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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 Oobu on 3/24/2007 7:18:52 AM , Rating: 2
I can only begin to wonder how much of my PS3's lifespan would be knocked off if I let it run this "Folding@Home" app all the time like some people plan to do. I ran it for about 15 minutes and my bedroom started heating up from the huge amount of heat my PS3 was generating from running at full speed constantly. I turned it off after about 20 minutes and started playing a game, the fan slowed down once the CPU stopped being used constantly and the heat slowly faded away. I'm sure they did a lot of testing, but I really don't think it's safe to run constantly unless you make sure you have a fan or something cooling down your PS3 constantly. Also, just thought I'd mention that Sony wasn't BSing around when they said the Cell BE was powerful. My dual core CPU doesn't come anywhere close in computing power to this thing. My PS3 can finish a 400,000 frame work unit from Folding@Home in 6-8 hours... it takes longer than that for my desktop PC to just manage a 50,000 frame work unit from Folding@Home. A lot of people have said the same thing, some even running overclocked, water cooled, dual core CPU's

"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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