Stanford University release Folding@Home client for R6-family ATI GPUs

Friday 11th April 2008, 01:35:00 AM, written by Rys

Stanford University, with assistance from AMD, have released a version of the Folding@Home client application for discrete R6-family ATI GPUs, from R600 all the way to RV670.

The Pande Group, headed by Stanford's Vijay Pande, have worked hard to release an open beta test of the client, which they call FAH GPU2.  FAH GPU2 can run the same codes as the PS3 client now, therefore performing the same computation on the same biomolecules that Cell can, increasing the amount of science that can be accelerated using the GPU.  Indeed, FAH GPU2 is actually more capable than the PS3 client in that respect (although the extra simulation is likely to be made available to the PS3 client soon).

One of the major reasons for that is the switch to the CAL backend for Brook, which allows for a different class of computation using the GPU, compared to DirectX.  The use of CAL also lets the driver play less of a part in performance and regression-related issues.

Windows-only at the moment (including Vista and 64-bit for both it and XP), the client and FAQ can be accessed at the Folding Forum.  Find a link below.  Thanks to Mike Houston of the AMD GPG for the tip, and the comments thread on the B3D forums is the existing client preview thread.

Discuss on the forums


amd ± folding@home, gpg, cal, brook, biomolecular, science

Latest Thread Comments (27 total)
Posted by itaru on Friday, 01-Feb-08 16:10:27 UTC
Quoting Arnold Beckenbauer
Code development updates (

CAL requires a R600?

Posted by Arnold Beckenbauer on Saturday, 02-Feb-08 00:19:44 UTC
Quoting itaru
With R600 I've meant the R600 familiy/generation. :grin:

Posted by Arnold Beckenbauer on Wednesday, 13-Feb-08 21:32:28 UTC
I have no idea how, but I could download CAL/Brook+ using this link: (Actually I wanted some info about Firestream 9170 :lol:).
Quoting Jawed
It seems likely to me - implying that X1k cards would no longer be supported.

It seems, that this "free" available version requires R600/HD2xxx.

Posted by MfA on Thursday, 14-Feb-08 18:08:45 UTC
AFAICS the version of the CTM software which supported the older hardware has been pretty much abandoned completely ... and they probably don't want the support headaches which would be caused by releasing it.

Posted by Arnold Beckenbauer on Saturday, 23-Feb-08 18:17:23 UTC
We're pretty happy with the results of the QA from our new GPU core and we are working with ATI to do some more extensive QA. If that goes well, the next step is a closed beta, and then an open beta (i.e. downloads on our web site).

It's taken a while to get to this point due to many fixes and changes under the hood. Some of these changes have to do with new ATI development tools for using GPUs (these changes will help the reliability of the code as well as solve a lot of issues donor side, such as problems with drivers) as well as new science we've put into the GPU code, to bring it up to date with what we now do on the PS3 (in fact, some features of the GPU code are not present in the latest 1.3.1 PS3 version, but we hope they will be included in a future version).

I'll keep everyone posted here as we go along. It's hard to tell how long this current QA stage will take (and a lot of it depends on whether any major bugs surface), but we're happy to see this baby go out the door, at least with its first small steps.
I can't wait.

Posted by Arnold Beckenbauer on Saturday, 29-Mar-08 01:51:04 UTC
Second generation GPU client now in next step of QA (

We've moved the second generation GPU client to a closed beta test, outside of Stanford and ATI. We're doing just the first few stages of this, but at least everything looks ok so far. We expect to find several rough edges to fix over the next few days/weeks, but I think we're getting close (assuming no show stoppers appear).

Posted by mhouston on Thursday, 10-Apr-08 15:51:04 UTC

Posted by Jawed on Thursday, 10-Apr-08 16:42:20 UTC
Crikey that was quick, the closed beta was only a couple of weeks! As expected this is HD2400 and better. I wonder how long FAH will continue running for X1k? The FAQ talks about CAL being used. Is the source code using Brook at all? Nice work Mike, and the rest of the team! Jawed

Posted by mhouston on Thursday, 10-Apr-08 16:49:55 UTC
FAH is still Brook, it's just now using the CAL backend instead of DX9. You can actually download the version of Brook and CAL the client is using from AMD since AMD is officially supporting Brook now and doing heavy development for our hardware.Things should run on 2400/3400 and above. Most people are using 2600/3600 and above. The IGP is not currently supported. I don't know if we have had many testers of the low end boards because the PPD is not that exciting as they are ~1/6-1/8th the performance of the high-end boards.You should thank the Folding@Home guys for all the hard work.

Posted by Arnold Beckenbauer on Thursday, 10-Apr-08 18:48:24 UTC
Quoting mhouston
Why didn't/don't you use CTM/CAL for X1900?

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