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Xbox 360 may fight alongside the PlayStation 3 to help find cures for disease

After the version 1.60 system update for the PlayStation 3, Sony’s console has been capable of lending a helping hand to Stanford University’s Folding@home effort to help find cures to various protein-related diseases. The PlayStation 3 has been contributing more than half of the total processing power of Folding@home, thanks to the power of the Cell Broadband Engine, a point which has been much publicized.

The PS3’s in the distributed computing project has Xbox 360 owners curious if and how well their consoles would work on Folding@home. Peter Moore, VP of Microsoft’s entertainment division, recently addressed that issue saying, “We continue to look at this and see whether there’s real value,” adding that Bill Gates “quite frankly has had a conversation about this” and notes that Gates is interested in applying “philanthropic processing power to big problems.”

“But I’m not quite sure yet whether we’re seeing real tangible results from the PlayStation 3 Folding@Home initiative,” Moore continued. “Then if we truly believe that we can in some way marshall the resources of a much larger installed base of Xbox 360 owners, with a processer that’s of equal power to the PS3, then you have my commitment that we’ll look at that. And if we believe we can add value to solving a gnarly problem such as the medical problems and the health problems that Folding@home seems to be doing, then we’ll certainly look at that very strongly.”

Recently, Stanford professor and Folding@home program lead Vijay Pande said in an interview that the PlayStation 3’s CPU would be far more effective than the Xbox 360’s CPU.

“We are simulating key processes in protein folding and misfolding in Alzheimer's Disease. PS3's are performing aspects of these simulations, and doing so about 20 times faster than a typical PC,” Pande said. When asked if the Xbox 360 could be of use to the Folding@home program, he answered, “Possibly, although the cell processor in the PS3 is much more powerful for our calculations than the CPU in the Xbox 360.”

Microsoft may not want to participate in Folding@home in fears that the project would point out that the PlayStation 3’s Cell Broadband Engine is faster than the Xbox 360’s Xenon processor at performing protein-folding calculations.

While the Xbox 360 CPU may not be tops in terms of Folding@home, its ATI-developed Xenos GPU could possibly eclipse PS3’s CPU. ATI Radeon GPUs currently running Folding@home are outperforming the PlayStation 3 on a per capita basis. Though whether or not the Xbox 360 will ever get its crack at helping to cure a disease remains to be seen.

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nothing more than hot air from exec...
By dome1234 on 5/11/2007 6:38:04 AM , Rating: 2
this simply put, it's nothing more than bragging rights from execs from both camps. 'Whatever you can do, I could too' mentality.

Noting the above post on heat dissipation/potential red rings.

Is it just me or moore had developed habit of sprouting nonsense lately? For example, he stated the 360 failure rate is a moving target that should not be the focus of consumers.

I remember him saying nobody cares about backward comp. It's strange when most ppl are playing halo2 on 360. by bc. The list goes on.

I'm waiting for krazy ken's responses before his impeding retirement.

RE: nothing more than hot air from exec...
By TravisO on 5/11/2007 10:27:26 AM , Rating: 2
>> I remember him saying nobody cares about backward comp. It's strange when most ppl are playing halo2 on 360

Backwards compatibility is a funny thing, it's something everybody thinks they want, but after 6 months (or the next killer app) nobody cares about the old games. I'm just as guilty of this, I even bought Halo 2 shortly after my 360 purchase. But I am kind of peeved the spring update didn't add any more game compatibility, which hasn't changed for 5 months ago, from Dec 2005. To me that signals MS is done with backwards compatibility, although they were upfront from the beginning about limited support for this and they've already exceeded their original plans for Xbox 1 compatibility.

Keep in mind MS did embrace Halo's popularity, and the 360 supports it and improves it, the game supports 720p HD on the 360 and smoother rendering (there were some amazing comparison pics out there).

By TOAOCyrus on 5/11/2007 12:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
Backwards compatibility updates come seperately from system updates. The last update was in april 2007.

By ajfink on 5/11/2007 12:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
I hope you realize that Bill Gates donates more money to philanthropic causes than most nations. It would surprise me if the idea of F@H on the 360 hadn't crossed his mind.

If the software could be properly written to harness the GPU and the CPU of the 360, it would turn out similar numbers to the PS3. When it comes down to it, if Bill Gates made a press statement say "we won't turn in as many WUs, but we'll be doing our part," people would eat it up. I would. I want my 360 to be able to fold (my I also have two P4 rigs dedicated purely to folding and an A64 system my sister uses that is a part-time folder).

Before anyone comments about electricity bills, I'm in college. I pay for housing, flat-rate. An actual advantage to dorm living....

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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