An interesting juxtaposition of events today. First comes news that you can allow extra cycles from your PS3 to be put to work for cancer research via folding@home. The linked article exhorts you PS3 owners to "Leave your PS3 on for a good cause this Sunday night!" And it's working - folding@home via PS3 is accounting for 666 TeraFlops of the folding effort, some 72% of the total, wiping up the leaderboard.
Not surprisingly, the XBox360 fanboys are chafing a bit, and are pleading with Microsoft to let them fold, too. The purported reason is that it will help save more lives, but I think we all know what happens when fanboys of any stripe get out-clocked.
Anyway, it does lead to one interesting question: so why isn't the Xbox360 capable of being left on overnight to participate in the folding competition? We had one possible explanation happen to us in the game lab today. One of our Xbox360's got left on overnight running Lost Planet. When our lab administrator came in the next day, he discovered that the Xbox360 had gouged the disc into an unreadable, bubbled mess! The game, which we had had only a few days, was now unplayable, $50 down the drain. This is the second XBox360 we've had that has eaten games - the first one ate one of our driving games.
One of the guys at work mentioned that some industry analysts are putting Xbox360 hardware failure rates at near 50% (anyone got a link?). And clearly, Xbox360's are not meant to be left on overnight. These two things combined could lead to a marketing disaster for Microsoft should they try to participate in a scientific modeling effort where lives hang in the balance. If crashing, burning Xbox360's cause troubles for the folding@home effort, that would be pretty embarrasing. Better to just leave the Xbox360 as strictly a home entertainment vehicle.