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Are Improving Integrated Graphics Slowly Killing Off Discrete Graphics Cards?

Intel started the trend of improving integrated graphics with their second generation LGA1155 socket Core i3, i5 & i7 line of processors. Depending on the model, these processors sport integrated HD2000 or HD3000 graphics right on the processor die, which nowadays give acceptable performance for low-end gaming and can play Full HD 1080p video perfectly. This trend is increasing with the upcoming Ivy Bridge processors, which will be able to support a massive 4096 x 4096 pixel display, as we reported here. AMD now also have equivalent products with their Llano-based A-series processors. So, where does this leave discrete graphics cards? Well, the low end market is certainly seeing reduced sales, as there really isn't enough of a performance difference nowadays to always warrant an upgrade from an IGP. As integrated graphics improve further, one can see how this will hurt sales of higher end graphics cards too. The problem is that the bulk of the profit comes not from the top-end powerhouse graphics cards, but from the low to mid-end cards which allow these companies to remain in business, so cannibalizing sales of these products to integrated graphics could make high-end graphics cards a much more niche product and crucially, much more expensive with to boot.

EVGA GTX 580 Classified + watercooling Doubles Core Clock Speed!

The EVGA GTX 580 Classified 3072MB, previously announced on TechPowerUp, is now available to buy according to this forum post by an EVGA product manager - in limited quantities, of course. According to Gaming Blend, this card can amazingly reach a doubled 1.6GHz core clock when overclocked using waterblocks - GTX 590 eat your heart out! This card also has custom designed VRMs to take all the extra power that the card will use, which means that they won't squeal when the card is overclocked hard and also when running intensive applications such as Folding@Home.
UPDATE: Turns out that 1.6GHz overclock was actually achieved using LN2, not water. To confirm it, click the EVGA promo link after the jump and see the extreme cooling section video, or just skip directly to the YouTube video here.

Cracking a Tough AIDS Research Puzzle: Boffins 0, US Gamers 1. Rock On!

An AIDS protein folding puzzle has stumped scientists for a decade, but US gamers cracked it in a mere three weeks! This was achieved by combining the brute force logic and speed of the digital computer, with the lateral thinking of the distinctly fuzzy human brain. To achieve this, a distributed computing application called Foldit was used, which involved gamers solving individual puzzles in a competitive atmosphere. This amazing merger of minds and machine over the internet creates a sort of distributed "cybernetic organism", which combines the strengths of biological and silicon computers into something far more powerful than either alone.

Fold for TechPowerUp at Chimp Challenge 2011

I want you, yes YOU, to fold for TechPowerUp at the 2011 Chimp Challenge. The annual Folding@Home (F@H) competition sees top F@H teams from the world compete for F@H glory and the prestigious Lucky Jaded Monkey award. Our team, ChimPowerUp, led by its captain BUCK NASTY, will be participating. All are welcome to join our efforts. The competition revolves around earning the most points for folding over a set period of time, starting from Thursday, May 5th at 12pm, Pacific Daylight Time (UTC -7); to Sunday, May 15th at 12pm, Pacific Daylight Time (UTC -7). TechPowerUp is among the top-30 Folding@Home teams in the world. It relies on generous participation from its members and readers.

DETAILS: Team ChimPowerUp at 2011 Chimp Challenge

TechPowerUp Community Crunching/Folding Contest Announced, Score Your Way to a DC-PC

TechPowerUp's Folding@Home and World Community Grid teams, both among the top 100 teams in their own merits, have decided to give back to the community by announcing the TechPowerUp Community Crunching/Folding Contest. Organized entirely by the community, the contest gives one lucky winner, a pre-assembled, turnkey PC with optimal hardware for distributed computing (DC-PC). For starters, the PC has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 accelerator to run GPU-accelerated distributed computing applications of the likes of Folding@Home GPU, while its Pentium Dual-Core handles CPU-driven distributed computing applications, such as World Community Grid. With 500 GB of handy storage, Windows XP SP2 OS, Antec BP-550Plus 550W PSU to power it all, and In Win X-Fighter as its housing, the prize would make a perfect addition to any distributed computing enthusiast's armory.

Now open to everyone, the contest is a purely community funded and organized. It involves achieving 60,000 BOINC points and 100,000 F@H points within a contest time frame of 60 days, starting from 11:59PM EST on 10/14/09. The contest ends on 11:59PM EST on 12/12/09. Participants must 'crunch' (score) for WCG Team #22175 and 'fold' (scoring) for Folding@Home team #50711 only. The winner will be selected within five days of contest closure, and contacted by e-mail. TechPowerUp doesn't partake as the organizers of this contest, and hence do not hold any liabilities. We do however, like to commend our Folding@Home and World Community Grid teams for organizing this contest, that symbolizes goodwill and team-spirit, and wish everyone associated with it good luck. For more information, please visit this page.

Techpowerup Folding at Home Team Has Made it into the Top 125 Teams

Several days ago, the Techpowerup Folding at Home (F@H) team made it into the top 125 teams in the official F@H stats and is now ranked 123. This was no small feat and was accomplished due the countless hours of CPU/GPU time donated by the team’s members. I would like to thank all of them for the time, energy, and money they have selflessly donated to this wonderful project. I encourage everyone who is able to join the team and help us reach the top 100! A list of all members who have donated CPU/GPU time to the team has been included inside the thread.

For those of you who have not heard of the Folding At Home project it is a distributed computing project run by Stanford University. It uses spare CPU/GPU cycles of idle processors from around the world to calculate the folding of proteins. Protein folding is a complex action that takes place after protein synthesis where the interaction of several forces in the molecule causes it to assemble or “fold” into its functional form. The shape of a protein has more to do with its function than its composition. The misfolding of proteins is the suspect cause behind many diseases including Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many Cancers and cancer-related syndromes. The F@H project aims to calculate the folding/misfolding of key proteins in order to find cures and treatments for some of these debilitating diseases.

Here is a list of the top 10 contributors. A full list can be found inside the thread.

For More Information You May Visit These Sites:
Folding at Home | Techpowerup Folding at Home Team (TeamId: 50711)

AMD Nabs Mike Houston

Sources close to AMD have informed that Advanced Micro Devices has picked up Mike Houston. Houston is known for his work at Stanford University, most notably with the Folding@Home GPGPU client. At this time, it is unclear to us what Houston's title or specific role will be at AMD/ATI.Source: AMDZone

PS3 Helps Folding@Home Project to a Petaflop

The Folding@Home project has now managed to exceed one petaflop of processing power, thanks largely to the introduction of Sony’s PlayStation 3 console last year. The project is currently operating at 1152 teraflops, with 889 teraflops being contributed by the PS3 and Windows based machines being closest competitor with just 164 teraflops. This means that over three-quarters of the processing power for Folding@Home is being provided by the PS3 due to the console’s Cell Broadband Engine. Vijay Pande, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University said the following:
The recent inclusion of PS3 as part of the Folding@Home program has afforded our research group with computing power that goes far beyond what we initially hoped. Thanks to PS3, we are now essentially able to fast-forward several aspects of our research by a decade, which will greatly help us make more discoveries and advancements in our studies of several different diseases.
The Folding@Home project runs simulations in protein folding, which are helping scientists work towards cures for illnesses such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and certain forms of cancer. If you want to contribute to the project, you should take a look at the Folding@Home website and techPowerUp!’s Folding@Home team – all it requires is an internet connection and your idle processing power.Source: DailyTech

PS3 Lifts Folding@Home to almost 700 Teraflops

The introduction of the PS3 as a Folding@Home client has now helped the project to reach an impressive 693 teraflops of processing power, with 390 coming from PS3 consoles alone (despite only accounting for 11.4% of active processors). This figure is a significant improvement on the 367 TFLOPS being contributed by Sony’s new console last month – the continued support from everyone who participates in the project helps Stanford University research cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, along with many Cancers and cancer-related syndromes. Anyone wishing to become involved in the project should take a look at techPowerUp!’s own F@H team which currently stands in 741st place out of 62360 teams contributing. It is completely free (other than electricity and internet costs) and will put your idle processing power to good use.Source: Neowin.net

Sony Considering PS3 Supercomputer-Grid

According to Sony’s chief technical officer Masa Chatani, the PS3’s idle power could soon be put to commercial use in a similar way to the Folding@Home project. Due to its enormous processing power, whilst the console is not in use it can be used to tackle the complex calculations behind the Folding@Home project which simulates protein folding, therefore allowing scientists to better understand many diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as a number of cancers. The PS3 has proved very successful in this area, accounting for 367 TFLOPS in the recent Folding@Home statistics. But now, Sony may be about to expand this project to new, more profitable areas. “This kind of computing model could be used in a commercial application...for example, a start-up or a pharmaceutical company that lacks a super-computer could utilise this kind of infrastructure. We are discussing various options with companies and exploring commercial applications,” Chatani said. Such a deal could well see businesses either offering free products or subsidising the price of the PS3 in return for the use of PS3 owners’ idle processing power, although Sony has not yet revealed which companies having discussions with.Source: Forbes

NVIDIA Folding@Home GPU client: where is it?

On February 16th of this year, NVIDIA went ahead and announced their new GPU computing client, CUDA. Over seven weeks later, we have yet to see so much as a beta of CUDA. And so, this means that NVIDIA, similar to the G80 Vista driver fiasco, has yet to deliver a product that they promised we'd see. The part about this that NVIDIA users probably hate the most is the lack of a GPU-based Folding@Home client. It seems that these days, everything except an NVIDIA system (even the PS3) can run a Folding@Home GPU client. This is an extreme opposite to ATI's GPU processing client, called "Stream", which has a large list of clients that can be used to accelerate programs using the GPU.Source: The Inquirer

PlayStation 3 dominates Folding at Home charts

Along with the release of PlayStation 3 in Europe, gamers in Japan and North America updated their Sony monoliths to system software version 1.60. Along with the much needed background downloading, the update brings to the PS3 the ability to help find a cure for cancer with its Folding@home client.

According to the most recent Folding@home client statistics sorted by operating system, the PlayStation 3 leads all other platforms by a huge margin. The PS3 has 367 current TFLOPS, while the next closest is Windows with 151 TFLOPS and more than ten times more CPUs.

When it comes to pure performance though, the PS3’s Cell Broadband Processor is still no match for ATI GPUs for protein folding. The GPUs on Folding@home sit at 41 current TFLOPS, which come from only 700 processors. If there were as many GPUs folding as there are PS3s on the network, it can be extrapolated that GPUs could reach 876 TFLOPS.

Below are the current stats:

Source: DailyTech

Sony announces Folding@Home support for their PS3

Most of you have probably heard by now about Stanford University's amazing software, Folding@Home. Folding@Home allows users to run complex scientific experiments on their computers whenever the computer is idle. Sony has officially announced that anyone who has bought their powerful console can run Folding@Home on it. Support will be coming through a firmware update, and users can configure Folding@Home to run just like they would on a normal computer. Sony boasts that their PS3 can run Folding@Home roughly 10 times faster than anyone with a mainstream computer chip. An associate professor at Stanford says that he's "thrilled" to welcome all the PS3 users into the, for lack of a better term, "fold". If you decide to start using Folding@Home, with either a computer or your powerful PS3, please join the techPowerUp! Folding@Home teamSource: The Inquirer
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