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After the success of the non-profit Folding@home project, Sony is interested in leasing out computing power to companies willing to pay

Sony is interested in offering discounts and other incentives to have PlayStation 3 owners create a type of supercomputer grid that can be utilized by businesses.  A number of companies -- especially those working in the medical and pharmaceutical industries -- are interested in harnessing the power from PS3s instead of paying outright for a supercomputer.  Sony would likely have to pay users to keep the PS3 running all the time for the benefit of paying businesses.

Sony is unsure how many PS3 owners will be interested in having someone utilize the computer power of their PS3.  Sony spokespeople said the plan is still in the research stage, so types of incentives and which companies are interested have not been announced.  Discounts on products, free downloads, exclusive content, and points are all possible incentives PS3 owners might receive.

The PlayStation 3 is the main choice for supercomputing since Sony's next-generation console has so much processing power, courtesy of the IBM Cell processor.  A newtork of 10,000 PS3s has the power equivalent to 200,000 home PCs, Sony claims.  

Reports were published last month that showed PlayStation 3 game consoles would be able to participate in Stanford University's Folding@ home program -- a popular distributed computing project that uses the processing power for biomedical research.


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Electricity Cost vs Payments
By ghost101 on 4/12/2007 4:01:31 PM , Rating: 2
Will you make a profit? I somehow doubt it. Residential customers never get good rates for electricity, while a business has some leverage to get good rates.




RE: Electricity Cost vs Payments
By Alpha4 on 4/12/2007 4:14:29 PM , Rating: 2
Bah, I posted way too late. In response I think a best case scenario is that someone is planning one leaving their system on overnight for some other reason. That is Unless the Cell idles well enough during these tasks.


RE: Electricity Cost vs Payments
By feelingshorter on 4/12/2007 4:21:42 PM , Rating: 2
Businesses probably get charged more. Residents get charged in kilowatt hours whereas businesses get charged in real watt usage.

But still, how much can consumers gain from this? If Sony is the middleman, then the consumers who own their 600 dollar consoles will surely get the short end of the stick. Not to mention, how long will a PS3 last? 1 year-1.5 year if you continuously run Folding@Home or other programs as Sony plans?


RE: Electricity Cost vs Payments
By Christopher1 on 4/12/2007 4:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
No...... that's quite a bit of an understatement for the life of a console.

I had a Packard Bell computer (crappiest of the crappy!) that lasted for more than 10 YEARS, count them, 10 YEARS without breaking, except for a hard drive replacement.

Most computers today, if you are not on the BLEEDING edge, will last a goodly amount of time. My parents Media Center Edition computer was on 24/7 until recently, and it has lasted nearly 5 years with that constant on.

I still have an original NES that still works after being dropped, submerged (literally!) in soda, and after a power supply caught on fire.


RE: Electricity Cost vs Payments
By OxBow on 4/12/2007 5:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
Heck, I'm still using parts from my old Packard-Bell.

I don't have any problems running folding@home on my PS3 (it's been folding nearly non-stop since the program was released). There's a 1 year warrantee on the machine, so if any problems come up with it, they'll probably come up well before then. Like they did with the 360.

The key aspect to this story is just what the incentive program consists of. Is the cost to run the machine worth the incentive's, which is almost certainly going to be a subjective decision, rather than arbitrary. Some incentives could be gobbled up quicker than Grant took Richmond, while others would probably become laughing stocks.

It's sort of like the old joke "Will you sleep with me for $1,000,000? Yes. Will you sleep with me for $1? No, what kind of person do you take me for? Well, we already established that, now we're just negotiating a price."


RE: Electricity Cost vs Payments
By MonkeyPaw on 4/12/2007 5:44:10 PM , Rating: 3
You don't consider a first generation PS3 as bleeding edge? It's full of hardware that is waiting for cost cuts (die shrinks and improved processes). A 10 year old PB probably has a 10W CPU. Media center PC? Not running at load the whole time. If you were to run an average on your MCPC over those 5 years, it probably ran around 10-20% load over the long run. Running near 100% CPU load will tax the PS and motherboard much more than at 20%. As for your NES--no moving parts, and the processor probably doesn't even have a heatsink. Electronics from that day were more likely to fail due to rust than excessive use.

Personally, I would not run a $600 PS3 at 100% load 24/7. Does Sony (or any other business) care if you burn out your PS3 in a year? I doubt it. By then you'll have 10-25 games for it, so you'll likely buy another one.


RE: Electricity Cost vs Payments
By Alpha4 on 4/12/2007 11:29:21 PM , Rating: 2
LMAO. How did your NES find itself fully submerged in Soda? I keep picturing a large soda vat found in a factory.


RE: Electricity Cost vs Payments
By feelingshorter on 4/13/2007 1:33:26 AM , Rating: 2
Well, reliability depends on many factors. I also had a Packard Bell PC with 6-7 years on it before we just threw it away. But PCs back then were much simpler, and barely produced much heat. My last 3 PCs after the Packard Bell died in 4-5 years, to the one I'm using now. Two of which I built myself and one was an e-machine (crappy, I know thats why it died). I'm pretty sure why my computers died: heat. Those AMD 2200+...

Anyways, the thing about the PS3 is that it has no power saving features, according to an anandtech article. In fact, running Folding@home or not still produces the same watt usage. Whats weird is that, according to the anandtech article, the PS3 uses the most watts when your playing music with visualization on? I'm too lazy to find the article again. So I'm not sure comparing the PS3 to a PC is fair since even PCs have stages in which the processor slows down and uses less electricity. The cell proc uses about ~200 watts I believe (not sure). It probably won't break but the chipsets in the PS3 might, unless it has very good cooling.


RE: Electricity Cost vs Payments
By MonkeyPaw on 4/13/2007 7:48:52 AM , Rating: 2
It may not have any power saving features, but running any chip at load produces more heat, power saving features or not. K7s and P4s had an idle temperature and a load temperature before things like C'nQ or SS. Idle transistors are cooler than active ones.


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