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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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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.

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