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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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"Moore" like Kutaragi
By bkm32 on 5/11/2007 9:39:48 AM , Rating: 1
I love the pic for this article. It makes Moore look like a raving lunatic. This is no disrespect to Moore, its just a bad pic that is really funny to view. In fact, with his rantings of late (i.e. "rather than focus on failure rates...how were you treated" by CS) and the above pic, he kinda (I know that's not a word) looks like Kutaragi. I guess someone has to carry the crazy-quote mantle now that he's leaving.

Seriously, I think some of the posters here have nailed it on the head--the X360 will crash and burn sooner rather than later if left on 24/7. MS will lose tons in warranty fixes. And they know this.

Expect a F@H in the Fall to coincide with the 65nm chipset around the same time along with a price drop. Then 6 months later expect the warranty to go back down to 90 days provided F@H doesn't break the new architecture.

That 6-month timeframe will be the best time to buy an X360 before MS drastically changes the architecture again and introduces a built Hi-def (BR-DVD or HD-DVD is still TBD) player and game disks will be allowed to take advantage of the increased disk capacity.




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