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Folding@Home for ATI R5xx Series in the near future

Tech Report reports Folding@Home will take advantage of ATI graphics processing power in the near future. Folding@Home claims performance of 100 gigaflops per computer will be achieved by taking advantage of ATI’s graphics processing power. ATI GPU support appears to only be for R5xx series of graphics processors according to the Folding@Home high performance client FAQ. The GPU powered Folding@Home client runs considerably faster on R580, Radeon X1900, X1950 series, than R520, Radeon X1800 series, most likely due to the R580’s 48 pixel shaders.

NVIDIA GPUs are currently unsupported at the time as the Folding@Home project has been concentrating its efforts on ATI GPUs as the ATI GPUs perform significantly faster than current generation NVIDIA GPUs. Folding@Home also previously announced its Cure@PS3 project to take advantage of the PS3’s processing power. DailyTech awaits the day Folding@Home optimizes its client for Bigfoot Networks KillerNIC.

The ATI optimized Folding@Home client is expected to arrive towards the end of September.  And, of course, if you needed another reason to stock up on ATI R5xx cards, ATI is still expected to release a driver for Triple Play

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a comment
By ForumMaster on 8/24/2006 2:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
NVIDIA GPUs are currently unsupported at the time as the Folding@Home project has been concentrating its efforts on ATI GPUs as the ATI GPUs perform significantly faster than current generation NVIDIA GPUs.

i'm not an nvidia fanboy, but this isn't true. the arcitechture is different. an and SLi or CS setup would be good for this.

RE: a comment
By bunnyfubbles on 8/24/2006 2:20:58 PM , Rating: 1
I believe what he meant is that they're not focusing any development on nVidia at the moment becaues of how much easier to develop for/better performance with the R520/R580.

RE: a comment
By Phynaz on 8/24/2006 2:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
How do you know it's not true? Have you tried folding on either brand of GPU?

RE: a comment
By muziqaz on 8/24/2006 2:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
phynaz, stanford university did test on nvidia's and ati's high end cards(as far as I remember it was x1800xt&gf7800gtx) and ati's card spanked gtx card all over the place :)

you can find more about gpu f@h client developement here:
it is pitty that they are supporting only high-end gpu's.I for one would be willing to fold on my fx5500 card :)
but oh well...

RE: a comment
By akugami on 8/24/2006 3:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
I believe it's the superior pixel shaders of the R5xx series (and R6xx) that are being utilized for the F@H project and why they released it for the ATI GPU's instead of nVidia. This is going to be a specialized program that is highly optimized for ATI GPU's.

Can they probably get it working on nVidia's GPU's? I'm sure they can but the performance would probably suck without optimizations and that being the case, they'd probably need to rewrite large chunks of it to work on nVidia's GPU's and the performance would probably not be as great as on ATI's GPU's.

I am not saying one video card is better than the other, merely that this new version of F@H is ATI only due to the R5xx's higher pixel shader power. The fact that the R580's perform better than the R520's seem to support this as the X1900's (R580) mainly differ with the X1800's (R520) in terms of pixel shaders.

It shouldn't take them too much work to get this up and running on the R600 since even though it's a unified shader architecture, it's derivative of the R500 series to a degree.

RE: a comment
By PrinceGaz on 8/24/2006 6:45:39 PM , Rating: 2
I suspect the shader-power of an FX5500 (aka FX5200) that could be leveraged for folding work would likely be less than what the same computer's CPU could handle.

Bearing in mind this PPU/co-processor utilisation of GPUs is totally dependent on GPU shader-power, the GeForce5/FX shader power (or lack of) rules them out entirely.

RE: a comment
By Puddleglum on 8/24/2006 5:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
From Folding@Home:
March 2006 We have been investigating using ATI boards. The newest ones (with the R520 or R580 GPU -- eg the 1800XT or 1900XT boards) support 32 bit floating point operations, so they now work for folding calculations.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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