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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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Is that it?
By Labatyd on 3/24/2007 5:18:41 AM , Rating: 0
Well so much for the vaunted power of the PS3 and the Cell, by looking at those numbers it's clear that the PS3 has well under half the muscle of an ATI X1900XT! (The ATI1900XT is the baseline card for the GPU folding project)

As a previous poster has mentioned, the Xbox 360 would crush the PS3 running Folding@home, of course that's assuming the C1 GPU is similar in power and design to the X1900XT.

RE: Is that it?
By R3MF on 3/24/2007 6:48:00 AM , Rating: 1
whinge whinge whinge

ffs, find something else to do but whinge about the PS3!

RE: Is that it?
By ghost101 on 3/24/2007 8:10:08 AM , Rating: 1
Actually general purpose cores in the 360 would get slaughtered by the ps3 in this sort of thing. Just compare the ps3 to osx intels which are at the very least core duo processors. The ps3 performs over 10x better.

RE: Is that it?
By FITCamaro on 3/24/2007 9:24:14 AM , Rating: 3
He wasn't talking about using the 360's CPU. He was talking about using the GPU. The PS3s GPU doesn't have the horsepower to run the F@H client. The 360's GPU, since its loosely based on the X1900 series, has more than enough. It will probably be even faster since the unified shaders are fully programmable.

Read the post.

RE: Is that it?
By ttnuagadam on 3/24/2007 1:58:22 PM , Rating: 2
nah the xenon is maybe slightly less than half the speed of the cell. think of each core on the xenon as being a PPE and an SPE in one. its definitely not puny, and will be plenty of power.

RE: Is that it?
By Lord Evermore on 3/24/2007 11:29:57 PM , Rating: 4
Why would anybody consider the PS3 a failure just because it doesn't outperform the current leading graphics card when processing data that's not the primary use of either product? You can't run a game on nothing but a video card, and you can't run F@H on only a video card either. So it doesn't outperform a video card at a particular task outside its primary use. Well we should just scrap it!

Analogy: you need to generate some electricity. You could hook the wheel of a Honda Civic to a coil/magnet assembly to rotate it, or you could attach a treadmill to it with 120 actual horses turning the coil. The horses might outperform the car, since the car loses power getting the energy from the engine to the wheel, but the horses don't have air conditioning.

Yes that made total sense to me.

RE: Is that it?
By PlasmaBomb on 3/25/2007 8:32:50 AM , Rating: 2
The car would win overall. It's more powerful (read up on the Watt and horse power) and a more convenient and a smaller package. Though you would kill both running them flat out with no cooling on a stationary platform. (Sorry O/T)

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