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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 MonkeyPaw on 3/24/2007 10:31:23 PM , Rating: 2
Who wants to leave their console on 24/7 anyway? I never leave my 360 running when I'm not using it--I figure that probably helps extend its life. Consoles are not PCs, and they're not meant to run all day and night, every single day. So I say go ahead and fold on your PS3--when it dies in a year or less, Sony will be glad to sell you another.

By Lord Evermore on 3/24/2007 11:41:03 PM , Rating: 2
Consoles are essentially the same components as PCs. They really shouldn't be any more prone to failure, except in terms of outright design flaws or defects. The solid-state components ARE exactly the same as a PC's, they're made by the same companies, on the same production lines. The standard stuff like capacitors and MOSFETs could be used in PCs. Special things like CPU, GPU, other chips are still made the same was as PC chips. The hard drives are nothing but laptop drives. Fans come from the same companies that make PC fans, power supplies too. They didn't retool their entire design process just to make them less reliable.

I think the console mainboards are actually even built by the same companies that make some PC mainboards or other devices.

By MonkeyPaw on 3/25/2007 10:00:13 AM , Rating: 2
True, but PC components are in larger, more ventilated cases. If a part fails, it can be easily replaced. System fans are prone to failure, especially when dust builds up. You can't just order a new PS3/XB360 system fan, nor can you just pop them open and dust them out.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
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