Folding@home is an important initiative that takes advantage of the enormous unused resources available with our PCs to better understand our protein diseases. Graphics cards has become the latest weapon in the fight against cancer and Alzheimer’s as GPUs are well suited for simulating protein foldings with folding@home. When AMD launched Radeon HD 5800 with an unmatched theoretic performance of 2.7 TFLOPS many hoped that the card would boost folding performance, but that’s not quite the case.
First of all there is no real support for Radeon HD 5800 with today’s GPU client of folding@home and even if this can be circumvented performance is anything but impressive. With around 3000 PPD Radeon HD 5870 is on par with the precursor Radeon HD 4870 and far behind the NVIDIA GPUs.
The problem is that folding@home is not yet available as OpenCL, which means that AMD’s client is based on the Brook+, a standard that is not really supported anymore. NVIDIA’s GPUs use the CUDA based client while the AMD users will have to wait for an OpenCL client to appear.
In the end it means that Radeon HD 5800 doesn’t have anything to add to folding@home today, which is a real shame considering the great potential of the architecture. Hopefully this will be remedied soon with an updated GPU client.
More information on folding with Radeon HD 5870 at Bright Side of News.