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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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Anyone else see this?
By medavid16 on 3/24/2007 5:05:37 AM , Rating: 3
Maybe my math is off, but it doesn't look like the PS3 has more processing power, looks like the GPU's won it in terms of efficiency.

367/15000 vs 41/70

RE: Anyone else see this?
By WayneG on 3/24/2007 8:02:52 AM , Rating: 2
Remember as well that the GPUs are only the ATI X1900s :D, The cell CPU was made for this sort of thing as well its just a shame its not any good for games...

RE: Anyone else see this?
By ghost101 on 3/24/2007 8:13:14 AM , Rating: 1
Dont compare the Cell to GPUs. Compare it to other CPUs. It beats everything else by a country mile.

Perhaps, kentsfields can perform better, but i guess we cant tell atm.

RE: Anyone else see this?
By ttnuagadam on 3/24/2007 1:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
it would be more fair to compare the Cell to something like the Ageia Physx processor. the Cell only excels in floating point processing where a normal CPU is generally pretty good at everything.

in reality the cell probably has more in common with a GPU than a typical CPU.

RE: Anyone else see this?
By KernD on 3/24/2007 2:59:13 PM , Rating: 2
I know of two test we could make for the Cell, if you want to test it's general purpose PPC core, test it against a core2 duo in a single thread test... we all know the core2 would win, it's far more complex and capable of out-of-order execution.

If you want to test floating point processing power, then you need to test it with the same number of cores working... like a 8 core kentsfield server... the winner would still be the same I think.

RE: Anyone else see this?
By saratoga on 3/24/2007 6:37:19 PM , Rating: 2
Cell is good at anything non-branchy and parallel. FP or Int. Throw in a lot of branches though, and the in order thing will kill it, for both int and fp.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton
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