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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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I hate to point this out
By Christopher1 on 3/25/2007 5:50:07 PM , Rating: 2
But the people who think there will EVER be a cure for cancer are in denial.

Cancer is caused by a genetic mutation of cells in the body, or by cells that are ALREADY damaged somewhat and get damaged more.

There is basically no way to fix that, other than wiping out a person's bone marrow and immune system, and having it rebuild itself.

RE: I hate to point this out
By OxBow on 3/26/2007 10:20:25 AM , Rating: 2
The core research that F@H is working will not "cure cancer" nor will it "cure alzeheimers". That's not what they are looking for. The research that they are working on will give us a better understanding of how those mutations happened, and through that understanding we will hopefully be better able to treat the disease.

RE: I hate to point this out
By Spartan Niner on 3/30/2007 12:12:32 AM , Rating: 2
Someone needs to take some basic cell biology before making sweeping statements about something they don't understand.

Yes, cancer can be caused by damage to genetic material in a cell or mutations, but normal healthy cells have mechanisms in place to prevent the propagation of this altered genetic material, namely p53, a tumor suppressor which triggers cell death if damaged DNA is detected. Now if the p53 does not fold properly into its protein conformation it will not be effective, and this is the main angle of attack on cancer the researchers at Stanford are utilizing in the F@H project - to understand p53 folding, misfolding, and identify potential drugs/treatments to either restore or repair p53 effectiveness. Yes, this is a simplified, generalized summary, but basically what I'm saying is never say never.

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