Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client? [No]

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Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client? [No]

Postby TheHeeyyy » Sat May 24, 2008 12:09 am

We just heard news today that progress on an Nvidia folding client is progressing well (http://folding.typepad.com/news/2008/05/gpu-news-gpu1-g.html. RSX (the PS3's GPU) was made by Nvidia, and currently isn't used in folding calculations in the PS3 client. My question is whether the RSX could be utilized in a future PS3 client. I can imagine the Cell + RSX working together in folding could yield impressive results.
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client?

Postby smASHer88 » Sat May 24, 2008 5:34 pm

I dare say the GPU client thats coming for the NVIDIA graphics cards would only really be suitable for the newer GPU chips that they've got. But I hope i'm wrong.
The RSX is currently doing all the protein visualisation work.. so as long as thats not loading it too much.. hopefully they can extract some power from it to do some folding with!
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client?

Postby sneakers55 » Sat May 24, 2008 10:22 pm

TheHeeyyy wrote:RSX (the PS3's GPU) was made by Nvidia, and currently isn't used in the PS3 client. My question is whether the RSX could be utilized in a future PS3 client. I can imagine the Cell + RSX working together in folding could yield impressive results.


The data pipe to the RSX is much narrower than those on the CELL/BE chip.
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client?

Postby ztmike » Sun May 25, 2008 12:51 am

This is sorta off topic ..

But I read that Sony has disabled the RSX chip while running any version of Linux on the ps3 system..which sucks big time..but company's like TerraSoft says their trying to unlock the RSX to be able to use the graphics chip in Linux, which would REALLY benefit running stuff on ps3 using any version of Linux. But then if TerraSoft is trying to "hack" the ps3, why did Sony team up with them?

See this video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=OLxKjvuvSpY (At 3:18 into the video)

TerraSoft website: http://www.terrasoftsolutions.com/

I hope SOMEONE unlocks the RSX in Linux..it would be a BEAST of a machine/computer then, and actually be worth installing some form of Linux onto the ps3.
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client?

Postby bruce » Tue May 27, 2008 4:03 am

The PC-GPU2 client makes use of the newer ATI GPUs and will soon make use of the newer nVidia GPUs. That client needs 100% of a CPU just to push data to the GPU. Now let's try to put that in perspective if something similar were done on a PS3.

I didn't look up the real hardware characteristics of the Cell and GPU (RSX), but it's my impression that a lot more work can be done with the Cell than could be done with the GPU. Why would you want a client that does LESS work than the one you have now?

Also, you'd have to give up the display of the active protein over the spinning globe. (That graphics takes a pretty good percentage of whatever resources that the folding client doesn't use, especially in the RSX.)

Then, too, the total number of people running a Linux client on a PS3 to fold would be EXTREMELY small and not worth the costs to Stanford to make a special client.

I'm certainly not a PS3 programmer, so I could be wrong about all of this, but even if I am, I'm sure Sony/Stanford will be looking for any way possible to get more folding done than they currently do. I wouldn't expect anything in less than a year, though.
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client?

Postby handglobe » Tue May 27, 2008 5:08 pm

Since the ATI GPU client is faster than the PS3 (acknowledging the constraints), the assumption is that if the RSX is used in a hybrid RSX-cell computation scheme then it would be a faster client. It's based solely on that observation.

As for your point about not seeing the graphics, there is an easy answer. Just set-up a toggle mode between visualization and processing. I fold 24/7 and the total time I look at the graphics is maybe 10s of seconds. It's not something I'm going to spend much time watching. But, if the processing power of the unit is increased with a hybrid scheme, then I'd say it's worth giving up visuals.
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client?

Postby bruce » Tue May 27, 2008 5:26 pm

handglobe wrote:Since the ATI GPU client is faster than the PS3 (acknowledging the constraints), the assumption is that if the RSX is used in a hybrid RSX-cell computation scheme then it would be a faster client. It's based solely on that observation.

As for your point about not seeing the graphics, there is an easy answer. Just set-up a toggle mode between visualization and processing. I fold 24/7 and the total time I look at the graphics is maybe 10s of seconds. It's not something I'm going to spend much time watching. But, if the processing power of the unit is increased with a hybrid scheme, then I'd say it's worth giving up visuals.


You may be right about the speed of the RSX vs. the cell. A hybrid client that uses 5/6ths of the cell (or is it 6/7ths or 4/5ths? ) plus 95% of the RSX would be extremely complicated but one that leaves most of the cell idle and only uses 95% of the RSX might be possible (but still unlikely in the near-term) if CAL is ported to the PS3 by ATI and a few other obstacles are overcome.

A hybrid PC client that folds with 3/4ths of a Quad, pushes data with 1/4th, and uses all of a R600 is equally complex and probably not going to happen, either. It's much more likely that Stanford will figure out how to get the most work out of a SMP client that uses 3 cores out of a Quad and folks will run both SMP and GPU2. Unfortunately it's not likely that the Sony OS will allow you to run two "games" at the same time, even if the both exist and both would be busy folding.

Nevertheless, no matter what I think, Stanford and Sony will be studying your suggestion to see if there's an affordable way to get more out of the PS3.
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client?

Postby bobby c. » Thu May 29, 2008 3:06 pm

Linux client on a PS3


Would it be possible to run the Linux client on the PS3 to fold? Just a thought.

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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client?

Postby codysluder » Fri May 30, 2008 5:06 am

bobby c. wrote:
Linux client on a PS3


Would it be possible to run the Linux client on the PS3 to fold? Just a thought.

Bobby C.


No. The LInux client runs on x86 hardware, not the PS3 hardware. That's what Bruce was talking about:
bruce wrote:Then, too, the total number of people running a Linux client on a PS3 to fold would be EXTREMELY small and not worth the costs for Stanford to make a special client.
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client?

Postby 7im » Fri May 30, 2008 5:35 am

In my personal opinion, the answer is possible, but not probable. Let's remember the current GPU clients need an x86 processor to keep the GPU fed with data. The PS3 has no x86 processor. And the current AMD GPU client needs the GPU to support CUDA to run, and the RSX is customized enough that it probably doesn't support CUDA. And even if those things could be overcome, it would take a lot of developent time, for not much of a return on the investment. The performance of the 4xxx ATI and 2xx AMD cards just over the horizon are likely better targets for development. For me, that puts the final answer at NO. Sorry.

Then again, I don't speak for the project, so don't rule it out completely until someone from Pande Group says no also.
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client?

Postby VijayPande » Fri May 30, 2008 5:44 am

I don't see this happening for several reasons (least of which is that the RSX doesn't support CUDA).
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client? [No]

Postby smASHer88 » Fri May 30, 2008 3:22 pm

its a pity but oh well.

just whilst we're on subject of folding power on PS3.. is there room to make the CELL processor fold quicker on PS3? Or has it already been tweaked to the max?
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client?

Postby sneakers55 » Fri May 30, 2008 3:37 pm

7im wrote:In my personal opinion, the answer is possible, but not probable. Let's remember the current GPU clients need an x86 processor to keep the GPU fed with data. The PS3 has no x86 processor.


The PS3 has two threads of PowerPC goodness, They can stuff the video buffers as well as the six usable SPEs.

7im wrote:And even if those things could be overcome, it would take a lot of developent time, for not much of a return on the investment. The performance of the 4xxx ATI and 2xx AMD cards just over the horizon are likely better targets for development. For me, that puts the final answer at NO.


CELL/BE programming is fiendishly difficult without sticking an RSX in there running GPGPU code.
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client? [No]

Postby VijayPande » Fri May 30, 2008 4:55 pm

smASHer88 wrote:just whilst we're on subject of folding power on PS3.. is there room to make the CELL processor fold quicker on PS3? Or has it already been tweaked to the max?


Sony is still working to improve the client, including performance when applicable. The new OBC GB WU's will run on an upcoming client and the FLOPS from those WUs are quite impressive.
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Re: Could RSX Be Utilized In PS3 Folding Client? [No]

Postby John Naylor » Fri May 30, 2008 5:40 pm

VijayPande wrote:OBC GB WU's

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