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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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LOL I can see the flame wars starting to heat up...
By Hawkido on 3/23/2007 7:00:53 PM , Rating: -1
Okay, so when is MS going to allow F@H on the XBox 360? If they don't there will be rumors...

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?

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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