The Folding@Home client software recently gained support for GPU folding with ATI Radeon X1900- and X1950-series graphics cards, but the Stanford University team handling the project has left Nvidia out of the picture for the time being. According to a FAQ on the FAH site, the team decided to prioritize work on ATI's latest high-end offerings because they offer "significant performance increases for FAH" over competing Nvidia GPUs. However, Nvidia's new GeForce 8800-series cards, which boast tremendous shader power, may take away ATI's current exclusivity in the folding arena.
FAH Project Director Vijay Pande talked to UK site Custom PC about the subject. He stated, "Our GPU code was originally developed for Nvidia GPUs, but recent ATi GPUs (X1900 class) have really pulled away from the previous generation of Nvidia GPUs. The G80 may change that and we are looking into it. Our code is written in Brook, so it's not limited in any way to ATi GPUs, although there may need to be code changes to achieve optimal performance on other hardware such as the G80."
Folding might only be the tip of the iceberg for Nvidia, too. An Nvidia PR Manager told Custom PC, "We have kept many research groups, including Stanford ... briefed on the [G80] technology as we completed the software and hardware. Throughout next year, you'll see quite a bit of work from many academic researchers."
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