AfterDawn: Tech news

PS3 flexes muscle with Folding@Home

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 24 Mar 2007 2:04 User comments (35)

PS3 flexes muscle with Folding@Home While Sony has stated that it will take years for game developers to really utilize the PlayStation 3 (PS3)'s potential with software, Folding@Home, which is a feature added with the 1.6 update, is giving some indication of the PS3s sheer power. According to the Stanford project's latest statistics, the PS3 is leading all other platforms.
The statistics are sorted by operating system and show that the PS3, at the time of writing, has 516 current TFLOPS, very far ahead of the windows users that come in at 152, despite having thousands and thousands more active CPUs. Another statistic worth mentioning is for ATI GPUs, which currently sits at 41 TFLOPS with just 708 active CPUs. The PS3 currently shows 21062 active CPUs.

This is an incredible boost for the project and we can only hope that it will continue to grow. Here are the statistics at time of writing.

OS TypeCurrent TFLOPS Active CPUs Total CPUs
Windows 152 159564 1625622
Mac OS X/PowerPC 7 8737 95371
Mac OS X/Intel 9 2756 7272
Linux 43 25126 215901
GPU 42 708 2199
PLAYSTATION®3 516 21062 22299
Total 769 217953 1968664

Source:
Folding@Home

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35 user comments

124.3.2007 3:44
BobbyBlu
Inactive

No they say the console is over priced,Please.This should not surprise any PS3 owner the lease.I tried Folding@Home its cool to watch how it works.A very good idea & also for a very good cause.

224.3.2007 3:58

So, could we estimate that with 7000 gpus, we could achieve roughly 400 tflops? That's quite a bit different from the ps3 cpu/tflop ratio. Nvidia? Are you listening?

324.3.2007 4:13

Why do I have this feeling they rigged it to run better on the PS3,it was not to long ago ATI/Nvida got in trouble for rigging drivers to make quake 3 the current benchmark of the time run faster.

424.3.2007 4:18

that's a stretch...

524.3.2007 4:24

Originally posted by Dela:
that's a stretch...

Stranger things have happened.
If it can not be easily adjusted for the PS3 or vice versa then good,the potential of the PS3 is truly there.

624.3.2007 7:07

I like this article this will keep some of the Sony haters at bay for a hot sec until further notice. I hope they keep proving how good the system can be in time.

724.3.2007 7:43

Oh please. People whom are CPU architecture ignorant quit with the "these must be fake numbers" and such. You make yourself look like ignorant idiots. It is _well_ documented the performance of the Cell SPU cores, they are able to do very very fast data crunching - the Cell is on average able to process around 40x more floating point operations than an average CPU. There are research papers _all_over_the_net_ showing this in practice! Its not theoretical, its _real_ use.

All of a sudden people see the huge performance differences in Folding@Home and think its some trickery, or fake. Additionally, the article writer is seemingly trying to undermine the amazing first day results the PS3 has managed. He should note, that while the ATI GPU's can do this particular problem, it is VERY SPECIFIC GPU's. And the top end cards only, that can run this. Additionally, you couldn't easily run other types of code on them, because of their strict computational pipelines - comparing a GPU to CPU is misleading, and doesn't warrant the mention in an article titled "PS3 flexes muscle with Folding@Home". Suffering some sort of envy are you Dela?

824.3.2007 8:02

Quote:
Suffering some sort of envy are you Dela?
Envy of what? I'm dying to get my hands on a PS3 and I didn't attempt to undermine anything, this article doesn't even exactly fit the site but I decided to report it and mark it "sticky" so it gets maximum exposure because I am delighted with the results. If you want to look for someone to drag into a fanboy battle, then look for a fanboy ok?

EDIT: oh and the GPU mention wasn't comparing against PS3, it was just a mention since I was going to be posting a table with the figures, but somewhere in your brain you decide that must be a shot at PS3? I think you are the one with the problem. Oh and of course, completely ignore the fact that when it was suggested on this thread that there was some kind of "fixing" going in I replied with "That's a stretch" as a comment.

But ye, whatever man.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Mar 2007 @ 8:09

924.3.2007 8:23
pigfister
Inactive

just a shame that the 2x Blu-ray drive is the weakest link atm, and when games are 20gig in size where they going to replicate the data to so you haven't got to wait 15 seconds for the next bit to load? the ps3 is very powerful and is capable of 0 load times but its not a gamers machine its a trojan horse to put a Blu-ray into everyone's home.

Blu-Ray vs Dvd For Gaming!

Quote:
Admittedly, Blu-ray looks dicey from several non-capacity angles. Blu-ray movies require a 1.5x Blu-ray drive, or 54Mbits/second. Sony announced that PS3 uses a 2x BD drive, which is 72Mbits/second or 9MB/second. The Xbox 360 uses a 12x DVD, which should give it about 16MB/second. That is significantly faster for games and will result in shorter load times. And that 12x DVD drive should be a whole lot cheaper. (Note that the PS3 drive will do 8x DVD, and even that is faster than 2x BD.)

This is not good. One of the ways around this slow loading time is to enable a one-time install of many of the game's assets onto the hard drive of the PS3. In the case of Genji it decreases load times from 12 seconds to 4 seconds, which is a significant improvement.
or the quote from 1 up!

Quote:
MTV's Stepehn Totilo wrangled some previously unreported information out of Sony's Gamer Day that should please future PS3 owners. Apparently gamers will be able to install Genji: Days of the Blade as part of a one-time process (is this what Sony meant about squashing game resale?).

The three-minute installation process, which begs the question of how much space is Genji using of the 4GB Blu-ray disc, will reduces load times from 15 seconds to 4. It'll be interesting to see how many games support this process, as we can all appreciated decreased load times. However, do you think that this will kill the ability for resale of used games because players might (emphasis here, kids) be unable to duplicate the process if someone had previously installed the game on their PS3?
the problem of having to pre install games i thought was what a game machine was about so you haven't got to do this? with a 60(54.5) gig hard drive you are soon going to run out of room! i think i'll be paying close attention to the no 2nd hand game resale as i bet sony do a complete u turn over this one! apparently even installing a game to the hd will not lock it to one machine but if a Blu-ray can be traced by its serial and shut-down i reckon there will be a way to track a game just as easily. already inbuilt in the ps3 like aacs flags just waiting to be activated!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Mar 2007 @ 8:46

1024.3.2007 11:38

dlannan
the reason I question the numbers is a PC is never idle,also they dont state what PC it is your going to get a huge diffrance in numbers from a 2.0 Mhz X2 3900 /1GB 400Mhz /GF7200 than a 2.0 Mhz Core 2 duo 6600E 2GB 800/GF8800.


without detail in the numbers its more a PR number stunt.

1124.3.2007 14:32

Great news now ps3 is currently at
OS Type Current TFLOPS*
PLAYSTATION®3 639
http://fah-web.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=osstats

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Mar 2007 @ 14:34

1224.3.2007 17:38
BobbyBlu
Inactive

Quote:
the problem of having to pre install games i thought was what a game machine was about so you haven't got to do this? with a 60(54.5) gig hard drive you are soon going to run out of room! i think i'll be paying close attention to the no 2nd hand game resale as i bet sony do a complete u turn over this one! apparently even installing a game to the hd will not lock it to one machine but if a Blu-ray can be traced by its serial and shut-down i reckon there will be a way to track a game just as easily. already inbuilt in the ps3 like aacs flags just waiting to be activated!
Not even a issue you answer your own question far as the size of the data on the HD isn't a issue.Not all game does this i got 10 games on my HD i can tell you that that data total is not over 2gigs.I'm a day one owner & i have yet to get down to 40gigs i got music,movies, & photos on my HD also.But the good thing is at least Sony give you a option to install a bigger HD other companys don't.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Mar 2007 @ 17:41

1324.3.2007 17:55

HD caching will help games load and wont always need allot of space,since it will most likely limit what it needs out side of playing(1GB not playing 5GB playing) plus BR is not that slow any speed issues would be "fixed" via HD caching.

BB
Newer larger games will most likely fully utilize HD caching so they will be using more space but even the 20GB should have enough for gaming and lite media.

1424.3.2007 17:59

Right on Zippy,

How many of those idle clock cycles are coming from someone's old Athlon K6 they had lying around and said "hey, we can help donate to this noble cause." However, all PS3 systems have identical hardware and a 9 core Cell processor. It's a very unfair comparison. I'm not a PS3 fan, but I'm glad they've included this for those who wish to help.

1524.3.2007 18:20

Originally posted by SProdigy:
Right on Zippy,

How many of those idle clock cycles are coming from someone's old Athlon K6 they had lying around and said "hey, we can help donate to this noble cause." However, all PS3 systems have identical hardware and a 9 core Cell processor. It's a very unfair comparison. I'm not a PS3 fan, but I'm glad they've included this for those who wish to help.
I don't mean to rain on the worshiping of the PS3 just trying to state some fact,even tho I have my own basis,another thing about the PS3 is its not "9 core" its 1 solid core with extra mini 2ndry processing units that can take presser off the main core as well as route data more efficantly,software has to catch up to it,the PS3 should shine around 09 for now tho its simply just another BR player.
I also have a feeling the 360 model with with Hdvd and refined high def chip set will be rearing its head in the 09-011 time frame,MS could simply release a Xbox 2 then but without full BWC to the xbox and 360 I wouldn't want it.

1624.3.2007 20:15

I am 100% sure that the XBOX 360 will unable to even close to the ps3's rate on folding. I am a ps3 owner and that program almost uses 100% of the ps3's CPU. With the program on I was finally able to hear the ps3's fans revving up. Also I am sure if the Xbox tries to do the same it will overheat for sure. Since the noise level for the 360 is already noticeable I doubt it can handle the tremendous task of doing folding in speeds near the ps3. Folding was going to be on the XBOX and the Ps3, but they dropped the Xbox idea knowing it was not capable of running at speeds near the ps3.

If the Xbox 360 were to have folding it would make Microsoft's Xbox look inferior to the ps3, so Microsoft dropped the idea. Microsoft like other companies will always try to find new ways to make their product more attractive than their competitors, that’s the rules of business. So the only reason they don’t have folding is because they know damn well ps3 will make Xbox look like crap.

Lets recap the two reasons I have came up are Xbox will overheat when using folding and Microsoft knows the PS3 will outscore Xbox by a lot. There are probably a lot more reasons on why Xbox does not have folding but for now these are all I can think have right now. Remember this all has to do with marketing that’s the ultimate reason the PS3 has folding to show off it its CPU power.


side note: how many posts do i need to become a member?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Mar 2007 @ 20:25

1724.3.2007 20:28

Also the PS3 is now at 666 TFLOPS with 27180 active PS3s compared to window's 152 TFLOPS with 160218 active cpus.

http://fah-web.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=osstats

1825.3.2007 1:38

702 Teraflops from PS3 now, Folding@Home is approaching Petaflops :D i think the world's fastest super computer tops out there. Now, as somebody mentioned, obviously the windows machines are of all different CPUs, and not only that but since Folding@Home uses idle CPU cycles, a lot of those machines are already in use Folding@Home works away, buyt that being said, Nobody is trying to compare the PS3 with Windows or MAC or anything like that... whny is it that even with thios ppl get offendeD? I just don't get it, this is a fantastic and really I couldn't care less what powers it as long as its running strong and Kudos to Sony for supporting the project and giving it another powerful platform to run on.

1925.3.2007 4:09
BobbyBlu
Inactive

Quote:
Nobody is trying to compare the PS3 with Windows or MAC or anything like that... why is it that even with thios ppl get offendeD? I just don't get it, this is a fantastic and really I couldn't care less what powers it as long as its running strong and Kudos to Sony for supporting the project and giving it another powerful platform to run on.
Thats easy to answer DELA some people have hate toward some company's that they always going to say or find something negative about them & refuse to give a company credit when credit due, period.

2025.3.2007 4:13

I agree with the last few posters. I got both 360 and PS3 so far my PS3 is out shining the 360. I'm currently on 360 number 3 and still on PS3 number for now. I really dont think my 360 will hold up doing what the PS3 does in TFLOPS.

2125.3.2007 5:45

You all will find it interesting to know that there seems to be some calls across the net for M$ to incorporate Folding@Home to Xbox 360/Live. I did a lot of reading around as I might write an article about it. Lot of people are obviously concerned about the heat the 360 produces already (which i can definitely say my 360 runs hot) but some others are saying that a modified Folding@Home thats powered by the 360's Xenos GPU could match or exceed Cell output for F@H.

Now I think these suggestions sources from people who don't care about fanboyism., they just see potential in bringing folding@home to 10 million+ Xbox 360's now. Of course, some will make it a fanboy war, but I guess if both consoles did support it, it would in the end benefit folding@home and a good cause, so I don;t know, but I would be skeptical of folding running for hours at a time on my own 360, thats not a shot at all 360 units but mine definitely does get warm ;-)

2225.3.2007 6:03

Dela
people tend to forget I was all for the PS3 till it became a reality and Sony kept shoving things under the carpet,the issues with both consoles aside I am more interested in "full potential" rigged number schemes give me a headache,I have no doubt the PS3 can achive acouple hundred more than current mid range and higher consumer PC's I have no doubt the 360 would be acouple hundred behind PS3 but in all focusing on the numbers for this is silly and shows your like of fully understanding the whole picture.

Folding@Home is a great project tarnished only by Sonys mad PR campaign,its a shame ninvida and MS have told them to take a hike but its as much of one to have them prance around and push it in everyones face when they are the only real high end manufacturer to go out of their way to support it.

2325.3.2007 6:23
Zoolook2
Inactive

You are all a bit misled by the FLOP numbers, one FLOP is not the same on the different platforms, one floating point operation can do a lot more work on say a C2D than on a PS3 which in turn can make more work with one flop than an ATI GPU, the only way to compare the different platforms are to compare the time/frame on a similar wu.

2425.3.2007 6:33

I must say that Dela has picked a nice topic to spur quite a bit of discussion [Insert pat on the back]. Good job! It would be interesting to see the comparison of PS3 vs 360, nerve wracking for both sides, but interesting. It certainly would provide plenty of fodder for this next gen battle. Despite the good cause, are people concerned about the lifespan of their console? Running the console at full capacity for extended periods would conceivably cause wear. Could there be warranty issues if problems arise? And hey, what the heck, why don't we get on the horn to the big N and get the Wii involved?!

2525.3.2007 7:15

Originally posted by ChiknLitl:
I must say that Dela has picked a nice topic to spur quite a bit of discussion [Insert pat on the back]. Good job! It would be interesting to see the comparison of PS3 vs 360, nerve wracking for both sides, but interesting. It certainly would provide plenty of fodder for this next gen battle. Despite the good cause, are people concerned about the lifespan of their console? Running the console at full capacity for extended periods would conceivably cause wear. Could there be warranty issues if problems arise? And hey, what the heck, why don't we get on the horn to the big N and get the Wii involved?!
I thought the point was running it in the background not always at full power,or has that option not been implemented for the PS3?

As for life span....lets face it the hardware issues for the 360 are "unqie" I dont think any other console has had so many issues with its CPU and heat sinks killing the motherboard/cpu ,heat dispensation becomes a huge problem when you miniaturize stuff the 360 begin a custom PC in most regards,the PS3 was built ground up with a bit more forethought put into the hardware witch they are wrapeing to make it cheaper tis the sony way I just hope the lens unit is more solid than some of sonys DVD lens units of the past.

2625.3.2007 8:03
BobbyBlu
Inactive

Quote:
Folding@Home is a great project tarnished only by Sonys mad PR campaign,its a shame ninvida and MS have told them to take a hike but its as much of one to have them prance around and push it in everyones face when they are the only real high end manufacturer to go out of their way to support it.
My god why everything got to be a PR spin Sony at the point they don't need trash like PR spin....Open your eyes no matter which system its on it for a good cause....Damm.

I hope in the future Nintendo & Microsoft use this.This article is more about people trying to save other people lives not about fame and dollars.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 25 Mar 2007 @ 8:08

2725.3.2007 8:11

BB
cant seem to read can you....

Quote:

Folding@Home is a great project tarnished only by Sonys mad PR campaign,its a shame ninvida and MS have told them to take a hike but its as much of one to have them prance around and push it in everyones face when they are the only real high end manufacturer to go out of their way to support it.
you don't have to be a fanboy for ever little thing.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 25 Mar 2007 @ 8:17

2825.3.2007 20:46

like i said earlier, Microsoft's XBox will not use folding, because it will make it look like their product is inferior to the ps3. Look up to my earlier post for full details :P.

2926.3.2007 4:56

Originally posted by azndrake:
like i said earlier, Microsoft's XBox will not use folding, because it will make it look like their product is inferior to the ps3. Look up to my earlier post for full details :P.
:P
someone should mod it for the 360 out of spite :P

3026.3.2007 11:48

An interesting fact about the PS3 F@H. Based on PS3 FAQ located here

In a nutshell, the PS3 takes the middle ground between GPU's (extreme speed, but at limited types of WU's) and CPU's (less speed, but more flexibility in types of WU's).

It also states that 'GPU' is actually faster then the PS3. They picked the PS3 as the "Middle Ground" between speed (The PS3 is slower then GPU but faster then CPU) and flexibility (more flexible than GPU, less than CPU).

Those are some interesting facts right there. They are all off of Stanford's PS3 FAQ which you read here.

3126.3.2007 12:21

Pop_Smith
sounds about right all of the crap I have read(and forgotten :P) abotu the PS3 and its archetype is its not all that powerful but tis good at what it dose and should be the best console at physics and perhaps at its best when the software catches up as good as mid/high range consumer gaming PCs.

3226.3.2007 13:12

so does the ps3 folding@home use both the cell and the rsx?

3326.3.2007 19:53

Quote:
VISUALIZATION
How does the PS3 client's visualization compare to other FAH clients?
The PS3 client will also support some advanced visualization features. While the Cell microprocessor does most of the calculation processing of the simulation, the graphic chip of the PLAYSTATION 3 system (the RSX) displays the actual folding process in real-time using new technologies such as HDR and ISO surface rendering. It is possible to navigate the 3D space of the molecule using the interactive controller of the PS3, allowing us to look at the protein from different angles in real-time.

From the FAQ page POP_SMITH posted.

3427.3.2007 7:22

but what im saying is not does it use it for graphical reasons. i'm asking if it uses the rsx for calculations. id rather not see the molecule (since i dont watch it run very long) and let the rsx dedicate itself to more calculations. maybe 2 folding processes going simultaniously.

3527.3.2007 7:26

Originally posted by anubis66:
but what im saying is not does it use it for graphical reasons. i'm asking if it uses the rsx for calculations. id rather not see the molecule (since i dont watch it run very long) and let the rsx dedicate itself to more calculations. maybe 2 folding processes going simultaniously.
me thinks to much coffee and hashing together a 3d app to show what it was doing was eiser than getting the next version done *L*

but really why dose a background data calc program need a fancy 3D part?

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