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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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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.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
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