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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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By Furen on 3/24/2007 1:09:37 AM , Rating: 0
I'd also like to point out that the Cell CPU probably crushes Xenon on this workload, so if MS actually got a client running on the Xbox 360 and it failed to actually match the PS3's calculation rate with significantly superior numbers it would be extremely bad press.

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.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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