Breaking: PS3 [email protected] TFLOP Rating Demoted by 50%, PFLOPS Still Possible

Just Friday we were gushing that the [email protected] project, with the help of a few Spartanesque PS3s, had topped 500 teraflops. Apparently, that was too good to be true. Just now, as approximately 30k PS3s were about to push Folding over a PFLOP (1000 TFLOPS), Folding staff at Stanford seem to have reestimated the PS3's power of calculation to be about 50% less than previously thought. No matter. We're not that far off from PFLOPing, according to the FAQ, if you all get off your asses and buy PS3s for Folding.

Here's how:

Basically, If we can get another 20k of the 2 million PS3's out there now to start folding, the Stanford distributed computing project can still be the first to hit the Petaflop level. That's more crunch than the fastest super computer we know of, the MDGRAPE-3 in Japan. For now, Folding is merely the most powerful distributed computing system in the world...never mind the only system capable of playing HD games and movies.

While we wait for the PS3 to make history, Stanford's put an FAQ up that answers some of the mysteries we'd be wondering about.
*The Cell processor's strength is in crunching small sets of data -- the PS3's 512MB of RAM limits
*The PS3 uses 200w per hour while folding.
*The PS3's GPU is being used by the Folding client.

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Merovee5200d ago (Edited 5200d ago )

Switched protein sizes, it'll be back up there once they start issuing larger WU's again. It's on the Folding News page at Stanford. Heres some more accurate listings of how it works.

The 50% decrease:
The Un-fanboy-ified PS3 project:

But it's nice to see that people will try to bash the PS3 for basically anything they can.

Another fun fact is that the PS3's flop count reflects exponent calculations and root calculations in [email protected] as one flop while other distributed computing programs (like [email protected] and others) count such calculations as 10 to 20 flops. Kinda wonder what would happen if you tallied it their way lol.

Bathyj5200d ago

I'm really impressed at the amount of power generated and the number of people donating their resources to it. Good for you guys.

I hope something tangable and useful is actually discovered really soon. If some sort of breakthrough is made a lot more people will participate for this great cause. It will help ease the guilt of all the fossil fuels we burn every day. ;)

Hey the ozones depleting but if we cure skin cancer it will balance out.

Merovee5200d ago

At it's peak the [email protected] program on PS3 uses 200w/hr. While a computer will use 350+ an hour to cruise the net and read gaming sites LOL.

Armyless5200d ago

You can keep follow some of the major milestones of this vast project on their website.

Bleyd5200d ago

by implying that the PS3 is using the GPU as part of its calculation prowess in Folding. The PS3's GPU is only being used for the GUI where you can fly around the world and see the participators and where you can see the work in progress. The FAQ mentions GPU at one point when it says "On GPU and Cell hardware, functions like this can often be calculated very quickly, say in one cycle, while this is often counted as 10-20 operations for other machines." They are referencing their GPU-centric software that allows ATI video cards to assist in the calculations. You can see that in the OS statistics of the [email protected] webpage at and it only works on a couple of the ATI video cards and not all of them. There is mention of what the GPU does further down the FAQ than what is quoted in the article and it states "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."

So you can see the RSX isn't doing any calculations yet.

There is also absolutely no mention of the memory structure or any kind of limitations because of the memory in the PS3 or anything.

So far the GPU client software for PCs is only in the beta stages so if you want to try and do your computations faster then be aware that since it's beta it has the possibility of doing really bad things to your computer.

Maybe once they get used to programming for video cards to assist in the calculations then they'll start to use the PS3s RSX to go even faster than what it is now.

stingray91915200d ago

[email protected] is a rip off for the consumer if you think of the electricity costs read the following:

Based on my calculations if anyone was running [email protected] for 8 hours a day based on it taking 200 Watts per hour (see:
and using current cost figures from Puget Sound Energy ( at 0.092492 per k Watt

The calculation would be as follows

200(watts) x 8(hours) x 7(days) x 52(weeks) / 1000(to get k watts) x 0.092492(current electricity cost per k Watt in Washington State) = $53.87USD a Year

and if you calculate $53.87USD x 40,000(Average amount of full time contributing) it equals $2,154,693.63USD out of the consumers pocket.