/28/2007 7:50:42 PM , Rating: 2
I was bored at work so I priced this out at Dell. Couldn't configure exact same system, but close was $5772.

But when it comes down to it, isn't two years of great Dell offshore tech support worth the cost? =P

RE: How much?
By Zoomer on 3/24/2007 9:57:13 AM , Rating: 2
250GB hard drive, 74GB Raptor, 2x500GB hard drives

How are you planning to config that?

RE: How much?
By KillerNoodle on 3/24/2007 1:48:30 PM , Rating: 2
Keep in mind that though a PSU says 1KW You really don't want to be anywhere near the 1KW barrier, ESPECIALLY for extended periods of time. The best way to get a PSU for a setup is to purchase one that is actually about 1.6-1.7 times higher then the power requirement of your computer. This is beacuse the PSU is more efficient at about 60-70% it's peak and it will not cause as much stress on the PSU by running it at only 60-70% load instead of 100%. The full 1KW should only be reached at certain times if at all (Startup of a device/system being one of them.).

No I am not in the PSU industry and yes the math is not exact like shown.

RE: How much?
By RobFDB on 3/24/2007 8:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
For a high end PSU you would expect efficiency around the 80 - 85% mark. Certainly that's what my Enermax Galaxy 850w is quoted at.

RE: How much?
By PrezWeezy on 3/26/2007 1:54:34 PM , Rating: 2
Just to let you know, a truely top end PC shouldn't run you more than about 2G total. The only time a high end PC costs 4-7 grand is when you buy from Alienware, and the only thing special you get from them is a pretty case.

RE: How much?
By paydirt on 3/24/2007 1:51:46 PM , Rating: 2
The best researched numbers I've seen: The PS3 burns around 200W when it is playing games, I gotta figure crunching is the same.

I've done some research relating to this. Basically on a performance per total dollars spent for 3 years use... (total spending = purchase price plus power cost to run 24/7)


CPU includes quad-cores or dual-cores or even octo-cores. PS3 beats CPU in performance per watt for the folding application.

Yeah, it would raise your power bill to have your PS3 crunching when you're not using it, but it goes to a very worthy scientific effort which could make a difference in our parents lives and our lives and all succeeding generations.

RE: How much?
By Lord Evermore on 3/24/2007 11:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
Probably burns less when crunching, since it's not using the video processor.

10 times the performance, similar power draw to a good PC just doing F@H on a CPU. But what's the average CPU type/speed for F@H? If those 160k Windows PCs average out to only being 400MHz P2's, then that'll skew the cost/power/performance comparisons, since you can get a PC with 10 times that performance for the same price as a PS3, with similar power draw when doing just F@H. If you eliminated all the ancient systems the ratio might get closer, though obviously the PS3 would still have an advantage just because the architecture works better for F@H.

If on the other hand the average is closer to modern systems, then PS3 could have an easy performance/dollar advantage over any PC, even if you just made the PC a bare system on a shelf. It's a minimum of say, 200 bucks for the bare essentials for a PC that can do F@H, with a current generation CPU in the midrange where you get decent performance per dollar, no case small hard drive etc, but it won't be much good for anything else and won't be pretty. So you could build 2 to 3 of those for the price of a PS3, giving the PS3 a 5 to 1 or 3 to 1 advantage of TFLOPS per dollar. Those PCs would also be using perhaps 1.5 times the power of the PS3. So the advantage gets higher for the PS3 there.

If you build a PC that can actually do things like play games at a decent level, somewhat comparable performance and quality, can play HD movies, then the PS3 goes back to the full 10 to 1 advantage. That PC would probably also use about the same power as the PS3 by itself.

So basically no matter how you cut it, the PS3 has an advantage in power and price when considering just F@H performance.

But of course, nobody's sitting around with spare PS3s trying to figure out what to do besides letting them molder in a box. But if you've got a PS3 and a PC and want to Fold, do it on the PS3 when you're not gaming. Even if you game a LOT, the PS3 will rack up more points in its idle time than the PC running all the time, and use less power.

RE: How much?
By encia on 3/25/2007 5:17:10 AM , Rating: 2
One doesn’t need Intel Core 2 Extreme for playing 2006/2007 era PC games at playable levels e.g. use components based from (less than 100 USD) Athlon 64 X2 3600+ and (~160 USD) Radeon X1900 Pro.

RE: How much?
By SmokeRngs on 3/26/2007 11:04:07 AM , Rating: 2
Even if you game a LOT, the PS3 will rack up more points in its idle time than the PC running all the time, and use less power.

I disagree with this statement depending on the configuration of the system and what client you are running. I have a C2D@3.2 Ghz running the Linux SMP client. Left alone to do nothing but fold I get around 2000 points per day out of the system. If what I have read is correct, the PS3 can get around 900 points per day. Basically, my overclocked E6400 garners about twice the points as the PS3. At this time that's because the Linux SMP client is beta and there is a points bonus for the work units that are for this client only. I don't know what the points bonus is right now, but I've never heard of Stanford having a 100% bonus for any work unit. Either way, my C2D actually outperforms the PS3 by a good margin.

I'm not going to argue the power consumption aspect with you since I believe you are mostly correct. However, a barebones folding PC can use the same or less power than the PS3 if the 180-200 watt numbers for the PS3 are correct.

E6400 with decent air cooling
Gigabyte DS3 motherboard
gig of value DDR2 800 RAM
quality budget PSU at around 350 watts
any old PCI video card
any old 5 gig+ hard drive

You can build that for around the price of a 20 gig PS3 and it will garner more points than a PS3. With a moderate overclock the numbers for the PC get even better.

I'm not complaining about the PS3 folding. Personally, I want every machine folding that can fold.

RE: How much?
By OxBow on 3/26/2007 10:02:58 AM , Rating: 2
What part of philanthropy do you not understand?

If I'm going to volunteer at the local school/animal shelter/park/hospital etc. I drive my car, bring my lunch, even usually purchase a membership. All because I SUPPORT the goals of the organization.

I support the goals of F@H. Does it cost me to do so, yes. Am I glad to donate that portion of my time (less than five minutes to DL the program and set it to run automatically) and electric bill, you bet.

When the update came out, my wife and I talked about it and since then we've left the PS3 running constantly. It's warm, but not hot, and it is sucking a fair bit of electricity, but nothing compared to our HVAC system.

All those ATI GPU's are doing good work, but the market penetration there is no where near what the PS3 already has, let alone will become. It's cool to see all those yellow lights spread across the globe. And extra Kudo's to our servicemen down in GITMO who are running F@H.

Is that it?
By Labatyd on 3/24/07, Rating: 0
RE: Is that it?
By R3MF on 3/24/2007 6:48:00 AM , Rating: 1
whinge whinge whinge

ffs, find something else to do but whinge about the PS3!

RE: Is that it?
By ghost101 on 3/24/2007 8:10:08 AM , Rating: 1
Actually general purpose cores in the 360 would get slaughtered by the ps3 in this sort of thing. Just compare the ps3 to osx intels which are at the very least core duo processors. The ps3 performs over 10x better.

RE: Is that it?
By FITCamaro on 3/24/2007 9:24:14 AM , Rating: 3
He wasn't talking about using the 360's CPU. He was talking about using the GPU. The PS3s GPU doesn't have the horsepower to run the F@H client. The 360's GPU, since its loosely based on the X1900 series, has more than enough. It will probably be even faster since the unified shaders are fully programmable.

Read the post.

RE: Is that it?
By ttnuagadam on 3/24/2007 1:58:22 PM , Rating: 2
nah the xenon is maybe slightly less than half the speed of the cell. think of each core on the xenon as being a PPE and an SPE in one. its definitely not puny, and will be plenty of power.

RE: Is that it?
By Lord Evermore on 3/24/2007 11:29:57 PM , Rating: 4
Why would anybody consider the PS3 a failure just because it doesn't outperform the current leading graphics card when processing data that's not the primary use of either product? You can't run a game on nothing but a video card, and you can't run F@H on only a video card either. So it doesn't outperform a video card at a particular task outside its primary use. Well we should just scrap it!

Analogy: you need to generate some electricity. You could hook the wheel of a Honda Civic to a coil/magnet assembly to rotate it, or you could attach a treadmill to it with 120 actual horses turning the coil. The horses might outperform the car, since the car loses power getting the energy from the engine to the wheel, but the horses don't have air conditioning.

Yes that made total sense to me.

RE: Is that it?
By PlasmaBomb on 3/25/2007 8:32:50 AM , Rating: 2
The car would win overall. It's more powerful (read up on the Watt and horse power) and a more convenient and a smaller package. Though you would kill both running them flat out with no cooling on a stationary platform. (Sorry O/T)

Anyone else see this?
By medavid16 on 3/24/2007 5:05:37 AM , Rating: 3
Maybe my math is off, but it doesn't look like the PS3 has more processing power, looks like the GPU's won it in terms of efficiency.

367/15000 vs 41/70

RE: Anyone else see this?
By WayneG on 3/24/2007 8:02:52 AM , Rating: 2
Remember as well that the GPUs are only the ATI X1900s :D, The cell CPU was made for this sort of thing as well its just a shame its not any good for games...

RE: Anyone else see this?
By ghost101 on 3/24/2007 8:13:14 AM , Rating: 1
Dont compare the Cell to GPUs. Compare it to other CPUs. It beats everything else by a country mile.

Perhaps, kentsfields can perform better, but i guess we cant tell atm.

RE: Anyone else see this?
By ttnuagadam on 3/24/2007 1:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
it would be more fair to compare the Cell to something like the Ageia Physx processor. the Cell only excels in floating point processing where a normal CPU is generally pretty good at everything.

in reality the cell probably has more in common with a GPU than a typical CPU.

RE: Anyone else see this?
By KernD on 3/24/2007 2:59:13 PM , Rating: 2
I know of two test we could make for the Cell, if you want to test it's general purpose PPC core, test it against a core2 duo in a single thread test... we all know the core2 would win, it's far more complex and capable of out-of-order execution.

If you want to test floating point processing power, then you need to test it with the same number of cores working... like a 8 core kentsfield server... the winner would still be the same I think.

RE: Anyone else see this?
By saratoga on 3/24/2007 6:37:19 PM , Rating: 2
Cell is good at anything non-branchy and parallel. FP or Int. Throw in a lot of branches though, and the in order thing will kill it, for both int and fp.

It shows two things...
By killerroach on 3/23/2007 7:01:39 PM , Rating: 5
For one, a GPU is an absolute processing beast, and I think Stanford can't wait for R600 to come out for their ATI-optimized client to take advantage of that sort of horsepower. Secondly, for the PS3 client to only be out a couple of days and already have half again more number-crunching power than all the other systems combined can only be a good thing in terms of science. Now, if the Folding team could get their ATI client to run on the Xbox 360, that could also unleash a heck of a lot of latent processing power.

Scientific progress is an amazing thing, even more so when we all get to help :)

RE: It shows two things...
By KernD on 3/23/07, Rating: -1
RE: It shows two things...
By OxBow on 3/26/2007 10:13:10 AM , Rating: 2
I'd really like to see MS step up to the plate here and offer the 360 for F@H. It'd convert a lot of this competitive fanboyism into at least a competition that generated something useful, instead of all the hate and flames.

Personally, I'd have both my 360 and PS3 folding if I had a choice. Most 360 supporters use the choice argument as the core foundation for their points. So, where is the choice here? Let's see F@H on the 360.

I hate to point this out
By Christopher1 on 3/25/2007 5:50:07 PM , Rating: 2
But the people who think there will EVER be a cure for cancer are in denial.

Cancer is caused by a genetic mutation of cells in the body, or by cells that are ALREADY damaged somewhat and get damaged more.

There is basically no way to fix that, other than wiping out a person's bone marrow and immune system, and having it rebuild itself.

RE: I hate to point this out
By OxBow on 3/26/2007 10:20:25 AM , Rating: 2
The core research that F@H is working will not "cure cancer" nor will it "cure alzeheimers". That's not what they are looking for. The research that they are working on will give us a better understanding of how those mutations happened, and through that understanding we will hopefully be better able to treat the disease.

RE: I hate to point this out
By Spartan Niner on 3/30/2007 12:12:32 AM , Rating: 2
Someone needs to take some basic cell biology before making sweeping statements about something they don't understand.

Yes, cancer can be caused by damage to genetic material in a cell or mutations, but normal healthy cells have mechanisms in place to prevent the propagation of this altered genetic material, namely p53, a tumor suppressor which triggers cell death if damaged DNA is detected. Now if the p53 does not fold properly into its protein conformation it will not be effective, and this is the main angle of attack on cancer the researchers at Stanford are utilizing in the F@H project - to understand p53 folding, misfolding, and identify potential drugs/treatments to either restore or repair p53 effectiveness. Yes, this is a simplified, generalized summary, but basically what I'm saying is never say never.

Folding Machines
By BladeVenom on 3/23/2007 7:10:57 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe Sony should strip out all the unnecessary components and make a dedicated folding console.

RE: Folding Machines
By TSS on 3/23/2007 8:38:24 PM , Rating: 2
well that would undermine the main purpose of F@H, getting lots and lots of machines that are on anyway to utilize latent processing power. a dedicated machine would only find its way home to a few (i wouldn't buy one).

besides there are blade servers in development with cell that have other uses, including F@H as well as other complex situations.

Not as powerful as a GPU, though
By Avalon on 3/25/2007 7:47:42 PM , Rating: 2
Despite the fact that the PS3 is currently churning out more GFLOPs in total, it is only averaging 0.024 GFLOPS per system, whereas the GPU (ie X1900) is averaging 0.058 GFLOPS per X1900. It's unfortunate there are only 700 active GPU clients running.

However, it is good to see that many PS3 users participating. I say good for them!

RE: Not as powerful as a GPU, though
By Avalon on 3/25/2007 7:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, meant TFLOPS.

By chochosan on 3/26/2007 6:46:48 AM , Rating: 3
I think that none of you actually went to the folding@home stanford webpage to check what they have to say about the PS3 -

"We balance the points based on both speed and the flexibility of the client. The GPU client is still the fastest, but it is the least flexible and can only run a very, very limited set of WU's. Thus, its points are not linearly proportional to the speed increase. The PS3 takes the middle ground between GPU's (extreme speed, but at limited types of WU's) and CPU's (less speed, but more flexibility in types of WU's). "

GPU's despite faster that the cell fp operations, are very very limited in what they can do. While the CELL being a CPU can run more than 20x faster implicit solvent calculations and 4x faster SMP's, GPU's can only work on implicit solvent calculations and nothing else. So, while faster in one area, overall the PS3 CPU is still more productive, and lets not forget cheaper than a PC system with a X1900XTX card in it.

... right now more than 30,000 PS3's are working FAH giving 500 TFLOPS - and the freaking client is only up (from the update) since thursday!! C'mon people you cant argue, this is a great time for Folding@home and the PS3 is doing a hell of a good job

By medavid16 on 3/24/2007 5:06:06 AM , Rating: 2

By Oobu on 3/24/2007 7:18:52 AM , Rating: 2
I can only begin to wonder how much of my PS3's lifespan would be knocked off if I let it run this "Folding@Home" app all the time like some people plan to do. I ran it for about 15 minutes and my bedroom started heating up from the huge amount of heat my PS3 was generating from running at full speed constantly. I turned it off after about 20 minutes and started playing a game, the fan slowed down once the CPU stopped being used constantly and the heat slowly faded away. I'm sure they did a lot of testing, but I really don't think it's safe to run constantly unless you make sure you have a fan or something cooling down your PS3 constantly. Also, just thought I'd mention that Sony wasn't BSing around when they said the Cell BE was powerful. My dual core CPU doesn't come anywhere close in computing power to this thing. My PS3 can finish a 400,000 frame work unit from Folding@Home in 6-8 hours... it takes longer than that for my desktop PC to just manage a 50,000 frame work unit from Folding@Home. A lot of people have said the same thing, some even running overclocked, water cooled, dual core CPU's

No suprise
By scrapsma54 on 3/25/2007 2:04:21 PM , Rating: 2
It comes to no surprise how gpu's could lead those numbers as soon as there are more gpu's on folding@homes network. Gpu's are 2x as complex as a whole Dell dimension 4600 on a chip. Funny how Mac doesn't perform as well despite the numbers of windows pcs out weighing them, I guess the rendering power of macs aren't what allow them to be, same with linux. Sony seems to be really packing it in the ps3 despite the crap graphics. I like how folding@home is making this almost like an open source thing.
Now all we need is Xbox 360 to join the network and we have really big Teraflops on the network.

I hate to point this out
By Christopher1 on 3/25/2007 5:50:07 PM , Rating: 2
But the people who think there will EVER be a cure for cancer are in denial.

Cancer is caused by a genetic mutation of cells in the body, or by cells that are ALREADY damaged somewhat and get damaged more.

There is basically no way to fix that, other than wiping out a person's bone marrow and immune system, and having it rebuild itself.

Cell processor on PC
By drmo on 3/26/2007 8:55:19 AM , Rating: 2
What happens if/when the AMD quad FX allows the second processor to be a Cell (already being planned in servers)? With two or three video cards (Nvidia or ATI/AMD) plus Cell plus Barcelona: that will definitely be one monster Folding machine (not to mention gaming). Of course, power requirements will be huge.

You know you want one...

OK, Now I get it.
By scrapsma54 on 3/27/2007 8:53:47 AM , Rating: 2
I was kinda being dumb in the last blog. I thought Folding at home was for ps3 only. It seems this is just a way for all users to network together to form a large super computer and ps3 being the only publicly available choice for this. Man I wish I had an Ati x1900XTX because right now folding at home is not helping with my mflop performance Pentium 4 3.00ghz w/ Ht. I wonder If they will allow lower end Gpu's to work with this, Aka Geforce Fx and higher.

LOL I can see the flame wars starting to heat up...
By Hawkido on 3/23/07, Rating: -1
By dice1111 on 3/23/2007 7:08:35 PM , Rating: 5
Your wanting a good o'l pissing contest?

MS should let the PS3 have it. I say let the consols prove to each other who's better where is counts. Games!

By firewolfsm on 3/24/2007 1:54:16 AM , Rating: 3
They could use the GPU, which, if the X1900 series is any sign, should at least equal the power of the Cell.

By bunnyfubbles on 3/24/2007 2:50:38 AM , Rating: 2
The goal would be to get the 360's GPU to do the work (or at least most of it), supposedly it would be right up there with the current X1900s doing work and if you work out the numbers the GPUs are currently destroying everything else in terms of production per unit.

By Furen on 3/24/2007 10:10:10 AM , Rating: 4
It's not the same exact GPU as the X1900, though, so we still don't know if the GPU app will work on Xenos. Remember that the GPU client doesn't work on the G80, so just because the GPU is pretty advanced does not mean that it has the precision necessary to fold. Also remember that the PS3 client has a pretty nice-looking rendering of the work being done, a Xenos client would not be able to do that.

By ttnuagadam on 3/24/2007 2:22:08 PM , Rating: 2
from everything ive read the xenos is actually probably a more sophisticated part than the r580 GPUs its just that say a 1950xtx will be a lot faster as it has 48 pixel shaders AND still has separate vertex shaders, not to mention higher clockspeeds and 4x the memory bandwidth. Though since the xenos would use all 48 of its shaders on FaH it would probably be about as fast as an 1950 xtx at the same clockspeed. im just guessing of course, but i see absolutely no reason why the xenos wouldnt be capable of doing fah just as well as the r5xx GPUs

By saratoga on 3/24/2007 6:42:52 PM , Rating: 2
F@H doesn't work on the 8800 mostly because Nvidia was fairly tight lipped about the internal arch, while AMD published the ISA specs for the x1900 and encouraged people to write low level code for it. Now that Nvidia seems to be coming around, I suspect they'll be an 8800 client, or at least a client on one of the 8800 derivatives.

By OxBow on 3/26/2007 10:25:06 AM , Rating: 2
Not if more 360 owners cued this up than PS3 owners. The 360 presently enjoys an 7 to 1 advantage (or better, I'm not sure exactly) over the PS3 in market penetration, so they should in theory be able to get more contributors.

If their tech specs didn't quite match, they'd still be able to point to the number of returned WU's. It all depends on which "score" you want to count.

By MonkeyPaw on 3/24/2007 10:31:23 PM , Rating: 2
Who wants to leave their console on 24/7 anyway? I never leave my 360 running when I'm not using it--I figure that probably helps extend its life. Consoles are not PCs, and they're not meant to run all day and night, every single day. So I say go ahead and fold on your PS3--when it dies in a year or less, Sony will be glad to sell you another.

By Lord Evermore on 3/24/2007 11:41:03 PM , Rating: 2
Consoles are essentially the same components as PCs. They really shouldn't be any more prone to failure, except in terms of outright design flaws or defects. The solid-state components ARE exactly the same as a PC's, they're made by the same companies, on the same production lines. The standard stuff like capacitors and MOSFETs could be used in PCs. Special things like CPU, GPU, other chips are still made the same was as PC chips. The hard drives are nothing but laptop drives. Fans come from the same companies that make PC fans, power supplies too. They didn't retool their entire design process just to make them less reliable.

I think the console mainboards are actually even built by the same companies that make some PC mainboards or other devices.

By MonkeyPaw on 3/25/2007 10:00:13 AM , Rating: 2
True, but PC components are in larger, more ventilated cases. If a part fails, it can be easily replaced. System fans are prone to failure, especially when dust builds up. You can't just order a new PS3/XB360 system fan, nor can you just pop them open and dust them out.

By saratoga on 3/24/2007 6:40:41 PM , Rating: 2
Why was this rated down? Its actually a pretty fair question. The Xenon CPU may be fairly unappealing for this sort of work, but the tightly coupled GPU would be a great choice.

IMO MS should offer to help with something like this, both for PR and because its the right thing to do.

By Lord Evermore on 3/24/2007 11:47:40 PM , Rating: 2
Since when has morality been an issue with Microsoft? :)

But seriously, that makes it sound like not running F@H is as bad as eating babies.

By OxBow on 3/26/2007 10:29:42 AM , Rating: 2
While I'm no MS fan, I do believer that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation does a couple things to help out here and there.

By Hawkido on 3/27/2007 1:00:27 PM , Rating: 2
I think I stepped on some PhanBoise toes. anyway following the link I found this at the bottom of the page:
Active CPUS are defined as those which have returned WUs within 50 days. Active GPUs are defined as those which have returned WUs within 10 days (due to the shorter deadlines on GPU WUs). Active PS3's are defined as those which have returned WUs within 2 days.

So the PS3 figures are only from the last 2 days? and the GPU figures are from the last 10 days? and all else from the last 50 days?

Am I readying this right? Can someone confirm this?

PS3 power consumption
By daftrok on 3/23/07, Rating: -1
RE: PS3 power consumption
By bunnyfubbles on 3/24/2007 2:52:44 AM , Rating: 2
only if you run those lights exactly whenever you have the PS3 running and consuming that amount of power...

and last I checked, most people don't run a lot of lights during the day. :P

RE: PS3 power consumption
By WayneG on 3/24/2007 8:05:57 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously though who cares about power consumption of a console its nothing compared to the TV that you're watching it on most of the time as well as the fact that PCs use a hell of a lot more power. To me that 200w figure sounds like nothing to me considering my PC has a 620W PSU which powers C2D E6600 (oced obv. 3.2Ghz), X1900XTX, 1 raptor X and 2 320gb 7200.10 seagates and watercooling... thats power consumption for you!
To be honest this is good news since there will be a lot more people willing to fold on their consoles than their PCs.

RE: PS3 power consumption
By Lord Evermore on 3/25/2007 12:00:35 AM , Rating: 2
That's not particularly high power consumption. Put it back in your pants, nobody's impressed. Your power supply isn't drawing 620W, and just because it's rated high doesn't mean it's drawing any more than a 400W PSU would be if installed in that same system. You're probably using 300W to 350W under load with that machine, and your system isn't at load 100% of the time. Even if you used 600W (which would likely actually destroy that PSU), you'd be adding a third more power usage to your household than your PC already could possibly use. With normal PC gamer usage, you'd be more likely doubling it.

Power consumption is power consumption, even if it's a small amount. 200W continuously could be considered expensive for some people. For me to do that 24x7 for 30 days, 144KWH, it'd cost $23.04. Power is relatively cheap for me at 16 cents per KWH. At 25 cents, it'd be 36 bucks a month. Regardless of monetary cost, many people also consider the environmental cost. Using power without thinking about its value is an awful thing to some people. It's up to each individual whether using even such a small amount of energy for a cause as "good" as F@H is worthwhile; some might not think F@H is actually ever going to accomplish anything, so the cost in money and environment may not be worth it.

However given the performance level of the PS3, it is likely that you'd get more work done per watt than with even a fast PC using its CPU, since the PC would use a little less power than the PS3 when both are doing just F@H, but the PC would get only 1/10th as much work done. If you ran it on a computer's GPU of course, it would reverse.

By stugatz on 3/23/07, Rating: -1
RE: Brilliant!
By baddog121390 on 3/23/2007 7:49:38 PM , Rating: 2
"Maybe after the PS3 cures cancer, more than 150k people will buy one?"

...Sony has sold over 2 million PS3's worldwide.

RE: Brilliant!
By walk2k on 3/23/2007 7:54:02 PM , Rating: 2
2.7 million actually is the running total, and that doesn't count yesterday's European launch.

150k is only the number that have launched F@H. It's not mandatory or anything...

RE: Brilliant!
By KernD on 3/23/2007 10:33:45 PM , Rating: 2
15K is the number that have launched F@H, not 150K.

RE: Brilliant!
By walk2k on 3/23/2007 11:19:08 PM , Rating: 2
Oops, you're right. Currently it's about 18k total, 17k active...

RE: Brilliant!
By Gatt on 3/23/2007 11:19:57 PM , Rating: 3
Sold or shipped?

Sony has a minor problem differentiating between those two S words, they seem to like to use "Sold" to in place of "Shipped" though they don't mean the same thing.

RE: Brilliant!
By deeznuts on 3/24/2007 9:43:52 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that is sold. Because last time I remember reading about it, they shipped 3M not including the 1M Pal ones that launced recently.

Again I could be mistaken (it was righ at the beginning of March) and again you read 3 different stories and get 3 different numbers.

RE: Brilliant!
By OxBow on 3/26/2007 10:47:22 AM , Rating: 2
Sold and Shipped for Sony is different than Sold is for Best Buy or WalMart. Sony "sells" their product to the retailer (or a middle market distributor) and marks that down on their books as a completed "sale" when they ship to the retailer. The retailer then is left with the job of selling it to the consumer. If the consumer doesn't buy, then the retailer is stuck with two options. 1) Try to get the manufacturer to take the product back for a refund (possible in this case, but not probable) or 2) unload the unsold product on the third tier of after market resellers (, big lots, etc.).

If Sony were to take any of their sold stock back, they'd have to make a correction on their books in their annual report. Since I doubt any retailer is seriously thinking about pursuing this course of action right now (it's way to early in this product lines life cycle to be thinking about this), I'd expect Sony is actually quite happy.

So, when you see Sony saying they've "Sold" so many consoles and people then yell about seeing "unsold" consoles sitting on store shelves, it's the flamers that are getting it wrong, not Sony.

Sony should be happy with it's general market performance right now. They've been able to "Sell" and "Ship" their product as fast as they've been able to manufacture it. Lackluster demand won't show up on their books until next year, when inventory starts to build up. That's when they'll have to look at a price cut to move that inventory, taking a hit on the unit costs to avoid expensive dock and warehouse fees.

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